Alabama is home to 15 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)-accredited colleges of nursing. As of 2013 there were 3,780 students enrolled in RN-MSN programs in the state preparing for career advancement in such critical areas as advanced clinical practice, nursing education, public health, administration, clinical leadership and informatics. Pursuing a career change and moving into advanced clinical and non-clinical roles not only means enjoying a greater level of autonomy as a nurse, it also results in a much higher salary.
Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) certified as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and nurse midwives and serving as primary care providers are seen as key to addressing the shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in Alabama’s rural areas.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, only six percent of Alabama’s RNs were licensed as advanced clinicians in 2013. However, a concerted effort is being made within the profession to increase that number by making specialized RN-MSN bridge programs more widely accessible.
Salaries for MSN-Prepared Nurses in Alabama
The monetary benefits of higher education are clear in the results of the 2012 salary survey conducted by the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses. They report the following average annual salaries for RNs in the southern states.
- Associate’s degree – $58,562
- Bachelor’s Degree – $61,956
- Master’s Degree – $77,370
MSN-educated nurses in Alabama with Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) licenses often earned even more. The Alabama Department of Labor reports salaries for nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners in the state (2014):
- Entry Level – $122,146
- Mid-Career – $151,826
- Experienced – $166,670
- Entry Level – $67,434
- Mid-Career – $92,887
- Experienced – $105,618
Nurse Practitioner Salaries in Alabama
Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases, prescribe medications and educate patients on health related issues. They are especially important in medically underserved regions of the state.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a full analysis of nurse practitioner salaries in key areas of Alabama (2013):
Nurse Anesthetist Salaries in Alabama
Nurse anesthetists are generally the highest earning APNs, in Alabama and nationwide. They deliver anesthesia during surgery and provide both pre- and post-operative care.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a full analysis of nurse anesthetist salaries in key areas of Alabama (2013):
*Values are at or above $187,199 per year and $90.00 per hour. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics generally does not report annual salaries higher than $187,199 or hourly wages higher than $90.00.