Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Geriatric Nurse Make?

How much geriatric nurses make varies depending on their skill level, location, and experience. Find out how much geriatric nurses make in your area.

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by Jackalyn Beck

Published September 22, 2022

Reviewed by Brandy Gleason, MSN, MHA, BC-NC

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Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Geriatric Nurse Make?
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Geriatric nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in providing care to older adults. Their patients often may be dealing with long-term conditions like diabetes, hearing loss, and cancer.

Geriatric nurses need to have excellent interpersonal skills since they often work directly with patients and their families. They also need to work well with a team and be able to follow instructions from doctors and other team members. Read on to learn more about salaries for geriatric nurses.

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What Is the Average Geriatric Nurse Salary?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for geriatric nurses is $105,900, as of September 2022. There is a lot of variability in how much geriatric nurses are paid so salary negotiation can be vital.

Nurses who specialize in geriatric care often make more than their general nursing counterparts. The median pay for registered nurses, as of May 2021, is $77,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Geriatric nurses also generally make more than nurses in other specialties, like pediatric nurses and home health nurses.

Key factors that contribute to earnings in this career include location, skill level, education, and experience.

How Much Do Geriatric Nurses Make in Your State?

Higher-paying jobs are generally located in high-population areas — near Boston and in New York City, for example. For people who can move to different states, Tennessee is the top-paying state for geriatric nurses, according to ZipRecruiter. California is also known for having a high demand for nurses.

Average Salary for Geriatric Nurses by State (2022)


Data sourced from ZipRecruiter

The Highest-Paying States for Geriatric Nurses (by Annual Salary, September 2022)

Tennessee

Minnesota

Massachusetts


Editor's note: Some of the salary numbers above may be based on relatively small samples, and potential nursing salaries could vary widely depending on the employer. Reach out to a relevant professional nursing organization for more information about potential salaries in your area.


Job Growth for Geriatric Nurses

Overall, nursing can be a good field to go into after college. While specific projections for geriatric nurses aren't listed, the BLS projects the number of jobs for registered nurses will grow 6% from 2021-2031. That's about the same as the projected 5% average growth rate for all occupations in the U.S.

The BLS also projects 203,200 job openings, on average, each year for registered nurses from 2021-2031. Many of these openings are expected to come from people changing careers or retiring.

Does More Education Lead to a Higher Geriatric Nurse Salary?

BSN Salary

The first step to landing a job as a geriatric nurse is often earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) through an accredited nursing program. Alternatively, people can earn an associate degree in nursing or enter into an RN-to-BSN program.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators teach aspiring nurses in a clinical or classroom setting. They can work in a variety of places — from hospitals to trade schools. Their primary job is to teach hands-on nursing skills. They also give lectures and lessons to teach others about nursing.

Average Annual Salary (as of August 2022): $79,120


Health Policy Nurse

For people who are interested in making healthcare more accessible, consider being a health policy nurse. They work with organizations and policymakers to impact the future of healthcare. While the day-to-day duties vary greatly, people in this field need strong interpersonal and leadership skills.

Average Annual Salary (as of September 2022): $79,700


Home Health Nurse

Being a home health nurse may be a good fit for people who are interested in working with patients of all ages. These healthcare professionals work one on one with patients in the comfort of their own homes.

Average Annual Salary (as of September 2022): $86,860

MSN Salary

A master of science in nursing (MSN) can open the door to many career options related to the geriatric nursing field. In fact, according to the BLS, the number of jobs for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and similar positions is projected to rise by 40% from 2021-2031.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists treat people who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities. The goal is to help patients with the skills they need in their daily activities. The number of jobs for occupational therapists is projected to increase 14% from 2021-2031, according to the BLS. While all occupational therapists must be licensed, the job also requires a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $85,570


Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses are commonly primary care providers. They often diagnose patients, manage treatments, prescribe medications, and develop treatment plans.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $120,680


Physician Assistant

The number of jobs for physician assistants is projected to grow, according to the BLS, by 28% from 2021-2031. Physician assistants work in teams with other healthcare professionals and perform a variety of tasks. They examine patients, create and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $121,530

DNP Salary

With a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), graduates can pursue some of the most advanced and highest-paying jobs in the nursing industry. Some people earn a Ph.D. so they can focus on research and education. However, there are some careers, such as certain advanced practice or executive leadership roles, that require a DNP.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

Geriatric nurse practitioners are among the top care providers for older adults. While some of these professionals have an MSN, most have a DNP or other advanced education. Their duties include conducting examinations, diagnosing patients, and making treatment plans. They also may educate caregivers and help patients with transitions between facilities.

Average Annual Salary (as of September 2022): $153,320


Clinical Nurse Specialist

A clinical nurse specialist is typically a more research-heavy position that might still diagnose and care for patients. They might also serve as researchers in a laboratory setting or as consultants in a specific area of focus.

Average Annual Salary (as of September 2022): $112,220


Medical Scientist

For people who love to learn and do research, being a medical scientist may be the perfect career path. While it is common for people in this position to have a Ph.D. in life science, people with a DNP can also pursue this career.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $95,310

Frequently Asked Questions About Geriatric Nurse Salary

How hard is it to become a geriatric nurse?

Becoming a geriatric nurse takes a lot of time and effort. People who want to become a geriatric nurse usually spend four years in school and must become an accredited RN.

People who want to obtain specific accreditations, like a gerontological nursing certification, will also need to complete additional hours of training and classes. Each state may have additional training that is required to fully become a geriatric nurse.

So, make sure you check your local rules and regulations.

What challenges do geriatric nurses face?

Based on recent research, the "main sources of occupational stress in geriatric nurses are workload, leadership style, emotional costs of caring as well as a lack of reward, and shift-work."

Geriatric nurses need to have a good bedside manner since they often work with patients during difficult times. It also can be particularly challenging to develop a treatment plan for older patients because many have specific needs or restrictions.

That can be a lot of responsibility to bear, so geriatric nurses are often under a lot of stress.

Are geriatric nurses in high demand?

Yes! Since the U.S. population is aging, geriatric nurses are in high demand.

Not only are geriatric nurses needed in places like nursing homes, but they also have expert knowledge that is increasingly valuable to hospitals and outpatient and other care facilities.

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