The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of registered nurses (RNs) will grow seven percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This is based on a number of trends, including:

  • increased emphasis on preventive care
  • rising rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and dementia
  • demand for healthcare services among the baby boomer generation

However, the BLS also reveals that the typical level of education needed to enter this occupation and earn the most lucrative salaries is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Most employers prefer BSN-prepared registered nurses — and many require it.

BSN-Prepared Nursing Opportunities

RN nurses should consider furthering their educations not just because employers prefer BSN-prepared staff, but also because a BSN degree can increase your earnings and open up more career opportunities. Pharmaceutical RNs, nursing informatics professionals, nurse case managers and nurse administrators are just a few of the highest paying roles that BSN-prepared nurses are eligible to fulfill. Recently, jobs related to the COVID-19 pandemic have also become incredibly high-paying.

However, there are opportunities outside these specialties that offer even more competitive salaries for BSN-prepared nurses, such as:

  • Travel nurses (in any specialty)
  • Oncology nurses
  • Addiction nurses
  • Cardiovascular nurses
  • Neonatal nurses
  • Public health nurses

Of course, RN staff nurses are also in high demand and can make an average of $73,300 per year, according to 2019 data from the BLS. Still, states that, “In general, if you’re an RN who also holds a BSN, you can expect to make more as a staff nurse. This isn’t always the case, and it varies by facility, but because many hospitals and healthcare facilities are prioritizing hiring BSN-prepared nurses, they may offer higher salaries and/or sign-on bonuses and incentives for new employees.”

Profitable Positions in Ohio & Michigan

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) 2019 report showed that the number of BSN-prepared nurses is at an all-time high at 56% of all nurses.

For BSN-prepared nurses working in the East North Central region, including Michigan and Ohio, salaries aren’t the highest in the country, but they are competitive. Per ZipRecruiter data, the average annual salary for a BSN nurse in Ohio is $86,836, compared to a nationwide average of $86,177 (according to March 2021 PayScale data). In Michigan, the average annual salary for RNs with a BSN is also $86,836.

Michigan’s “Hot 50 Job Outlook Through 2028­­” report also serves as evidence for growth opportunities for BSN-prepared RNs (a projected job growth of 9.8% between 2018 and 2028).

Why Do Some RNs Resist Earning a BSN?

Even with all this evidence, there’s still hesitation among RNs with an ADN to move forward with their education. The Ohio Board of Nursing 2019 “Ohio Workforce Data Summary Report” broke down the reasons for not obtaining a BSN (from 46,167 respondents):

  • Age or stage in career – 29% (13,202)
  • Satisfied with current level of practice – 18% (8,157)
  • Financial barriers/tuition assistance – 7% (3,382)
  • Personal and/or work schedules – 6% (2,791)
  • Plan to leave nursing; retired; not working in nursing – 23% (10,605)
  • Out of school too long; too difficult – 6% (2,840)
  • Other, and no accessible program – 11% (5,190)

While everyone has different barriers and challenges to progressing their career, some may not understand the various options for overcoming those obstacles.

For example, online RN to BSN programs such as that at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) are incredibly flexible, allowing students to work or fulfill family obligations while completing courses. EMU offers six different start dates per year, and the program can be completed in as few as 12 to 24 months — a quicker path to securing higher-paying positions.

EMU’s program also offers the same affordable, pay-by -course rate for in-state and out-of-state students. Financial aid may also be available for eligible students. Since the program is completely online, anyone can attend — whether they reside in eastern Michigan or across the country.

Turning a Shortage into a Fruitful Career

The nationwide nursing shortage can seem like an overwhelming problem as the demand for qualified nurses has struggled to keep up with widespread healthcare needs. Yet, nurses who jump into a BSN track can be a key solution to the problem. Those who recognize this will have their labor well-rewarded.

Learn more about Eastern Michigan University’s online RN to BSN program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
Nursing Shortage
The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice

Nomad: COVID-19 Urgent Travel Nurse Jobs The Highest Paying Jobs for Nurses with a BSN

Ohio Workforce Data Summary Report: 2019 Registered Nurse

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

State of Michigan: Michigan’s Hot 50 Job Outlook Through 2028

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses

BSN Salary in Ohio
BSN Salary in Michigan