The ongoing policy debate about the best way forward with healthcare reform has left out a major group of professionals central to making the system work—nurses. Nursing: Can It Remain a Source of Upward Mobility Amidst Healthcare Turmoil? finds that a college education is key to upward mobility in the profession. The report also reveals a lack of diversity among nurses remains a challenge.

Key Findings


RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing ($68,000) make more than RNs with an Associate’s degree in Nursing ($61,000).


While nursing is a premier earnings profession among women, a gender-wage gap persists; male RNs earn more than female RNs at every education level.


LPNs/LVNs are more racially and ethnically diverse— 44 percent are minority—but they also have less education, typically only an undergraduate certificate, substantially lower wages ($46,000), and face major difficulties advancing to RN positions (only 18 percent of RNs start out as LPNs/LVNs).


The lack of racial and ethnic diversity remains a challenge in nursing—only 7 percent of RNs are Latino, compared to 16 percent of the U.S. population who are Latino.

Full Report

Nursing: Can It Remain a Source of Upward Mobility Amidst Healthcare Turmoil? finds that as the healthcare debate continues, 160,000 nursing jobs could be in jeopardy. The report also reveals that education is increasingly key to success in the nursing field.

Nursing Careers