Is a Nurse’s Salary Good?

Are you considering some nursing careers? With so many different types of nursing jobs available, it’s important to understand what the average pay is for each one. It can also be helpful to know how much money most nurses make, and whether it is enough to provide for yourself and your family. So, is a nurse’s salary good?

Is a Nurse’s Salary Good?

Yes, a nurse’s salary is very good. Registered nurses are some of the most common and employable types of nurses, and they make an average of $73,300 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there is additional school required, the pay and flexible hours are considered to be a huge perk.

Nurse with a mask on checking her tablet for her duty updates

This can vary widely depending on experience level and location. However, it is still well above the national average for other occupations. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) make a median wage of $195,610 annually. Chief nursing officers, on the other hand, bring in an average of $248,610

How Much Do Nurses Make?

To understand whether or not a nurse’s average salary is good, it is essential to understand how much money nurses make. Unfortunately, there is no standard figure. Many factors can influence a nurse’s net and gross income.

These include: 

  • Specialty
  • Location
  • Level of experience
  • Level of education


Specialty in this case, means the type of nursing job. Nurses make the most money when they are more specialized. In general, nurse practitioners typically enjoy higher average income than their registered counterparts while certified nurse midwives tend to make less money on average than RNs. 

The highest-paying nursing specialty is the Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), with a mean annual wage of $202,470 as of May 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These nurses generally take part in patient care by administering anesthesia and monitoring vital signs and recovery of patients from anesthesia. 

On the other hand, a registered nurse makes an average of $73,300 per year, while licensed practical nurses (LPNs) get paid around $50,000 a year or $30.17 per hour according to data from


Where you work can also make a big difference in the kind of compensation you can expect in your nursing career. The living standards in different states and cities vary greatly, so the same nursing job may pay differently depending on where you work.

For example, the average wage for a registered nurse in California is $124,000 per year while it is only $60,540 in South Dakota according to The state or city you live in will generally affect things like housing rates, taxes, and your overall living expenses. 

Level of Education

Your level of education will also have an impact on your pay. Nurses with higher education or specialized certifications often make the most money. 

Person counting dollar bills while a notebook is open on the table

This is because they can perform more complex tasks and offer better care to their patients. For example, a nurse practitioner with an advanced degree in nursing may be able to diagnose and treat illnesses more effectively than a registered nurse who only has an associate’s degree in nursing. 

Level of Experience 

Experience is a significant factor that can influence how much money nurses make. Many nurses climb the career ladder as they gain more experience, which means they can earn higher salaries. 

Nurses with more experience may be eligible for promotions or leadership roles, such as nurse managers or team leaders. This can result in higher compensations and increased job security 

For instance, if you advance to the position of chief nursing officer because of experience, you will be paid more than nurses who have been on the job for only a few years.

Is a Nurse’s Salary Good?

After considering the factors I have discussed above, you probably have a rough idea of how much you can expect to make as a registered nurse. Whether or not the nurse pays you a good enough salary will depend on factors such as:

  • The cost of living in your area
  • Your financial goals
  • Family size and dependants
  • Taxes
  • Current financial situation

If you’re intrigued by being the field of medicine, you could also consider being a doctor or focusing on veterinarian medicine. Both are higher paying jobs.

The Cost of Living in Your Area

In some cities, the living standards are much higher than in other areas, meaning you may need to make more money just to cover basic needs such as housing and food. 

For example, a nurse living in New York City where the cost of living is 95% higher than the national average, may need to make more money than nurses living in rural Kansas, where the CoL is 14% lower than the average. 

So, whether or not you can consider income nurses make as good money will depend on how well it can accommodate a good living experience in your city. 

Your Financial Goals

Are you looking to save up a certain amount of money? Are you trying to pay off debt or build an emergency fund? Depending on your financial goals, you may need to make more or less money than the average salary for a nurse to achieve them.

Nurse talking to a doctor while typing on a computer

Understandably, you may have big financial goals that require good money. In this case, consider starting a side hustle or working overtime to make more money and satisfy those goals.  

Alternatively, you can counteroffer the salary before you start working or negotiate a higher salary if you have been working for a while. 

Family Size and Dependents

If you have a family or dependents, you will need to make enough money to cover their needs and your own. A single person can live comfortably on an average income, while a family of four may need more.


Taxes can also affect how much money you take home each month. Depending on your income level, you may need to make more money in order to cover all of your taxes.

Depending on how much you earn, your net income will be much lower than your gross pay. For instance, if you are a registered nurse making an average of $73,300 per year, you can expect to foot up to 22% in taxes. 

Current Financial Situation

Finally, the amount of money you make will depend on your current financial situation. Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck or do you have some savings and investments? This will all factor into how much money you need to make for it to be “a good salary

Related Questions

How Much Do Nurses Make an Hour?

The average hourly rate for nurses is $30.73 per hour. However, this can vary depending on specialty and experience level. This is generally good money compared to other professionals. For instance, according to Statista, the average hourly earnings of all employees in the U.S. was a mere $11 as of November 2022. 

What Is the Highest Paying Nursing Job?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are the highest-paid nursing jobs, with a mean income of $202,470 per year, according to BLS. Medical advice site reports that this is one of the most popular specialties for nursing students looking to earn good money.  

What Are the Lowest Paid Nurses?

The lowest-paid nurses are typically in entry-level positions, such as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). These positions have a lower wage than other nursing roles, according to Zippia.


Overall, nurse salaries vary greatly depending on various factors such as location, experience level, and type of job. While the national average income for registered nurses is $73,300 per year, many nurses make much more or less depending on their circumstances. Ultimately, whether or not a nurse’s wage is reasonable depends on your personal needs and goals.

Jared Bauman is the owner and editor of He has started and sold several companies, along with owning several investment properties. His interest in personal finance started as a young kid, developed through his entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments, and continue through his conversations with friends and colleagues.

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