A registered nurse (RN) administers medications, performs patient tests and assists a physician during procedures and examinations. There are over 2.6 million RN positions in the United States with about 60 percent of them in hospitals. As health care professionals in a field that is in demand and often has difficulty filling positions, salary prospects for RNs are good, especially for registered nurses with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
There are three typical education paths to become a registered nurse — a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree (ASN) and a diploma. Advancement opportunities and thus salary opportunities are the best for registered nurses with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). Many RNs without a BSN end up returning to school to get their bachelor's degree. Many employers provide tuition reimbursement programs to encourage this practice.
Salary of BSN Nurses Based on Experience
According to nursingprograms.com BSN nurses with less than one year of experience averaged $50,081 per year while those with one to four years of experience earned $54,519. With five to nine years of experience a BSN can expect an average salary of $59,931 and with 10 to 19 years of experience a BSN would earn an average of $62,820. Once a BSN has more than 20 years of experience she can expect to earn an average of $67,394.
Salaries Based on Location
Salaries vary based on demand and location as well. The average salary in New York was considerably higher than the other major cities surveyed with an average of $65,062 per year, according to nursingprograms.com. At the other end of the scale was Seattle with an average salary for a BSN of $53,102. In between were Chicago and Atlanta in the $54,000 range and Dallas and Baltimore in the $56,000 range, while BSN salaries in Houston averaged $59,499.
BSN Salaries Based on Specialty
The more specialized a nurse is, or the higher the degree of responsibility, the higher the salary. In the nursing world, a school nurse with a BSN, earned the lowest average salary at $37,867. A BSN registered nurse averaged $52,750, a nurse case manager earned $58,893 and a clinical nurse manager earned $66,252. At the high end of the scale, nurse practitioners and nursing directors earned $71,364 and $71,619 respectively. For comparison purposes, according to a January 2011 survey by Salary.com, the median salary of all registered nurses (including BSN) regardless of degree or specialty was $65,379.