Nurse pay falls slightly in 2015: 6 statistics on RN, LPN compensation

Both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses earned less in 2015 than they did in 2014, according to Medscape's RN/LPN Salary Report 2016.


RN average annual earnings dropped from $79,000 in 2014 to $78,000 last year, while LPN average annual earnings fell a little more, from $46,000 to $43,000.

The following are six more statistics on RN and LPN pay, pulled from Medscape's survey, which gathered responses from 4,065 RNs and 1,688 LPNs.

1. Most RNs and LPNs are paid by the hour: 53 percent of RNs reported earning an hourly wage, and 83 percent of LPNs reported the same.

2. RNs working part time or per diem earn the same hourly wage as their full-time counterparts: $37 per hour, according to the survey.

3. On the other hand, LPNs that work per diem or part time earn $2 more than those working full time: $23 and $21, respectively.

4. RNs who are employed by the military or the government have the highest annual earnings compared to RNs in other practice settings, coming in at $84,000 in 2015. Comparatively, RNs in other practice settings reported they earned the following in a year:

  • Hospital-inpatient care: $82,000
  • Hospital-based outpatient setting or clinic: $78,000
  • Academic setting as faculty: $76,000
  • Skilled nursing facility or long-term care: $74,000
  • Home health/visiting nurse: $72,000
  • Public health/occupational health setting: $71,000
  • Nonhospital-based medical office or urgent care clinic: $68,000
  • School/college health services: $61,000

5. Pursuing higher education can pay off for RNs, as those with doctorate degrees earn $18,000 more annually than those with associate's degrees ($90,000 versus $71,000). Jumping from an associate's degree to a bachelor's in nursing typically comes with an $8,000 boost in annual earnings (from $71,000 to $79,000).

6. Male nurses continue to earn more than their female counterparts. A male RN earns 6 percent more annually than a female RN ($83,000 versus $78,000). Similarly, a male LPN earns 9 percent more than a female LPN ($47,000 versus $43,000).

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