Does a BSN degree equate to a higher salary for RNs?

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Creative Commons

These days, it seems as though the majority of news about the nursing industry focuses on the need for nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re new to the industry, this means many employers expect you to have a BSN before you even fill out an application. Even many experienced nurses feel the need to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree as a form of job security.

As a result, more than 600 nursing schools have introduced RN to BSN degrees for working nurses, according to the New York Times. Enrollment in online courses has jumped from under 30,000 to nearly 90,000 in just 10 years, illustrating the need for nurses to continue working while earning advanced degrees.

For new nurses, community colleges have been begun partnering with four-year schools to make sure graduates are competitive in the job market. If you are considering going back to school, you can learn more about which schools offer online courses and much more in our Nurse’s Guides to Nursing Schools.

But how much do degrees influence the salary of nurses? In our latest nurse salary report, we used to show what nurses are making by job, but these job titles don’t always represent the degrees held by the nurses that hold the title.

Though it seems pretty clear that a BSN is an important credential for all nurses, we want to look at how much the degree affects the average salary of RNs. Take a look on the next page.

Next: Salary difference between associate’s and bachelor’s degrees →

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5 Responses to Does a BSN degree equate to a higher salary for RNs?

  1. AKNorton

    I’m sure $2,500 will go a long way toward the 20k student loan . :(

  2. Karen Southard RN

    I have worked as a RN for 18 years and have only just now reached what you show as a median pay scale. I graduated from a community college in 1995, start out pay was $13.98 and I have only in the last year reached to $30 mark. I went back and acquired my BSN in 2006 but did not received any more money than I was already making at the time. I got the degree because it was one of my goals I set for myself to have it within 10years of graduating. I work in North Carolina and all registered nurses start out at the same base rate in hospital as floor nurses regardless of your degree. The only thing my BSN is good for is that I wanted it. It was necessary in order to begin in a teaching capacity or to move up the corporate ladder in administation. I am courious as to what states your survey was conducted in and when. I, myself, would have loved to have seen a $2500/year increase in pay

  3. jwebb123

    Here in Georgia for a new grad BSN It’s about 24 dollars a hour/nights add 5 dollars/ weekends add 3 dollars which comes out about $58.000 dollars.

  4. abigailg

    Here in Washington State, Most hospitals will not hire RN’s without a BSN. This is fairly new trend, which responds to new laws which will phase out AAS degrees for nursing by 2020 and require all active RN’s to ‘upgrade’ to a BSN by 2030 to keep their license.
    Bottom line? In Washington State, the BSN degree is not optional.

    ~ Abigail

    • kimmyac

      In the Denver area, it seemed like all jobs required a BSN when I applied. It may have to do with hospitals seeking magnet status? In a San Antonio hospital I worked for a BSN got $1/hr more. I have a BA, but a diploma in nursing…apparently they don’t care about other bachelor’s degrees. I ended up getting a job in a small town in Colorado where they didn’t care.