Nurses can work in different sectors once they complete their training and pass their state licensing examination. A major employer of nurses is physicians’ offices. In this sector, average pay is between $35,000 and $68,000, depending on title, experience and education.
LPNs and LVNs
Licensed practical or vocational nurses take just one or two years of nursing training and pass the LPN and LVN version of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). LPNs and LVNs have an average yearly salary of $36,770 in offices of physicians as of 2009, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is roughly $17.68 per hour.
Registered nurses take two to eight years of nursing education and pass the RN version of the NCLEX. Registered nurses who work in doctor’s offices make $67,290 annually as of 2009, according to the bureau. This is $32.35 hourly.
Comparison to National Average
The BLS indicates that, based on 2009 data, the national average salary for all LPNs and LVNs is $40,900 per year, or about $19.66 per hour. For RNs, the national average salary as of 2009 is $66,530 annually, or $31.99 hourly. When compared to the figures for nurses in physicians’ offices, this shows that LPNs and LVNs in doctors’ offices make about $4,130 less than the national LPN and LVN average. RNs in physicians’ offices earn compensation about $760 more than the national RN average.
Comparison to Other Sectors
According to 2009 BLS information, wages earned by LPNs and LVNs in physicians’ offices places them third in comparison to nurses in the other four major employing industries: nursing care facilities, $42,320; general medical and surgical hospitals, $39,980; home health care services, $42,300 and community care facilities for the elderly, $41,950. The amount earned by RNs in doctor’s offices ranks them second only to general medical and surgical hospitals, where RNs earn $67,740. The other high-employing sectors for RNs that fall below physicians’ offices in terms of compensation include home health care services, $63,300; nursing care facilities, $59,320 and outpatient care centers, $65,690.
Nurses in physicians’ offices typically earn higher salaries if they have a higher degree or if they have additional certifications. Wages also can vary significantly by state – for instance, for RNs, the top-paying region is California, where pay is $85,080 per year as of 2009, according to the bureau, while the lowest-paying region is Puerto Rico at $29,950. Additionally, many states are experiencing shortages in the nursing field, as shown by 2010 information from the Trust for America’s Health. In response to the shortage, some employers are offering higher wages.
- Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images