A nursing education can be pursued at many levels of relative expertise and expense. With the ongoing elevation of the nursing profession to greater heights of professionalism, recognition, and remuneration, a nursing education is, by and large, rewarded by positive economic outcomes.
The statistics tell a story
According to a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the statistics clearly demonstrate that nurses who increase their level of education are, by and large, rewarded with higher salaries.
The study details that nurses with a BSN earn an average of $68,000 as compared to ADNs who earn an average of $61,000. Overall, educational achievement by nurses has doubled in the last 35 years, and salaries have risen in due course.
A further dive into the Georgetown study shows that nurses with a masters or higher degree earn an average of $81,000 and are the highest earners in the nursing profession.
Nurses topping $100,000
Bureau of Labor Statistics data examined by the website 247WallStreet.com shows that nurses with higher levels of education now find themselves among the top 48 professionals earning more than $100,000 per year.
According to the data, nurses stack up thus:
- Nurse midwives earn an average of $102, 390 and are forty-second of the top 48
- Nurse practitioners come in thirty-eighth, earning $104,610
- Nurse anesthetists are fourth at $164,030
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks 457 jobs in terms of many aspects of earning, job growth, and other factors, they do not offer a breakdown in terms of nurses with masters degrees or Ph.D.s who are not clinicians, nor is there information separating ADNs from BSNs. Nevertheless, the statistics across the board support the notion that nurses who seek higher levels of education are rewarded with increased earning potential.
Other nursing specialties showing promise
With the exponentially increasing importance of information technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector, masters-prepared nurses with degrees in informatics will no doubt be in high demand as the 21st century progresses. While we cannot rely on the Bureau of Labor Statistics to parse the many variations of a post-graduate nursing workforce, the writing on the wall tells us that opportunities for nurses interested in technological innovation will continue to expand.
From healthcare executive leadership to nursing education leadership, nurses willing to pursue higher degrees are likely to find a market for their services.
Due diligence and close scrutiny
As with all educational pursuits, due diligence is called for on the part of the nursing student, with allowances made for geographic location, the state of the healthcare system, and changes within the national and global economies.
The current statistics make clear that certain advances in nursing education almost unequivocally result in higher salaries and increased opportunity (e.g.: RN to BSN), while others may call for closer scrutiny by the nurse seeking career advancement.
Be that as it may, nurses nationwide are put on notice that the advancing of one’s nursing education, the amassing of specialized knowledge and skills, and the deepening of nursing expertise are prudent activities for the nurse who seeks broader opportunities and earning power over the course of his or her career.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, consultant, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com.
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