GUIDE
June 17, 2022
Labor & Delivery Nurse Salary Guide

Part One How Much Does a Labor and Delivery Nurse Make?

The average labor and delivery nurse salary in 2022 was $75,900 annually according to Salary.com. ZipRecruiter, however, found that labor and delivery nurses in the U.S. earn much higher average annual salaries of $109,955 annually or $53 per hour. 

Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary Ranges

The majority of labor and delivery nurses earned between $69,100 and $85,900. However, salaries can range from as low as $62,909 to as high as $95,004 according to Salary.com.

ZipRecruiter reports that labor and delivery nurse salaries have a much higher range in annual salaries from $52,000 to $173,000.

Payscale states that labor and delivery nurses earn wages from $24.80 (the lowest 10%) to $43.92 (the highest 10%).

Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary vs Average RN Salary 

Labor and delivery nurses appear to earn a higher income than the average registered nurse salary in the US.

The BLS states that the average nurse salary in 2020 was $75,330. In contrast, salary.com reports that labor and delivery nurses earned $75,900, and ZipRecruiter found that labor and delivery nurses earned about $109,955 for the same year.

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Part Two Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary by State

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Massachusetts $102,641 $49.35
Hawaii $100,678 $48.40
New Jersey $100,604 $48.37
Connecticut $99,181 $47.68
Washington $98,431 $47.32
New York $98,090 $47.16
Rhode Island $96,782 $46.53
Wisconsin $96,561 $46.42
Tennessee $96,208 $46.25
Minnesota $95,957 $46.13
Ohio $95,505 $45.92
Alaska $95,483 $45.91
North Dakota $95,243 $45.79
Nevada $94,731 $45.54
New Hampshire $94,662 $45.51
Utah $93,728 $45.06
Maryland $93,540 $44.97
Louisiana $93,058 $44.74
South Dakota $92,463 $44.45
Nebraska $91,951 $44.21
New Mexico $91,823 $44.15
Oregon $91,204 $43.85
Iowa $90,891 $43.70
Virginia $90,745 $43.63
Kansas $90,094 $43.31
California $89,192 $42.88
Vermont $89,007 $42.79
South Carolina $88,071 $42.34
Wyoming $87,968 $42.29
Colorado $87,886 $42.25
Delaware $87,449 $42.04
Missouri $87,106 $41.88
Oklahoma $85,461 $41.09
West Virginia $85,265 $40.99
Mississippi $84,427 $40.59
Kentucky $84,334 $40.55
Pennsylvania $83,822 $40.30
Montana $83,737 $40.26
Idaho $83,527 $40.16
Maine $83,140 $39.97
Arizona $82,875 $39.84
Arkansas $82,646 $39.73
Michigan $82,445 $39.64
Indiana $82,343 $39.59
Illinois $82,197 $39.52
Texas $80,646 $38.77
Georgia $79,948 $38.44
Alabama $78,078 $37.54
Florida $75,352 $36.23
North Carolina $75,050 $36.08

Source ZipRecruiter

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Part Three Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

Here’s the average labor and delivery nurse salary based on years of experience per Payscale:

  1. Less than one year experience: $26.89 per hour
  2. 1-4 years of experience: $29.38 per hour
  3. 5-9 years of experience: $32.64 per hour
  4. 10-19 years of experience: $35.65 per hour
  5. 20 years+ of experience: $39.00 per hour

Part Four Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary by Work Setting

Labor and delivery nurses most commonly work on labor and delivery units in hospitals. However, they can be found working in other settings too, such as:

  1. Private clinics
  2. Birthing centers
  3. In-home settings

Labor and delivery nurses who work in the hospital setting usually earn the highest wages and benefits. However, this type of nurse will have opportunities for overtime and shift differential pay wherever they work because babies are delivered around the clock!.

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Part Five How to Increase Your Salary as a Labor and Delivery Nurse

There are many ways to increase your salary as a labor and delivery nurse, such as:

Advance Your Education

Your level of education has one of the biggest impacts on your overall earning potential as a labor and delivery RN. Many new nurses start their careers with an associate's or bachelor's degree. However, as you progress in your career you may decide to further your education and become more of an expert in the field. 

Certifications

A great way to show that you have the expertise as a labor and delivery nurse AND make more money is to achieve your Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) certification.

Many employers offer an increase in hourly wage once nurses pass their certification exam. In addition, becoming board certified lets employers, co-workers, and your patients know that you have specialty nursing expertise in obstetric nursing care. In addition, this certification is usually required by most hospitals after 2-4 years of employment.

Some of the main topics that the  RNC-OB certification exam covers include:

  • The stages of labor 
  • Best practices for caesarian section birthing
  • Best practices for different populations
  • Anesthetics and pharmacology

Negotiate

Negotiating during the hiring process can help you get a higher salary in some cases. Even though most healthcare facilities have a pay structure for new employees, you may find some room for negotiation, especially if the hiring employers are struggling to find labor and delivery nurses.

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Travel

Travel nurses are RNs who take short-term assignments at hospitals and other health care facilities to help fill nursing shortage gaps. Traveling nurses often have a great opportunity to earn more money while exploring new areas of the country.

Travel nurses usually have a “total pay package” instead of just earning an hourly rate, which includes:

  • Hourly base pay
  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Housing, food, mileage stipends
  • Other job-related expenses

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many facilities to offer “crisis pay” as an incentive to get more travel nurses to work in hospitals that were chronically understaffed. Some hospitals were offering up to 2-3 times their normal per hour rate or higher to attract new travel nurses for assignments.

Lastly, travel nursing as a labor and delivery nurse can help you learn how other facilities operate and help you learn more about the specialty than you would by staying at the same medical facility.

Additional Compensation

Overtime

Labor and delivery nurses who work overtime earn increased pay for their additional work hours. In most cases, this means working over 40 hours a week or over 12 hours in a 24 hour period.

Overtime wages differ per facility, but they are usually one and a half to three times the normal hourly wage. Working a lot of overtime hours can add up quickly!

Since babies are born around the clock, labor and delivery nurses often have the opportunity to earn more overtime pay than other types of nurses.

Shift Differential

A shift differential is extra pay for working weekends, holidays, evenings, or night shifts. Shift differentials usually increase a normal hourly wage by a few additional dollars. 

If a nurse works Saturday shift in a facility that pays a $4 shift differential, they can expect to earn an additional $48 dollar for working the same amount of time they normally do.

Bonuses

Most nurses, in general, don’t earn bonuses However, it is common for nurses to be offered a sign-on bonus as an incentive to work at a new facility. In this case, bonuses can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand.

Before agreeing to a sign-on bonus make sure you examine the terms very closely. Many hospitals will require that you stay working full-time at their facility for two to five years to keep the bonus. You must pay it back if you don’t.

Hazard Pay

Hazard pay is extra compensation above the normal compensation for nurses who work in physically harder or dangerous conditions, such as severely understaffed hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

Employers do not need to provide hazard pay by law. It is most commonly used as an incentive to bring on new nurses.

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Part Six Has Covid-19 Affected the Expected Salary for Labor and Delivery Nurses?

Like nurses of all specialties, work demands for labor and delivery nurses increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This led many nurses to experience “burnout,” leading to higher turnover rates and an increased nursing shortage

To help solve nursing staffing shortages, many facilities have hired travel nurses who are in some cases making twice as much as they were before the pandemic. Many labor and delivery nurses took advantage of the higher pay, leaving their career nursing job to travel in areas of the country that were willing to pay the highest amount of money.

Also, many of these short-staffed hospitals were paying additional overtime pay that was double or even triple the already higher increase in base pay. As the pandemic reaches an endemic state, many hospital administrators expect these high-paying travel positions to decrease significantly.

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Part Seven Labor and Delivery Nurse Education Costs

Nursing school to become a labor and delivery nurse is a huge investment, and there are many factors that determine how much a nursing student pays for school. 

First, nursing school costs depend on whether you want to pursue an ADN or a BSN. 

  • ADN programs take two years to complete at a community college or technician school.
    • ADN programs can range from $6000 to $20,000.
  • BSN programs take four years to complete at a public or private four-year university. 
    • A BSN can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000.

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Part Eight Related Nursing Careers 

Nurse Midwife

According to salary.com, nurse midwives in the United States earn a median salary of $114,841. However, midwife salaries can range from as low as $97,183 to as high as $144,144.

Neonatal Nurse

According to ZipRecruiter, neonatal nurses earn $99,711 annually or $48 per hour. Neonatal nurse annual salaries in the U.S. can range from $32,000 to $136,500 per year.

OB Nurse

Salary.com reports that OB nurses in the United States earn a median salary of $75,822 as of 2022. However, OB nurse salary ranges can vary from $62,808 to $95,005.

Postpartum Nurse

Salary.com also reports that postpartum nurses make a very similar salary to OB nurses earning a mean annual salary of $75,139.  They found that most postpartum salaries range from as low as $62.243 to as high as $94,150.

Part Nine Labor and Delivery Nurse FAQs

  • Do labor and delivery nurses make good money?

    • Yes, labor and delivery nurses make good money. Salary.com reports that the average salary specifically for labor and delivery nurses in 2022 was $75,900 annually. 
  • How long does it take to become a labor and delivery nurse?

    • There are various ways to become a labor and delivery nurse, and it can take anywhere from two to six years. An ADN degree takes about two years to achieve, a BSN takes about four years, and an MSN takes six years. 
  • What is the highest-paid nurse?

    • The highest-paid nurse is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). CRNA’s earn $183,580 annually or $88.26/hr. CRNAs prepare and administer anesthesia for surgical procedures.
  • Is labor and delivery nursing hard?

    • Yes, labor and delivery nursing can be hard. However, it is both a challenging yet rewarding career. This type of nursing is unique from other types because it revolves around helping mothers deliver babies. 
  • Where do labor and delivery nurses make the most money?

    • According to the BLS, nurses of all specialties make the most in California, earning a mean salary of $120,560 annually, or $57.96 per hour.
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