Medical Surgical Nurse Salary Guide

Medical-surgical nursing, or med-surg for short, is one of the most demanding nursing specialties and requires an extensive skill set and nursing knowledge. Med-surg nurses make up the largest group of practicing nurses. As such, they typically earn a competitive wage but less than registered nurses (RN) working in certain specialties. In this guide, we explore med-surg nursing salaries for staff and travel nurse roles, salaries by location, various factors that
can impact med-surg nursing pay and how med-surg salaries compare to other nursing specialties based on Vivian’s salary data during the last week of 2022.

How to Become a Med-Surg Nurse

To enter the medical-surgical nursing field, you must earn a minimum of an Associate Degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing school. However, many employers now require
RNs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Graduate nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before applying for their state nursing license. The NCLEX, developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, tests graduate nurses’ competency and is a national exam used for RN licensure in all 50 states.

RN licensure candidates may apply for a single-state license through the Board of Nursing that serves the state where they live or where they plan to practice. However, they must
apply in their home state if they live in a nurse licensure compact state and want a multi-state license.

Average Medical Surgical Nurse Salary

$43.59/hour

The average salary for a Medical Surgical Nurse is $43.59 per hour. This is 2% lower than the nursing US average of $44.58.

Last updated on April 17, 2024. Based on active jobs on Vivian.com.

Salaries for Medical Surgical Nurse compared to Registered Nurse National Averages

$43.59/hour

2% lower than the nursing US average.

$44.58/hour

United States

Where do Med Surg Nurses get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
California$68$84
Oregon$62$76
New York$53$74
Virginia$52$57
Pennsylvania$49$55
Maryland$49$57
Colorado$48$55
Arizona$48$58
North Carolina$47$52
District of Columbia$46$64
Oklahoma$45$46
Texas$44$50
Nevada$44$53
Tennessee$43$46
Georgia$41$45
South Carolina$41$44
Wisconsin$41$52
Michigan$41$45
Massachusetts$41$68
Missouri$40$56
Kentucky$39$41
Florida$38$45
Alabama$37$40
Illinois$37$49
Idaho$33$45
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Medical Surgical Nurse jobs?

Last updated on April 17, 2024. Information based on active jobs on Vivian.com and pay data from BLS and around the web.

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Medical Surgical Nurse Career Guide

Use our exclusive Career Guides to research the education, qualifications, skills and responsibilities for a variety of healthcare disciplines and specialties employers are hiring now.

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How to Increase Your Med-Surg Salary

One of the best ways to increase your staff med-surg salary is to earn professional certifications. Whether you earn your CMSRN or MEDSURG-BC credential, you must have a valid, unencumbered RN license. For the CMSRN, you must have practiced two years in a medical-surgical setting and accrued 2,000 hours of practice within the past three years. Earning the MEDSURG-BC requires two years of full-time practice as a registered nurse, with at least 2,000 practice hours and 30 continuing education hours in med-surg nursing
within the past three years. Both certifications require you to pay a fee and pass an exam.

Another possible way to boost your med-surg nursing pay is to go back to school and earn an advanced degree. This is especially true if you entered the field with an ADN when a BSN is becoming the standard preference at many facilities. RN-to-BSN bridge programs offer a quicker way to earn your degree while still working. If you already have your BSN, consider earning your Master of Science in Nursing to make you more desirable for roles with greater responsibility. Managerial positions within med-surg usually provide a significant pay increase.

No matter your career goals, if you’re looking for your next nursing job, Vivian can help. Our job board typically has more than 100,000 staff, travel, per diem or local contract jobs for nurses and allied health workers at any given time, with new jobs added regularly. By creating a Vivian Universal Profile, you can access transparent salary data and unbiased employer reviews to make your job search easier than ever before.

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Medical Surgical Nurse FAQs

What professional certifications can potentially increase my salary as a Medical Surgical RN?

Earning your Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (MEDSURG-BC), AHNCC - Nurse Coach-Board Certified (NC-BC) or Certified Transcultural Nurse (CTN) often increases your salary potential as a medical surgical nurse or makes you eligible for another position with greater responsibilities, which also might include a bump in wages.

Can having a Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (MEDSURG-BC) boost my salary as a Medical Surgical RN?

Yes, having a Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (MEDSURG-BC) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a medical surgical nurse.

Can having a AHNCC - Nurse Coach-Board Certified (NC-BC) boost my salary as a Medical Surgical RN?

Yes, having a AHNCC - Nurse Coach-Board Certified (NC-BC) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a medical surgical nurse.

Can earning a degree improve my salary as a Medical Surgical RN?

Yes, advanced education often opens new career paths that usually lead to higher salaries. Medical surgical nurses may benefit financially from pursuing a Bachelor of Science with Nursing Major (BS) or Bachelor of Professional Studies with a concentration in Nursing (BPS). Medical surgical nurses residing in Australia may benefit financially from pursuing a Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc Nsg).

Where can I learn more about working as a Med Surg?

Take a look at Vivian's Med Surg Career Guide for more information, including required education, responsibilities, pros and cons and more.