Starting Nursing Salary: How Much, What Determines It, Growth, and More

So you are interested in becoming a registered nurse or RN. Before you start, it is a good idea to know how much money registered nurses make to know what to expect. We got your back. In this article, we will tell you various things regarding starting nursing salary.

How Much Is the Starting Nursing Salary?

Let’s start directly from the starting salary for a nurse. The annual starting salary for registered nurses ranges from $28,000 to $50,000. This is much lower than the average annual salary for registered nurses, which is $73,300.

The gap between the starting salary for nurses and the average annual salary is something to be expected. Why? Because experience plays a role in determining the salary of registered nurses. Other factors that determine the salary are location and degree.

Factors Determining the Salary

Three factors determine the salary of registered nurses. They are location, degree/education, and experience.


The living cost and the demand for registered nurses in a location determine how much money registered nurses make. To put it simply, registered nurses usually make more money if they are in locations with expensive living costs or locations where registered nurses are in demand.

Also, keep in mind that locations with a high supply of nurses tend to pay less. Conversely, locations with a low supply of nurses tend to pay more. This is why nurses in highly sought-after locations (like Hawaii, for example) earn less than those in less sought-after locations.

Can’t decide which location to work in? If you want to explore options that are available to you, consider being a travelling nurse.


When you work as a registered nurse, your degree determines your starting nursing salary and your salary in general. The more education one has, the more one gets paid. This is why, initially, registered nurses with an ASN degree earn less than registered nurses with a BSN degree.

This is also why you should get as much education as possible if you want to become a registered nurse. Advanced education is never a bad thing for a nurse. Degree, however, is not end-all, be-all when it comes to education. Completing nursing speciality certifications can also help to increase your salary.


Just like any other occupation, experience matters a lot in determining how much one earns. The more experience a registered nurse has, the more they get paid.

This is why experienced registered nurses with lower education can earn more than new graduate registered nurses with higher education. As time goes on, however, registered nurses with higher education will earn more.

Salary Growth

What about the salary growth? Although the starting salary nurse is below the annual average of registered nurses, it has good salary growth. In this field, experience does matter a lot.

According to the BLS, between 2010 and 2019, the average annual growth rate of the salary of registered nurses was 1.51%. Since there is an increasing demand for registered nurses, further salary growth can be expected.

Nurse Salary RN: ASN vs BSN Salary


how much starting nursing salary
how much starting nursing salary

Let’s say that you earn an ASN degree and start working as a registered nurse. Initially, the amount of money you make is more likely to be less than if you earn a BSN degree. If you are working while completing your education, your salary will increase once you earn your BSN degree.

How much the raise will be varied by facility, but the salary raise is usually the standard. Meaning you can expect it to happen.

What if you don’t further your education? In that case, your years of experience may make up for the BSN degree. It is not uncommon for registered nurses with years of experience who hold an ASN degree to earn money than less experienced registered nurses with a BSN degree.

That being said, earning a BSN degree is never a bad idea. At the very least, it will open more job opportunities for you as it makes you more competitive. So if possible, consider furthering your education.

That’s how much starting nursing salary is. In the beginning, you are more likely to earn below the average annual salary.

However, as time goes on and your experience accumulates, your salary will increase. Pursuing a degree and moving to a location where registered nurses are in demand can also increase your salary.

Noah Chapman

Hello, Im Noah Chapman. Im Editor And SEO analysis for Im a man with 3 beautiful angels towards me. That my beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters.

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