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Entry Level Registered Nurse Salary

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Nurses are an essential component of the medical industry. In many offices and hospitals, the nurse is the first and last point of communication between a patient and his physician. An exceptional nurse goes above and beyond the call of duty to make her patients feel comfortable. A new registered nurse entering the world of nursing can expect to earn a starting salary $40,250 per year as of 2010, depending on experience, geographical location, setting and education, according to


In 2008, CNN listed nursing as one of 10 occupations with the best starting salary. According to the article, "Best entry-level salaries for new grads" the starting salary for a nursing graduate was $52,129. Nurses with less than one year of experience can expect to earn salaries ranging from $38,277 to $52,367 per year.

Geographical Location

Annual earnings increase or decrease based on geographical location. For example, Entry-level RNs in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee earn between $31,000 and $35,000 a year. The Texas Nurses Association notes that entry-level salary for registered nurses in Texas range from $27,000 to $29,000 as of 2010 based on geographical location. Sign-on bonuses and higher salaries are encountered because of RN shortages in other areas. Nursing Link reports a starting annual salary of $80,000 plus sign-on bonuses of $10,000 because of a nursing shortage in Spokane, Washington.

Setting and Specialty

Specialty determines entry-level salaries for registered nurses. A registered nurse in oncology can expect a starting salary of $35,000 according to According to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow, neonatal nurses in southern regions earn around $30,000 per year, while entry-level salaries for nurses in the Midwest begin in the upper $30,000 to middle $40,000 wage scale. Neonatal nurses with no experience can earn a starting salary with an upper range near $48,000 per year.


A bachelor’s degree, associate's degree and diploma are the three routes to becoming a registered nurse, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A bachelor’s degree carries more educational advantages than an associate’s degree and a diploma in that nurses receive more training in areas such as communication and leadership notes the BLS. A registered nurse with a two-year associate’s degree can earn an entry-level salary between $35,000 and $42,000. Nursing graduates with a bachelor’s degree can earn a starting salary of $40,000 to $50,000. Registered nurses with a master’s degree can earn between $50,000 and $62,000 in the first year.


Residing in Clarksville, Tenn., Patrice D. Wimbush has been writing since 2002, with her work appearing on various websites. Her areas of writing expertise are contract and criminal law. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Murray State University and a Master of Arts in communication from Austin Peay State University.

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