Everyone needs medical care. Whether you’re young or old, you really need to be getting to the doctor’s office on a semi-regular basis. As a result, people who work in medicine are typically paid very well. Just about everyone knows that doctors are some of the highest paid people out there, but doctors obviously aren’t the only people who help with your medical care. If you need healthcare, you may also receive help from surgeons, administrative assistants, and nurses. Are those people as well paid as your average doctor? Someone like a nurse doesn’t typically go through the same rigorous schooling as a medical doctor, but they still have to do a lot of studying to do in order to work.
It’s true that nurses serve a vital role in the overall healthcare space, but how well paid are they for this role? People often talk about the salary of a doctor, but they don’t usually talk about the salary of a nurse. Are nurses paid as much as doctors? And how can factors like experience affect their income? In this article, I plan on answering those questions among many others. I’m going to be talking about how much your average nurse is paid, what factors affect that salary, and I’ll also be discussing what work actually goes into becoming a nurse. Without further ado, let’s see if we can’t learn more about this important job.
Average Nurse Salary – $71,000
The average nurse makes about $71,000 per year, which is definitely a very respectable salary. They may not make as much as your average doctor, but they are still compensated appropriately for the sensitive nature of their work. Since that’s an average figure, there are obviously people who are paid more and people who are paid less. How does a factor like location affect a nurse’s pay? Although medical care is needed just about everywhere, as you can probably imagine, larger cities have more people and so they typically have a larger demand for medical care. If you’re a nurse living in a city like San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, or Seattle, then you’ll probably have an easier time finding work than a nurse who works somewhere else. Not only that, but once you find work, you should be able to take home a slightly larger paycheck than someone who lives somewhere else.
Next, let’s consider how experience can affect salary in nursing. Although nursing is a unique career in many ways, it shares one key similarity with pretty much every other field out there. If you have experience, then you’re almost always going to be paid more than someone with less experience. It’s really that simple. A nurse with more than twenty years of experience can be paid up to $15,000 more per year than someone with just entry-level experience. When someone pays a nurse more for their experience, they’re paying for a lot of things. A nurse with more experience has technical knowledge, field knowledge, and intangible qualities that you don’t see quite as often in more inexperienced applicants. A more experienced nurse is a more independent nurse, and people pay very highly for that quality in an employee.
Finally, how does a factor like education affect the salary of your average nurse? If you work in a business setting, then it’s likely that you work with people who come from vastly different educational backgrounds. Maybe you have two bachelor’s degrees while the person in the next cubicle only has an associate’s degree. This difference in education level will result in different salaries. A similar principle applies to nursing. Most nurses possess either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, and I’m sure you can figure out for yourself which of these degrees end up making more money. You don’t really have to complete four years of college schooling in order to become a nurse, but I think that it goes without saying that a high level of formal education is a good thing to have if you want to make a lot of money in your field.
How to become a nurse – Do you need to go to school?
If you’ve read all of that information above, then you may still be interested in becoming a nurse. What goes into becoming one? Although you don’t have to go through schooling as rigorous as an aspiring doctor, there is still a lot of work to be done if you want to get a job in this field. The first thing that you need to do is finish out high school. This is a simple enough step. If you’re still in high school, keep working. If you’ve already graduated, good job. If you’ve already dropped out, see if you can’t obtain a diploma equivalent by sitting in on a GED exam or something similar. You need a high school education so that you can go to college. Yes, all nurses have to go to college. However, people with low incomes or a lack of access to a college education don’t have to worry too much. There are a couple of ways that you could take this.
One thing that you could do is obtain an associate’s degree in nursing. This will take you two years, and you don’t even have to go to any major university to get it. You can obtain this associate’s degree at a community college or a hospital-based school, which is obviously a much more affordable option. If you’re looking for a more in-depth (and expensive) experience then you can go for a bachelor’s degree of nursing. This degree will take four years, but you’ll obviously receive a slightly deeper understanding of the field then you would be able to get in two years. As I mentioned earlier, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree is also a much more competitive candidate for hiring or for a pay raise. If you’re in a tight financial or family situation though, there’s nothing wrong with getting an associate’s degree instead.
Once you’ve received your college education, you need to become licensed. Yes, even though you aren’t practicing like a doctor, you obviously still need to possess some kind of formal license in order to work with people in such a sensitive way. The test that you’re going to need to pass is the National Council Licensure Examination, also known as the NCLEX. As soon as you become licensed, you can begin to look for work in nursing. If you have trouble finding a job, make sure that you’re fully utilizing all of the resources at your disposal and taking advantage of any of the networking that you may have done during your formal education. As long as you have the talent, the drive, and the qualification, you’re on the fast track to working as a nurse and earning that sweet, sweet nurse’s paycheck.