Are you curious about how much a nursing salary is these days? Wondering which types of nurses earn the highest salaries? Would it be helpful to you to understand the industries in which employers pay nurses the best, and which nursing credentials are most valued by employers in the healthcare industry overall? Read on for a better understanding of the various factors that can contribute to nursing salaries.

The Mean and Median Annual Salaries for Nurses in the USA

The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives us detailed information about typical nursing salaries in the USA. According to their website, registered nurses (RNs) were earning median annual salaries of $68,450 as of 2016. An RN’s mean annual salary for this time period was $69,110.

Types of Nurses That Earn the Highest Salaries

Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) typically earn the highest salaries of all nurses in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This group includes nurse midwives (CNMs), who often provide the same types of services to women that obstetrician gynecologists do; nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), who are responsible for administering anesthesia to their patients; and nurse practitioners (NPs), who are sometimes able to assume the role of primary healthcare provider for their patients. In some states, APRNs are legally able to prescribe medicines for their patients. The nurses acting in these roles all carry a tremendous amount of responsibility for their patients’ health outcomes. As a result, their earning potential is high. As of 2016, this group of nurses was collectively earning median annual salaries calculated at $107,460.

How Academic Credentials Affect Nursing Salaries

APRNs have much more invested in their educations than other types of nurses do. To become an APRN, you need at least a master’s degree.

RNs with bachelor’s degrees typically earn median annual salaries of $68,450.

Read: Top 30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs

Licensed vocational nurses earn the lowest salaries, at only $44,090 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These nurses tend to have the least invested in their educations; they typically spend a year or so studying at technical schools or community colleges to earn a certificate or diploma. Their education includes the mandatory amount of supervised clinical experience dictated by the state in which they plan to practice.

As you can see, nursing salaries are directly correlated to education levels and academic credentials.

Industries That Pay Nurses Best

In 2016, top-paid nurse midwives worked for local governments and enjoyed annual mean salaries of $127,670, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RNs working for employers in the personal care services industry earned significantly more than their peers in other industries; in 2016, their mean annual salaries amounted to $85,940. RNs working for lessors of real estate also enjoyed high annual salaries averaging $81,850. Securities brokerages also paid their nurses well; nurses in the securities industry earned mean annual salaries of $81,090 in 2016. In comparison, nurses working at general hospitals earned mean annual salaries of $69,810, and nurses working in home healthcare service environments earned only $65,120.

All the above-mentioned factors are the ones that typically influence a nurse’s salary most significantly. Another important factor is the personal negotiating ability of the nurse at the initial time of hire. Now that you understand the important details regarding what other nurses are getting paid, you’ll be better able to negotiate for a competitive nursing salary if you decide to seek employment as a nurse in the future.