Is Being a Nurse Practitioner Worth It in 2021 (Financially)?
In this video I am going to talk about the nurse practitioner career field and share my thoughts on whether I think being a nurse practitioner is worth it compared to bedside nursing.
Alright so being a nurse practitioner requires extra 2-3 years of training on top of your bachelors and typically requires you to leave work and go back to school full time. So the question is, is it actually worth being a nurse practitioner financially and from a work environment perspective. I personally think that being a nurse practitioner is 100% worth it from all perspectives. However I will say that this is just my opinion and that it also depends on where you are working in terms of city, state or province.
First let’s talk about the financial aspect as I know most people want to know about this area first. So typically schooling will cost upwards of 20 – 30 thousand dollars and that is just tuition. You also have to consider that if you are working as a RN full time you are losing that salary as well as the experience that could increase your salary too. To give you an example, I work in British Columbia and this has a wage grid of how much a nurse makes with the year of experience they have and as you can see the more years you are working full time as a nurse the higher your salary gets. For this example let’s say nurse practitioner school takes 2 years to complete and to be more realistic let’s say you have 3 years of full time working experience as a registered nurse.
So if we look down at level 3 salary in the 3rd year that is how much you would get paid with 3 years of experience as a bedside nurse. Now lets calculate the opportunity cost, which is the amount you would gain in the 4th and 5th year where you would be in school as a nurse practitioner. So at year 3 you would be making 38.26 in 2020, but by year 2021 you would be making 40.41 as your wage would increase because of experience but also inflation would be considered so you actually can’t use one table to predict how much you would make.
So in conclusion you would be making:
Year 1: $38.26/hr * 1950 = 74607
Year 2: $40.41/hr * 1950 = 78799
1950 is the amount hours a nurse works approximately in year full time which is basically 37.5 hours a week. This also does not also include differentials as it would just be way too complicated to calculate. Also, keep in mind guys that this without ANY overtime shifts so this is a VERY conservative number. I can tell you from my year of experience that you easily make more than this, but for the sake of this video lets be conservative. So as a registered nurse working full time you will be conservatively making 74 – 78 thousand dollars a year minimum. So let’s take the average of that and say 76000 a year times two which would be 152000 dollars of income lost if you went to nurse practitioner school as well as 20 – 30 thousand dollars a year on top of that for tuition.
For the sake of this video let’s say that NP school is 2 years and your tuition is going to cost 20,000 dollars. In total, your expenses at the end of 2 years considering missed pay is going to be: so 20,000 dollars plus 76,000 dollars times two years of NP school so in total it will be 172,000 dollars. So after the two years your starting salary in British Columbia would be according to payscale.com and glassdoor.com approximately 100,000 with the upwards maximum of 140,000. Links will be in description below if you want to check those sources out.
So now let’s consider the maximum you make working full time without differentials as a registered nurse. So currently in 2020, you make 46$ an hour working as nurse in your 9th year and an average raise of 1.50 an hour more increase every year. So say you make 46$ an hour, that would mean you make 89,700$. Whereas as a nurse practitioner you make 90,000 starting. But in this comparison since we are 3 years in, we are comparing our 3 years of expreince plus the 2 years that it takes for NP school, so we would be making 41$ an hour if we were to work as a bedside nurse, totaling our annual income to be approximately 80,000 dollars.
Therefore, in conclusion in terms of finances:
To be a NP, you would have to pay the 20,000 of JUST tuition fees.
You would lose the salary you would be making as a RN for 2 years totaling 152,000 dollars.
As a registered nurse you would be making 80,000 dollars a year without differentials by your 5th year.
As a NP you would be making 100,000 dollars a year just coming out of school.
So now to see if it is worth it, lets compare how many years it would take to make the 172,000 dollars that we would have made if we stayed a registered nurse. The difference is approximately 20,000 dollars so lets say that is how much you are paying towards your 172,000 each year. 172000 divided by 20000 would be 8.6. So essentially it would take you 8.6 years in order for the difference of increase in salary to make up for the time lost working for school.
Overall, this means that being a NP in this example is worth it financially but this is an estimate that does not portray the realities as it doesn’t consider many different factors. It doesn’t consider working overtime as a RN and differentials which would EASILY give the RN an extra income if they wanted. It also does not consider that consider than many people have to take out loans to pay for NP school which means that you also have to pay interest that accrues as you pay for it. It doesn’t consider that the RN job has one of the best unions in the nation and has extensive benefits, and standardizes way of giving vacation.
With all that being considered, I do not believe being a NP is worth it in terms of finances. However, that is not the only reason to consider being a NP, like I mentioned, there is education that gives you the knowledge to understand and provide greater levels of care to someone. Some may argue that this is actually a bad thing as they have more responsibility but in my honest opinion, it provides me with happiness and I am grateful for it. Anyways, this is just my thoughts and opinions. I would love to hear what you think about this age old debate of RN vs NP.
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