How much does a Progressive Care Nurse make in the United States?

Average Progressive Care Nurse Salary

High Confidence


This is 1% lower than the travel nursing US average of $3,154.

Estimate based on 154657 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is a Progressive Care Unit RN?

Progressive care unit nurses, or PCU nurses, bridge the gap between ICUs and med-surg units. PCU nurses typically work in hospital settings in progressive care units, but depending on the facility, PCUs may be called intermediate care units, step-down units, transitional care units or telemetry units. Progressive care is one of the fastest-growing nursing specialties. The job outlook for PCU nurses is exceptionally positive because PCUs are relatively new and the field is so specialized. The demand for PCU RNs helps fuel a solid salary base, but other factors also come into play.

PCU nurses are registered nurses who specialize in providing an intermediate or transitional level of care to patients who are moderately stable but have an elevated risk of instability. These patients require more monitoring and assessment than those on the med-surg floor, but they’re not critical or unstable enough to require ICU admittance. PCU RNs help reduce the number of ICU beds required and the costs associated with placement in the ICU without compromising patients’ care. 

Becoming a registered nurse is a prerequisite to becoming a progressive care unit nurse. Therefore, prospective PCU nurses must earn either a two-year associate degree or a four-year Bachelor of Science degree from a nursing program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Nursing school graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam to become registered nurses, then they can pursue a career in progressive care nursing.

How a Progressive Care Unit RN salary is based

Experienced progressive care nurses have highly developed assessment skills and effectively anticipate the course of their patient’s recovery or decline. These skills allow them to intervene and prevent a patient from needing intensive care-level services. The experience required to develop these skills comes from years on the job, so a PCU RN’s salary may be substantially based on the number of years in the field. An entry-level PCU nurse can’t expect to earn as much as experienced progressive care RNs.

Due to the specialized skills involved in progressive care, employers often prefer PCU nurses who’ve earned a BSN over an ADN. This preference could be reflected in a PCU RN’s base salary. Studies have shown that certified nurses typically earn more than nurses who aren’t, so relevant certifications also can influence base salary.

Facility location may be a surprisingly big factor in how a PCU RN’s salary is based. Certain areas of the country have historically paid more than others. However, this is often due to a higher cost of living so ensure the base salary is a livable wage. California and other areas on the West Coast and New York and other areas within the New England states generally have higher base salaries for all types of RNs, including PCU nurses.

How to increase your Progressive Care Unit RN salary

You don’t need a master’s degree to qualify as a progressive care certified nurse, but you may pursue advanced education to further your career and boost your salary. A master’s level degree can qualify you for advanced practice roles, such as a clinical nurse specialist working in the area of progressive care.

Since progressive care nursing requires an advanced skill set, an increasing number of employers seek certified PCU nurses, though they also consider those with comparable experience and education. You generally can increase your salary and your job prospects by getting certified and some hospitals may even require it.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses administers the Progressive Care Certified Nurse (Adult) credential. This is a specialty certification for RNs providing direct care to acutely ill adult patients regardless of work setting. However, they often work in progressive care, intermediate care, stepdown, transitional care, direct observations, telemetry or emergency departments. RNs must complete 1,750 hours in direct patient care of acutely ill adults over the past two years or 2,000 hours over the past five to sit for the exam.

PCCN certification reinforces that you have the specialized knowledge and skills required for progressive care nursing. Studies have linked higher levels of clinical knowledge, experience and skill with certification, which often prompts employers to offer higher salaries to certified nurses.

Where do Progressive Care Nurses get paid the most?

StateAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
North Dakota$3,839$6,886
New Jersey$3,736$6,312
Rhode Island$3,507$5,782
New Mexico$3,447$6,931

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What cities pay the most for Progressive Care Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Port Jefferson, New York$7,175$7,175
Del Norte, Colorado$6,961$6,961
Sleepy Hollow, New York$6,658$6,658
Orangeburg, New York$6,502$6,502
Friday Harbor, Washington$5,989$5,989
Mount Kisco, New York$5,885$7,180
Fallon, Nevada$5,569$7,005
Hamilton, Ohio$5,472$5,472
Parker, Arizona$5,472$5,472
Perth Amboy, New Jersey$5,472$5,472

Top Progressive Care Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care UnitAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care Unit
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Advantis Medical
an hour ago
Dec 613 wks3x12 hrs
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care UnitAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care Unit
New York, New York
Advantis Medical
an hour ago
Dec 613 wks3x12 hrs
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care UnitAdvantis Medical
Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care Unit
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Advantis Medical
an hour ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrs
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care UnitEthos Medical Staffing
Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care Unit
Columbia, South Carolina
Ethos Medical Staffing
3 hours ago
Dec 2013 wks3x12 hrsDays
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care UnitHost Healthcare
Travel Nurse RN - Progressive Care Unit
Denver, Colorado
Host Healthcare
2 hours ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrsNights
Travel contract
I'm interested

What are the highest paying Agencies for Progressive Care Nurse jobs?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
NuWest Travel Nursing$5,925$6,053
LRS Healthcare - Travel Nursing$5,613$9,317
GQR Healthcare$5,557$7,012
Healthcare Support$5,337$7,085
Acute Medical Staffing$5,284$5,599
Marshall Healthcare Staffing$5,176$8,500
Rock Medical Group$5,078$7,017
MedWave Healthcare Staffing$5,015$7,065