An increasing number of RN job listings come with the caveat: “BSN preferred.” The rewards of earning a BSN include more job opportunities, eligibility for management-level nursing and higher salaries.
The West Virginia Action Coalition of the Future of Nursing Campaign has set a goal of having 80 percent of the state’s RNs holding BSN degrees or higher by 2020. At present, just 32 percent of West Virginia’s RNs have BSN degrees.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 693 students graduated with a BSN degree in 2013. Another 1,868 students were enrolled in BSN programs and 500 in MSN programs. There are seven AACN-accredited schools in West Virginia with programs for first-time nurses as well as working RNs interested in RN-BSN bridge programs.
West Virginia Salaries for BSN-Educated RNs
Nurses with experience and a BSN degree are far and away the highest earning non-advanced practice RNs, representing the 75th and 90th percentiles. The US Department of Labor reports on average salaries for BSN-educated RNs in West Virginia (2013).
- 70th Percentile Annual Salary – $64,720
- 90th Percentile Annual Salary – $74,820
- 75th Percentile Hourly Wage – $31.12
- 90th Percentile Hourly Wage – $35.97
The average annual salary for an RN with an Associate’s degree was just $54,210 that year, more than ten thousand dollars less that what BSN-educated RNs earned.
The link between BSN degrees and higher salaries has been well documented elsewhere. A national survey conducted in 2012 by the Advanced Healthcare Network for Nurses reports the following salary differences for nurses with different education levels in the Mid-Atlantic/Lower Great Lakes region which includes West Virginia.
- Diploma – $58,151
- Associate’s Degree – $59,074
- Bachelor’s Degree – $69,253
- Master’s Degree – $81,546
BSN-Educated RN Salary Variation between Cities and Regions
The West Virginia Department of Commerce’s Work Force Division lists the following average (mean) annual salaries for RNs in different Metropolitan Statistical Areas of West Virginia.
- Charleston – $54,860
- Huntington – $53,16
- Wheeling – $49,770
- Hagerstown MD/Martinsburg WV – $66,030
The following US Department of Labor 2013 annual survey reports salary data for BSN-educated RNs in various cities and regions of West Virginia.