Do Nurses Make Good Money? (5 Things You Should Know)

Nursing is among the most rewarding careers today, and nurses earn excellent wages. Their positions and responsibilities vary from state to state. Still, there is much to be said about each hospital’s nurse opportunities. 

One of the biggest attractions for this career path is its high salary potential compared to other specialties. So whatever your reasons for wanting to become a nurse, we’ve got everything you need to know about the job!

Do Nurses Make Good Money? 

As a nurse, you can expect to make a lot of money. Of course, advanced degree credentials and in-demand specializations will contribute to your earning potential. Still, the essential factor is the location of your job. Nurses also have access to voluntary overtime work hours that can increase their earnings. Additionally, they can work additional hours or in other positions in their free time!

If you’re interested in a nursing career, continue reading to stay updated!

1. Advanced Degree Credentials

Registered nurses and advanced practice nurses make significantly different amounts of money.

Registered nurses have a higher educational requirement than enrolled nurses who work under their direction. As a result, registered nurses make more than enrolled nurses. Moreover, specific certifications can offer improved career opportunities and help you deliver better patient care. 

For instance, registered nurses (RNs) can obtain the following qualifications:

A result of obtaining higher qualifications and training often results in higher compensation. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of a Registered Nurse is $82,750, with the highest earning over $155,000. 

This explains why many bedside nurses aspire to become CRNAs because it will give them a more significant income and better retirement. 

2. Importance of Specialisations

Nursing specialties and nurses, in general, differ from one another. The scarcity of nurses employed in cutting-edge practices would need to give them more bargaining leverage. 

For instance, if you choose to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) by taking a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) course, you stand to

  • improve career growth opportunities,
  • increase salary and
  • be involved in higher duties that offer more autonomy. 

During MSN, RNs can develop their diagnostic abilities and become more familiar with various patients’ conditions and medications. 

This groundwork is essential for preparing RNs to transfer into NP practice, so specializations shouldn’t be overlooked.

As you can see, the highest-paid nurses tend to be NPs in highly specialized fields such as:

  • Neonatology
  • Acute Care/ER
  • Certified Resigerted Nurse Anesthetists

Conversely, those working in primary care and mental well-being are the lowest paid.

These are mere approximations. NPs with strong negotiating skills and good productivity can earn more in areas with generally lower pay.

3. Overtime, Travel Nurses, and Night Shifts

Overtime, Travel Nurses, and Night Shifts

In addition to increasing your income potential, working extra overtime might indicate to management that you are a stable team player.

Meanwhile, others might work the night shift. For a night shift, the pay increases and varies between organizations. 

Additionally, there are opportunities for higher earnings if you work as a travel nurse. However, you may risk having more money taken out of your paycheck for taxes if you work more.

For some nurses, the good news is that it’s not difficult to pick up more hours for some extra money if you have an emergency. 

4. Pay scale is Often Location Dependant

Location significantly affects nurses’ ability to raise their earnings because different states and towns pay differently.

Best-paying locations in the United States for registered nurses:

  • NY, New York $57.67/hr
  • CA’s Los Angeles, $55.82/hr 
  • IL Chicago, $45.57//hr
  • Vegas, Nevada, $43.10//hr
  • AZ Phoenix, $41.65//hr

Learn more if Nevada, New York and Los Angeles are good places to live and work.

Your compact state license opens up a world of opportunities in the 39 states that are a part of the compact. 

For example, you might work at Houston Methodist in Texas or John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore.

Professionals advise searching out which state best suits your lifestyle demands, applying to the top hospital there through their careers website, or choosing a trustworthy travel agency.

5. Nursing Side Jobs

Some RNs discover that nursing side jobs may help them reach their goals while determining how to create extra income as a nurse.

 Such additional side jobs could include:

  • Tutoring online student nurses
  • Working as a camp nurse on the weekend or during holidays
  • Giving health educational lectures

Additionally, travel nurses, whose contracts typically span from a few weeks to a few months, engage through an agency that handles all the paperwork.

Travel nurses can earn a lot more money. This is because they receive housing allowances and meal allowances as part of their remuneration.

Learn more if nursing is a good career.


Nursing offers a higher wage potential, flexibility, and location independence.

In most cases, nurses often choose to work extra hours or pick up additional side jobs as they can do so while maintaining their primary nursing position.

Even throughout the scarcity of the workforce, nurses have done well. It is a secure job with an improving future and plenty of room for advancement.