Does A BSN Degree Equate To A Higher Salary For RNs?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

These days, it seems as though the majority of news about the nursing industry focuses on the need for nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re new to the industry, this means many employers expect you to have a BSN before you even fill out an application. Even many experienced nurses feel the need to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree as a form of job security.

As a result, more than 600 nursing schools have introduced RN to BSN degrees for working nurses, according to the New York Times. Enrollment in online courses has jumped from under 30,000 to nearly 90,000 in just 10 years, illustrating the need for nurses to continue working while earning advanced degrees.

For new nurses, community colleges have been begun partnering with four-year schools to make sure graduates are competitive in the job market.

But how much do degrees influence the salary of nurses? Though it seems pretty clear that a BSN is an important credential for all nurses, we want to look at how much the degree affects the average salary of RNs.

The following chart from reports actual RN salary averages, updated in real time. But of course this can vary depending on the degree you earn.

Head over to this more detailed chart to see breakdown of salaries by major. According to the information, the average salary difference between a nurse with a BSN and a nurse with an associate’s degree is around $2,500 per year. Of course, these are just averages and vary greatly depending on number of years of experience, location, type of workplace and much more.

Have you gone back to school to earn a BSN after working with an associate’s or other degree? How accurate do these numbers seem in your experience? Did you see a pay bump similar to those listed below? Let us know in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. How sad! But I have heard all this since achieving my associates degree. As others have said, many hospitals desire BSN nurses but are unwilling to compensate for their increased learning. I am nearing completion of my BSN but only because it is my personal educational goals.

  2. There has been no change in my pay. After completing my BSN I was told I couldn’t get more pay than my coworkers in the same position.
    I changed position and it’s still the same salary.

  3. I find it amusing that there has been such a big push in the ladt several years for nurses to get their BSN degree. The articles at the tome argued that nurses need to be respected as professionals, and making a bsn degree mandatory would help that. Then im hearing that patients of BSN nurses have better outcomes. Really? How do you even conduct a study like that? Even if you have 2 patients same age, gender, and medical diagnosis, as nurses we all know each person responds to illness AND treatment differently. So please. Get real. Its reprehensible that you make it mandatory for a nurse to get their BSN degree, and then do not give them a higher pay rate to compensate them for the time and money spent, to supposedly make them a better nurse. Hospitals tout better outcomes for their patients , but dont want to pay the nurse better for providing so called better care. All in the face of a nursing shortage. Hardly motivating for anyone entering the nursing profession.

  4. My employer is a family owned business of a home care agency working in assisted living and memory care. I am the DON. I have my ADN and have been at this job for 15 years. I have aspired to get my BSN, but time constraints have not allowed it. My employer informed me that my pay would not change with the BSN, as he felt the job could be completed by a registered nurse, ADN or BSN. So no wage difference. Like others have said, ‘experience’ is worth more than education. I personally would see the advantage to the BSN regarding management skills, not so much for nursing skills.

  5. Personally, I have been a nurse for 28 years and I have a ADN. Through professional and life experiences on the job and off the job, I can work circles around these new nurses that come on board sorting their BSN, or MSN.
    Good nurses come from hard work and experience.

    • Exactly. I have an ADN for 43 years. I worked in so many areas of medicine. It’s the experience you learn along the way that matters. Personally I couldn’t have afforded a BSN!

  6. The hospital in which I work offers $0.50/hr for BSN and an additional $0.50/hr for MSN. This rate has not changed in the compensation policy for over 20 years. It’s rather sad. I feel the BSN really needs an overhaul geared more toward a deeper understanding of pathophysiology and pharmacology. I find, after working as a nurse for over 20 years, nurses could benefit from this type of further education instead of the BS we are made to pay for with gaining our BSN.

  7. I have taken some courses toward my BSN, and I have found them to be more BS than N!!! This comment is not a repeat and if it is, that ought to make people realize how true it is!!

  8. In most institutions a Nurse is a Nurse. You will never be compensated for BSN, MSN unless you are in management or administration. I have a MSN and I choose to work “Travel RN” and I am being supervised by ADNs with less than 2 years of Med/Surg experience. It is a joke. I keep my consumers safe on my 12. Your education is your personal goal!

  9. Your education is only important to you. It will indeed afford you the opportunity to apply for positions that require a BSN or a MSN however the pay will be an Associates/entry level. Excuse will be you don’t have the experience as a Manager. Educate yourself to soar bot your reward may not be a better salary. I am MSN prepared and not over qualified or no experience as a eg., Case manager, Nurse Manager, Director of Nursing. It has a lot to do with location and institutional needs.
    Your educational goals are for YOU!

  10. There has been no change in my pay. I’m working for an MSN now and my pay will decrease when I take on a teaching job.

  11. Hello, this must depends on the state and hospital. I work for an organization that wants the new nurses to be BSN but the older nurses are safe. And the pay is no difference. It’s based on experience not degree. It sometimes makes all that hard work seem in vein. BSN should be more valuable.


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