Nursing in the US is a Great Career Choice

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Facts and figures show that becoming a nurse in America is an excellent career choice. Not only is the average registered nurse’s salary the best in the world, but job opportunities are set to keep growing. Nurses also seem to love their chosen profession as they tend to remain in the field.

The average annual salary of registered nurses in the US is $63,000, and salaries can increase as nurses’ progress in their careers. Nurse practitioners with a Master’s degree generally earn over $100,000 per year and, at an average income of around $140,000, nurse anesthetists are the highest paid specialist nurses. Average salaries, however, do differ between states ranging from a low of approximately $55,000 in South Dakota to over $100,000 in sunny California – where there is a shortage of more than 45,000 nurses.

In a survey of 43 countries by CapRelo, nurses’ salaries in the US were found to be the highest as well as more than double the global average of $26,698. The country in which nurses earn the least is in India where they have an average annual income of $3,556 – although this is still four times higher than the annual minimum wage in that country. When considering salaries between countries, the question of the comparable cost of living comes up. The cost of living in the US is indeed not the highest in the world – it comes in at number 19 in a ranking of 103 countries around the world.

Furthermore, registered nurses seem to be highly valued in the US as indispensable in the provision of health services when one compares their average income to that of teachers at $43,000. Both these professions require a bachelor’s degree at entry level.

According to national projections, the need for nurses is set to keep growing at a rapid rate – the main reasons being the longevity of baby boomers; rising demand for health services particularly in preventive and promotive health care; and the increase in chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity diabetes, and heart conditions.

The US Department of Labor estimated in 2016 that jobs for nurses would grow by 15% by 2026, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. In comparison, the demand for high school teachers will only grow by about 8%.

To top this all, nursing stands out among professions as one where persons seem to be happy in their careers by remaining in the profession over the years – despite reports of long and draining shifts, staff shortages, high-stress levels, and burn-out.

A study by Indeed Hiring Lab, which analyzed clicks on the Indeed job site, showed that registered nurses are among those least likely to look for a career change. Only 23% of clicks by registered nurses were on jobs outside of the narrow description of nursing, and even then they looked at positions within the healthcare setting – such as clinic manager, care manager or nurse educator.

Selecting nursing as a career in the US, and sticking it out during the first year or two while adapting as a newly qualified nurse, is an excellent choice.

The Future of Nursing: An Infographic
The Future of Nursing: An Infographic
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Frieda Paton, M.Cur, RN
Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

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