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What are the best Jobs for a Starting Salary for RNs?

Career News August 1, 2013

In this article, we’re going to discuss RN starting salaries and some of the best jobs where a registered nurse, or RN, can start their career. We’ll provide a range of RN starting salaries and discuss some of the different industries and top-paying concentrations for finding work as a registered nurse. You may be looking at the RN starting salary today, but certainly don’t want to stay there any longer than necessary.

What does an RN do?

Before we talk salary, let’s talk about the actual job. A registered nurse is responsible for providing and coordinating patient care. They also discuss treatment options and educate the patient about their conditions, injuries and illnesses. Finally, the Registered Nurse provides emotional support for both patients and their families. Medical treatment can be an intimidating, emotional, and difficult experience. RNs are the support system for patients in hospitals across the country.

Industry Averages

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a registered nurse had a median annual salary of $64,690 in 2010. That equates to $31.10 per hour. We should note that these are average numbers, more experience and additional education will likely equate to a higher salary. Conversely, RN starting salaries will be significantly lower than this average number.

Starting Out

A new RN can expect to make between $28,000 and $50,000 annually. Education and experience will add to a RNs salary, as will eventual promotion to management positions. Location also plays a significant part in determining starting salary for a RN. In areas with a higher cost of living, RNs tend to make more money. However, they also tend to spend more on necessities like food and housing. So, if you move to California for the higher salaries, don’t be surprised when you pay more for groceries.

How to get there

The entry-level educational requirements for a RN include an Associate’s Degree and completion of a national licensing examination. Some RNs hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program. As with any other career, more education will generally mean a higher salary; a RN with a bachelor’s degree will start out making more money than an RN who only holds an associate’s degree.

How many Jobs are there?

The job outlook for RNs is generally good. In 2010, there were 2.37 million RN jobs in the United States. That number is expected to grow by 26% from 2010 to 2020, adding 711,900 jobs. This is a higher than average growth rate relative to other careers. Job growth will come mostly from the aging baby-boomer population. As this group ages, they will need more healthcare and more nurses to care for them.

Where are the Jobs?

A registered nurse might work in a hospital, a physicians’ office, a home healthcare service, or in a nursing care facility. Alternatively, a RN might also work at a correctional facility, in a school, at a summer camp, or with the military. What are the highest paying options? We’ll tell you.

The most and Highest Paying RN Jobs

Some of the highest paying RN jobs are the hardest to find. RNs working in personal care services have an annual mean salary of $85,940. However, less than 1% of the industry works in this field. You’ll have better luck finding a good RN starting salary working in a General Medical or Surgical Hospital; 29.98% of RNs work in this industry. Specialty hospitals employ 23.2% of RNs, and home health care services and Physicians’ offices also offer good options, combining for almost 24% of RN employment.

Where to Start?

Finding your best first job as an RN means picking a field that offers good RN starting salaries and lots of opportunity. The smart RN will also look for an industry that offers room for advancement and eventual promotion. After all, you don’t want to work for a starting salary forever.

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