Hi all. I am a NICU RN in the Bay Area (California) and have been considering going back to get my Master's Degree/NP specializing in Women's Health. Several people are advising me against it since they feel the salary for an NP is comparable to an RN; thus, not worth getting in debt for.
I have done the salary research online, but am coming up with a HUGE range of salaries. I realize the benefits of a higher education, but monetarily speaking, is it worth it?
I need guidance!!
Sep 24, '13
I'm an Acute Care NP and I live and work in the same area as you. Hospital RN's do well in the area in terms of pay and workload (thanks to mandatory staffing ratios and strong unions). You may not find a huge difference in pay if you are looking into private practice and/or just starting out fresh as a new NP partly because the state does not allow NP's to set-up independent practice. I have many years of experience both as an RN and even as an NP so my salary is significantly higher than majority of the bedside nurses at the hospital. However, if you compare it with experienced nurses in the upper tier of the ladder or who hold management positions in the same system, it may not be much higher. Luckily, I do not have loans from graduate school. I financed my own education through my salary as a working RN, tuition reimbursement from work, and scholarship
opportunities at the university.
Sep 25, '13
You're best to jump on as soon as you know you want to do it because you'll have a higher salary overall. A friend of mine did nursing for 20 years and then went to work at as a NP at the same hospital and makes the same amount of money as a RN vs a NP. She likes the scheduling and the autonomy better, so it was worth it for her. If she had waited any longer, she said she would probably be taking a pay cut at this point...
Sep 25, '13
Whether or not it's "worth it" is a v. personal question. There is a wide variety of costs for different programs as well as how much debt people choose to take on. Also, it's not just about the money. My first job as a CNS out of grad school, I was making significantly less than I could have made as a staff nurse (and I had taken on some debt to help pay for school, although I worked hard to make sure it was as little debt as possible). However, I enjoyed what I was doing much more than I enjoyed working as a staff nurse, and had a much better schedule. Since then, I have had many different opportunities/positions that were only available to me because of my graduate preparation and certification, and they were all more desirable and interesting positions than staff nursing.
Best wishes for your journey!
Sep 25, '13
Agree that the "worth" of advanced practice varies by individual and has very little to do with the actual salary of the position. It is a very different role, and for me, the autonomy is well worth the investment.
As for salary, I make considerably more as a NP
over my RN job both in base and bonus. My first year of practice I made just a hair over 117k working 32 hours a week, since I have significant increased my salary each year.
Last edit by BostonFNP on Sep 25, '13
: Reason: typos
Sep 25, '13
If you're an RN in the Bay Area I wouldn't imagine your pay would go up much, maybe $3-$5/hr best case scenario. Is that worth it to you? As others have probably said its not the nursing profession to jump to when you want to get paid, for that I'd become a CRNA..
What do you really want to do though, what makes you happy? Making $10k more a year (as an NP) doesn't end up making much of a difference after all..
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