How Much Do Nurses Make an Hour: A Comprehensive Guide

Admin 12/08/2023

Are you considering a career in nursing? One crucial aspect to consider is the earning potential. Understanding how much nurses make per hour is essential for planning your financial future. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of nurse salaries, exploring the factors that influence their earnings and providing valuable insights into the average hourly wages in different regions. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Nurse Salaries

Nurse salaries are influenced by various factors. The type of nurse, level of education, experience, and geographical location all play a significant role in determining their earning potential. Let’s examine these factors in more detail.

Types of Nurses and Salary Ranges

Nursing encompasses various roles, each with its own salary range. Registered Nurses (RNs) typically earn higher wages than Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Specialized nurses such as Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and Nurse Midwives (CNMs) often command higher salaries due to their advanced knowledge and skills.

The Significance of Education and Experience

Education and experience are key influencers of nurse salaries. Nurses with higher levels of education, such as Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees, tend to earn more than those with only an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma. Additionally, nurses with several years of experience often enjoy higher wages, as their expertise and skills grow over time.

Geographical Location and Salary Variations

Where you work as a nurse can significantly impact your earning potential. Salaries can vary greatly depending on the region, state, or even the specific city. Urban areas or regions with a higher cost of living generally offer higher nurse salaries to compensate for the increased expenses. It’s important to consider the cost of living when evaluating potential job opportunities.

Average Hourly Nurse Salaries

Now that we have a better understanding of the factors influencing nurse salaries, let’s explore the average hourly wages for nurses in different countries or regions.

Nurse Salaries by Country

The average hourly wage for nurses varies from country to country. For example, in the United States, the average hourly wage for registered nurses is around $35, while in the United Kingdom, it is approximately £17. However, it’s important to note that these figures are subject to change and can vary based on factors like experience, specialization, and work setting.

Variations Based on Specializations and Education

Within each country, nurse salaries also vary based on specializations and education levels. Specialized nurses, such as NPs or CRNAs, often earn higher wages due to their advanced knowledge and the demand for their specialized skills. Likewise, nurses with higher levels of education, such as those with a BSN or MSN degree, tend to have higher earning potential.

Factors Affecting Nurse Salaries

Several additional factors can influence nurse salaries. Let’s explore some of these factors in more detail.

Level of Education and Certifications

As mentioned earlier, higher levels of education, such as obtaining a BSN or MSN degree, can lead to higher nurse salaries. Additionally, obtaining certifications in specialized areas can enhance earning potential. Certifications like Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) or Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) demonstrate expertise in a specific area and can result in higher wages.

Years of Experience

Experience plays a vital role in nurse salaries. Nurses with more years of experience often earn higher wages as their expertise and skills grow over time. Many healthcare facilities have structured pay scales that reward nurses for their longevity in the field. Additionally, experienced nurses may have more opportunities for leadership roles, which often come with higher salaries.

Specializations and Areas of Expertise

Nurses who specialize in specific areas, such as critical care, oncology, or labor and delivery, may earn higher wages due to the demand for their specialized skills. These specialized roles often require additional training or certifications, which can result in increased earning potential.

Geographic Location and Cost of Living

Geographic location and the cost of living in a particular area can significantly impact nurse salaries. Urban areas or regions with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher wages to attract and retain nursing professionals. It’s important to consider the local cost of living when evaluating job opportunities and potential salary offers.

Shift Differentials and Overtime Pay

Many healthcare facilities offer shift differentials or additional pay for working evening, night, or weekend shifts. Nurses who are willing to work during less desirable hours can earn higher wages through these shift differentials. Additionally, overtime pay can significantly increase a nurse’s earnings, especially during periods of high patient volumes or staffing shortages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much do entry-level nurses make per hour?

Entry-level nurse salaries can vary depending on factors such as location and education level. On average, entry-level registered nurses in the United States can expect to earn around $25 to $30 per hour. However, it’s important to note that salaries may vary based on individual circumstances and the specific healthcare facility.

Do nurses receive bonuses or incentives?

Yes, many healthcare facilities offer bonuses or incentives to attract and retain nursing talent. These bonuses can be based on individual performance, meeting specific goals, or working in high-demand areas. Additionally, some facilities provide sign-on bonuses for new hires or relocation assistance for nurses willing to work in underserved areas.

Are there any salary differences between registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs)?

Yes, there are salary differences between RNs and LPNs. RNs typically earn higher wages due to their advanced education and broader scope of practice. LPNs, while still valuable members of the healthcare team, have a more limited scope of practice and therefore generally earn lower salaries compared to RNs.

How does the nurse salary compare to other healthcare professions?

Nursing salaries are competitive compared to many other healthcare professions. Nurses often enjoy higher earning potential than medical assistants, home health aides, or certified nursing assistants. However, certain healthcare professions, such as physicians or specialized surgeons, typically have higher salaries than nurses due to their extensive education and training.

Is it possible to earn more as a nurse with additional certifications?

Yes, obtaining additional certifications can enhance a nurse’s earning potential. Certifications in specialized areas, such as critical care, pediatrics, or geriatrics, demonstrate expertise and can open doors to higher-paying job opportunities. Employers often value nurses with additional certifications as they bring specialized knowledge and skills to the healthcare team.


In conclusion, understanding how much nurses make per hour is crucial when considering a career in nursing. Nurse salaries are influenced by factors such as education, experience, specialization, and geographic location. By considering these factors, aspiring nurses can gain insights into the potential earning potential and make informed decisions about their future career paths. Remember, nursing is a rewarding profession that not only allows you to make a positive impact on people’s lives but also offers competitive salaries and ample opportunities for growth. So, if you’re passionate about healthcare and want a fulfilling career, nursing may be the perfect choice for you.

Remember, nursing is not just a job; it’s a calling!