Registered Nurse Salary

A Registered Nurses Salary is calculated by the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics from a variety of sources. Registered Nurses work in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics and schools. The salaries of Registered Nurses vary depending on the location and the setting. The assumption was made that the Registered Nurses reflected here were working an average of 40 hours per week with a total of 2080 hours per year.

Depending on how they structure the pay package for travel nurses the salary may differ. One reason is that compensation such as bonuses, travel, and housing are reported differently than wages.

Median Hourly & Annual Data


The average Registered Nurses salary is $31.48 per hour. The lowest 10% earn $21.65 per hour and those in the upper 10% earn more than $46.00 per hour.


On an annual basis the median Registered Nurse salary is $65,470. The lowest 10% earn less than $45,000 per year while the upper 10% earn more than $95,000 per year. These salaries are calculated as a mean or average.

Specialty Pay Factor

One factor that influences pay rates for travel nurses and others is the specialty pay factor. ICU, Cath Lab, and ED nurses will often be hired at higher levels or receive specialty pay.

Med-Surgical registered nurses may be offered $30-40 per hour to accept a contract while an ICU nurse will be offered $45 to $55 per hour.

Night shift rates and week-end rates may also prevail. It's possible to earn as much as $60 per hour if you are willing to week-end nights.

Total Compensation Package v.s. Hourly Rate

Some agencies will offer you a total compensation package for the 13 week contract and let you configure it yourself.

For example you might be offered a contract that has a total compensation package of $24,960 for 13 weeks. You could take the entire sum as hourly wages of $48 per hour based on a 40 hourweek for 13 weeks. Or you could set aside $250 per week for housing. The advantage is that housing re-imbursement costs are not taxable.

Other agencies configure the package for you and offer you a standard compensation and salary package. Just remember that almost all of them will let you negotiate the terms to some extent.

Employment Data

There are 2,634,000 Registered Nurses working in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately 1,545,00 are listed as working in hospitals.

According to the Professional Association ofNurse Travelers there are approximately 25,000 registered nurses employed in thehealthcare travel industry.

Where They Work

Of all the Registered Nurses employed in the United States over 57% of them work in hospitals. Approximately177,000 work in doctor's offices or clinics. There are140,000 working in nursing homes.An additional160,000 are listed as working in home health care. Approximately 92,000 work in outpatient care centers.

Private Practice vs. Employment

A rapidly growing trend in the healthcare arena is the use of the travel nurse. Travel nurses agree to take short term employment contracts in return for additional incentives such as housing, travel allowances and bonuses. They usually work directly for a nursing employment agency but a few of them actually negotiate their own employment contracts and are truly self-employed.

Other self-employment opportunities exist for nurses as legal consultants, educators and a variety of health care related small businesses.


Fringe benefits such as vacation, health insurance and retirement plans will vary depending on the work setting and size of the employer. A typical benefits package is worth over $20,000 per year.

Many healthcare travel agencies offer healthcare coverage, 401K, and education benefits.


Occupational Employment & Wages, US BLS Registered Nurse Salary Data