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The Average Pay Scale for Private Duty Nursing

by Rick Suttle

Private Duty Nurses are registered nurses who primarily provide home care for private patients, such as the elderly and those with disabilities or chronic diseases. Many PDNs work for home-care services or nursing agencies as independent contractors. Their daily routine often entails monitoring patient symptoms, administering medications, assisting with bathing and dressing, and maintaining records of treatments. A PDN,earns between $65,000 and $70,000 annually on average.

Salaries Above $65,000

The average annual salary for a private duty nurse was $67,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported annual salaries of $65,530 for nurses in the home health care services industry as of May 2012. To become a private duty nurse, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN examination through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to obtain your nursing license, according to the BLS. Some home services agencies or hospitals may prefer that you have one or more years of experience in nursing as well. Other essential qualifications are an attention to detail, compassion, patience, a valid driver's license and organizational, speaking and critical-thinking skills.

Top Pay in New York

In 2013, average salaries for private duty nurses varied the most in the West region, according to Indeed, where salaries ranged from $43,000 in Hawaii to $72,000 in California. Employed as a private duty nurse in Maine or New York would bring in an average of $57,000 or $81,000, respectively. In the South, salary ranges from $57,000 in Louisiana to $79,000 in Washington, D.C. Private duty nurses earned $50,000 in Nebraska and South Dakota and $74,000 in Illinois -- the lowest and highest salaries for PDNs in the Midwest.

Average Salaries Compared to All Nurses

While Indeed reported salaries of $67,000 for private duty nurses in 2013, the average annual salary for all nurses was $67,930, according to 2012 BLS data. The top 10 percent made more than $99,720 annually. Federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, paid nurses an average of $79,270 annually. Nurses in outpatient centers earned $71,200 per year, while those who worked in medical and surgical hospitals made $69,490.

Excellent Career Outlook

The BLS predicts a 26 percent increase in employment for registered nurses, including private duty nurses, from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the 14 percent national rate for all occupations. Population increases among aging baby boomers, who will need more medical services, should increase jobs for all nurses. High medical insurance costs will also force hospitals to release patients earlier, which may increase demand for home-care services and private duty nursing.

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