The Average Salary of a First Assist RN

First Assist RNs have significantly higher salaries than other RNs.
First Assist RNs have significantly higher salaries than other RNs. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

A First Assist, or First Assistant, RN has significantly more responsibilities and training than many other RN specialties. The average salary for a First Assist RN is therefore significantly higher than the average for all RNs. There is the usual salary variation for different regions, but First Assist RN salaries are higher in all regions than the standard RN salary in that region.

Average Salary of a First Assist RN

According in, the database of currently available job offers, the average salary of a First Assist or First Assistant RN is $100,000 nationally. A First Assist is a perioperative nurse with significantly greater responsibilities than most other RN specialties, and the training required is above and beyond the standard to become an RN. These extras are reflected in the higher salary.

RN Salaries in General

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are 2.6 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States. The average salary in 2008 was $62,500. As with any profession with so many members, there was wide variation in wages. The lowest 10 percent got less than $43,500 and the top 10 percent more than $92,000.

Reasons for Salary Variations

One reason for RN salary differences is that there are a number of different specialties. First Assist RNs are paid better than many others. There are also significant regional variations. A First Assist RN in South Dakota averages $89,000 and one in California $106,000.

The Future of RN Salaries

The BLS tells us that many RNs are due to retire soon. The aging population is also expected to increase the demand for health care. Finally, the more precisely and extensively trained RNs, like First Assists, are taking over tasks previously reserved for doctors alone. For all three reasons, the BLS estimates that job numbers and salaries will increase faster than for most jobs in the coming years, as they have in recent ones.

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