15 Average Salaries for Registered Nurses

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 1, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated April 1, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

If you're interested in administering care for patients of all ages, consider a career as a registered nurse. Though this advanced nursing position can present some challenges, it's a highly rewarding job that boasts a great salary. The better you understand the role of a registered nurse, the more you'll be able to determine whether it's the right fit for you. In this article, we will define the role of a registered nurse, the average registered nurse salary and the qualifications you'll need.

Related: Learn About Being a Registered Nurse (RN)

What is a registered nurse?

A registered nurse is a healthcare professional that treats patients with various medical conditions. They work alongside physicians to administer care to patients of all ages. Because this is an advanced nursing position, registered nurses are tasked with a wide variety of responsibilities.

Registered nurses can also be classified by the type of degree they hold, where they work and their specialty. While specialized registered nurses are tasked with the same general patient care duties, their duties are also tailored to their specialty. Some specialties include oncology, psychiatry, labor and delivery and intensive care. Registered nurses can be found working in a hospital, outpatient facility, nursing home, physician's office, rehabilitation center or other facility.

What does a registered nurse do?

Registered nurses are tasked with several responsibilities in their day-to-day shifts. Here are the various registered nurse job duties:

  • Administer over the counter and prescription medication to patients

  • Monitor patient recovery and progress

  • Educate patients and their families on the patient's medical condition and treatment options

  • Start patient IVs

  • Perform various treatments as recommended by a physician

  • Perform various patient procedures

  • Document and analyze treatment methods

  • Assess patient conditions

  • Assess patient response to treatment or care

  • Provide primary and emergency care

  • Collaborate with the rest of the nursing team

  • Create a care plan for patients

What skills are required as a registered nurse?

There are several skills that you'll need to succeed as a registered nurse. They include the following:

  1. Organizational skills: As you document patient progress, you'll need to keep all documents, files and prescriptions organized so as not to confuse one patient with another.

  2. Active listening skills: As a registered nurse, you'll need to be a good active listener while communicating with your various patients.

  3. Excellent bedside manner: Because your patients are putting their care in your hands, it's important that you display proper bedside manner and empathy during their time of need.

  4. Multitasking: As a registered nurse, you'll need to be able to juggle the multitude of tasks coming your way daily.

  5. Critical thinking skills: In your role as a registered nurse, you'll need to evaluate your patient's progress and determine the proper care plan for them. This involves analyzing their progress.

  6. Patience: As a registered nurse, it's important to display a great deal of patience for the variety of patients you encounter. This will help them trust you throughout their time under your care.

  7. Good communication skills: Since you'll be speaking with your patients and their families, it's important that you're able to address their concerns, educate them on their prognosis and effectively communicate with them about their treatment or care plan.

Average registered nurse salary

The national average salary for a registered nurse is $33.93 per hour. You can earn more in this role depending on your education level, experience level and where you're located. The more you're able to expand your education and skills, the greater your chances are of landing a higher-paying position in this field. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, please click on the link above.

Related: 10 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs

Salary by state

The average salary you receive as a registered nurse will depend not only on your experience and workplace, but also on where you're located. Here are 15 average salaries by state for registered nurses. The salaries below were populated using state-specific data from Indeed. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please check Indeed Salaries.

  1. Utah: $30.14 per hour

  2. Ohio: $30.59 per hour

  3. Florida: $30.86 per hour

  4. Minnesota: $32.02 per hour

  5. New York: $32.63 per hour

  6. Tennessee: $32.77 per hour

  7. Wisconsin: $32.99 per hour

  8. Oklahoma: $33.44 per hour

  9. Colorado: $33.97 per hour

  10. Texas: $34.15 per hour

  11. Maryland: $34.39 per hour

  12. Virginia: $34.72 per hour

  13. Hawaii: $34.98 per hour

  14. Rhode Island: $36.03 per hour

  15. California: $52.89 per hour

Registered nurse qualifications

Though the requirements you'll need to become a registered nurse will vary by state, there are some general guidelines to consider. In order to become a registered nurse, you'll need an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Regardless of where you're located, it's important that the program you choose is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Upon graduation, you'll also need to pass a licensure exam, namely the National Council Licensure Examination-RN, that will test your nursing knowledge. Make sure to determine what's required of you in the state where you plan to practice.

Related: Learn About Being a Nurse Practitioner

Common benefits for registered nurses

Registered nurses can have a variety of benefits depending on what their employer offers. Here are some of the benefits you can earn as a registered nurse:

  • Health insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Paid time off

  • Parental leave

  • Disability insurance

  • 401(k)

Tips for increasing your nurse income

As previously mentioned, your salary as a nurse has the potential to fluctuate depending on several factors. Despite this, there are various things you can do to increase your salary including the following:

  • Network: Whether you network online or in person, networking is a great way to gain recognition in the nursing field. The contacts you make could end up leading you to higher-paying opportunities as a registered nurse.

  • Work at night: Because most people prefer to work during the day, some companies offer you extra pay for working a night shift.

  • Get more certifications: The more experienced you are, the more employers will be willing to pay you. There are several nursing specialties that you can earn certifications in. This will also lead to your career advancement.

  • Move into management positions: By advancing to a managerial or leadership position, you open yourself up to higher-paying positions in the nursing field. Consider becoming a charge nurse, nurse manager or shift leader.

  • Further your education: If you obtain an advanced degree, it's likely you'll see a wage increase, as well.

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