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!
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.
Securing your BSN degree is advisable for the following reasons:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|State||Average BSN Salary||Average Hourly BSN Salary||Average RN Salary||Average Hourly RN Salary|
Below are the top-paying states for BSN nurses, courtesy of Ziprecruiter:
The following are the highest-paying roles for BSN-RNs, courtesy of ZipRecruiter and Salary.com:
Average Salary: $84,348
Description: Extensive work in the pharmaceutical and medical device fields, promoting and providing ongoing education on medications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Average Salary: $89,325
Description: Extensive work with patients before entering surgery and maintaining a safe operating room environment.
Average Salary: $87,340
Description: Working exclusively with patients diagnosed with cancer and cancer-related symptoms.
The table below lists the annual, monthly, weekly, and hourly pay in the ten highest-paying cities for BSN nurses.
|City||Annual Salary||Monthly Pay||Weekly Pay||Hourly Wage|
|San Jose, Santa Clara, CA||$155,230||$12,935||$3,233||$75|
|San Francisco, CA||$151,640||$12,636||$3,159||$73|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$141,440||$11,786||$2,946||$68|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||$139,590||$11,632||$2,908||$67|
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:
|Industry||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$42.93||$89,300|
|Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals||$37.14||$77,250|
|Home Health Care Services||$36.48||$75,870|
Typical BSN programs cover the following courses:
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:
|Fall - Year 1||A.1. Oral Communication |
B.1. CHEM 200 – Chemistry for Nursing
B.2. & B.3. KNES 191A - Integrated Anatomy and Physiology I
|Spring - Year 1||A.3. Critical Thinking |
A.2. ENGL 101 - Beginning College Writing
BIOL 202 – Microbiology
BIOL 191B - Integrated Anatomy and Physiology II
|Fall - Year 2||D.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
|Spring - Year 2||SOCI 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
|Fall - Year 3||NURS 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
|Spring - Year 3||NURS 406 Reproductive Health Nursing |
NURS 406L Reproductive Health Nursing Lab
NURS 407 Child Health Nursing
NURS 407L Child Health Nursing Lab
|Fall - Year 4||NURS 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
|Spring - Year 4||D.3. NURS 402 Population Health Nursing |
NURS 402L Population Health Nursing Clinical
NURS 412 Nursing Capstone
NURS 412L Nursing Capstone Clinical
We recommend evaluating BSN programs under the following criteria:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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