5 Tips to Make More Money as a Nurse

Nursing is known for its salary potential, but many RNs are still interested in boosting their income further. From cashing in on continuing education to taking on side gigs, there are several avenues worth exploring.

How Much Do Nurses Usually Earn?

According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for RNs is nearly $72K. Although salaries vary depending on the state and region, nursing is frequently noted as one of the top-paying healthcare careers that does not require an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate.

What Are 5 Tips to Earn More Money?

If you are hoping to increase your income as a nurse, here are some tips to consider.

  1. Earn your BSN. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is quickly becoming the industry standard, plus it is a great way to bump up your income. Online RN to BSN degree programs are a practical option for working nurses, with program completion possible in as few as 10 months. BSN-prepared nurses often earn more than nurses with associate degrees, both on an annual basis and over the course of their careers.
  2. Work nights or weekends. Many healthcare employers offer a shift differential to nurses working night or weekend schedules. While these off-hours are not particularly appealing for those balancing family and social lives, the increased pay is a great reward for nurses who can find a way to make it work. Moving away from a traditional schedule could boost the hourly wage by $4 or more per hour, potentially padding your monthly income by several hundred dollars. Baylor shifts, which typically consist of two 12-hour shifts each weekend but pay for 32-40 hours instead, are another possibility.
  3. Transition to per diem. If you have the flexibility, transitioning to per diem nursing can be a solid financial move. Per diem nurses work on an as-needed basis and are employed by hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, or through dedicated placement agencies. Procedures vary, but per diem nurses provide a list of shifts and days they are available and then the facility schedules them if coverage is needed. This is a great option for nurses who are going to school, have young children at home or who want to schedule shifts around their full-time job. According to ZipRecruiter (February 2020), the average hourly wage for per diem nurses is $47. While the flexibility and pay are advantageous, one downside is that per diem nurses usually do not receive benefits such as sick leave, vacation time or health insurance.
  4. Become a tutor. Nursing school is challenging for many students, so having the support of someone who has experienced it is priceless. Consider tapping into your knowledge and expertise by providing in-person or online tutoring for nursing students. They may need the extra study time to grasp microbiology concepts or prepare for the NCLEX. You can set your own rates and hours, working around a full-time job and other commitments.
  5. Provide in-home medical education. Many companies hire RNs to provide in-home medical education to patients. Pharmaceutical companies need nurses to teach patients about their medications and how to self-administer injections. Insurance companies also have opportunities for nurses interested in performing life insurance screenings and blood draws. Hours are typically flexible and based on the patient’s schedule.

Nursing is a career that pays well, but there are times when bringing in extra money is helpful or even necessary. Between transitioning to an alternate schedule, taking on a side gig or pursuing a BSN, there is a variety of ways to use your existing nursing skills as a launchpad to higher income.

Learn more about Southern Utah University’s online RN to BSN program.


CNBC: 14 High-Paying In-Demand Healthcare Jobs You Can Get Without an MD or PhD

National Nurses United: Model Contracts for RNs Across the Nation

Nurse.org: Per Diem Nurse’s Paystub Goes Viral — $19K in 2 Weeks!?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Registered Nurses

Wolters Kluwer: Comparing ADN and BSN Degrees

ZipRecruiter: How Much Do Per Diem Nurse Jobs Pay per Hour?

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