Nursing education has come a long way over the past few decades, not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of depth of education. While most registered nurses (RNs) still just have an associate’s degree, it is becoming more and more popular to obtain a Bachelor of Science in nursing, or BSN. Many schools offer RN-to-BSN or accelerated BSN programs. From there, nurses can earn even higher degrees, such as a master’s or even a doctorate. At the least, getting your BSN can really help you increase your value as an employee, which means a higher salary and your pick of jobs.
Nationally, the average starting salary for someone with a BSN is between $36,000 and $45,000 annually, and according to the U.S. Department of health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, the average annual salary for all nurses with BSNs was over $46,000 in 2000, which means that today’s average annual salary is even higher.
Your job position, however, will play a huge role in determining how much you earn. The highest-paid BSN nursing positions certified nurse anesthetists, who make, on average, nearly six figures. Other higher-paying BSN nursing careers include head nurses, nursing administrators, and nursing consultants, all of which had nurses averaging over $50,000 annually, as of the time of the survey. In the vast majority of fields, average salaries jumped significantly from those with just an associate’s degree to those with a higher level of education.
One of the best parts of becoming a nurse and getting your BSN is that you can command these higher salaries without losing the focus of what most people truly love about working in the medical world – direct patient care. Studies show that nurses with a BSN still spend over 63% of their time working with patients. They spend slightly more time doing administrative work and consultation, but compared to doctors, who are often buried under paperwork and spend more time supervising than actually diagnosing and treating patients, nurses with BSNs still spend a lot of time in the field.
Not only will your salary be higher once you obtain a BSN, but you also qualify for more jobs. Some hospitals keep a certain percentage (or better) of nurses with advanced degrees on staff. Others only consider those with a BSN or higher for head nursing positions and other leadership roles. Keep in mind that hospitals aren’t the only ones hiring BSN nurses either. You may not be able to work for a research facility, midwife, or other health organization at all unless you have at least a bachelor’s degree.
With so many grants and scholarships available for nurses, there’s little reason not to go back to school for your BSN. Many employers will even pay for your tuition if you commit to working for them after graduation. Explore your educational options, keeping in mind that a BSN can really help you advance in your career and earn a higher salary.