BSN Salaries: What Can I Earn With My Nursing Degree?

By Sarah Collins

08/3/2022



Are you planning a switch to nursing?

We bet you’ve heard of BSN!

This degree is one of the most popular pathways to becoming a registered nurse, and for good reasons.

BSN is fast becoming the standard requirement among employers, not to mention the exciting advancement opportunities available to its holders.

However, does this popularity equate to good pay? Keep reading to discover your earning potential as a BSN-RN according to state, ways you can earn much higher, and the cost of securing the degree.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for registered nurses is $77,600.
  • The highest paying states for BSNs are Washington, New York, New Hampshire, California, and Vermont.
  • Various factors affect a BSN-RN salary, including location, employer, specialty, and experience.

What Is BSN?

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is a degree acquired after completing a four-year accredited program in a good school. This course is open to non-nursing persons and nurses practicing with lower degrees.

A BSN-schooled nurse can enjoy good pay, specialize, and take better advantage of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), allowing nurses to practice interstate with an exclusive license.

What Are the Reasons to Earn a BSN?

Securing your BSN degree is advisable for the following reasons:

 

Employer Standard Requirement

BSN programs typically introduce students to more nursing knowledge than their alternatives, such as ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing). Subsequently, more healthcare centers prioritize BSN-holders in the recruitment process.

Considering this benefit, it’s inferable that owning a BSN degree improves your shot at putting that license to good use.

Higher Salary Potential

BSN holders have the potential to earn better than their counterparts, and this advantage typically commensurates with the higher positions they hold.

A BSN holder averages $13,000 higher than ADN holders, for a start. This figure can increase significantly with career growth and experience.

Improved Healthcare Ability

BSN-RNs offer a higher care quality BSN-less counterparts. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a 10% increase in BSN nurses in a hospital ward decreases patient mortality risk by 11%.

Subsequently, more employers prefer their service since patient outcomes influence a healthcare setting’s funding and ranking.

Enhanced Progression Opportunities

A BSN simplifies your path to managerial, leadership, and educational nursing roles. Holding the degree simplifies your quest to wear the nurse manager, wellness director, case manager, or nurse administrator tag.

How Much Does a BSN Program Cost?

The costs of a BSN depend mainly on your target timeframe and school preference.

A BSN degree is securable through various program types, such as the accelerated package (ABSN). The ABSN is faster to acquire your degree, but it costs considerably more.

Also, schools charge differently according to your location. Are you located in or out of state? Plus, private institutions naturally cost higher than public ones.

Fortunately, students can take advantage of various financial aid schemes, loan packages, grants, and scholarships to ease the burden.

Costs of earning a BSN depend on several criteria, including but not limited to location, in-state versus out-of-state, and traditional or accelerated. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to start.

How Much Does a BSN-RN Average Annually Per State?

As stated initially, BSN-RNs can earn differently depending on their location. See this Ziprecruiter table for a real-time breakdown of BSN nurses nationwide. For greater perspective, we’ve included another showing the figures for ADN-RNs.

StateAverage BSN SalaryAverage Hourly BSN SalaryAverage RN SalaryAverage Hourly RN Salary
Alabama$69,016$33.18$58,091$27.93
Alaska$73,176$35.18$61,593$29.61
Arizona$73,256$35.22$61,660$29.64
Arkansas$63,981$30.76$53,853$25.89
California$83,471$40.13$70,259$33.78
Colorado$68,123$32.75$57,339$27.57
Connecticut$74,978$36.05$63,109$30.34
Delaware$67,994$32.69$57,231$27.52
Florida$66,604$32.02$56,061$26.95
Georgia$70,668$33.97$59,481$28.70
Hawaii$76,879$36.96$64,709$31.11
Idaho$78,592$37.78$66,152$31.80
Illinois$63,634$30.59$53,561$25.75
Indiana$72,786$34.99$61,625$29.45
Iowa$68,102$32.74$57,322$27.56
Kansas$68,489$32.93$57,648$27.72
Kentucky$69,767$33.54$54,852$26.37
Louisiana$69,294$33.31$58,326$28.04
Maine$77,249$37.14$65,021$31.26
Maryland$72,753$34.98$61,237$29.44
Massachusetts$79,179$38.07$66,647$32.04
Michigan$63,925$30.73$53,806$25.87
Minnesota$71,452$34.35$60,142$28.91
Mississippi$64,166$30.85$54,009$25.97
Missouri$62,562$30.08$52,659$25.32
Montana$74,017$35.59$62,300$29.95
Nebraska$71,585$34.42$60,254$28.97
Nevada$72,601$34.90$61,109$29.41
New Hampshire$84,739$40.74$71,326$34.29
New Jersey$73,703$35.43$62.036$29.83
New Mexico$67,721$32.56$57,002$27.40
New York$87,488$42.06$73,640$35.40
North Carolina$58,250$28.00$49,030$23.57
North Dakota$72,671$34.94$61,168$29.41
Ohio$70,923$34.10$59,697$28.70
Oklahoma$66,532$31.99$56,001$26.92
Oregon$69,488$33.41$58,488$28.12
Pennsylvania$75,659$36.37$62,910$30.24
Rhode Island$73,736$35.45$62,065$29.84
South Carolina$68,357$32.86$57,536$27.66
South Dakota$70,549$33.92$59,382$28.55
Tennessee$71,443$34.35$60,133$28.91
Texas$76,258$36.66$64,187$30.86
Utah$69,916$33.61$58,848$28.29
Vermont$80,022$38.47$67,356$32.38
Virginia$70,647$33.96$59,464$28.59
Washington$93,772$45.08$78,929$37.95
West Virginia$76,026$36.55$63,992$30.77
Wisconsin$71,264$34.26$59,983$28.84
Wyoming$78,178$37.59$65,804$31.64

What Are the Top-paying States for BSN Nurses?

Below are the top-paying states for BSN nurses, courtesy of Ziprecruiter:

StateAnnual Salary
Washington$93,772
New York$87,488
New Hampshire$84,739
California$83,471
Vermont$80,022

 

What Are the Highest-paying Jobs for BSN Nurses?

The following are the highest-paying roles for BSN-RNs, courtesy of ZipRecruiter and Salary.com:

       1. Pharmaceutical Registered Nurse

Average Salary: $84,348

Description: Extensive work in the pharmaceutical and medical device fields, promoting and providing ongoing education on medications.

      2. Registered Nurse Case Manager

Average Salary: $74,051

Description: In this role, registered nurse case managers work on managing long-term health plans, coordinating all discharge appointments, medications, home supplies, and other aspects of hospital and home care.

      3. Nurse Educator

Average Salary: $75,051

Description: In this role, nurse educators train other nurses on best practices around evidence-based care and with patients regarding their health conditions.

      4. Travel Nurse

Average Salary: Varies

Description: Travel nurses work short contracts in different locations, serving underrepresented areas or areas with staff shortages. They perform the same tasks as registered/BSN nurses, working a caseload and supporting patients back to full health.

       5. Legal Nurse Consultant

Average Salary: $78,870

Description: Legal nurse consultants provide legal services to organizations, including government agencies and hospitals. They focus on risk management, civil rights, medical malpractice, and other areas, representing health employees in courtrooms to save the bottom line and reputation.

      6. Informatics Nurse

Average Salary: $80,270

Description: Informatics nurses use technology to improve patient care. This tactic includes managing information management systems that support nurses, doctors, and patients. Consider informatics, a blend of nursing, computer, and information sciences, establishing a link between nursing to help control costs and make data-driven healthcare decisions.

      7. NICU Nurse

Average Salary: $69,518

Description: Also known as neonatal nurses, NICU nurses work in neonatal intensive care units, caring for newborns with critical care needs. They do everything from checking vital signs to hands-on patient care.

      8. Clinical Research Nurse

Average Salary: $90,018

Description: In this role, clinical research nurses oversee clinical trials and participate in research studies on behalf of the healthcare facility. This role also oversees medical records management with a bit of informatics mixed in.

      9. Infection Control Nurse

Average Salary: $72,997

Description: Infections control nurses work to limit the spread of infections without populations. They are responsible for stopping the spread, creating response systems for outbreaks, and training other staff on research findings.

      10. Occupational Health Nurse

Average Salary: $73,978

Description: In this role, occupational health nurses work for a particular subset of patients in work environments, administering first aid, providing medication, and conducting drug screenshots. They may even lead rehabilitation efforts for injured employees.

       11. Operating Room Registered Nurses

Average Salary: $89,325

Description: Extensive work with patients before entering surgery and maintaining a safe operating room environment.

      12. Oncology Nurse

Average Salary: $87,340

Description: Working exclusively with patients diagnosed with cancer and cancer-related symptoms.

What Are the Top-paying Cities for BSN-RNs?

The table below lists the annual, monthly, weekly, and hourly pay in the ten highest-paying cities for BSN nurses.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Jose, Santa Clara, CA$155,230$12,935$3,233$75
San Francisco, CA$151,640$12,636$3,159$73
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$146,360$12,196$3,049$70
Santa Rosa, CA$141,440$11,786$2,946$68
Napa, CA$139,680$11,640$2,910$67
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$139,590$11,632$2,908$67
Sacramento-Roseville, CA$135,490$11,290$2,823$65
Salinas, CA$130,520$10,876$2,719$63
Modesto, CA$127,730$10,644$2,661$61
Hanford-Corcoran, CA$124,790$10,399$2,560$60

What Are the Highest-paying Health Settings for BSN Nurses?

Your workplace has a significant say in your earnings. Nurses generally earn higher during their hospital hours than during their home care hours.

Here are the average hourly wage and annual salary by setting for nurses:

IndustryAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Outpatient Care Centers$42.93$89,300
Specialty Hospitals$39.86$82,910
General Hospitals$39.27$81,680
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals$37.14$77,250
Home Health Care Services$36.48$75,870

 

How Does a BSN Program Coursework Look?

Typical BSN programs cover the following courses:

  • Health Maintenance and Restoration
  • Human Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing Care I and II
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Reproductive Health

How Does a BSN Curriculum Look?

The following is an actual curriculum (four-year study plan) below, courtesy of the California State University at Fullerton’s College of Health and Human Development – School of Nursing:

TermCoursesTotal Units
Fall - Year 1A.1. Oral Communication
B.1. CHEM 200 – Chemistry for Nursing
B.2. & B.3. KNES 191A - Integrated Anatomy and Physiology I
14
Spring - Year 1A.3. Critical Thinking
A.2. ENGL 101 - Beginning College Writing
BIOL 202 – Microbiology
BIOL 191B - Integrated Anatomy and Physiology II
14
Fall - Year 2D.1. PSYC 101 - Introductory Psychology
NURS 321 Health Assessment
NURS 321L Health Assessment Lab
NURS 322 Concepts of Professional Nursing
NURS 323 Integrated Pathophysiology/Pharmacology
15
Spring - Year 2SOCI 101 - Introduction to Sociology or ANTH 102 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
NURS 310 Evidence Based Practice Nursing
NURS 324 Cultural Diversity in Health & Illness
NURS 403 Foundations of Nursing Practice
NURS 403L Foundations of Nursing Practice Lab
13
Fall - Year 3NURS 404 Mental Health Nursing
NURS 404L Mental Health Nursing Lab
NURS 405 Management of Medical-Surgical Adult & Older Adult Clients
NURS 405L Management of the Medical-Surgical Adult & Older Adult Clients Lab
11
Spring - Year 3NURS 406 Reproductive Health Nursing
NURS 406L Reproductive Health Nursing Lab
NURS 407 Child Health Nursing
NURS 407L Child Health Nursing Lab
8
Fall - Year 4NURS 410 Leadership/Management in Professional Nursing
NURS 410L Leadership/Management in Professional Nursing Lab
NURS 411 Management of the Adult with Complex Health Alterations
NURS 411L Management of the Adult with Complex Health Alterations Lab
11
Spring - Year 4D.3. NURS 402 Population Health Nursing
NURS 402L Population Health Nursing Clinical
NURS 412 Nursing Capstone
NURS 412L Nursing Capstone Clinical
10

How Can I Choose the Right BSN Program for Me?

We recommend evaluating BSN programs under the following criteria:

Accreditation

Look for BSN programs accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. These certifications ensure your education is of a high standard and guarantees a seat in the NCLEX-RN exam, assuming you pass all of your courses and meet other eligibility requirements.

Costs

BSN programs vary, costing as little as $800 and as high as $100,000. Prestigious institutions like the John Hopkins School of Nursing charge top dollar, whereas regional online schools cost much less.

Location

Consider in-person and online options. Online options offer greater flexibility for part-time and full-time workers while being just as rigorous as in-person programs. Expect the same intensity in coursework, nursing simulation difficulty, and the number of required clinical lab hours.

Hospital Networks

Evaluate your school’s affiliates, as hospitals in this network are likely your placement center after graduation. Some schools help their students secure jobs before graduation due to their connections.

NCLEX Exam Passing Rate

The NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) is an internationally recognized test that students must pass before securing their practice license. Candidates can always resit for the exam up to eight times a year.

However, the dream is to smash the NCLEX on your first attempt, and your institution may have a say here. The consensus is to settle for schools with 85% and above.

BSN Salaries: Parting Shot

Holding a BSN offers you excellent pay, with the opportunity to earn higher according to your location, experience, and employer. In addition, your career prospects are exciting as a BSN-RN. You can secure an MSN within two years, whereas an ADN-holder cannot.

The bottom line? A BSN degree is an excellent path to becoming a nurse. The pay is unrivaled in most quarters, and the potential benefits are boundless!

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