Oregon has some of the highest paid registered nurses in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014, only four other states paid their registered nurses a higher average salary.
One reason nursing professionals in the state may be so highly compensated is because demand for skilled workers is growing at a pace far above the average for other jobs.
A shortage of qualified nurses has been an issue of concern for years, and Oregon nursing schools have been working to innovate their programs and assist students who are working toward a baccalaureate degree. To that end, the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education has worked to reform nursing programs to, among other things, allow students to complete their last year of education online.
Keep reading to learn exactly how much registered nurses in Oregon make and how Oregon nursing programs are expanding to allow online studies.
Online Nursing Programs in Oregon
Nurses in Oregon can choose several different education paths, and the Oregon State Board of Nursing has approved a number of programs for each option:
- 15 practical nursing programs
- 18 registered nurse associate degree programs
- 10 registered nurse baccalaureate degree programs
- 2 nurse practitioner programs
Licensed practical nurses may complete a short-term educational program, usually offered at a community college. These programs are typically hands-on and cannot be completed online. The same is true for associate degree programs for new registered nurses.
However, those hoping to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing will find options to allow them to complete their education online. The Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education first initiated this new model of nursing education in 2006. Their program allowed students to begin their education on-campus at a community college and then complete their bachelor's degree online through the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
Since the completion of the consortium's model project, some Oregon nursing schools have expanded on the concept. For example, Central Oregon Community College has a program that allows students who have completed their RN associate degree at the school to then go on and earn an online bachelor's degree from either Linfield College or OHSU.
Current RNs may also find other options to study online through RN-BSN or RN-MSN programs. These can be a convenient way for nurses to expand their knowledge and potentially move into higher paid positions as nurse practitioners. By studying online, these nurses can study at their convenience and minimize disruptions to their work schedule.
What's the Nursing Career Outlook in Oregon?
All nursing positions in Oregon are expected to grow significantly in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics. Highly educated nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners will be in the greatest demand, and these professionals command the highest salaries in the field. However, even RNs and LPNs in Oregon earn, on average, considerably more than the average of their counterparts elsewhere in the country.
The chart below details the average employment, salaries and job growth for Oregon nurses.
|Position||Employment in Oregon (2014)||Average Salary in Oregon (2014)||Expected Job Growth Statewide (2012-2022)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||2,810||$48,550||19.9%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)
Of course, not every nurse in the state will earn these salaries. Actual incomes depend on a number of factors, including education and experience. Geographic location can also affect a person's wages. For example, the following represents average salaries for Oregon registered nurses in 2014 by metropolitan area.
- Portland: $85,450
- Bend: $82,960
- Salem: $77,860
- Eugene: $80,320
- Medford: $78,310
Nursing Specializations in Oregon
Just as doctors can specialize their work, so too can nurses. In fact, there are more than 100 nurse specialties, according to Johnson & Johnson. These can be broken down into nine categories such as advanced practice, emergency and surgical and include the following job titles:
- Clinical nurse leader
- Family nurse practitioner
- Hematology nurse
- Labor and delivery nurse
- Neuroscience nurse
Some Oregon nursing programs may offer classes that are designed to prepare students for a certain specialty. Other nurses specialize as they gain experience on the job.
Another way for nurses to specialize is to earn a voluntary certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or another professional organization. There are dozens of certifications available. Some are specifically for nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists while others may be pursued by RNs.
The following are a few examples of the certifications currently available:
- Cardiac rehabilitation nursing
- College health nursing
- Nursing case management
- Perinatal nursing
- Psychiatric-mental health nursing
While specializations can be a good way for nurses to advance their career, they must first get the appropriate education. Oregon nursing schools offer a number of flexible degree and training programs for students at all levels. Check out the colleges listed below and request more information to learn how they can help you get ready for a fast-paced, well-compensated career as a nurse.
- Long-term projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm
- Registered nurses, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
- Explore Specialties, Johnson & Johnson, https://www.discovernursing.com/explore-specialties#no-filters
- ANCC Certification Center, American Nurses Credentialing Center, http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Certification
- Oregon Approved Nursing Programs, https://osbn.oregon.gov/OSBNOnlineReports/default.aspx?ReportName=OregonApprovedNursingPrograms
- A Model for Addressing the Nursing Shortage in Oregon, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, August 12, 2013, http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/program_results_reports/2013/rwjf73224
- Nursing Program, Central Oregon Community College, https://www.cocc.edu/nursing/