GUIDE
January 21, 2021
How Much Does a Nurse with a BSN Make?

If you are thinking about going to nursing school or already have a BSN but haven't compared your salary to other similarly educated nurses, you may wonder how much a BSN can earn. Well, there are a lot of factors that go into answering this question. For starters, it depends on the state in which you work, your specialty, who your employer is, and whether you are a career or contract RN.

This article will provide a deeper dive into the benefits of having a BSN vs. an ADN as well as answer the question, "how much can a nurse with a BSN make?"

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Part One What Is a BSN?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, also known as a BSN, is a 4-year undergraduate degree from an accredited nursing university. Upon graduation, the bachelor's prepared student must also obtain RN licensure in the state where they will practice nursing.

A BSN curriculum usually includes:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Public health
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Biomedical statistics
  • Nursing theory
  • Nursing research
  • Nursing assessment

In addition to coursework, BSN-prepared nurses will also have clinical rotations with coursework in various specialties, including med-surg, intensive care, labor & delivery, pediatrics, and psychiatric care.

Part Two Why Is There a Push for Nurses to Have a BSN?

The most important reason that there is such a push for nurses to have a BSN is that studies show a connection between nurses with a BSN and better patient outcomes. The evidence that nurses with a BSN can provide a higher level of patient care is growing every year. Here are some of the findings:

  • The American Association of Colleges Of Nursing (AACN) found that "baccalaureate-prepared RNs reported being significantly better prepared than associate degree nurses on 12 out of 16 areas related to quality and safety, including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation."
  • The National Institutes Of Health (NIH) reported on a 2014 nurse education study that found that BSN prepared nurses were associated with fewer deaths. The NIH study stated that “for every 10% increase in nurses with bachelor’s degrees, there was a drop in the likelihood of patient death by 7%."
  • A study by BMI Quality and Safety found that nurses who had a “richer nurse skill mix” were associated with lower patient mortality rates, more satisfied patients, and decreased low safety grades.
  • Hospitals striving to earn Magnet status must provide evidence that they are increasing their bachelor's prepared workforce to 80%.
  • AACN also emphasizes that hospitals who want to earn or maintain Magnet status must provide proof of plans to increase their BSN workforce to 80% by 2020. Also, as of 2013:
    • 100% of Nurse Managers must have a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing.
    • 100% of Nurse Leaders must have a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing

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Part Three What Is the Difference Between a BSN and an ADN?

In the US, there are two routes to obtaining an RN license. One way is to achieve an ADN, or Associates Degree in Nursing Degree, a two-year community college education. The second and more preferred method by most employers today is to earn a BSN degree, which takes about four years to complete. Both BSN and ADN prepared nurses are required to pass the NCLEX exam to obtain RN licensure.

Some of the differences between a BSN and ADN are:

  • A BSN may provide more new graduate job opportunities. Most employers will only hire (or at least prefer) bachelor's-prepared nurses.  Many nurses who have graduated with an ADN return to get a BSN due to having more limited employment opportunities, especially within the hospital setting.
  • Earning a BSN can improve your chances of promotion.
  • Nurses with a BSN often earn more money than those with only an ADN.
  • A BSN provides more classroom and clinical training in different specialties.
  • A BSN usually costs significantly more money than an ADN (4-year degree vs. a 2-year community college)

Part Four How Much Can Nurses Make With a BSN?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average 2019 U.S. pay for nurses was $73,300 per year or $35.24 per hour. The job outlook from 2019 to 2029 will increase by 7%, which is faster than the average for other professions.

Our Nurse.org salary research found that the average salary for nurses with a BSN was $38.28 per hour, $3.50 more per hour than ADNs. That extra education can add a lot of money to your pocket every year!

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Part Five BSN Nurse Salary by State 

State Annual Salary
Alabama $74,455
Alaska $79,420
Arizona $79,029
Arkansas $69,505
California $89,529
Connecticut $81,271
Delaware $73,893
Florida $71,853
Georgia $76,237
Hawaii $83,409
Idaho $84,251
Illinois $69,127
Indiana $78,522
Iowa $73,756
Kansas $74,276
Kentucky $75,776
Louisiana $75,003
Maine $82,914
Maryland $79,067
Massachusetts $85,988
Michigan $69,454
Minnesota $77,338
Mississippi $69,586
Missouri $67,982
Montana $79,850
Nebraska $77,805
Nevada $78,795
New Hampshire $91,299
New Jersey $79,650
New Mexico $73,233
New York $94,296
North Carolina $63,294
North Dakota $78,839
Ohio $76,746
Oklahoma $72,312
Oregon $75,374
Pennsylvania $81,549
Rhode Island $79,983
South Carolina $74,275
South Dakota $76,537
Tennessee $77,307
Texas $81,709
Utah $75,688
Vermont $86,178
Virginia $76,785
Washington $100,401
West Virginia $81,945
Wisconsin $77,068
Wyoming $84,293

Source ZipRecruiter

Part Six Advanced Positions a BSN Qualifies You For

Having a BSN doesn't only offer a pay increase. It can also provide you with advanced employment opportunities such as:

  • Your first nursing job out of nursing school. Like it or not, most employers prefer new graduates who have a BSN. In fact, if the hospital in which you are applying to work is a Magnet hospital (or trying to obtain Magnet status), you will have little to no chance of being hired.
  • Assistant floor manager
  • Case manager
  • Quality improvement coordinator
  • Nurse educator (some nursing programs allow BSN prepared nurses to be professors for clinical rotations)

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Part Seven Is Earning Your BSN Worth It?

Hopefully, this article's information gave you a more in-depth understanding of the differences between obtaining a BSN vs. ADN.  

As you can see, earning a BSN has the potential to increase your potential earnings over the years and allow for more promotional opportunities that an ADN may not be able to provide. This is one reason why many nurses who have been working for years as an ADN eventually return to school to advance their education, even if they plan to stay working at the bedside.

All things considered, the long-term prospect of learning a BSN usually outweighs the short term goal of achieving an ADN.  But no matter what path you choose, keep in mind that advancing your nursing education is always an option worth considering.

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>>Related: Top 10 Online RN to BSN Programs 2021

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