Depending on where they work and their specialties, nurses can earn a range of salaries. Salaries continue to appear to vary by ethnic background as well, but overall, nurses reported in the second annual Minority Nurse salary survey making more this year than they did last year—and more than they did five years ago.
Although nurses reported making higher salaries this year than they reported last year, there are wage gaps by ethnicity that remain to be closed.
In 2013, nurses reported making a median salary of $67,000; this year, they reported earning a bit more, a median $68,000. Still, African American nurses earned a median $60,200 and Hispanic nurses received a median $60,000, while white nurses took home a median $72,000.
To gather all this data, Minority Nurse and Springer Publishing e-mailed a link to an online survey that asked respondents about their jobs, educational backgrounds, and more to better understand their roles as nurses and to determine their current and past salaries.
Some 4,850 nurses from all over the United States responded to the survey questions. The respondents also hailed from a number of specialties, including nurses working in critical care, as certified nurse educators, and in pediatrics, as well as nurses employed at public hospitals, private hospitals, and at colleges or universities.
Some stark differences, though, were noticeable when survey data were broken down by ethnicity. For instance, nurses belonging to different ethnic groups working at similar institutions reported earning different amounts of money. African American nurses working at a public hospital reported earning a median $65,000, as did Asian nurses. Hispanic nurses reported making less, taking home a median $60,000. White nurses, though, said they earned $79,500.
Additionally, nurses belonging to different ethnic groups with similar educational backgrounds also reported salary differences. African American nurses with a bachelor’s degree reported making a median $62,000—similar to the median $60,000 reported by Hispanic nurses—though higher than the median $50,000 received by Asian nurses, but lower than the median $70,000 that white nurses said they made.
At the master’s degree level, the picture is a little different. Asian nurses with master’s degrees commanded the highest salary, a median $80,000, followed by African American nurses, who received a median $76,000. Hispanic nurses, meanwhile, earned a median $74,940, and white nurses with a master’s degree reported making a median $73,000.
Overall, respondents reported earning a higher salary this year than they took home last year and a bit more than they reported earning five years ago. For example, nurses working primarily in patient care reported earning $60,000 this year, $55,000 last year, and $47,000 five years ago, and advanced practice nurses reported making $89,000 this year, $84,000 last year, and $78,000 five years ago.
Though there are still wage gaps to be bridged, nurses reported earning more now than they did just a few years ago.
17.6% of respondents have a PhD or other doctoral-level degree
33.3% work at a college or university
56.2% have been at their current job for five years or longer
65.8% received a raise within the last year
53.5% left their prior job to pursue a better opportunity
41.1% do not expect a raise this year
48.9% are looking to leave their current job in coming years
Top Two Degrees Held by Respondents
MSN, or other master’s-level degree
BSN, or other bachelor’s-level degree
Five Most Common Specialties
Critical care (NICU, PICU, SICU, MICU)
Certified Nurse Educator
Advanced practice nursing
Highest Paid by Employer Type
Health insurance company
College or university
Most Common Benefits Provided
Retirement plan (401(k), 403(b), pension, etc.)
Paid time off
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