Registered nurses holding BSN degrees can expect to earn higher salaries than those with associate’s degrees or diplomas. This is a key factor driving increased enrollment in pre-licensure BSN programs, and is cited as the number one reason why licensed RNs return to school for RN to BSN completion programs.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) statistics from January 2014 revealed that the average salary for an RN was $66,620, while the average for BSN-educated RNs was $75,484. Although some employers do pay RNs who possess BSNs more than their ADN or diploma counterparts, the increase in average salaries is also likely due to the greater level of clinical responsibility they take on, as well as the non-clinical positions BSN-prepared RNs are qualified to hold.
The AACN also reports that the growing demand for RNs with BSNs has inspired employers to offer sign-on bonuses and other incentives.
BSN Salary Info By State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
BSN Salary Statistics by Region
The 2013 ADVANCE Nurses Salary Survey shed light on the earning potential of BSN-prepared RNs in the U.S. by region. The survey found that RNs in the South, for example, earned an average salary of $55,849 if they held a diploma, $57,414 if they held an associate’s degree and $60,969 if they held a BSN.
In the West, RNs who held BSNs earned an average, annual salary of $70,803. Similarly, RNs with BSNs in the Midwest earned an average, annual salary of $70,677.
BSN-educated RNs are known to be the highest earning nurses in their license class, representing the top 25% of earners. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a full analysis of the top-earning BSN-educated RNs by state in the table below:
BSN Salary Statistics by Industry
Salaries for RNs with BSNs vary according to the industry in which they are employed, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2013, RNs in the U.S. earned an annual, mean salary of $68,910, with the top 10 percent earning more than $96,320.
However, in a number of industries where bachelor’s-level education is considered the minimum standard, average annual salaries for RNs were significantly higher, including:
- Transit/ground passenger transportation: $86,780
- Federal executive branch: $79,190
- Insurance and employee benefit funds: $78,600
- Aerospace: $74,200
- Outpatient care centers: $74,100
An April 2014 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reported that trends continue to show “significant growth” in jobs for healthcare workers with a baccalaureate or better, adding more than 353,000 jobs since January 2010.
The report found that job postings for RNs with BSNs or higher accounted for 25 percent of all healthcare job postings, the most sought-after profession in the healthcare group.
Job postings for RNs with BSNs revealed a mean, annual salary of $69,000.
The National Student Nurses Association reported that although some employers do not differentiate between associate and baccalaureate-prepared RNs in terms of salaries, BSN-prepared RNs are often in a better position to vi for promotions and increased earnings. About 23 percent of BSN nurses surveyed received a salary increase as a result of their advanced degree.