According to a 2013 nursing workforce report released by the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the average salaries for RNs working full-time increased by nearly 15% during the ten-year period between 2000 and 2010. Adjusted for inflation, this 15% increase means that salaries went from an average of $43,906.26 in 2000 to $63,944.22 in 2010.
While there are many reasons for this, an increase in the number of BSN educated nurses in the workforce has been a strong contributing factor, as employers offer higher salaries to experienced, bachelor’s-educated nurses. In fact, the number of BSN-educated nurses taking the NCLEX-RN credentialing exam for the first time more than doubled between 2001 and 2011.
Additional contributing factors include:
- An aging nursing workforce – Older nurses are likely to have more experience and command higher wages
- A shortage of RNs – Many areas that are facing a nursing shortage are paying more to attract nurses to their region
The increase in the salaries of RNs over this ten-year period bodes well for new nurses entering the workforce. The salaries for nurses with RNs rose at a higher level than for LPNs who saw an 11.8% increase during this period when inflation is taken into account.
Data for the salary figures from 2000 come from the US Census Bureau. More than 110,000 RN salaries were factored in to arrive at the total average for 2000.
The American Community Survey (ACS) for 2008 to 2010 provided the data for the more recent salary average. The 2010 figures represent the average earnings of 90,000 RNs over a three-year time period.