Associate’s Degree in Nursing


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LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must be either an LPN or LVN to apply.

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Salaries for Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing

nurse looking at electronic notepad
nurse looking at electronic notepad

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for registered nurses is $77,600. This number includes nurses with an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). But salaries can vary widely based on education and other factors.

Pursuing an ADN is one of the fastest ways to launch your career as a registered nurse (RN) and reap the financial rewards that go with it.

As a new graduate, you’ll qualify for many of the same positions as nurses with a BSN, though you may notice a difference in pay rates. For example, for staff nurses, who work in hospitals, RNs with a BSN can sometimes earn about 8% more, says Joseph A. Dunmire, a board member of the National Association for Health Care Recruitment (NAHCR).

How Does ADN Pay Compare to Other Entry-level Nursing Jobs?

An RN’s salary is a big step up from pay for lower-level nursing jobs such as certified nursing assistant (CNA) and licensed practical nurse (LPN). That’s because registered nurses are more skilled, have greater responsibilities, and sometimes supervise nursing assistants and LPNs.

Entry-Level Nursing Salary Comparison

Registered Nurses

National data

Median Salary: $77,600

Projected job growth: 9%

10th Percentile: $59,450

25th Percentile: $61,790

75th Percentile: $97,580

90th Percentile: $120,250

Projected job growth: 9%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $99,110 $77,450 $127,020
Alabama $60,510 $47,390 $78,670
Arkansas $61,530 $47,510 $79,440
Arizona $78,260 $60,750 $100,200
California $125,340 $78,070 $165,620
Colorado $78,070 $60,550 $100,870
Connecticut $83,860 $61,470 $110,580
District of Columbia $95,220 $62,700 $129,670
Delaware $75,380 $59,900 $99,780
Florida $75,000 $49,680 $95,630
Georgia $75,040 $58,400 $98,410
Hawaii $111,070 $75,380 $129,670
Iowa $61,790 $48,290 $79,260
Idaho $75,560 $59,640 $98,030
Illinois $77,580 $59,640 $100,650
Indiana $62,400 $48,400 $90,260
Kansas $61,790 $47,630 $79,360
Kentucky $62,480 $48,000 $82,410
Louisiana $64,450 $48,920 $94,360
Massachusetts $94,960 $61,180 $151,310
Maryland $78,350 $60,420 $101,650
Maine $75,040 $59,640 $98,780
Michigan $76,710 $60,120 $98,510
Minnesota $79,100 $60,850 $101,610
Missouri $61,920 $47,350 $94,690
Mississippi $60,790 $47,210 $78,670
Montana $75,000 $60,320 $97,260
North Carolina $72,220 $51,420 $95,360
North Dakota $73,250 $59,810 $95,360
Nebraska $64,000 $55,040 $84,910
New Hampshire $77,230 $59,900 $99,580
New Jersey $94,690 $70,920 $117,990
New Mexico $78,340 $60,320 $98,660
Nevada $79,360 $61,790 $119,530
New York $96,170 $61,260 $127,080
Ohio $74,080 $59,540 $94,690
Oklahoma $62,170 $47,960 $79,940
Oregon $99,410 $76,180 $127,680
Pennsylvania $76,940 $59,640 $98,680
Rhode Island $78,900 $61,340 $101,650
South Carolina $72,650 $47,860 $86,820
South Dakota $60,550 $47,470 $77,360
Tennessee $62,390 $48,190 $81,950
Texas $77,320 $59,780 $99,070
Utah $75,000 $59,640 $95,160
Virginia $76,900 $59,170 $100,990
Vermont $75,380 $59,640 $98,030
Washington $96,980 $74,070 $127,320
Wisconsin $76,560 $60,060 $98,970
West Virginia $62,390 $47,450 $87,440
Wyoming $75,000 $59,650 $98,140

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

National data

Median Salary: $48,070

Projected job growth: 9.3%

10th Percentile: $37,150

25th Percentile: $46,410

75th Percentile: $59,770

90th Percentile: $63,790

Projected job growth: 9.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $61,680 $46,520 $77,810
Alabama $40,120 $29,390 $49,540
Arkansas $45,180 $36,300 $56,110
Arizona $59,490 $46,930 $66,890
California $61,600 $47,750 $79,380
Colorado $58,810 $45,820 $63,950
Connecticut $60,120 $47,260 $65,460
District of Columbia $59,810 $38,000 $74,200
Delaware $55,290 $45,360 $61,830
Florida $47,000 $36,930 $59,690
Georgia $46,910 $36,620 $59,470
Hawaii $51,790 $45,930 $61,680
Iowa $47,000 $37,120 $59,550
Idaho $47,450 $37,110 $59,920
Illinois $52,700 $45,200 $61,770
Indiana $48,070 $39,070 $61,250
Kansas $46,660 $36,750 $59,080
Kentucky $46,950 $36,770 $59,040
Louisiana $46,160 $36,130 $50,800
Massachusetts $60,190 $47,940 $76,650
Maryland $58,760 $46,810 $65,220
Maine $47,900 $37,030 $61,480
Michigan $56,310 $46,180 $61,250
Minnesota $47,970 $45,180 $60,780
Missouri $46,520 $36,640 $56,550
Mississippi $38,610 $35,310 $48,260
Montana $47,000 $36,800 $59,850
North Carolina $47,340 $37,450 $60,190
North Dakota $47,320 $37,850 $60,450
Nebraska $47,140 $37,300 $59,850
New Hampshire $59,380 $46,950 $74,250
New Jersey $60,070 $47,270 $70,680
New Mexico $57,490 $37,670 $72,820
Nevada $59,850 $46,640 $76,980
New York $50,410 $38,830 $61,680
Ohio $47,270 $37,090 $59,870
Oklahoma $46,480 $36,620 $55,800
Oregon $60,240 $47,670 $73,680
Pennsylvania $48,220 $38,470 $61,250
Rhode Island $60,240 $47,250 $76,550
South Carolina $46,820 $36,400 $59,350
South Dakota $38,480 $36,310 $47,860
Tennessee $45,970 $36,360 $50,270
Texas $48,520 $37,310 $61,010
Utah $47,940 $37,170 $62,040
Virginia $47,210 $36,930 $60,370
Vermont $58,810 $46,480 $61,160
Washington $61,160 $47,940 $77,290
Wisconsin $47,750 $37,850 $60,170
West Virginia $37,790 $32,880 $48,070
Wyoming $48,030 $37,990 $59,810

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Nursing Assistants

National data

Median Salary: $30,310

Projected job growth: 8.3%

10th Percentile: $23,880

25th Percentile: $28,900

75th Percentile: $37,170

90th Percentile: $44,240

Projected job growth: 8.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $41,410 $36,590 $55,520
Alabama $24,300 $22,230 $30,270
Arkansas $28,420 $23,000 $35,010
Arizona $36,090 $28,900 $37,980
California $37,450 $30,230 $49,040
Colorado $36,590 $29,370 $38,500
Connecticut $36,770 $29,100 $46,330
District of Columbia $37,500 $31,270 $47,520
Delaware $34,970 $28,910 $38,140
Florida $29,070 $23,050 $37,020
Georgia $28,560 $22,440 $40,730
Hawaii $36,990 $29,000 $47,520
Iowa $29,990 $28,720 $37,750
Idaho $29,450 $23,970 $37,090
Illinois $32,090 $28,280 $37,460
Indiana $29,690 $24,180 $37,460
Kansas $29,060 $23,070 $36,520
Kentucky $29,060 $22,750 $36,420
Louisiana $24,220 $18,520 $29,830
Massachusetts $37,370 $29,920 $47,280
Maryland $31,570 $27,990 $43,650
Maine $36,040 $29,100 $38,750
Michigan $35,580 $28,900 $38,080
Minnesota $36,770 $29,160 $46,490
Missouri $28,680 $22,810 $36,590
Mississippi $23,780 $22,300 $29,840
Montana $29,690 $28,770 $37,460
North Carolina $29,230 $22,610 $37,250
North Dakota $36,770 $29,130 $46,330
Nebraska $29,960 $28,520 $37,700
New Hampshire $36,770 $29,130 $45,850
New Jersey $36,730 $29,130 $44,630
New Mexico $29,600 $23,400 $38,290
Nevada $36,580 $28,900 $46,180
New York $38,130 $29,620 $47,800
Ohio $29,840 $23,910 $37,400
Oklahoma $28,820 $22,720 $33,240
Oregon $37,460 $29,690 $47,520
Pennsylvania $35,780 $28,510 $39,600
Rhode Island $37,110 $29,610 $46,210
South Carolina $28,900 $22,830 $36,330
South Dakota $28,970 $23,150 $36,800
Tennessee $29,130 $22,960 $36,520
Texas $29,420 $23,260 $37,710
Utah $29,690 $23,440 $37,460
Virginia $29,690 $23,130 $37,750
Vermont $36,590 $29,130 $42,410
Washington $37,140 $29,930 $46,550
Wisconsin $34,760 $28,820 $37,990
West Virginia $28,910 $22,970 $37,500
Wyoming $30,410 $28,900 $38,790

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

“An ADN is a great entry-level into healthcare and into nursing,” says Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, and a board-certified nurse coach, nursing career expert, and host of the nursing career podcast “The Nurse Keith Show.” “It’s a great option for someone who wants to go beyond practical nursing or a diploma-based study program.

“For someone who’s not sure, for someone who doesn’t want to go into greater debt, and they’d like to get out of school as quickly as possible and earn a living, then the ADN is the faster path.”

How Does ADN Pay Compared to Other Healthcare Jobs that Require an Associate Degree?

Many other healthcare occupations also have entry-level opportunities at the associate degree level. Here’s how some of them stack up against RNs in terms of salary, according to the BLS.

Career Median Annual Salary
Registered Nurses $77,600
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians $61,370
Respiratory Therapists $61,830
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers $77,740
Dental Hygienists $77,810

Your Salary Can Depend on Many Factors

There’s much more in play than just education: The salary you earn with an ADN may also depend on factors such as where you live, your position, your employer, and your experience.

Registered nurses have the highest employment of all healthcare occupations, the BLS says, so you’ll find a wide range of opportunities to explore. This demand is largely due to a nursing shortage that’s expected to grow in the coming years.

The salary you earn with an ADN may depend on factors such as where you live, your position, your employer, and your experience.

Here are four factors that could influence your salary.

The Care You Provide

Many hospitals look for nurses with a BSN, but many other healthcare settings offer opportunities for nurses with an ADN.

“Long-term care, medical-surgical nursing, rehabilitation, mental health nursing, and home care nursing are areas that readily hire ADN-prepared nurses,” says Damion Jenkins, RN, MSN, an NCLEX prep expert, nurse educator, and CEO of The Nurse Speak. “Some of the more specialized areas, such as pediatrics, maternal newborn, ICU and OR, typically require that their nurses have more experience and therefore would most likely hire BSN-prepared new grads, if a new grad position were available.”

Specialization

Earning a certification in a nursing specialty could increase your job opportunities and earning potential. “The whole issue in the marketplace when you’re looking for work is, ‘How do I differentiate myself from my competition? What makes me different?'” Carlson says.

Requirements for certification vary by specialty. Many require one to five years of practice or a minimum number of hours in the specialty.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers credentials in nine nursing specialties, including pediatrics and pain management. Many specialty nursing organizations offer certifications as well.

Requirements for certification vary by specialty. Many require one to five years of practice or a minimum number of hours in the specialty.

Where You Work

Your healthcare setting can make a substantial difference in your pay, as this chart shows. 

Outpatient Care Centers

Provide outpatient care services directly or indirectly to ambulatory patients

Annual Median RN Salary: $93,070

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

Provide medical, diagnostic, treatment, and special accommodation services to inpatients and may provide outpatient services as a secondary service

Annual Median RN Salary: $76,840

Home Healthcare Services

Provide skilled nursing services, including high-tech care such as IV therapy, in the home

Annual Median RN Salary: $72,340

Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)

Provide a mix of health and social services in a residential care setting

Annual Median RN Salary: $68,450

Where You Live

Your physical location can also influence your pay. This can be due to the demand for nurses or the cost of living in an area.

For example, the BLS reports that the annual median salary for nurses in Joplin, Missouri, is $46,210, while across the country in San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, California, it’s $155,980.

The top 10 highest-paying areas in the nation are in California, according to the BLS. 

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $164,710
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $159,860
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $157,860
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $154,330
Santa Rosa, CA $135,680
Napa, CA $134,490
Salinas, CA $134,120
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $131,760
Yuba City, CA $128,750
Hanford-Corcoran, CA $125,180

How to Increase Your Earnings

As a nurse with an ADN, you have many options to increase your earnings. It all depends on your goals.

  • Overtime: From a practical standpoint, you may have the opportunity to work overtime or earn a premium on overnight shifts, weekends, or holidays.
  • Union membership: If you end up joining a union, you could have support in the form of collective bargaining for higher wages.
  • Certifications and fellowships: These can raise your earnings by adding to your expertise and experience.
  • Pursue a higher degree: If you decide to return to school, an ADN is an excellent foundation for earning a BSN, a degree that can help you move into positions with more responsibility and higher pay.

    Employers that encourage nurses to pursue a BSN often have tuition reimbursement programs, which can ease financial concerns. And many schools have online programs, which can give students the flexibility to work while they’re in school.

anna giorgi

Written and reported by:

Anna Giorgi

Contributing Writer

With professional insight from:

Joseph Dunmire

Board Member, National Association for Health Care Recruitment (NAHCR); and Vice President—Workforce Solutions, Qualivis

damion jenkins

Damion Jenkins, RN, MSN

Nursing Consultant