Salary Expectations in the Nursing Field

There are several reasons that an individual may seek a career in the medical field. Many enjoy the daily interaction with a variety of people and seek a career that is both varied and progressive. One of the positives of obtaining a career in the medical field is there is a lucrative earning potential. There is training available that most anyone can fit into their schedule depending upon their motivation and the pay, in relation to training time, is rewarding.

Certified Nursing Assistant:

A Certified Nurse’s Assistant or CNA certification can be obtained over a relatively short period of time.  The C.N.A. is exactly what the job title describes.  The CNA assists the nursing staff and is a valuable member of the medical time.  They will spend the most time with a patient and is responsible for obtaining vitals and assisting patients with activities of daily living or ADL’s. ADL’s may include feeding, bathing, and grooming, and assisting with a patient’s mobility.  The average C.N.A. salary is $17,000 – 33,000 a year.  You can earn a C.N.A. certification in as little as 4 weeks but usually this takes about 6-8 weeks. You must pass a test to obtain certification.

Related: From CNA to LPN – Moving forward

Licensed practical Nurse:

The next step up in the nursing staff is the L.P.N. or Licensed Practical Nurse.  In some states the L.P.N. is synonymous with a L.V.N or Licensed Vocational Nurse.  The L.P.N. or L.V.N. oversees the C.N.A. and provides basic and advanced medical care, such as passing medication, starting I.V.s, performing wound care, and providing therapies and treatments as ordered per the Physician and monitors a patient’s response to these treatments. The LPN works directly under the R.N. and assists in carrying out nursing tasks. A L.P.N. student can expect to take some premed courses and then will complete the L.P.N. program in about a year.  You must pass the State Board NCLEX-PN before receiving a license to practice. The average L.P.N. salary is $20,000 – 50,000 a year.

Related: Guide to LPN Training Online

Registered Nurse:

The R.N. is at the top of the Nursing staff just under the Physician.  The R.N. or Registered Nurse is responsible to triage each patient and then must implement a plan of care for each patient based upon that person’s unique individual needs and is responsible to ensure that each plan of care is carried out by the nursing staff.  The R.N. must perform routine assessments, make note of changes, and communicate with the Physician on a regular basis. The R.N. can also provide treatments, pass medication including I.V. push meds, and is responsible for assisting the Physician directly.  The average R.N. salary is $48,000 – 90,000 a year. You must complete your college pre-med classes and then complete a 2 year nursing program.  You will end up with a minimum of an Associated Degree in Nursing.  A BSN or Bachelor’s or Master’s in Nursing will require more school time and thus will earn a much higher salary.  You must pass the state exam NCLEX-RN in order to obtain your R.N. license.

Related: here’s a quick rundown on the differences between LVN and RN


A Phlebotomist is also an essential member of the medical team.  A Phlebotomist specializes in obtaining blood samples as ordered per the Physician but can also be of value in obtaining blood for blood drives and plasma centers.  The average Phlebotomist yearly salary is $20,000 – 40,000 in an entry level position. A Phlebotomist Training Course can require 150-230 hours on average. You will be required to pass an exam as well.

Dental Assistant:

A Dental Assistant plays an important role in the dental office.  A Dental Assistant works alongside the Dentist and provides assistance to make the Dentist’s job easier.  The Dental Assistant provides patient interaction, assists with equipment and patient positioning, and provides an extra set of hands during dental procedures. You can expect to complete some premed college classes and then must complete a Dental Assistant Training Program which will take about a year. You are then required to take an exam, the CDA or Certified Dental Assistant’s Exam, in order to receive your certification. The average Dental Assistant yearly salary is between $28,000 – 40,000.

Please keep in mind that these salaries are based upon averages and will vary from state to state. The amounts will be higher with more years of experience as well. However, if you are looking forward to an exciting and well paying career then a medical profession could be just what the Dr. ordered 🙂

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