Nurses are all part of a close-knit team that delivers fast, unwavering care to their patients. As with any team, nurses need a designated leader who supervises, supports, and guides their team toward their greatest potential.
Charge Nurses are RNs who oversee a nursing department in a hospital or medical facility. In addition to being a regular nurse who tends to patients, they also perform administrative tasks.
Recommended Reading - What is a Charge Nurse in The USA?
Their leadership and management skills allow them to take on additional responsibilities, such as assigning patients, coordinating care schedules, delegating tasks, monitoring patient intake and discharges, and improving care flow.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.
Charge Nurses can work in hospitals or clinics, serving an important role in all levels of healthcare. They are both caregivers and leaders who earn their titles through proven experience and expertise.
You can become a Charge Nurse through promotion or applying to an open position if you have the right credentials. Becoming a Charge Nurse means earning more than a regular RN with the addition of new responsibilities.
How much can you earn as a Charge Nurse in the U.S.? Read on to determine how much Charge Nurses earn per year and by the hour in every state.
Core Competencies of a Charge Nurse
Charge Nurses must be able to evaluate the condition of patients during admission. In addition, Charge Nurses also assign and delegate responsibilities to other nurses and document and evaluate nurse performance. They are also responsible for creating educational programs for the nurses who work underneath them.
Charge Nurses must have excellent organizational skills, multitasking abilities, and be excellent communicators. They need to work well under pressure and be able to delegate duties in emergencies.
It is also important to note that Charge Nurses are not the same as nurse managers. While they share the same skill sets and responsibilities, Charge Nurses are directly involved with patient care. Nurse managers work more on the administrative side and have limited contact with patients.
Charge Nurse Salaries in the United States
Charge Nurse salaries in the United States range between $49,000 to $108,000 (Zippia).
The ten percentile (4%) of earners make approximately $49,000, or $24 an hour, while the average Charge Nurse makes $72,881, or $35 an hour.
The top 10% of Charge Nurses in the 90th percentile earn $108,000 per year, or $52 an hour.
How Much Does A Charge Nurse Make A Year?
According to the most recent data, Charge Nurses in America earn an average of $60,586 to $105,806.
How Much Does A Charge Nurse Make An Hour?
Charge Nurses can earn between $29.19 to $50.87 per hour. As a travel nurse, Charge Nurses can earn triple that and bring home $3,000 or more per week.
Charge Nurse Salary by State
The following table shows how much Charge Nurses make in each state. We used this data to calculate the average Charge Nurse salary and hourly pay to find a national average.
Our results show that the average Charge Nurse gets paid $73,289.27 per year or $35.24 per hour.
Hourly mean wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors that Affect How Much a Charge Nurse Makes
Charge Nurses earn their title through experience and exemplary performance as a registered nurse. So, the greatest factor influencing how much pay they’re offered is their work history.
You must have three years of experience to qualify as a Charge Nurse, but some have more than that before they are given the promotion.
Any additional credentials you have, such as a BSN, additional certificates, or specializations, can qualify you for higher pay.
If you aspire to become a Charge Nurse, you may pursue certification to become a certified nurse manager and leader (CNML) or earn a certificate in executive nursing practice (CENP).
How Quickly Can You Become A Charge Nurse And Start Earning?
You can become a Charge Nurse after becoming an RN and working at least three years in the field.
Charge Nurses all follow the same foundational path to earning their RN, but some may come from previous jobs through an LPN to RN or CNA to RN program.
Charge Nurse Career Path:
Earn an associate’s degree (ADN) or bachelor’s in nursing (BSN). Employers require most Charge Nurses to hold a BSN.
Pass the NCLEX exam to apply for a nursing license in your state.
Start working as a nurse, and demonstrate fantastic patient care and strong leadership and organizational skills.
Gain at least three years of clinical experience treating patients.
Consider earning your master’s in nursing (MSN) or getting certifications like the CNML and CENP to qualify for leadership roles.
Apply to open Charge Nurse positions.
Consider the managerial tasks of being a Charge Nurse; are you interested in assuming a supervisory role on top of your regular nursing duties?
Are you an excellent communicator who can keep calm during times of stress? Can you de-escalate and help others resolve conflict, all while managing multiple tasks at one time?
Being a Charge Nurse requires both excellent nursing skills and leadership abilities. You’ll always have a full plate, so to speak, so you need to be someone who can carefully balance their tasks while assisting others.
Recommended Reading - How to Become a Charge Nurse in The USA?
Charge Nurse Salary vs. Other Nursing Professions
Here’s how much Charge Nurses earn compared to similar titles in the field. This evaluation may be helpful for you as you determine whether being a Charge Nurse is right for you or if there are other career paths in nursing you might want to pursue.
Average Charge Nurse salary: $73,289.27
Average wage for ALL nursing professions: $66,501.65
Average RN Salary: $76,944.90
Average triage nurse salary: $69,283.65
Average scrub nurse salary: $73,366.94
Average ICU nurse salary: $84,281.06
Average nurse practitioner (NP) salary: $116,358.04
Charge Nurse Salary FAQs
Am I Being Paid Fairly As A Charge Nurse?
The easiest way to calculate fair pay for a nurse is by looking at the median pay in your state, the nation, and within your organization.
Salary packages vary drastically in the field, largely by profession title, years of experience, education, job demand, and employer. You should always do your due diligence to ensure you are fairly paid.
However, you have a right to negotiate fair pay and benefits for your services. If you aren’t sure what to ask for, using the average hourly or annual wage for a Charge Nurse with your experience and education level is a good starting point.
You should also ensure you are not forced to work overtime illegally or underpaid; nurses are legally allowed to decline any work over 40 hours a week without risk of termination. They are also entitled to their base hourly wage plus a half for overtime compensation.
Are Charge Nurses Paid Mostly Hourly Or Annually?
Because they perform administrative duties during their work shift, Charge Nurses may be offered a salary if they work full-time. Depending on where they work, they are more likely to be given a salary and benefits package over an hourly wage with benefits.
However, you may find that hourly pay is still the most common type of payment given to floor nurses across all departments.
Do Charge Nurses Get Paid Overtime?
Yes, Charge Nurses are paid overtime. You are legally entitled to overtime pay if you work more than a standard work week (40 hours). The average Charge Nurse earns $10,125 in overtime per year (Indeed).
Do Charge Nurses Get Paid More Privately Or In Hospitals?
Charge Nurses work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals with large nursing staff, smaller healthcare clinics, nursing homes, and mental health centers.
Because they oversee the staff schedule and patient flow, they do not work in private or home healthcare.
What State Pays Charge Nurses The Most Per Hour?
Hawaii pays Charge Nurses 42% higher than the national average. The median annual salary for a Charge Nurse in Hawaii is $105,806.00, or $50.87 per hour.
Other states that pay Charge Nurses higher than usual are:
California: $49.99 per hour (42% above national average)
Oregon: $45.09 per hour (28% above national average)
Washington: $44.27 per hour (26% above national average)
Nevada: $43.35 per hour (23% above national average)
District of Columbia: $42.37 (20% above national average)
Can You Live Off a Charge Nurses Salary in the USA?
You can live off the average Charge Nurse’s salary in the US, which is approximately $15,219
more than the average U.S. salary of $58,260 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021).
How well you can live off your pay will depend on certain factors, such as your household size, housing costs, student debt, and the cost of living in your state. In addition, as the need for qualified Charge Nurses is expected to grow 12% by 2028, the compensation is likely to increase as well.