Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Hey, Nurses! Show Me the Money!

Allnurses.com recently released the results of a 2015 survey of nearly 19,000 nurses across the United States. The survey brought to light several interesting salary discrepancies between nurses of different genders, educational backgrounds, and locations.

The annual salary of nurses by gender reveals that male nurses tend to earn slightly more than their female counterparts. The fact that men earn more than women in nursing is not all that shocking, but nonetheless sad (nothing against male nurses!).  In fact, salary differences between male and female nurses are narrower than the national average. According to a previous article from Allnurses in 2013, female nurses working full-time earn $0.91 for every dollar male nurses earn, while women earn an average of only $.077 for every dollar men earn across all careers. However, what makes this finding so perplexing is the fact that women dominate the nursing industry. In fact, women make up about 92% of all nurses which begs the question why aren’t the salaries equal?

The results are a little different when you control for education. Among nurses with a Masters degree, men appear to earn far more than women. However, among nurses with a Ph.D, women earn far more than men. It seems like gender plays less of a role in salaries among nurses with the high educational backgrounds. Of course, only 6% of surveyed nurses have a Master’s Degree and less than 1% have a Ph.D. The majority of surveyed nurses had either a Bachelor’s or an Associate’s Degree, just over 78%. Among these degrees, male nurses do appear to have a slight edge.

It comes as no surprise that nurses with higher educational backgrounds earn more than their counterparts. However, location plays a huge role in determining the degree to which this discrepancy exists. For example, in my own state of Indiana, nurses with a MSN earned an average of $23,000 more than those with an Associate’s Degree. The lone Ph.D respondent earned only $3,000 more that those with an Associate’s Degree. In California, however, nurses with an MSN earned only about $17,000 more than those with an Associate’s Degree.

Note than nurses with Associate’s Degree in California earn $27,500 more than those in Indiana. Read that again. Nurses with the same educational backgrounds can have a brand new car’s difference in pay every year! The discrepancy in nurse’s salary by location is mostly a result of discrepancies in costs of living. It’s no surprise that nurses in California on the West Coast and in New York in the Northeast are ranked first and eighth, respectively, in nurses’ salaries, and 5th and 6th, respectively, in highest cost of living. Indiana in the Midwest on the other hand has the second lowest ranked cost of living in the Unites States. The South and Mountain West also tend to have lower costs of living.  Be sure to keep this in mind if you are taking a travel nursing position.

As you can see, many factors influence nurses’ salaries. Some factors are out of your control, others aren’t. Some play a huge role, others don’t seem to play much of a role at all. Be sure to play around with the tools on the survey results page to see how you stack up against nurses across the country. You can access it here.   What are your thoughts on Nurses’ Salaries?  Should male and female nurses make the same salary?

Salary statistics courtesy of 2015 allnurses Salary Survey Results on Allnurses.com

Costs of Living rankings courtesy of mo.gov

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