After earning years of experience as a registered nurse, it’s worth looking into the average earnings of a clinical nurse leader to decide if this is the next step in your career. Clinical nurse leaders are specialists in their field and strive to both improve the quality of care within a community, but also enhance the safety of nursing operations throughout a facility. In exchange for playing the leadership role, nurse leaders holding a clinical title earn a higher than average salary. Here’s what potential clinical nursing leaders should know:

Average National Salary for Registered Nurses

The salary of a registered nurse can vary dramatically depending on the setting of the work, the geographic region, the department, the specialty, and how much experience the professional possesses. Anyone who enters the field should take the time to assess national averages and then much more specific averages by state and city as they determine where they would like to start their careers.

At a very surface level, statistics show that the average clinical nurse with a register nurse diploma will earn $35.36 per hour translating to $73,550 per year nationally according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data released in 2018. This, of course, includes the highest and lowest reported salaries throughout the country, which are reported to be as low as $48,690 per year, to as high as $104,100.

Average Increase for Clinical Nurse Leaders

Nursing professionals must consider pursuing a career within a specialty area that is high in demand and shows good signs for growth in the future. Since clinical nursing leaders are managers, liaisons, mentors, and administrators all rolled into one, they do fall into a higher pay grade than a general registered nurse. According to data released by the Nurse Journal, clinical nurse leaders earn a national average of $84,000 per year. Even more promising is projected growth in wages, which experts project will grow by 20 percent by the year 2022.

Higher Earning Areas in Leadership

As more and more hospitals and medical facilities focus efforts on improving the quality of care while reducing overhead costs, a much greater focus has been placed on hiring high-quality clinical leaders in nursing who can help to create or develop policies, train nursing staff, and reduce costs. This is why the job outlook in the field is projected to grow by as much as 19 percent, which is much higher than the national average for all occupations as a whole.

Some of the top-paid clinical nursing leadership staff work in hospitals and long-term care facilities as charge nursing supervising nurses on duty while also caring directly for patients. Others leaders in the field include directors of nursing, nurse administrators who oversee crises or handle patient care complaints. In each of these areas, professionals in the field can enjoy top-notch benefits like 401k, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, disability, and flexible spending.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader Online Programs

Compensation in every field within the healthcare industry will vary because of how much population and demand for healthcare services influence the need for professionals. Anyone interested in working as a clinical nurse leader should consider how competitive the field is, how much work it will require to earn a graduate or doctorate degree, and whether or not the increased responsibility is worth the increase in potential earnings.