iQuanti: The average salary within the nursing profession varies widely, impacted by many factors such as specialty, geographic location, and education level. Regardless of where your pay falls on the scale, it's always a good idea to plan for the next step in your professional journey. Whether you have student loans, other debt, or live in an area with a high cost of living, it can be especially beneficial to consider every opportunity to stretch your pay, earn more, and maximize your hard-earned salary.
Complete a Nursing Specialty Certification
As a nurse, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of your patients. You also have the opportunity to maximize your salary by completing a nursing specialty certification in your area of interest and expertise, such as a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) or Pediatric Nursing certification (CPN). These certifications are conducted by major nursing organizations as a formal review and validation of your professional skills and knowledge.
There are many different nursing specialties to choose from, so you can find one that fits your interests and career goals and corresponds with your license. The requirements vary depending on the specialty, but usually involve a combination of qualifying hours of work, classes, and an exam. For example, to become a CEN, you would need an active RN license and to pass the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing exam (two or more years of RN experience is recommended but not required).
By specializing in a particular area of nursing, you can become an expert in that field and command a higher salary.
Get Your Advanced Nursing Degree
Earning a graduate degree could be one way of furthering your goal to make a higher nursing salary. With a graduate degree, you can pursue a career path as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or a nurse manager. If you want to take it one step further, a doctoral degree can offer career choices as a nurse educator, nurse researcher, or even healthcare administrator.
The APRN category covers many nursing roles including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, all of whom earn average higher salaries that can be up to 50% higher than the average RN salary.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be a great resource, with lists of each nursing specialty by median hourly rate and educational requirements, such as Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Nursing Student Loan Refinance
An important consideration in maximizing your salary is reducing or resolving student debt you may be carrying. If you have private student loans for your nursing education and are looking to pay less over the lifetime of your student loan, a nursing student loan refinance could be an option. Refinancing your nursing student loan could offer you better terms like a lower interest rate or a shorter loan term for a quicker payoff through a private lender.
When refinancing a student loan, your new lender pays off your old loan with a new one. The lender can be a bank, an online financial institution, or a credit union. The new loan could have new terms that can benefit your budget.
Note that refinancing may not be the right choice for all of your loans. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced a student loan debt relief plan which includes forgiveness of up to $10,000 for qualifying federal student loans and up to $20,000 for qualifying Pell Grant recipients. For more information, please read the announcement. Please note that if you refinance qualifying federal student loans, you may no longer be eligible for certain benefits or programs and waive your right to future benefits or programs offered on those loans. Please carefully consider your options when refinancing federal student loans and consult StudentAid.gov for the most current information.
Check if You Qualify for Professional Student Loan Forgiveness
If you have federal student loans, you may also be eligible for student loan forgiveness programs. There are several programs with varying qualifications that are worth considering. Learn more at studentaid.gov and look into whether you are eligible for any programs. Two that are often applicable for nurses include the following:
1. The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
A program designed to aid nurses who work in high-demand areas is the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program run by the Health Research and Services Administration. This program offers 60% nursing student loan forgiveness over two years to registered nurses who work at nonprofit critical shortage facilities or Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). In addition, for a third year of service, you may be eligible to have another 25% of your loan forgiven.
2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
A borrower that works for a not-for-profit or government organization may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the PSLF program. PSLF erases the remaining loan balance once the borrower has made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
Getting the Most from Your Paycheck
Taking steps to pursue specialties and graduate degrees could maximize your opportunities to advance your career and increase your salary in the long term. Meanwhile, strategies that reduce student loan debt could help to stretch every month's budget, achieve your financial goals, and get the most out of your current salary.
Public Relations Specialist
Senior Public Relations Specialist
Press Release Service by Newswire.com
Original Source: How to Maximize Your Salary as a Nurse