Wages: RN vs. NP??

  1. 0
    I'm not questioning anyone's choice of profession, so I don't want to offend anyone or spark any posts of "follow your heart, not your pocket book." But as a student RN, I would really like to one day advance further from an RN to a NP or CRNA. However, I used salary.com (granted, I know it's not 100% accurate), and when I looked at the expected paycheck of a nurse practioner, it ended up only being $600 more than a RN after $1500 worth of taxes were taken out (Texas figures). I would LOVE to be a nurse practioner, believe me! But loving a job doesn't pay student loans. So I was wondering if these figures were accurate in your experience? I guess being a current CNA while in school, taxes (while I don't like them) have never had more than $120 effect on my meager paycheck. Thank you all for the help
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  4. 14 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    You are so right that salary.com might not be correct. I was an RN for 12 years and then went to an APN role and made $20,000 more per year than as an RN. I did negotiate though.
  6. 2
    Quote from shannon88
    I'm not questioning anyone's choice of profession, so I don't want to offend anyone or spark any posts of "follow your heart, not your pocket book." But as a student RN, I would really like to one day advance further from an RN to a NP or CRNA. However, I used salary.com (granted, I know it's not 100% accurate), and when I looked at the expected paycheck of a nurse practioner, it ended up only being $600 more than a RN after $1500 worth of taxes were taken out (Texas figures). I would LOVE to be a nurse practioner, believe me! But loving a job doesn't pay student loans. So I was wondering if these figures were accurate in your experience? I guess being a current CNA while in school, taxes (while I don't like them) have never had more than $120 effect on my meager paycheck. Thank you all for the help
    It realy depends on were you are and what you specialize in. I know some acute care NPs who were senior ICU nurses who took a pay cut to be an NP. THen again I know one who works with an electrophysiologist who got a $90K raise. As to the student loan thing. I succesfully completed an MSN without borrowing any money at all. I'm saving like crazy so I don't have to borrow while doing clinicals. (of course I went and did somethign stupid like buy a house. :spin: ) I know in my area, I"ll take about a $20k increase when I finish and start working in the ER.
    Christen, ANP and ShannonRN09 like this.
  7. 2
    It depends....
    Shannon,
    1st let me say that getting my APN in pediatrics was the best decision I ever made. How can anyone take away your knowledge base of your clinical practice? Unfortunately I made much less as a NP that my currect position as a staff nurse. When I finished my NP program for UCSF 8 years ago my first 2 NP positions offered me 24 and 28 an hour. I love the prestige and respect and the automy as a NP by now I make 50 bucks an hour as a staff nurse with the potential for over time at almost double that. The demand is for staff nurses and in the US it is about supply and demand. I don't know what Texas pays but you should not be driven by money...unless you are going to a private NP school and that is another story in itself.
    Good luck in your decision. By the way, I love what I do now...I love the intimacy of bedside nursing. I didn't feel that reward as NP. I do not like the disrespect of some of my colleagues or MDs, especially those you lack the knowledge but have the attitude. I do not tolerate that crap and unfortunately, many of my peers do.
    again, best of luck

    PNP in Cali
    StephieRN_1216 and ShannonRN09 like this.
  8. 5
    You're asking a good question. I know that you are not just thinking of the money -- but you also can't ignore the money, either. There are tough choices to be made and you will have to decide which career path is right for you.

    For me, getting my PhD was worth the money even though it has brought no increase in salary because it is something I wanted to do in life. It was how I wanted to spend the money I earned as a nurse. So even though it took 5 years and lots of money ... and I am now working in a position that only requires a Master's degree and am paid the same as my colleagues who only have Master's Degrees ... I don't regret it. If I hadn't spent the money, I would always have regretted not having the education.

    For you trying to decide on whether or not to spend money on an NP education, you have to ask yourself whether or not you want to spend money on that education that you might not "get back" in increased salary later. It's much like deciding how much you want to spend on a house or a car or on vacations. Think of it more as an expendature rather than as a financial investment. If it doesn't yield a financial profit, do you still want it? If the answer is "yes" as it was for me, then go for it and don't regret it. If the answer is "no," then recognize that being a NP is not something that really matters all that much to you -- and that's OK, too. Be happy being some other type of nurse knowing that you made a conscious decision and chose the career path that best suited your priorities.
    Calliehoo, Smitty08, Christen, ANP, and 2 others like this.
  9. 5
    I'd also like to add that even though there have been anecdotal accounts of new NP's taking a pay cut during the transition from RN to NP, most end up earning more eventually as they gain more experience. A common misconception that RN's make about NP salaries is that they look at what entry-level NP's make and compare it to what they are making as RN's. To be honest, an RN who have many years of seniority, picks up overtime hours a lot, and works during the off shifts can easily earn more than a newly certified NP. Most NP employers (at least here in Michigan) count the years of NP experience in determining the salary rate and do not put into account the years of RN experience in estimating the salary. You should also look at various practice settings, different specializations, and location even within a particular state. There are wide variations in pay scale based on a lot of factors.

    As for me, the amount of knowledge I have gained from completing my NP program, the respect and support I have received from physicians and NP peers, and the autonomy I enjoy in my current job has already paid off for the money and time I spent in graduate school. I also was fortunate to have been started at an NP salary rate much higher than I was receiving as an RN and have continued to receive salary raises 3 years after becoming an NP. I also did not incur any student loans as I attended an affordable state university and applied for scholarships.
  10. 3
    Out here in San Francisco, entry level NPs start higher than entry level RNs, about 10 bucks higher and the experienced NPs can climb higher in salary than experienced RNs. So, out here, I think it is worth it to get the NP. I agree 100% with the OP above in that one has to be ready to do it regardless of the money. Additionally, an NP in primary care, can go into private practice, which can increase salary. I think it boils down to doing what you love and what inspires you. Very good topic to discuss,
    J
    Smitty08, chosen50, and ShannonRN09 like this.
  11. 7
    A graduate level education (whether it is NP or some other track) also brings opportunities for jobs that may be more appealing and less physically demanding as a person ages. The "big money" possible in the staff nurse role often involves working on your feet for 12 hours at a time, lifting heavy patients and equipment, rotating shifts, working holidays, working overtime, etc. That may be OK when you are young ... but as we get older, most people want a little less stress in their lifestyle.

    A graduate degree qualifies you for jobs that might be better suited for you as you age.
    kiyasmom, Smitty08, BigIsleBound, and 4 others like this.
  12. 0
    You all have made really good points and a brought up a lot of different perspectives that I didn't think about. I would really like to be able to work one day without losing my back at an early age, but I just dont want to lose the patient care aspect. Is it possible to work as an RN when you're you're a NP? I know you're held to the standards of a nurse practitioner. I'm just afraid of wanting to do RN work. I know a lot of the nurses are bitter to NPs... thought not all of them. Maybe half.

    I just don't think it's right to continue you're education and go a little further with your career spending several thousand dollars... then realizing whatever extra you might make is severely taxed!

    But I think I'll really like a career in advance practice. I'm trying to decide between a NP, PA, RNFA, or CRNA. So many acronyms... so many different roles
  13. 0
    Quote from shannon88
    You all have made really good points and a brought up a lot of different perspectives that I didn't think about. I would really like to be able to work one day without losing my back at an early age, but I just dont want to lose the patient care aspect. Is it possible to work as an RN when you're you're a NP? I know you're held to the standards of a nurse practitioner. I'm just afraid of wanting to do RN work. I know a lot of the nurses are bitter to NPs... thought not all of them. Maybe half.

    I just don't think it's right to continue you're education and go a little further with your career spending several thousand dollars... then realizing whatever extra you might make is severely taxed!

    But I think I'll really like a career in advance practice. I'm trying to decide between a NP, PA, RNFA, or CRNA. So many acronyms... so many different roles
    Give it time. You're still a student. Keep your eyes and ears open as you continue with your career. Talk to people. Pay attention to what they do. etc. As you become more familiar with nursing -- and get to know yourself as a nurse -- you will figure out which roles suit you the best. Sometimes, it's not the roles that we thought we would prefer when we were students.


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