A registered nurse interested in pursuing a master's degree usually needs a bachelor of science in nursing, but some schools offer bridge programs for registered nurses with associate degrees. With a graduate degree, the nurse can pursue a higher-paying advanced-practice career. Salary.com provides data for four types of nurses with master's degrees: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified nurse anesthetists.
Nurse practitioners have a median salary of $89,345 per year as of March 2011, reports Salary.com. The middle 50 percent of nurse practitioners earn $82,861 to $96,174 per year. The top 10 percent make $102,392 per year and higher, and the bottom 10 percent have salaries at or below $76,958 per year.
Nurse Practitioner Types of Employment
Nurse practitioners working in different employment settings have varying salaries. The median salary for a nurse practitioner employed in a nursing home, for example, is $72,625 per year as of March 2011, according to Salary.com. Nurse practitioners working in emergency rooms have a median yearly pay rate of $93,065, and those providing neonatal care earn a median salary of $100,185 per year.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Clinical nurse specialists have a median annual salary of $87,432 as of March 2011. As the job title describes, these nurses provide care in a specialty health area, such as cardiology, or for a specialty population, such as pediatrics. The middle 50 percent of clinical nurse specialists earn $79,930 to $95,121 per year. The bottom 10 percent have salaries at or below $73,100, and the top 10 percent earn $102,122 per year and higher.
Certified Nurse Midwives
Certified nurse midwives provide an option for pregnant women preferring an alternative to medical obstetrics care, and they also offer a certain level of primary health care to women of all ages. Certified nurse midwives have a median salary of $90,791 per year as of March 2011. Those in the 25th to the 75th percentile of the salary scale earn $83,551 to $98,977 per year. The bottom 10 percent have annual salaries below $76,960, and the top 10 percent earn $106,430 and higher.
Certified Nurse Anesthetist
The most lucrative opportunity for a nurse interested in pursuing a master's degree-level career is that of certified nurse anesthetist. These nurses earn a median salary of $155,261 per year, and only the bottom 10 percent have annual salaries below $138,520. The middle 50-percent salary range for certified nurse anesthetists is $146,498 to $165,584, and the top 10 percent earn more than $174,980 per year.
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