Do male nurses get paid more than female nurses?


About 6 percent of nurses in the United States are men. However, men are represented in much higher numbers in nursing specialties that also pay higher salaries. For example, 49 percent of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the U.S. are men. In 2005, the average salary for CRNAs was $160,000, significantly higher than the average floor nurses, who are mostly women. Of course, a master’s degree is required for a nursing specialization such as CRNA, which also increases the take-home salary.

Men seem to go for higher education in nursing than women do, increasing their take-home earnings. There are more men in RN programs than in LPN programs, and more men in BSN programs than in RN diploma or ADN programs.

Military nursing is also a popular option for men. More than 30 percent of nurses in the Army, Air Force and Navy are men. Military nurses not only earn competitive salaries, but also benefit from financial incentives, such as help repaying student loans, special payments, housing allowances and affordable insurance options.

Other variables

There’s no doubt that a large number of women are the sole or main supporters of their families. But men are still most often considered to be the major breadwinners and are thought to put this first, while women—although working full-time—may be primarily responsible for family and quality-of-life issues. This may result in more men working extra shifts or overtime. They may have the availability to do the extra work because their partners are the ones caring for the children after school or tending to other issues that arise on the home front.

And finally, there is another societal difference between men and women that may play a role in salary differences. Although women are becoming more assertive in the workplace, recruiters and people responsible for hiring staff report that men are more likely to try to negotiate better salaries or benefits. While this may not result in higher pay in unionized environments, it could make a difference in nonunionized positions, resulting in higher take-home pay.

So, are salaries higher for male nurses than for female nurses? It turns out that it all depends on how you look at it.

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Marijke Durning
Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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