Are you motivated to take advantage of the abundant career opportunities in the field of nursing? Everyone knows that the demand for qualified nurses has been pushing salaries higher in recent years.

While most industry experts expect this trend to continue for many years, not all nurses earn the same salary and pay can vary based on several key factors. This guide will explain what determines pay in this rapidly growing field and offer some tips and suggestions for maximizing your salary if you decide that nursing is the right career path for you.

If you are considering a career in nursing, you may want to know just how much you could potentially earn per year as a nurse. While there are plenty of great reasons to work in the health care field, there's nothing wrong with wanting to know what kind of potential exists on the financial side. The answer to that question depends on a several factors including the amount of education, number of years in the field, geographic location, and area of specialization a candidate has.

A brand new nurse just finishing training as an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse can expect a starting salary that falls in the range of $30,000 to $35,000 per year. Most people can complete an LPN program through a local community college in two years or less. After several years of experience, an LPN can make as much as $50,000 annually in some parts of the country. While this is a potentially rewarding career path on its own, many aspiring nurses use LPN certification to launch their careers and later enroll in continuing education programs that allow them to earn designation as a Registered Nurse.

The earnings differential when transitioning to RN is often significant. Demand for qualified RNs has driven starting salaries to nearly $50,000 with the potential to earn as much as $70,000 with some employers. This financial boost doesn't come without challenges however as RNs are commonly subjected to stressful and demanding work schedules. Gaining acceptance into an accredited RN program is typically competitive and in many cases will involve a waiting list for the most respected and sought after schools.

After reaching the RN level, there are several opportunities to advance to a highly specialized position that can lead to annual salaries that approach or exceed $100,000. These specialties can include but are not limited to Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, and Hospitalist Nurse Practitioners. The increased earning that come with these positions also carry greater responsibilities with more advanced specialties often times closely resembling the duties one would expect to find associated with a medical doctor. A few examples include responsibilities such as providing physicals, interpreting detailed test results, and counseling patients on a variety of diseases and health conditions.

While there are many variables that can influence how much nurses make, there are a few things that can almost always be counted on to increase long-term earnings potential. The biggest one by far is education. Taking the time to develop your educational background and earn new designations is the most powerful way to create earnings growth.

The second most important factor is level of experience. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts here but putting in the time to master your profession will lead to future salary increases and greater job security.

Keep in mind that everyone needs to start somewhere and your first few years on the job will likely involve a respectable salary while falling somewhat short of the full potential of your given area of specialty. Just like with any other career path, hard work and dedication will ultimately lead to a steady growth in salary as you gain valuable experience.