What Is the Average Salary for a Nursing Graduate with a BSN?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is one of three academic routes to becoming a nurse and the only one that qualifies a nursing graduate for advanced nursing specialties or graduate degree programs in nursing. Read on to find out how the salary for a nursing graduate with a BSN varies with years of experience, type of employer, title and location. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

BSN Salary Overview

Even though baccalaureate education isn't required to become a nurse, the number of registered nurses (RNs) who pursue bachelor's degrees in nursing has been climbing steadily since the mid-1970s. A BSN may open up higher-paying advancement and specialization opportunities.

According to PayScale.com, most entry-level RNs earned salaries ranging from $41,181-$71,719 in January 2016, with a median wage of $51,491. On the other hand, the median salary for an RN possessing a BSN degree was higher at $58,928.

Important Facts About Registered Nurses

Job Outlook (2014-2024) 16% growth
Licensure Mandatory; National Council Licensure Examination (NCELX-RN)
Key Skills Critical thinking; organization; attention to detail; empathy; physical stamina; clear communication
Similar Occupations EMTs and paramedics; dental hygienists; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; physicians assistants; nurse midwives; nurse practitioners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary by Years of Experience

As with most jobs in health care, the salaries for RNs increase with additional experience. As of January 2016, RNs at the mid-career level earned between $45,997 and $83,291, according to PayScale.com. The same website reported that salaries ranged from $48,628-$89,848 for experienced RNs and from $49,593-$95,564 for late-career professionals.

Salary by Employer

Hospitals employed 61% of all RNs as of 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). These professionals may also find careers in doctor's offices, home health care, nursing homes and outpatient facilities. Job growth for nurses who work in private practice and outpatient facilities is expected to grow faster than jobs at hospitals.

In the federal government, nurses work in veteran's hospitals and clinics run by the National Institute of Health. According to the BLS in May 2014, average salaries for RNs working in various employment settings were as follows:

  • General hospitals: $71,640
  • Physicians' offices: $63,800
  • Home healthcare services: $67,880
  • Nursing care facilities: $62,440
  • Outpatient care centers: $72,390

Salary by Location

In May 2014, the BLS reported that RNs made the highest average salaries working in California ($98,400), Hawaii ($88,230), Massachusetts ($85,770), Alaska ($85,740) and Oregon ($82,940). The lowest-average salary range was reported to be $33,740-$57,830. These lower wages were found in states that included West Virginia, Kansas, Alabama, South Dakota, Tennessee and Arkansas. While California had the highest employment level of all states, South Dakota had the highest job concentration.

Salary by Job Title

In addition to career prospects as an RN, with a BSN, you may qualify for managerial job positions, like nurse case manager and nursing manager. Nurses tend to earn more as their managerial duties increase and their direct patient care duties decrease, according to the Association of Perioperative Nurses (www.aorn.org). According to PayScale.com in January 2016, nurse case managers earned a median salary of $66,699. Nursing managers earned a median salary of $81,034 at that time.

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