How much does an Orthopedics Nurse make in the United States?

Average Orthopedics Nurse Salary

High Confidence

$3,392/week

This is 6% higher than the travel nursing US average of $3,193.

Estimate based on 2524 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is an Orthopedic RN?

Orthopedic registered nurses work with a wide range of patients in various work settings. They frequently work in hospitals, outpatient clinics with orthopedic departments, and private orthopedic surgeons’ offices. However, orthopedic RNs may also be employed by rehabilitation and physical therapy facilities, sports medicine practices, and long-term residential care facilities, such as skilled nursing and assisted living communities. Work setting, along with several other factors, determines an orthopedics RN’s salary.

Orthopedic nurses are registered nurses who specialize in preventing and treating musculoskeletal diseases and disorders. They deal with broken arms and legs and treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions affecting the muscles, bones, and joints, such as hip replacements, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Orthopedic RNs may also assist doctors in preparing patients for orthopedic surgeries and help patients recover afterwards.

Prospective orthopedic RNs must fulfill the education requirements to become registered nurses. These include earning an Associate Degree or Bachelor of Science from a nursing program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

How an Orthopedic RN salary is based

An initial factor that can impact an orthopedic RN’s salary is education. While it’s possible to work in orthopedic nursing as an LPN/LVN, most orthopedic nurses are RNs. Becoming an RN only requires an ADN but completing a BSN often presents more opportunities in orthopedic nursing and may provide a slight bump in starting pay. Some employers prefer BSN-educated RNs, putting them in higher demand.

Licensing is another factor in how an orthopedic RN’s salary is based. New graduate nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam before they receive RN licensure from their state board of nursing. Employers typically prefer candidates who are already fully licensed and not operating on a temporary permit and may reflect this preference in the starting salary. Although it may not be required, many employers also prefer professionally certified RNs. The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) is the only board that awards credentials to orthopedic RNs.

Base salaries of orthopedics RNs are highly dependent on years of experience in the field, meaning new nurses have smaller base salaries than those who’ve been practicing a few years. As you gain experience in the orthopedics field, you also gain additional skills that can further impact your base salary. Specialized training is often available at the employment level, including opportunities for formal residency or apprentice programs. Completing multi-faceted training can give your base salary a boost upon completion.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs across fields earn more at hospitals than ambulatory healthcare services and significantly more than at nursing and residential care facilities. However, geographical location often plays a larger role in how an orthopedics RN’s salary is based. Certain states have traditionally paid more than others, but many of the higher-paying states also have higher costs of living.

How to increase your Orthopedic RN salary

Earning professional certifications typically guarantees a salary increase. The ONCB administers the Orthopedic Nurse Certification (ONC) exam, which doesn’t require a BSN so ADN-educated nurses qualify. You must have two years of RN practice experience with a minimum of 1,000 hours as an orthopedic RN within the past three years.

RNs who hold a BSN meet the admission requirements for a Master of Science in Nursing program with a focus on orthopedic nursing. Higher education puts RNs in greater demand and may increase their orthopedics RN salary. It also prepares you to pursue advanced orthopedic nursing certifications that may further boost your salary. 

The ONCB’s ONC-A Advanced Certification by portfolio exam requires a master’s degree or higher, earned in the U.S. You must have three years of RN practice experience with a minimum of 2,500 hours of nursing experience in musculoskeletal health since their degree completion or within the past three years based on graduation date.

Orthopedic RNs who’ve earned their MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus in orthopedics can also pursue an advanced practice role as orthopedic nurse practitioners. APRNs earn significantly more and getting certified increases salaries even more. The ONCB offers the Orthopedics Nurse Practitioner Certification exam to nurses holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S.-based APRN program with preparation as an NP. You must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of APRN work experience within the past three years and currently function as an NP caring for patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

Where do Orthopedics Nurses get paid the most?

StateAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Delaware$4,668$5,027
Washington$4,246$5,989
Oregon$4,239$5,989
Maine$4,089$6,480
Wisconsin$4,034$5,040
Illinois$3,927$6,132
South Dakota$3,861$5,040
North Dakota$3,843$5,026
Iowa$3,824$5,040
Louisiana$3,815$4,801

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What cities pay the most for Orthopedics Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
San Jose, California$6,677$6,677
Augusta, Maine$6,450$6,480
Cottage Grove, Oregon$5,989$5,989
Eugene, Oregon$5,989$5,989
Florence, Oregon$5,989$5,989
Friday Harbor, Washington$5,989$5,989
Ketchikan, Alaska$5,989$5,989
Longview, Washington$5,989$5,989
Vancouver, Washington$5,989$5,989
Park Ridge, Illinois$5,242$6,132

Top Orthopedics Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

  • Geisinger Community Medical Center
  • Scranton, PA
    • 3x12 hrs
    • Nights
Travel
Today

$4,104/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

+3
others

Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

  • Geisinger Community Medical Center
  • Scranton, PA
    • 3x12 hrs
    • Days
Travel
Today

$3,888/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

  • AVENTURA, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
    • Days
Travel
1 day ago

$2,613/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

  • Miami, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
1 day ago

$2,534/wk

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

Travel Nurse RN - Orthopedics

  • Aventura, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Travel
Today

$2,476/wk

What are the highest paying Agencies for Orthopedics Nurse jobs?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Gifted Healthcare$5,302$5,989
Medical Solutions$5,154$5,589
Headwaters Healthcare$4,962$4,962
LRS Healthcare - Travel Nursing$4,865$4,865
ADN Healthcare$4,669$5,027
CrossMed$4,640$5,040
Supplemental Health Care$4,351$4,351
Tact Medical Staffing$4,351$5,460
Gale Healthcare Solutions$4,296$6,172
Custom Healthcare Solutions$4,248$4,248