How Much Does A RN Make With An Associate’s Degree?

An Associate Degree in Nursing is one of the quickest paths to becoming a registered nurse (RN) and reaping the financial benefits that come with it.

The typical annual wage for registered nurses in the United States is $76,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing are included in this group (BSN).

Salary, on the other hand, might vary greatly depending on schooling and other considerations.

In this article, we’ll share with you what an ADN salary looks like, the factors that affect the salary, and how to improve your earnings in the long run.

What Is An ADN Salary?

According to, the average RN pay with an associate’s degree in nursing is $70,820 per year or $34.05 per hour or $5,900 per month for full-time RNs.

This is the average wage for all ADN-educated registered nurses, regardless of experience, geography, employer, or specialty. When you initially start working, you can expect a lesser income, but as you gain experience, your salary will rise.

Furthermore, nurses in urban areas receive more pay than nurses in rural areas.

On the other hand, the median income for registered nurses (RNs) with a bachelor’s degree in 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was $77,600 per year ($37.31 per hour).

Finally, RNs with ADNs who work in state or government-owned hospitals earn more money than those who work in private hospitals.

Auditors also work in hospitals. Check out: IT Audit Salary 2022 | How Much Does It Audit Make?

What Is The Starting Salary of RN With an ADN?

For fresh graduates entering the profession, the expected associate’s degree in nursing salary is around $51,280 per year or $24.65 per hour or $4,270 per month for full-time RNs.

This is a great starting wage, and when compared to other entry-level employment options that only require an associate’s degree, it’s one of the best.

States With The Highest/Lowest Paid RNs

Earnings vary by geographic area, as they do with most employment. Greater wages can signal a high demand for workers or, more commonly, a higher cost of living. Before migrating only based on salary, make sure to consider other expenses of necessities such as housing, utilities, and transportation.

Here’s a list of the states with the highest paying ADN per hour

  • California: ​$48.55​
  • Hawaii: ​$45.68​
  • Massachusetts: ​$41.92​
  • Oregon: ​$41.87​
  • District of Columbia: ​$41,46​

Associate Degree in Nursing Salary per Hour (Lowest Averages):

  • Mississippi: ​$27.05​
  • Iowa: ​$26.96​
  • Alabama: ​$26.94​
  • South Dakota: ​$26.71​
  • Puerto Rico: ​$15.84

What Are The Factors That Affect An ADN Salary?

According to BLS, registered nurses have the highest employment of all healthcare occupations. With that said,  you’ll always find a wide range of opportunities to explore. 

Nonetheless, certain factors affect the salary of an ADN;

  • The care you provide
  • Specialization
  • Job position
  • The state you work in

Let’s take a look at how each of these factors comes into play:

1. The care you provide

Many hospitals prefer nurses with a BSN, although nurses with an ADN can find work in a variety of situations.

“ADN-prepared nurses are in high demand in long-term care, medical-surgical nursing, rehabilitation, mental health nursing, and home care nursing,” says Damion Jenkins, RN, MSN, and NCLEX prep specialist, nurse educator, and CEO of The Nurse Speak. 

Some of the more specialized areas, including pediatrics, maternal neonatal, ICU, and OR, often require more experience from their nurses, therefore if a new grad post were open, they would most likely pick BSN-prepared new graduates.

2. Specialization

Specializing in nursing can increase your job opportunities and earning potential. To specialize, you need to determine the requirements per specialty and key in. Many require one to five years of practice or a minimum number of hours in the specialty.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers credentials in nine nursing specialties, including pediatrics and pain management. You can also check out other specialty nursing organizations that offer certifications.

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3. Job position/role

Your job position can also be vital in how much you earn as a Registered Nurse with an Associate degree. Here’s a rundown of how this applies in health institutions:

  • Outpatient Care Centers – They provide outpatient care services directly or indirectly to ambulatory patients. (Annual Median RN Salary: $93,070)
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals – RNs in general medical hospitals provide medical, diagnostic, treatment, and special accommodation services to inpatients and may provide outpatient services as a secondary service. (Annual Median RN Salary: $76,840)
  • Home Healthcare Services – They provide skilled nursing services, including high-tech care, such as IV therapy, in the home. (Annual Median RN Salary: $72,340)
  • Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) – Nurses in nursing care facilities provide a mix of health and social services in a residential care setting. (Annual Median RN Salary: $68,450)

4. The state or city you work in

Your physical location may also influence your compensation. This could be due to a shortage of nurses or the high expense of living in a particular area.

According to the allnursingschools, the yearly median wage for nurses in Joplin, Missouri, is $46,210, whereas it is $155,980 in San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, California.

California has the top ten highest-paying areas in the country. Here is a list of the highest-paying metro cities for RNs in California

  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – $164,710
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – $159,860
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $157,860
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $154,330
  • Santa Rosa, CA – $135,680
  • Napa, CA – $134,490
  • Salinas, CA – $134,120
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA – $131,760
  • Yuba City, CA – $128,750
  • Hanford-Corcoran, CA – $125,180

How To Increase Your Salary As A Registered Nurse ADN

As a registered nurse, you can have your salary increased for a number of reasons that transcend beyond the number of years in service. More significant pay increases often come from expanding skill sets, knowledge, and responsibilities.

Here are five ways you can increase your salary as an RN:

1. Work varied shifts

Most medical facilities have a regular day shift that goes from 7 or 8 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m. Many nurses prefer this shift since it allows them to spend the evening with their families.

Those without children or who have excellent child care arrangements might consider working the second shift, which runs from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., or the night shift, which runs from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

The second and third shifts frequently pay a few dollars extra per hour. Weekend and holiday work might also result in increased hourly pay.

2. Specialize

Experience and certification in a specialty field can help you get a job and develop your career. Nurses who work in high-stress or specialty areas like the intensive care unit (ICU), cardiac step-down, post-anesthesia care unit, neonatal ICU, or trauma frequently receive critical care or hazard pay. 

Adding one or more specialist certificates can help you advance your profession or earn more money. Some firms provide incentivized professional development packages to assist employees in achieving their objectives.

Training can come in the form of online classes or onsite workshops for a relatively limited amount of time and is often provided by the medical facility where the nurse is employed.

3. Pursue advanced education

A nurse with an associate degree in nursing can enroll in a bachelor of the nursing program to earn a four-year degree. In fact, many medical facilities will go for the person with a BSN over an ADN.

Additionally, as a nurse, you can build from an RN – MSN degree, which will lead to a higher salary and more administrative opportunities. 

Holding an MSN can open up positions with a higher salary potential.

4. Get a part-time job

Some career nurses who want to make extra money can opt for a part-time job in addition to their regular full-time nursing positions. The part-time work may involve evenings or weekends at a community health center, summer camp, or school. 

Visiting nurses or telephone hotline nursing advice as a desk job are more ways to earn added income, working around the nurse’s regular full-time schedule. Or, pick up extra shifts around town or in different departments.

5. Consider moving to a new location

Just as stated earlier in the article, there are some states and metropolises that offer higher ADN salaries than the others. There are organizations seeking candidates with a wide range of work experience just like you.

All you need to do is to explore available options and apply for opportunities. You can also consider Travel nursing. Travel nurses typically earn more than $3,000 per week in regular circumstances.

See Also: Prosthetist Salary 2023 | How Much Does Prosthetist Make?

Job Outlook For RNs

According to, the BLS projects a 9 percent increase in jobs for all registered nurses through 2030, a rate considered average when compared to other jobs. This implies that 194,500 openings for registered nurses will be available each year until the end of the decade. 

FAQs On How Much Does A Registered Nurse Make ADN Salary

Do nursing assistants get paid too?

As a trainee nursing associate, you’ll usually be paid on band 3 of the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, with qualified nursing associates usually employed on band 4.

Which factors affect your earnings as a registered nurse?

Factors like where you live, your position, your employer, and your experience affect your salary as an RN.

Is a BSN different from an ADN?

A BSN degree offers a much broader education than the 2-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) and opens a bigger set of possibilities for a nursing career. Some of the benefits are; higher salary, better job offerings, and advancement in the job market.

Can I earn an RN to BSN degree online?

If you’re already an RN through a diploma or associate degree, you can bag your RN to BSN degree online in as little as 12 months – sometimes less – while still working full-time.


Earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can lead to a personally and financially rewarding career as a registered nurse (RN). To get started, enroll in an ADN program with rigorous classroom instruction and supervised clinical practice in health care settings. The ADN program usually lasts for two years.


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