Skip to main content

Arkansas State University

A Look at Salary and Job Options for RN to BSN Graduates

Demand and salaries for nurses are rising nationwide, and due to nursing shortages, this trend is likely to continue far into the future. Because of the changes in healthcare, the prospects for BSN-prepared nurses are higher than those for RNs with associate degrees or nursing diplomas. A BSN will not only help you get a job, it can also help you earn a promotion at your current place of employment. The online RN to BSN program at Arkansas State University is a convenient, high-quality option for RNs who want to advance their careers without sacrificing their jobs and personal responsibilities.

How Much Can I Earn?

RN salaries are on the rise

Most of us want to know how much we’re going to get paid when we graduate, and working RNs are no different. The difference is that these nurses already hold professional healthcare positions and may wonder how much a BSN will affect their salaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for registered nurses in 2020 was $75,330 per year. This is up from the 2019 figure of $73,300, according to U.S. News & World Report. The job outlook from 2020-2030 is 9 percent growth, which is slightly higher than average. The BLS notes that the standard education is a bachelor’s degree; however, it accounts for all registered nurses, including those with associate degrees. Salaries and demand vary, depending on the region and specialty. Additionally, nurses with BSN degrees have that can lead to higher salaries.

What Kind of Nursing Jobs Can I Get With a BSN?

Nurses with a bachelor’s degree can find employment in many healthcare areas. Whether you prefer a desk job or traveling the world, there is a nursing job that is right for you.

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses usually work for one employer for a set amount of time before moving on to the next position in a different region. These assignments typically last from 13 to 26 weeks, according to TravelNursing. Travel nursing is perfect for those who want to see the country before settling down. Travel,Nursing notes that due to severe nursing shortages in some locations, traveling nurse salaries are often more than that of full-time, permanent staff. Medical benefits, paid housing and reimbursement for travel costs is common from many travel nurse companies. Because each assignment is different and salaries vary greatly depending on location, it’s difficult to come up with an accurate number for annual salaries. One area may offer a higher wage and a lower housing stipend, while others will provide a lower salary with a higher stipend for living expenses. But according to a recent survey by TravelNursing, the median salary for travel nurses is around $88,400.

Emergency Room Nurse

Nurses who enjoy fast-paced, exciting work might want to consider working as an ER nurse. As of December 2021, the median nationwide salary for a staff nurse in an emergency room was $93,405, according to ZipRecruiter. Of course, salaries vary depending by region, as well as the nurse’s education and experience. Many healthcare systems offer referral bonuses, liability insurance and health coverage.

Flight Nurse

Flight nursing is a great option for those with a sense of adventure and a desire to provide immediate critical care. Flight nurses — also called aero-medical nurses — are part of helicopter emergency rescue crews, though they sometimes ride in other aircraft. These nurses accompany patients on hospital transfers and provide care during a variety of emergency missions. Flight nurses typically earn around $81,093 annually — significantly more than nurses who work on solid ground. They often work two 24-hour shifts during a week, which leaves time for side jobs. Employers often cover health, dental and life insurance for flight nurses and their families. They are also likely to receive paid vacation and matching 401k accounts as part of their benefits package.

Forensic Nurse

Forensic nurses “provide specialized care for patients who are experiencing acute and long-term health consequences associated with victimization or violence, and/or have unmet evidentiary needs relative to having been victimized or accused of victimization,” according to The International Association of Forensic Nurses. In addition, forensic nurses provide consultation and testimony for civil and criminal proceeding. They collect evidence for the criminal justice system and sometimes testify in court as expert witnesses. Though not as exciting as what you might see on TV, forensic nursing is another interesting specialization within nursing. Forensic nurses mostly work in ERs and laboratories.

The average salary for forensic nurses is $65,047, according to ZipRecruiter.

Nursing Manager

If you’re more interested in leadership and administration, you may want to consider a nursing manager or unit manager position. Nursing managers make an average of $85,060 according to December 2021 data from ZipRecruiter.

Salaries for other nursing jobs:

Nurse Consultant $99,362
General Duty Nurse $83,478
Infection Control Nurse $82,390
Nurse Head $100,845
Occupational Health Nurse $78,111
Office Nurse $73,832
Public Health Nurse Supervisor $80,774

(Salaries accessed December 10, 2021 from

Of course there are many other jobs for nurses with BSNs, so you are sure to find something that interests you.

Will a BSN Help Me Get a Promotion?

As with most professions, earning a promotion depends on a variety of factors. Experience, education and being good at what you do all affect your ability to climb to the ladder.

Many healthcare facilities now require new hire nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree. These hospitals are often looking to earn Magnet Status by raising their ratio of BSN-prepared nurses. Other institutions are suggesting that their current nursing staff earn a BSN within a set period of time to remain employed.

With all of that said, nurses with a bachelor’s degree do have an advantage over equally experienced colleagues who have only an associate degree, and many advanced positions do require a minimum of a BSN.

What’s the Demand for BSN-Prepared Nurses?

Nurses are in high demand in Arkansas

While there is always a demand for nurses, recent health crises have led to a serious shortage of nurses. One widely cited study projects a shortfall of 510,394 registered nurses by 2030. The increase in demand is due to many factors, including aging nurses getting ready to retire, faculty shortages and nurses moving away from patient care positions or leaving the field. This has increased the demand for new nurses.

Adding to this demand is the aging Baby Boomer population who now need more medical care — often ongoing treatment for chronic conditions. Many of these older Americans have more than one chronic condition for which they seek treatment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 3,080,100 RN jobs in 2021, and that number is expected to grow by 9 percent by 2030. The shortage is so severe that The American Nurses Association (ANA) urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a recent letter to declare the current nurse staffing shortage a national crisis. For RNs with a bachelor’s degree, the job outlook is promising.

Where Are the Nursing Jobs?

Luckily for nurses, they are necessary in every region of the country, though the severity of the demand varies.

Top 10 States with the Highest Demand for Nurses

  1. South Carolina
  2. Nevada
  3. California
  4. Texas
  5. Georgia
  6. Washington
  7. Arizona
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Virginia
  10. Idaho

Though California is number three on the list, due to both low-income and urban areas that are densely populated as well as an aging population, it is expected that by 2030, the state will face an estimated nurse shortage of 44,500. California has some of the highest paid RNs, with average salaries around $120,560, according to BLS.

Why Should You Earn a BSN?

A-State’s Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dr. Brinda McKinney, explains why working RNs should pursue a bachelor’s degree: “It does make a big difference in their ability to manage, to supervise. They’ll have a better sense of ability to rescue a patient who’s in trouble. And all of the research out there shows that the more four-year degreed RNs you have at the bedside, the better your patient outcomes are.”

Dr. McKinney also says that those doing the hiring like seeing a BSN on a nurse’s resume.

“It helps the student because it opens another world of employment for them. And then, if they choose to go on, then they’re set and can go on to a master-level program,” she says.

What Are A-State RN to BSN Grads Saying?

Rochelle Kelly, an A-State online RN to BSN graduate, works at an outpatient surgery center in Jonesboro. Of taking classes online, she says, “I wasn’t stuck to a traditional, in-class setting. This allowed me to work full time, go to school full time, and it was actually quite a bit cheaper to do it like that as well.”

Online RN to BSN Program at Arkansas State

The RN to BSN program at A-State is a convenient way for RNs with associate degrees and nursing diplomas to earn a bachelor’s degree. This top-notch program accepts more transfer credits than many other schools and will work with you to ensure you get recognition for your hard work and experience as a nurse. Arkansas State University is dedicated to supporting its students throughout the RN to BSN program and beyond.

Learn more about the A-State online RN to BSN program.

Related Articles

Request Information

Submit the form below, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 866-621-8096

Ready to go?

Start your application today!
Or call 866-621-8096 866-621-8096
for help with any questions you have.
  • Choose All That Apply