How Much Do Nurses Make

Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on the yearly salary income of various careers, including nursing. Nursing salaries vary based on type of nurse, tenure, state, type of hospital or office and type of area. Busier hospitals and offices, such as those in large cities, pay nurses more than small, rural areas.

To increase possible pay as a nurse, consider going back to school or becoming an educator in addition to being a nurse. Another way to increase pay is by moving up in position. Head nurses or managers will make much more on average than those they manage. The below information focuses on LPNs, RNs, managers and educators.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, make the least out of all nursing types. Becoming an LPN requires less education, allowing you to become a nurse quicker. The average base pay for a licensed practical nurse is $38,941 per year. The base range is $35,470 to $42,538. These numbers are based upon entry level LPNs. Salary can increase with tenure.

Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses, or RNs, are next on the pay scale. RNs require more education, making them more valuable salary wise. On average, a registered nurse can expect to a salary of $61,323 per year with the pay ranging from $55,351 to $66,701. As with licensed practical nurses, salary can increase over time.

Head Nurse

A head nurse has typically been with a hospital or office for five years or more. Head nurses may also assume a managerial position after transferring from another location. Tenure remains with the nurse, even after transferring to a new location. The average pay for a head nurse is $85,239 per year. Pay can range anywhere from $76,811 to $94,091.


Educators in the nursing field are highly valued as they have both the education and hands on experience required to teach future nurses and answer any questions they may have. As such, nursing educators are the highest on the pay scale. The average pay is $102,907 with a salary range of $85,639 to $115,914.

As with any career, these salaries are just averages. A nurse can expect to make the average salary or better in busy or large hospitals and offices. Smaller areas may only be able to pay nurses the minimum average or less per year. However, the cost of living in smaller areas is much less than living near or in large cities, where salaries are higher. Nurses typically have more patients to handle in metropolitan areas, meaning more responsibility and higher salaries. Salary is dependent upon the responsibilities you’ll be expected to handle.

At any time, a nurse can continue their education to help raise their salary. Some employers will pay for the nurse to continue their education. If you want a higher salary, consider transferring or moving to a different area.

This article references salary information from ELearners.


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