BSN Salaries in Wisconsin

At of 2015, 53.5 percent of Wisconsin’s RNs have a baccalaureate degree or higher. The Future of Nursing Campaign for Action aims to fulfill the goal of increasing this to 80 percent by 2020.

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Though better salaries is what motivates many RNs to put in the extra time necessary to earn a BSN, the fact that many employers already have preferential hiring practices in place for BSN-educated RNs only helps to make the degree more appealing. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that 2,436 Wisconsin nursing students graduated with a BSN or higher in 2013 while another 6,754 students were enrolled in BSN programs that year.

Wisconsin is home to 20 AACN-approved schools of nursing. The state boasts the first public university system to implement the “Flex Option” aimed at working RNs interested in earning their BSN degree. This self-paced, competency-based approach to academic progression combines in-person and online courses on a customized timeline.

Salary Advantages of Acquiring a BSN Degree

As reported in 2013 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the data shown below shows the upper end of the RN salary scale (top 10% and 25%), which represents those RNs with experience and a BSN degree.

  • 75th Percentile Annual Salary – $73,350
  • 75th Percentile Hourly Wage – $35.27
  • 90th Percentile Annual Salary – $85,710
  • 90th Percentile Hourly Wage – $41.21

In comparison, an RN with some experience and an associate’s degree can expect an annual salary of between $63,260 and $64,460, about $10,000 less per year than their BSN-educated counterparts.

The 2012 salary survey published by the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses breaks down RN salaries by education for different regions of the US. The following figures are for the Midwest Region which includes Wisconsin.

  • Diploma – $58,641
  • Associate’s Degree – $55,863
  • Bachelor’s Degree – $59,232

Not only does this illustrate the better salaries that can be expected from a BSN as compared to an ADN, it also shows that the average earnings in Wisconsin are considerably higher than the Midwest Region as a whole.

Salary Variances for BSN-Educated RNs in Different Parts of Wisconsin

The following is an excerpt from Wisconsin WorkNet’s 2013 table of occupational wages by county. It is noted that the counties of Wisconsin’s three largest cities are Milwaukee, Dane (Madison) and Brown (Green Bay).

Wisconsin Area
Average RN
Eau Claire
Fond du Lac

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides a full analysis of earnings for BSN-educated RNs in different cities and regions of Wisconsin as shown in the table below (2013):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division
Madison WI
Estimate not released
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis WI

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