Nursing Salaries by Degree

You’re considering going back to school, but is it worth it?

Based on the these PayScale statistics, nurses with an Associates Degree may not yield any financial benefits from going back to school to get their BSN. Registered Nurse and Nurse Case Manager salaries are reported to be virtually the same, however Supervisors and Managers earn an estimated additional 15% and 6% respectively. (You may notice that the pool of ASNs represented is also much lower.)

Salary by Job ASN

Salary by Job BSN

If you’re willing to spend the time necessary to pursue a graduate degree though, these income statistics show greater financial return than ASN or BSN degrees. The benefits we cover here don’t take into account the not as obvious, non-monetary gains that are often experienced with advancing in your career as a nurse and the ability to specialize in a particular area of passion. does a fantastic job explaining the different career paths an MSN can take you on. “Nurses who graduate with an MSN degree, with a focus on clinical care, are called Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). APRN is an umbrella term which encompasses four distinct career paths: nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, and certified nurse mid-wife. However, an MSN degree can also prepare students for jobs in nursing education, research, and healthcare business management. These careers often include such titles as Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, and Nurse Manager.” 9

Nurse Practitioners serve in a wide variety of settings, but the earning don’t seem to vary as greatly as some other positions. BLS reports that the annual wage is $97,990. 1

Certified Nurse Anesthetists, however, has a greater variance in the salary. reports a range from $100,000 to $155,000, while BLS shows an average wage of $158,900 2

Clinical Nurse Specialists earnings typically starts around $80,000, but can expect to bring in as much as $106,316 with experience. 3

Certified Nurse Midwives earn an average wage of $97,700 according to BLS. 4

Clinical Nurse Leaders show the greatest variance in salary, ranging from $51,159 to $100,748. 5

Nurse Administrators are a very experienced group of professionals with more than two-thirds having 10+ years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $57,000 to $122,000 per year. 6

Nurse Educators teach in a variety of setting, as shown in the below graph from BLS. The average income coming in around $70,000. 7

BLS Nurse Educator Salaries

Nurse Managers can expect a salary of $81,132 per year. Pay for this job does not change much by experience. 8

Please note that there are many factors that go into the earning potential and actual pay of each position, including by not limited to experience, location, industry, etc. This data is not meant to be exhaustive, but a starting place for your research.