What are the Different Levels in Nursing and Salaries?

what are different levels in nursing salaries

By Elizabeth Marcant, Contributor

Nursing pay can be impacted by a number of factors, including the geographical location where you work, whether you chose to specialize and how the facility handles shift differentials. But levels in nursing also play a huge role in earnings potential.

Check out the different types of nursing levels and related pay below before browsing the travel nursing jobs at Travel RNs often make more than their traditionally employed counterparts, especially when you factor in benefits such as housing allowances.

Levels in nursing and average pay ranges

From nursing assistants to executives and advanced practice RNs, nursing careers run the gamut of both education and pay. Here's a quick look at the different types of nurses and the salaries that go with each level.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

CNAs are the entry level in nursing. You can earn the required credential with a vocational education class which may only require around 75 total hours of study. CNAs provide basic patient care and must be supervised by an RN. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for CNAs is $28,540. That's about $13.72 per hour.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

An LPN goes through slightly longer coursework than a CNA and is trained to administer medications and perform some basic clinical duties CNAs are not. Sometimes referred to as licensed vocation nurses, these individual make $44,840 per year on average, according to the BLS. LPNs do have to pass licensing tests and maintain their credentials, much like RNs.

Registered Nurse (RN)

RNs must have either an associates or bachelor's degree in nursing, pass a nurse licensure exam and meet all licensing requirements for their state. One major difference between an RN and LPN is that RNs can supervise other nurses and have some diagnostic responsibilities as a nurse. Average pay for RNs according to the BLS is $70,000 per year.

Nurse Managers and Executives

RNs with extensive experience or who seek MSN degrees may be able to step into nurse management or executive roles. These nurses become responsible for oversight of entire units, departments or facilities. The BLS notes that salaries for healthcare administrators average around $98,350 per year.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners

Nurses who seek NP degrees or other advanced practice degrees can up their income potential tremendously. Nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives make $110,930 per year on average, according to the BLS, making them some of the highest paid RNs in the country.

At any level, nurses should remember that striving to provide quality patient care and working toward continuing career goals is the best way to increase salary over time.


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