Are Nurses in the Middle Class? (or Working Class?)

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Some nurses are in the Middle Class, particularly when they’re nurses with higher degrees, in advanced management, or have administrative roles.

My aunts were both nurses, so I was able to see how they lived. They were comfortable, but they were by no means rich. They were able to get by.  

Now, I see that more than 5.5 million nurses and nurses aides in the US. Entry-level Nursing Assistants and orderlies have an average annual salary of $29,640.

Registered Nurses and other more advanced health care workers have an average annual salary of $73,300.  

*Disclosure: This article on are nurses in the middle class and working class may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. For more info, please see my disclaimer.

What is Considered Middle Class?  

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The Middle Class is an ambiguous term that is somewhat transitory. Some 52% of US adults are considered Middle Class, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Middle Class has continued to decline over the last 50+ years.

Here are some basic benchmarks related to the middle class. 

  • There is no standard threshold for the Middle Class, although some experts use the range of $50,00 to $150,000 as a range. 
  • Home-and-car ownership are two benchmarks for middle-class status.
  • Access to healthcare is a milestone. 
  • Being able to take your family on vacation is another milestone, as is having money saved for retirement and/or having money saved for a child’s college education.
  • The middle-class status may vary depending on the region and city you’re living in since the cost of living can vary so much.

Middle-Class status once referred to Americans who were generally comfortable and able to take care of their families.

There was enough left over to save for the kid’s college fund and retirement, with enough left over for vacations.

While there’s lots of debate about what Middle Class is, and what it means for the masses, the current state of economic upheaval has further complicated the debate.

Some nursing professions are better able to survive and thrive, with salaries that fall within the middle-class range.  

Are Registered Nurses in the Middle Class?  

The Registered Nurse (RN) brings in an average annual salary of $73,300, which puts those individuals in the mid-range for some estimates for Middle-Class status.

With more than three million RN jobs listed in the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Handbook, the job outlook is growing faster than average at 7%.  

Are LPNs and LVNS in the Middle Class? 

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) make an average annual salary of $47,480 without a degree.

While there were more than 700,000 jobs at last count, with a 9% job outlook, these positions are not considered Middle Class by standard estimations.  

Are CNAs in the Middle Class? 

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and orderlies see an annual salary of $29,640 on average.

There are more than one million CNA and Orderly jobs in the US, with a faster than average growth outlook of 9%. Still, even with the job potential, the job does not rise to even the lowest rung of Middle-Class status.  

Are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in the Middle Class? 

The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a more highly skilled RN, so these individuals make about $95,634 every year.

As with other Nursing career options, the APRN salary can range depending on certifications, specializations, advanced education, years of experience, and demonstrated skills.

With that salary level, the APRN is in the Middle-Class status range.  

What is Considered Working Class?

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According to Investopedia and The Street, the working class is typically a term used to describe people who work in low paying, low skills jobs.

Jobs that are typically looked at as requiring a lot of physical labor.

Are nurses considered the Working Class?

Nurses (LPN, RN, APRN) would not fall under the working-class category because of the high skill and education needed to perform the job. An argument could be made that nurse aides and orderlies would be considered working class.

Final Thoughts

Not all Nursing jobs will get you into the ranks of middle class, but with continued education and advancement opportunities, Nursing jobs have consistently positive job outlooks.

Even in economic turmoil, Nursing is a solid career trajectory for those looking for job security.  

Next Step: Join the Job Board  & Find Schools

Take a look at our job board to learn why Nursing career options could be the right direction for you.

Then explore our site to find out how the top-ranking colleges and universities could help you reach your Nursing goals, with your area of specialization. 

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