Inside the 2024 State of the Nursing
Profession and Salary Guide

With Career Insights for Nurses and Nursing Professionals

Current and Future State of the U.S. Nursing Workforce 

Welcome to the 2024 State of the Nursing Profession and Salary Guide. For the last several months, our team has been hard at work collecting data and professional insights from nurses around the nation. Our goal: To better understand the current state of nursing, nursing trends, needs, challenges, and opportunities facing our fellow healthcare professionals.

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The Current State of Nursing 

Throughout the survey, nurses weighed in with their recommendations on how to meet the needs they see in the profession. Initiatives around better pay, mental health and emotional support, adequate staffing, and a positive work environment repeatedly came up as things that could help increase nurse retention.  

In this downloadable e-book, you’ll find nurses’ answers to questions regarding salaries, certifications, areas of employment, and specialty interests, as well as their perspectives on the current state of healthcare in the United States. 

Inside you’ll find: 

  • A snapshot of average nurse salaries and benefits
  • Popular certification and specialization options
  • The best and worst of day, evening, and night shifts
  • How technology and AI are impacting healthcare
  • What concerns nurses about the nursing profession
  • What gives them hope

2024 State of US Nursing Report 

Number of Nurses in the United States 

Over 4 million Registered Nurses currently work in the United States. Even more nursing professionals work as LPN/LVNs and APRNs. 

The nurses included in our survey come from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, licenses, specialties, and years of experience. Demographics including age, gender, ethnicity, and education level are in line with the average demographics for all nurses across the United States.

Average Salaries by State 

As of 2023, the average salary of nurses in the United States is $77,204. However, this varies by gender, location, license, specialty, and work setting. Nurses with more education typically earn a higher salary, as do nurses living in States like California and New York. 

Although nurses do earn more than the average working adult in the United States, 52% of nurses who responded to the survey are not satisfied with their salary. Overall, nurses are looking for more bonuses, profit-sharing opportunities, and better reimbursements. 

Possible Nursing Career Advancements 

Healthcare is continuously evolving, which means there’s always room to grow. For those looking for new challenges and opportunities, a nursing degree opens so many doors. Here are some of the top highest paid specialties according to our survey. 

Top 5 highest-paid specialties: 

  • Forensic: $145,000
  • Cath lab: $135,000
  • Radiology: $110,000
  • ICU/CCU: $107,639
  • Palliative care: $105,000 

Nursing Trends 2024 

Among respondents, about half have a professional certification; half do not. According to the survey, those most likely to have a professional certification usually work in the following settings: 

  • Urgent care
  • Virtual healthcare
  • Subacute
  • Private practice 
  • Clinic

As of 2024, only about 8% of nurse respondents are pursuing a degree (compared to 25% last year). 11% (compared to 33% last year) are pursuing a certification.

What Does the Future Hold for Nurses?

Although 57% of nurses would recommend new graduates to join the profession, this is strongly tied to their experience on the job. However, despite the uncertain environment and increased level of burnout, only 24% are considering changing professions. This represents a significant drop (16% points) compared to last year. Addressing the concerns of nurses about the current state of the profession and reducing their workload are key drivers to retain them in the future. 

Elite Learning is still a leader in Nursing Education in 2024

For over 20 years, Elite Learning has provided licensed professionals from around the nation with the highest quality continuing education and professional development courses that not only meet their state mandated requirements, but also empower them with the knowledge they need to achieve more in their careers.  

Quality CE created for the nurse who loves to learn. 

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Why partner with Elite to meet your CE needs?

Designed by nurses, for nurses 
Our instructors love the profession as much as you do, and you’ll find that care reflected in our evidence-based courses. 

Loved by your peers 
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A provider you can trust 
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Q: What are the most significant challenges facing nurses in the US today?

A desire to feel valued. Nurses work hard for their degree, complete continued education to stay on top of the latest information and put themselves out there to advocate for their patients. Many nurses state that they would feel better about their job if their employer recognized their hard work.
Lack of manager support. Often, there’s a feeling of disconnect between the nurses and the people who make rules and decisions that impact them. Nurses want their managers to be present and available on the unit, a well-staffed unit, and for their complaints to be heard.
Moral distress stemming from lack of resources. Nursing associations from around the country warn that moral distress caused by too little time with patients, being short staffed, lack of resources, and being unable to do their best work is a huge reason for nurse burnout and leaving the healthcare profession completely. 

Q: How do nurse staffing levels impact patient care?

There’s no question about it: Safe staffing saves lives. Again and again, studies have shown that appropriate staffing levels improve patient outcomes, leading to greater satisfaction for both patients and nurses. 

Q: What role do nurses play in healthcare policy and advocacy?

Generally, healthcare policies are developed at the local, state, or national levels. Congress crafts the overarching laws, but this is not a solo act. It requires input from regulatory bodies and agencies within the federal government. Input can also come from nursing and healthcare organizations, lobbyists, and passionate individuals that effectively communicate with politicians to speak on their behalf.

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