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Registered nurses perform vital health care duties, helping medical patients overcome a variety of injuries and illnesses. Because of the importance of their duties, and high demand for their services, RNs make much higher-than-average salaries.
Registered Nurse Salary Range
The CareerBuilder salary calculator lists an average yearly salary of $74,317 for registered nurses, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the average a little lower, at $68,910 a year as of 2013. Both figures are well above the 2012 average of $34,750 a year for all occupations in the U.S. The BLS reports that the lowest 10 percent of RNs earn an annual average of $45,630, while the top 10 percent earn $96,320. Registered nurses with a bachelor's degree may have better job prospects than those with an associate’s degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Some RNs choose to upgrade to a master's degree in nursing.
Top Regional and Industry Salaries
Among the states, California offers the highest wages for registered nurses, with a total of 252,940 nurses earning an annual mean of $96,980 as of 2013. Hawaii ranked second at $85,380, followed by Massachusetts at $83,720, Alaska at $83,640 and Oregon at $80,440. The top two paying industries that employ a significant number of RNs are the federal executive branch, which pays registered nurses an average of $79,190 per year; and outpatient care centers, which pay an average of $74,100 annually.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Registered Nurses
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Registered Nurse
- Explore Health Careers: Registered Nurse
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses: Job Outlook
Kent Tukeli has been writing for business and media organizations since 2007, including Valnet Inc., Top Affiliate Publishing and Mirvish Productions. He honed his skills at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.