The nursing profession is one of the most versatile professions out there. Not only is the job description and duties versatile, but so is your pay rate.

A nurse can make as little as $50,000 a year for an LPN to well over 6 figures as an advanced practice nurse. Below I’m going to talk about this in just a little bit more detail.

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Can Nurses Make 6 Figures?

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It’s possible to make 6 figures ($100,000) a year as a nurse. To do this, the nurse would have to be willing to change careers, get an advanced degree or skillset, or start a side-hustle or a business.

Below, I will share some of the ways you can make over $100,000 a year as a nurse.

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How to Make Over 6 Figures as a Nurse

1. Get an Advanced Nursing Degree

One of the surefire ways to make over 6 figures as a nurse is to go back to school and get a master of science in nursing or a doctorate of nursing practice and become a nurse provider.

Specifically, I’m talking about becoming a nurse practitioner, a nurse anesthetist, or a nurse-midwife.

If you look at the average salary of a registered nurse, it’s about $73,300 and $48,820 for a licensed practical nurse. Compare that with the average for an NP, a CRNA, or a nurse-midwife, and you’re looking at around $117,670 to well above the 6 figure mark.

Depending on which specialty you end up in, your potential to make much higher than that is pretty good.

School is time-consuming and expensive, but it’s worth it if your end result is more money and more options. You can go here to start looking for graduate nursing school programs.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the programs that’s right for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

2. Change Jobs or Specialties

Here’s the thing, not all facilities pay the same, and not all specialties pay the same. If you want to maximize how much you’re making, you need to work for facilities that pay the most and work in a specialty that pays really well.

For instance, in the article 10 Highest Paying RN Jobs, you’ll notice a quick pattern which is the highest paying jobs tend to be specialties or sub-specialties (ex. Oncology Nurse, Flight Nurse, OR Nurse). The reason for that is you can’t have just any nurse show up and do that job. They have to be specially trained.

So what opportunities are available will depend on your area but in general, look for specialty and subspecialty jobs like transplant ICU nurse or pain management nurse.

You can go to the NurseMoneyTalk nursing job board to start looking for job opportunities near you.

Pro-Tip
Keep in mind some of those sub-specialty jobs might not get you to 6 figures without working a little bit of overtime. The main advantage is that you’ll already have a base income that’s higher than most.

3. Move / Change Locations

For many reasons, such as cost of living and the supply of nurses, nurses in different states can make significantly less than the average, the average, or significantly above the average for nurse pay.

States in the coastal parts of the country tend to pay nurses more than states in the middle to the south of the country. This means that making six figures could be easier in another state than the one you’re currently living in.

It’s Not Just About the Higher Pay
You can’t just think about making 6 figures because in many states that pay nurses more, the cost of living can be significantly more than those that pay less.

Some states have a cost of living so high that it doesn’t make up for the higher wage you would be paid there.

4. Work Overtime

This is not my favorite one, but it’s a viable option, and honestly, for most nurses, this is probably the easiest one. While the other options involve going back to school, learning a new trait, or changing jobs, this one is just as easy as picking up more shifts.

How to Maximize Picking Up Shifts

The nurses I’ve seen make the most money doing this are the ones that pick up shifts when there’s a nursing bonus.

For example, I used to work at a facility that gave a bonus when they were desperate (and double-bonus if they were really desperate) to nurses and techs for picking up shifts last minute.

The bonus was $225. That’s $225 on top of your pay, which would be time and a half for a full-time staff because you would be in overtime. $450 if it was a double bonus.

Many nurses got so clever they wouldn’t pick up a shift unless the facility offered a bonus. Some would even demand a double bonus before they would pick up a shift.

Another facility I worked at had a program that would give you a bonus if you picked up so many extra shifts in a six-week period. If you’re at the right facility and taking advantage of some of these programs, you can do really well.

I worked with a nurse making well over six figures just by picking up an extra shift. So he ended up working 4, 12-hour shifts every week, which isn’t really that much if you think about it. He still had three days off every week.

Pro-Tip
Working a lot of overtime shifts is not a schedule for everyone. It can be detrimental to your health, so make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to recuperate, or you risk burning yourself out. With that said, for short-term goals, this is a great option.

5. Start a Side Hustle

I love side-hustles. I have a couple, and I believe everyone (including nurses) should have at least one of their own.

Which side-hustle you pick will depend on you and your interests, but the right one can be very lucrative or, at a minimum, give you extra money that can go towards your goals.

You can start a side hustle that leverages the talents you already have as a nurse, such as being a freelance nurse writer or starting a nurse blog. You can do something completely different that you are interested in, but maybe you don’t have the skills for it quite yet. If that’s the case, you can definitely use a platform like Skillshare to learn the skills you need.

Here are some good nurse side hustles:

  • Start a nurse blog
  • Become a freelance nurse writer
  • Become a proofreader (this FREE webinar can help you do just that)

For more information or suggestions on starting a nurse side hustle, check out my article on some of the top nurse side-hustles.

6. Start Your Own Business

I mentioned above about starting your own side-hustle, which might make you scratch your head why I’m mentioning starting your own business. Aren’t they the same thing?

Well, yes and no. The way I see it, a side-hustle and a business are different. When I mention side-hustles, it’s something you’re doing on the side on top of your full-time job. This could be something you do on the weekends or something your just doing when the kids go to bed at night.

Side-hustles give you some income, and to be fair, some of them can make you a lot of money, but it’s probably not something you’re trying to replace your full-time job with (though it could be).

If that ever does happen, it ceases to be a side hustle and becomes a business.

That is where I’m focusing on becomes starting a business and getting it to become successful is where you can make a lot of money and ultimately build wealth.

It’s a business when you build something that has the potential to make you money when you’re not actively working on it.

Let me give you an example. I’ve known or have heard of nurses who have started their own staffing agency. There are nurses doing well with their own consulting business or nurses who have built up a digital business.

The list goes on and on of nurses who have built up successful business outside of their 9-to-5.

Find Your Job

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7. Learn to Manage Your Finances

What does learning about personal finance have to do with making 6 figures as a nurse? EVERYTHING! It doesn’t matter how much money you make as a nurse, a CRNA, or whatever else you’re doing.

If you don’t know how to manage it, you’re in trouble. If you haven’t learned the basics of budgeting, saving, investing, and giving, you will have a hard time building any sort of wealth.

You can’t make enough money to get over poor money management or dumb decisions. For example, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of stories about professional athletes who have made tens of millions of dollars only to become broke without a penny to their name.

You can’t make enough money to get over poor money management and dumb decisions.

Please don’t let that be you. Take the time to start educating yourself on these things. You don’t have to become a financial expert. You just have to know enough to avoid catastrophic decisions.

If you need help getting started, here are some good personal finance books you can check out.

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
A good starting point to understand how money affects you.

You can also check out some of these articles I wrote:

Making Over 100K is Doable As a Nurse

Making 6 figures as a nurse is very doable. It’s just a matter of how bad you want it and what you are willing to do for it.

Are you willing to work overtime, change jobs or locations, go back to school or learn some new skills or traits? Maybe you’re willing to start your own side-hustle or business and become a nurse entrepreneur to give yourself a limitless ceiling of income potential.

Regardless of which one you pick, there are pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages with each one.

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section below. Also, let me know if there’s another way to make six figures as a nurse that I might have missed.

Have You Read Any of These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

A nurse can make over $100,000 a year. It might require the nurse to get further training or to change jobs or locations, but it’s doable.

A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is the highest-paid nurse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they make on average $189,190 per year.

A nurse can make $100,000 a year, but it will depend on what state the nurse lives in and what area of nursing they work in. If the nurse has any advanced training or skillset, that will also increase the likelihood of them making over 6 figures.

Nurses can become rich by either saving and investing their money. They can become wealthy by starting a successful business or side-hustle.

A nurse can make $200,000 a year, but it will depend on what state the nurse lives in and what area of nursing they work in. If the nurse has any advanced training or skillset, that will also increase the likelihood of making that much money.

The nursing profession has the potential to make more than most other professions, but it’s not the highest paying profession out there. If your goal is to make the most money possible, the nursing profession is not for you.