Nursing Education

RN – Registered Nurse

RN Career Guide - Education, Salary, Job Outlook and Reviews


Rewarding Career Path!

Not the easiest career but definitely one of the most rewarding. The highlight is the outstanding job outlook with so many baby boomers entering their golden years.

  • Salary
  • Job Availability
  • Job Outlook
  • Work Life Balance

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

Registered nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. Others work in correctional facilities or schools, or serve in the military.

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.

The mean salary for Registered Nurses (RN) $71,000 per year or roughly $34.10 per hour. The top 10 percent of Registered Nurses (RN) earn over $100,000 annually while the bottom 10% earn about $46,000 per year. This ranks in the medium to upper tier in the nursing profession. Salaries greatly differ depending on the healthcare provider’s industry and location.

RN Salaries by Industry

Home Health Services
Physician Office
Nursing Homes

Healthcare providers offer numerous benefits to Registered Nurses such as flexible scheduling, daycare, and bonuses. Nurses who are employed by hospitals and nursing homes typically work in shifts. Three 12 hour shifts per week is common. Most nurses are full-time and only one in six are part-time. Registered Nurses (RN) who work in physician offices and schools are more likely to work standard business hours.

RN Salaries by State

Registered Nurse Salaries

Top Paying RN States

$101,300 annually or $48.70 hourly
$90,100 annually or $43.30 hourly
$88,700 annually or $42.60 hourly
$88,500 annually or $42.60 hourly
$83,800 annually or $40.30 hourly

California is the highest paying state for Registered Nurses. All top 10 best paying RN jobs are metropolitan areas in California. San Francisco employs over 12,000 Registered Nurses at an annual mean wage of over $133,000 or $64.30 hourly.

The number of RN jobs in the United States is over 2,751,000. The current job climate is good but not great. Registered Nurses (RN) with BLS degrees are strongly preferred. For RN’s with lesser degrees, the job hunt can prove to be difficult. Another issue for new grads with nursing degrees has been the work experience requirement that many employers demand. Numerous nurses are ready to work, but the catch 22 is making it difficult to get started.

RN Employment by State

RN Employment State by StateHistorically Registered Nurses have retired in their late 50’s; however, due to the recession many have extended their careers. This has put downward pressure on new nursing job positions.

The Registered Nursing field is expected to have significantly more jobs available in the future. The future job outlook is outstanding.

Registered Nursing is expected to see much higher than average job growth. Over the next ten years, the Registered Nursing profession is expected to grow by 16%. There are around 2,751,000 Registered Nurses currently in the United States. 2024 is projected to have 439,000 more RN’s for a grand total of 3,190,300. This increase is primarily due to the aging population (in particular baby boomers.)

RN Employment by Area

RN Employment Map

The average annual job openings is projected to be 108,840. This number takes into account new jobs and replacements. RN career opportunities will be positive; however, the number of new nurses seeking employment has increased in recent years which has causes competition for jobs in some parts of the United States. Registered Nurses (RN) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree will have a significant advantage over those who do not have a BSN diploma.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has and will continue to increase the demand for RNs. As more people have gotten access to insurance than ever before, these patients will seek care that they found cost-prohibitive previously. Those who were previously uninsured have sought more clinical care than expected since they have avoided primary and preventive care services for years.

Although being an RN can be stressful at times, the career can offer a good work life balance. The shifts are long but offer workers numerous days off each week. However, many RN’s have difficulty achieving this balance due to erratic schedules and the inability to say no to extra shifts. Nurses are in a vulnerable position because they are placed in a caretaker role which can result in putting others needs ahead of their own. RNs must manage life work balance in order to derive maximum gratification from their job while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Stress and fatigue are challenges for Registered Nurses.

Registered Nurses (RN) must be licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) examination. The most common paths to becoming an RN are: Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) or completion of an approved nursing program. In order to take the NCLEX-RN, one must complete on of those three programs.

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