Results from almost 1,400 respondents to Nursing2005's annual salary survey revealed several positive trends, including increases in nurses' annual salaries. Among all participants, the average annual income was $58,600, up from $54,600 in 2004.
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Among respondents nationally, RNs' average starting hourly base rates increased from $19.33 in 2004 to $20.15 in 2005, an increase of 4.2% over last year. In contrast, LPN/LVNs' rates gained a heftier 6.2%, rising from $13.58 to $14.43, and the mean hourly starting rate for unlicensed assistive personnel rose 5.5%, from $9.23 in 2004 to $9.74 in 2005.
What factors affect salaries? Take a look at key results below to see what respondents had to say.
Experience makes a difference
When you compare years of experience and the average reported annual salary, you'll find that the "value" of experience translates into dollars, as respondents with over 15 years' experience averaged $63,500. But after the 10-year mark, pay increases flatten-nurses with 11 to 15 years' experience make only $2,300 more on average than those with 6 to 10 years' experience.
Sex is less significant
Overall, male respondents continued to report earning more than female respondents: $61,949 versus $58,249. But the disparity is less than last year, when the difference in average salaries was almost $6,000.
Education adds up
At almost all educational levels, nurses reported higher average full-time annual salaries than reported by participants in last year's survey. For example, on average, RNs with a BSN now earn $61,600; RNs with an associate degree, $55,500; and diploma RNs, $57,200, according to our respondents. The only loss in earnings was reported by RNs with an MSN, who reported earning $67,500 versus $68,183 last year.
Work settings and postion factor in
Hospital salaries continue to rise: On average, respondents working full time in hospitals earned $61,400, compared with $58,326 in 2004. For a breakdown of salaries by postion, see the chart below.
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