If you love the idea of helping mothers bring their babies into the world, you may like working as a Labor and Delivery (L&D) Nurse.
These nursing specialists work exclusively in a hospital’s labor and delivery unit. They assist mothers during labor, and childbirth and offer immediate postpartum care and support.
The demand for Labor and Delivery Nurses in the U.S. will vary by state. The need for these nurses is directly tied to childbirth rates in their area, so states with higher birth rates will see more job openings than those with regular or declining rates.
If you decide to enter this career, you can experience a rewarding job that allows you to assist babies and mothers during the most significant moment of their lives.
How much can you expect to earn as an L&D Nurse in the U.S.? This guide will tell you how much the average L&D Nurse makes and what factors influence their wages across the country.
Recommended Reading - What is a Labor and Delivery Nurse in The USA?
The Role of a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Labor and Delivery Nurses work in various roles. They support OB/Gyns in and out of the operating room, monitor a pregnant mother’s vitals, assist in the delivery, and, as stated above, also offer immediate post-delivery care.
They may also play a role in the antepartum and intrapartum periods. In the antepartum period, L&D Nurses assess the vitals of both mom and baby, may perform ultrasounds, and support expectant mothers up until the time of delivery.
In the intrapartum period, L&D Nurses are active members of the birthing team. They support moms during the delivery and ensure that everything goes smoothly. They're also prepared to assist with every type of delivery, including breech presentation and emergency C-sections.
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.
Labor and Delivery Nurse Salaries in the United States
The salary for each nurse will vary by location and facility. As of May 2022, the average L&D Nurse salary is between $69,700 and $86,700 per year.
Top earners in the 90th percentile earn $95,896, while the lowest earners in the 10th percentile earn an average of $63,418.
How Much Does A Labor And Delivery Nurse Make Per Year?
According to our research, the average salary for a Labor and Delivery Nurse is $75,192, or $36 an hour.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average RN in the US earns a similar salary of $77,600, or $37 per hour.
Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary by State
We compiled a list of median Labor and Delivery Nurse salaries by state using data from salary.com. After running the average annual median annual and hourly wages, we calculated an average for all L&D Nurses in America.
You can use the chart below to compare your state’s average labor and delivery nurse pay to the national average.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors that Influence Labor and Delivery Nurse Makes
Earnings throughout your nursing career will change depending on your experience, where you work, and additional certifications you acquire.
L&D Nurses with a master’s degree are eligible to take on manager roles. As a supervisor, they can earn $20,000 to $40,000 more than floor nurses.
Experience also plays a part in how much you’ll be paid per hour. At the entry level, your salary may be slightly below the median wage in your state, but after one to three years, you should be earning as much as the average Labor and Delivery Nurse where you live.
Many nurses decide to earn their RNC-OB certification to boost their earning potential. This certificate makes them a registered obstetrician nurse, a certified version of a standard labor & delivery nurse.
To earn your RNC-OB, you’ll need to complete 2,000 hours of labor and delivery work, have at least two years of minimum nursing experience, and pass the official exam.
You can also consider taking your skills where they are most needed and becoming a travel nurse. Traveling Labor and Delivery Nurses can earn several thousand dollars a week. They complete short-term jobs that tend to last between 12 and 16 weeks.
How Quickly Can You Become A Labor And Delivery Nurse And Start Earning?
You can become a registered nurse in two years with an associate’s degree or four years with a bachelor’s degree. All aspiring RNs must complete their education at an accredited school, then pass the NCLEX exam.
Becoming a registered nurse allows you to apply for jobs in hospitals’ labor and delivery wards. You can gain the experience you need to further your education and eventually earn your RNC-OB certification.
As a certified Labor and Delivery Nurse, your earning potential can increase. With even further experience and a bachelor’s degree, you could qualify to be a nurse manager in obstetrics.
These professionals are some of the highest earners in labor and delivery, with an average annual salary of $108,800.
Recommended Reading - How to become a Labor and Delivery Nurse?
The L&D Career Timeline:
Graduate high school or earn your GED.
Complete an associate’s of nursing (ADN) or bachelor’s of nursing (BSN) program from an accredited school in your state. Learn more about how to choose the right nursing program here.
Pass the NCLEX exam.
Apply for your RN license in your state and look for jobs in labor and delivery wards.
How Much Labor and Delivery Nurses Earn Compared to Other Nursing Professions?
Labor and Delivery Nurses’ earnings are similar to many other nursing professions. The average L&D salary of $75,192.16 is close to an RN’s average salary of $76,944.90.
They earn higher than triage nurses ($69,283.65), PRNs ($51,102.24), and pediatric nurses ($69,473.96).
They earn roughly 47% less than higher-earning professions, such as Nurse Practitioners ($116,358.04).
Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary FAQs
Am I Paid Fairly As A Labor And Delivery Nurse?
You can determine the fairness of your salary or hourly wage by comparing your pay to the average in your state.
If you are not paid fairly, you should bring this up with your employer. It’s best to collect as much evidence as you can about the average salary and wage of your coworkers and other nurses in your state.
You should also consider whether you’re being paid overtime as you deserve. There are mandatory overtime laws that protect nurses from being overworked and underpaid. You can learn more about those laws here.
Are Labor And Delivery Nurses Paid Mostly Hourly Or Annually?
Most nurses are paid hourly, but some will receive annual salaries. Most labor & delivery nurses receive hourly pay as they may work different hours each week.
Administrative nurses, such as managers and supervisors, are more likely to receive annual salaries.
Do Labor And Delivery Nurses Get Paid Overtime?
L&D Nurses are entitled to overtime pay by law. You should receive overtime for any hours over 40 per week, and you should never be scheduled to work more than three consecutive 12-hour shifts in a row.
Labor laws protect nurses from being overworked and not compensated appropriately for any extra hours they work. Under most states’ guidelines, you have the right to say no overtime unless there is a declared state of emergency.
Do Labor And Delivery Nurses Get Paid More Privately Or In Hospitals?
Because they work primarily in hospitals, an L&D Nurse will find the best paying opportunities in local hospitals. You can also work as a registered nurse in a birthing center or take your skills to mothers in need as a travel nurse after two years of experience.
What State Pays Labor And Delivery Nurses The Most Per Hour?
Labor and Delivery Nurses are paid the most in Alaska, with a median annual salary of $85,600, or $41.15 per year. They also receive high compensation in:
California – $85,300 (13% above national average)
Connecticut – $82,600 (10% above national average)
Massachusetts – $83,100 (11% above national average)
New Jersey – $84,400 (12% above national average)
Can You Live Off A Labor And Delivery Nurses Salary In The USA?
Labor and Delivery Nurses earn over $20,000 more than the median annual salary in the U.S. of $53,490 for a 40-hour workweek.
The average cost of living in America varies greatly by state, which you can learn more about in this article.
Financial experts advise spending no more than 30 to 50% of your monthly income on housing. You may wish to consider this as you consider the average pay for Labor and Delivery Nurses and your current location.
Family size, rent, utilities, and student loans will affect how comfortably you can live off your salary. As they earn above the average U.S. worker, an L&D Nurse can live off their earnings if they are being paid fairly.