Registered Nurse (RN) Salary

Registered Nurses have a wide range of career options, and a wide range of salaries, too! Read on to learn all about the different salaries and job duties of registered nurses to see what career is right for you.

Types of Registered Nurses

Registered nurses, or RNs, can be found in hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers, schools, and any other place medical professionals are employed. RNs are the nurses that you likely think of when thinking of the nursing field. They are the ones who act as a liaison between patients and doctors. As an RN, you'll have a lot of daily tasks and duties, depending on your work environment and specialty. Some of those tasks will include:

  • Taking down patient history
  • Checking vitals
  • Discussing illness or injury
  • Providing instructions for families and patients on at-home care
  • Explaining treatment
  • Dispensing shots and medication
  • Inserting catheters and IVs
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles

Many RNs continue their education beyond the traditional Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursingdegrees. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs specialize in an area of the medical field so that you can work in those specialized offices. There are many nursing specialties spanning the breadth of the medical field. Some of these nursing areas include:

  • Critical care
  • Gerontology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pediatrics
  • Neonatal
  • Oncology
  • Surgical
  • Women's health
  • Anesthetics
  • Nephrology

Starting Salary for Registered Nurses

Because of large differences of pay between states, the average starting salary for registered nurses covers a broad spectrum. For instance, states that an entry-level nurse can make anywhere from $43,958 to $75,886. When looking at the average salaries for registered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll find that the lowest paying state is South Dakota at $57,010 a year. On the opposite end of the scale, California is the highest paying state at $102,700 a year. However, even this can change greatly when you look at the pay scales for metropolitan areas. For instance, RNs earned an average of $60,060 in the southwest of NY state, but in the White Plains area, RNs made $90,840.

Pediatric Registered Nurse Salary

As a pediatric registered nurse, you'll work in hospitals and offices that treat children generally up to age 18. Pediatrics is often thought of as covering young children, though the age that patients phase into general practitioner territory really depends on their doctor and family. You'll complete checkups, administer vaccinations, and prepare children for procedures and treatments. Pediatric RNs, like other RNs, have a varied salary depending on location and work environment. However, averages the yearly salary for pediatric nurses at about $72,000.

Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary

Certified registered nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs, are the highest paid nurses across all specialties. A CRNA's salary for the 2017 year averaged $169,450, according to the BLS, but as with other specialties, salary varies widely by state. That same year, Arizona reported the lowest average salary for nurse anesthetists at $139,500, while Montana reported the highest average at $252,460.

As a CRNA, you'll work with patents and doctors to provide pain management through medication and anesthesia during child labor, surgery, and other medical procedures. You will also be responsible for discussing family and medical history with the patient and the other involved medical professionals to find what will work best for the patient. During the operation, you will provide reoccurring anesthesia and watch for vital signs. Afterwards, you'll check on the patient to make sure they are recovering well from the sedatives.

Neonatal Registered Nurse Salary

As a neonatal nurse, there are two areas that you can work in: the neonatal unit, and the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Working in neonatal care means that you'll work with newborns and babies who were prematurely born. While these patients are not always considered high risk, neonatal intensive care nurses work with babies who need a lot of care to overcome the critical issues they were born with. While neonatal refers to the first month after birth, some neonatal registered nurses can work with their patients for a few years since many birth defects do not go away quickly. Pay varies greatly, from $48,201 to $96,891, according to, but the average, according to the BLS is $89,960.

Travel Registered Nurse Salary

One of the most interesting specialties of nursing is travel nursing, simply because you are not tied down to one place. As a traveling nurse, you'll travel from city to city, sometimes state to state, working as a substitute nurse in high-need areas. You'll fill the position for weeks to months until the nursing position is filled by a full-time staff nurse. Travel nurses are paid a salary, but typically have lodgings and travel expenses covered as well. This could be an excellent start for an RN who wants to experience new places.

When estimating salary as a travel nurse, you'll need to take a lot of information into consideration. You'll typically work for a travel nurse agency that will place you, so this makes finding a position that much easier. These agencies will often handle the pay, reimbursement, and details of your contract. Because of this, you can check with travel nursing agencies to see what their nurses typically earn. For instance, one travel nursing agency claims that the average salary for a travel nurse is $100,000 a year. This may not just be a salary, however. This could include travel reimbursement, lodging stipend, and meal reimbursements. Travel nurses should take all of these into account before signing a contract.