Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary Guide

A labor and delivery nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who works with expectant mothers. When a pregnant patient goes into labor, the L&D nurse monitors their vital signs, performs ultrasounds, provides support during childbirth and assists the obstetrician with the delivery. Once the baby is born, the L&D nurse observes the new mother for concerning physical and mental changes associated with childbirth and responds accordingly. For example, a mother having trouble with breastfeeding may need the L&D nurse to schedule a lactation consultation.

How do you become a labor and delivery nurse?

In addition to an RN license, you must earn Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certifications through the American Heart Association. Once employed as an L&D nurse, you might consider earning the Registered Nurse Certified - Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) credential offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC) to help boost your career advancement and salary.

The RNC-OB is an optional certification available to RNs with at least 24 months of L&D nursing experience. The RNC-OB exam has 175 questions covering fetal assessment, pregnancy complications, labor and birth, postpartum care and newborn care. NCC also offers Certification in Electronic Fetal Monitoring, which can also benefit L&D RNs.

Average Labor and Delivery Nurse Salary

$47.07/hour

The average salary for a Labor and Delivery Nurse is $47.07 per week. This is 9% higher than the nursing US average of $42.72.

Last updated on May 28, 2023. Based on active jobs on Vivian.com.

Salaries for Labor and Delivery Nurse compared to Registered Nurse National Averages

$47.07/hour

9% higher than the nursing US average.

$42.72/hour

United States

Where do Labor and Delivery Nurses get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
Washington$67$72
Idaho$51$60
Virginia$49$53
Colorado$47$51
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Labor and Delivery Nurse jobs?

Top Labor and Delivery Nurse Jobs

View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

  • Saint Mary's Medical Center
  • West Palm Beach, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Permanent
Today

$31+/hr

View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

  • Saint Mary's Medical Center
  • West Palm Beach, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Permanent
Today

$31+/hr

View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

  • Saint Mary's Medical Center
  • West Palm Beach, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Permanent
Today

$31+/hr

View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

  • Saint Mary's Medical Center
  • West Palm Beach, FL
    • 3x12 hrs
Permanent
Today

$31+/hr

View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

Registered Nurse (RN) - Labor and Delivery

  • Oklahoma City, OK
    • Nights
Permanent
1 day ago

$33-46/hr

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How can you increase your pay as a labor and delivery nurse?

If you already have a full-time staff job, consider picking up per diem shifts in the L&D department of another facility. Due to a shortage of nurses, many hospitals are willing to be flexible with scheduling. Another option is obtaining the RNC-OB or another specialty certification that typically boosts your salary and career.

Is labor and delivery nursing a growing career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes L&D nurses in its occupational profile for RNs. Based on BLS data in May 2021, the demand for registered nurses should increase by 6% between 2021 and 2031. The number of L&D jobs available may increase by 2030 due to a projected increase in U.S. births. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. birth rate should rise 5.4% between 2023 and 2030.

Where do labor and delivery nurses get paid the most in the United States?

According to Vivian Health's salary data for the week ending April 8, 2023, staff L&D nursing jobs in Virginia had the highest salaries nationwide, earning an average of $48.97 per hour.

What types of employers/facilities have the most labor and delivery nurses employed?

Approximately 60% of registered nurses work in state, local and private hospitals, per BLS data from May 2021. Another 18% work for ambulatory care services, which includes outpatient care centers and private physician offices. RNs also work for government agencies and educational institutions. L&D nurses work primarily in hospitals and ambulatory care settings, as they focus on caring for pregnant patients and their newborns.

Which employers/facilities have the highest pay?

Government agencies offer the highest salaries to RNs, according to May 2021 BLS data. Nurses working for hospitals and ambulatory care services earn about the same, putting them in second and third place for the highest-paying employers.

How does labor and delivery nurse pay compare to similar healthcare jobs?

Due to the specialized knowledge and skills required, L&D nursing jobs tend to pay more than other RN jobs. For example, medical-surgical nurses earn an average of $38.57 per hour, $5.66 per hour less than L&D nurses. Travel medical-surgical RNs earn an average of $2,250 per week or $266 per week less than their L&D colleagues. The salary data for medical-surgical RNs comes from Vivian Health, current as of April 2, 2023.

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Labor and Delivery Nurse FAQs

How much does a Labor and Delivery RN make?

Labor and Delivery nurses, also called L&D nurses, work closely with obstetricians and gynecologists primarily in a hospital setting. Hospitals usually have a separate area specifically for labor and delivery. They may also work in birthing centers and private physician practices. Salaries for labor and delivery RNs are some of the highest among nursing specialties but they can vary based on several factors.

What is a Labor and Delivery RN?

Labor and delivery nurses are registered nurses who specialize in helping female patients during the childbirth process. They provide direct patient care and monitor the mother and baby’s health and well-being throughout labor and delivery, then provide postpartum care immediately following birth. L&D nurses may work with and monitor the progress of several patients each day, but they only work with one patient in active labor at a time.

Before entering a specialized field like labor and delivery, you must first become a registered nurse. This requires graduating from a nursing program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). While it’s possible to enter the nursing field with an associate degree, it’s recommended you acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to increase your desirability as a labor and delivery candidate and your salary base. All nursing school graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and earn Basic Life Support certification.

How a Labor and Delivery RN salary is based

Length of experience impacts a labor and delivery nurse’s base salary. Entry-level L&D nurses should expect to earn less than a mid-career nurse with five to 10 years of experience. Likewise, a mid-career nurse earns less than seasoned L&D nurses with 20-plus years in the field.

Base salary often varies by education level. Bachelor-level nurses typically earn slightly more than those with an associate degree and L&D nurses with higher education have a higher salary than those with a bachelor’s degree. Associate degrees usually take two years to complete while bachelor’s degrees take four. More facilities are looking at requiring BSNs for specialty roles like labor and delivery, so the base salary may reflect this desire.

Completion of key certifications, such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support certifications, can increase base salary. Acquiring additional skills, such as basic IV and medication administration skills, and completing professional programs, such as the Fetal Heart Monitoring certification program or Neonatal Resuscitation Program, can also increase an L&D nurse’s base salary.

Clinical setting typically impacts base salaries, but job location almost always has an effect. For example, labor and delivery nurses earn significantly more in California compared to Oklahoma. Due to cost of living, base salary is not only impacted by the state but also the city where a job is located. Metropolitan areas generally pay more, sometimes much more, than rural regions.

How to increase your Labor and Delivery RN salary

Increasing your labor and delivery RN salary comes naturally as you gain more experience. However, you can advance your career and expand your earnings at an accelerated pace through additional education and certifications.

Furthering your education can open doors to advanced practice nursing roles in labor and delivery and higher salaries. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing takes two to three years and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program takes four to six years. A master’s degree can prepare you to become a nurse practitioner in obstetrics and gynecology (OGNP) and either degree may lead to a career as a certified nurse-midwife. Both career paths come with significant salary increases.

There’s often a substantial difference in salary between a non-certified and certified L&D nurse. Increase your labor and delivery RN salary by earning the NCC credential in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) after you’ve completed at least two years and 2,000 hours of experience in labor and delivery nursing practice.

High & Low Paying States or Regions

Increasing your labor and delivery nursing salary can be as easy as switching locations as some states pay much more than others. However, don’t forget to factor in the cost of living for the region to determine whether the salary realistically provides a livable wage. Areas with a high cost of living may quickly eat up these larger salaries and make locations with smaller salaries and lower cost of living expenses more attractive in the long run.

What professional certifications can potentially increase my salary as a Labor and Delivery RN?

Earning your Certification in Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM), AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring (FHM), Certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC) or Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work, and Emotional support (STABLE) often increases your salary potential as a labor and delivery nurse or makes you eligible for another position with greater responsibilities, which also might include a bump in wages.

Can having a Certification in Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM) boost my salary as a Labor and Delivery RN?

Yes, having a Certification in Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a labor and delivery nurse.

Can having a AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring (FHM) boost my salary as a Labor and Delivery RN?

Yes, having a AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring (FHM) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a labor and delivery nurse.

Can having a Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work, and Emotional support (STABLE) boost my salary as a Labor and Delivery RN?

Yes, having a Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work, and Emotional support (STABLE) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a labor and delivery nurse.