GUIDE
December 1, 2021
What's the Average Salary for Nurses With a Master's Degree in Nursing?

Part One What is the Average Salary for a Nurse With a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)?

Earning a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) can help you advance your nursing career into several different exciting and higher-paying positions within the health care industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2020, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) earned a median income of $117,670 per year or $55.57 per hour.

But the average salary you can earn depends largely on the type of MSN you obtain. 

Avg. Salaries for Different Types of MSN Nurse Careers

  1. Nurse practitioner salary: $111,680
  2. Certified nurse-midwife salary: $111,130
  3. Nurse anesthetist salary: $183,580

Median annual U.S. salaries in 2020 via BLS

Part Two MSN Nurse Salary by State

The location where you work as an MSN-trained nurse is one of the factors that will determine your overall salary. Salaries are also dependant on the type of MSN-trained education you achieve. However, the states that pay a higher salary for one type of MSN degree usually also pay higher wages for other types.

Highest Paying States for MSN Nurses

Highest Paying States for NPs Highest Paying States for CNMs Highest Paying States for CRNAs
California - $145,970  California - $159,590 Oregon - $236,540
New Jersey - $130,890 Utah - $133,680 Wisconsin - $231,520
Washington - $126,480 Mississippi - $127,960 Wyoming - $231,250
New York - $126,440 New York - $125,780 Nevada - $223,680
Massachusetts - $126,050 Minnesota - $123,600 Connecticut - $217,360

Source: Annual Mean Wages via May 2020 BLS National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

MSN Nurse Salaries by State

State NP Salary CNM Salary CRNA Salary
Alabama $99,790 N/A $170,560
Alaska $110,270 $93,080 N/A
Arizona $117,480 $121,530 $173,460
Arkansas $106,210 N/A $167,030
California $145,970 $159,590 $205,360
Colorado $109,760 $106,280 $175,760
Connecticut $116,780 $104,200 $217,360
Delaware $112,230 $96,090 N/A
District of Columbia $116,150 $85,740 N/A
Florida $101,060 $67,530 $176,760
Georgia $106,220 $92,840 $179,630
Hawaii $118,780 N/A $201,930
Idaho $113,890 $72,150 $156,250
Illinois $112,060 $109,310 $194,950
Indiana $109,940 $112,510 $169,620
Iowa $107,910 $102,830 $198,480
Kansas $104,530 N/A $167,700
Kentucky $102,460 N/A $163,700
Louisiana $111,880 N/A $161,310
Maine $111,580 $119,030 $198,940
Maryland $115,240 $107,670 $182,780
Massachusetts $126,050 $113,910 $195,900
Michigan $109,150 $103,870 $199,870
Minnesota $118,900 $123,600 $216,050
Mississippi $109,550 $127,960 $174,540
Missouri $106,870 $113,320 $189,610
Montana $114,370 N/A $216,420
Nebraska $107,330 N/A $176,880
Nevada $119,890 N/A $223,680
New Hampshire $112,460 $115,760 $197,570
New Jersey $130,890 $117,070 $207,500
New Mexico $117,050 $105,980 $164,980
New York $126,440 $125,780 $217,050
North Carolina $108,370 $102,020 $192,830
North Dakota $111,070 N/A $192,050
Ohio $105,630 $105,960 $190,120
Oklahoma $112,750 N/A $179,410
Oregon $118,600 $105,600 $236,540
Pennsylvania $111,560 $103,230 $185,090
Rhode Island $117,300 $107,510 $55,250
South Carolina $101,190 N/A $185,850
South Dakota $103,080 N/A $190,660
Tennessee $99,370 $93,690 $171,020
Texas $116,700 $109,510 $180,380
Utah $113,550 $133,680 $127,130
Virginia $109,660 N/A $179,180
Vermont $108,280 $97,240 $189,780
Washington $126,480 $112,310 $197,740
West Virginia $105,220 $123,450 $187,430
Wisconsin $113,030 $110,380 $231,520
Wyoming $118,810 N/A $231,250

Source: May 2020 BLS National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Part Three MSN Nurse Salary by Industry

Nurses with an MSN most commonly work in hospitals or physician offices, however, nurses with an MSN may make even more money working in other industries outside of the traditional healthcare setting. 

For nurse practitioners, these are the highest paying industries according to the BLS:

  1. Community Food and Housing and Emergency Relief: $143,480 
  2. Religious Organizations: $131,710 
  3. Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities: $130,830
  4. Social Advocacy Organizations: $127,970 
  5. Outpatient Care Centers: $123,850 

Part Four Highest Paying Jobs for Nurses with a Master’s Degree

There is a wide range of career opportunities for MSN nurses. Some of the potential careers and their median US incomes include:

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): $183,580

With a median income of $183,580, CRNAs are at the top of the list when it comes to the highest MSN earners!

A CRNA, or nurse anesthetist, provides analgesia to patients before or during surgery, childbirth, or other medical procedures. Their job entails giving pain relief and comfort measures to patients while also monitoring their physiology to ensure that they are safe as they receive various medications.

If you are considering becoming a CRNA, you should know that in 2025 CRNAs will be required to obtain a doctorate degree to practice.

Nurse Practitioner (NP): $111,680

Nurse practitioners are a type of APRN who is trained and qualified to provide medical care for patients. Depending on the state’s nursing laws, NPs often work under the supervision of a physician; however, in many states, NPs are allowed to work independently and even own their own practice!

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): $111,130

A CNM, or nurse-midwife, is an APRN who provides care for women of all ages. They are most known for caring for women during the pre-and postpartum period and assisting women during childbirth.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): $106,407

Clinical Nurse Specialists are MSN-trained clinicians who work in various areas of healthcare. CNSs usually study within certain specialties, such as emergency care, geriatrics, women’s health, or critical care.

A CNS provides care at the bedside; however, their primary role includes educating and supporting nurses who care for patients. They incorporate evidence-based practice into nursing units to achieve the highest level of care possible.

Nurse Administrator: $104,280

Nursing Administrators perform various management tasks within the healthcare setting. But their most essential job usually includes managing the nursing staff. You can find nurse administrators working in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, long-term care facilities, and mental health institutions. 

Nurse administrators frequently work with other managers to ensure that a healthcare organization runs smoothly while also managing the financial aspects of the business.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): $104,107

A Clinical Nurse Leader focuses on overall patient care and management. Some of their tasks include care coordination, outcome management, risk assessment, quality improvement, and the transition of care.

Informatics Nurse: $102,230

If working with technology interests you, becoming an informatics nurse might be a perfect career fit! Informatics nurses help improve nursing care through computers and healthcare technology. 

Some of the most common technology that informatics nurses work with include electronic medical records (EMR) and data entry equipment for healthcare providers. 

Nurse Educator: $75,470 

Nurse educators are an essential education provider for nurses of all educational levels, including ADN, BSN, MSN, and doctoral degrees. They provide teaching at the bedside, in the classroom, and in simulation settings. 

If helping nurses hone their nursing skills, develop critical thinking abilities, and advance their careers, becoming a nurse educator might be a great nursing career for you.

Part Four MSN vs. BSN: How Much More Can You Make With an MSN Degree?

The BLS states that the 2020 median income of RN’s with a bachelor’s degree or Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) was $75,330 per year or $36.22 per hour. 

When you compare the median BSN salary to the income of an APRN or nurse administrator, nurses who earn an MSN can, on average, make between and $29,000 to $42,000 more per year!

It is also essential to consider several other factors that come into play when determining the overall BSN to MSN salary, like the city and state where you live, the type of industry you work in, whether you work full-time or part-time, and the type of MSN degree earned.

Part Five Is Earning an MSN Degree Worth it?

Achieving an MSN can completely alter your nursing career in the best possible way. There are so many potential career opportunities with higher salaries to match for nurses who pursue advanced education.

One of the biggest reasons many nurses decide to obtain an MSN is because they want more opportunity within their career that does not involve working at the bedside. The skills you can learn while obtaining an MSN will earn you more money. But it also helps by improving patient care, providing more nursing autonomy, and elevating the nursing profession as a whole. Best of luck to you on your MSN journey!

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