What Is the Employment Outlook for RNs?

Employment for registered nurses, or RNs, is set to increase by about 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. In terms of number of jobs, that means 526,800 new jobs. Another 525,000 nurses will be needed to replace those retiring or leaving the field.

Growth in demand for nurses is due to the increase in preventive care, more people having access to health services, the health care needs of an aging population and increasing rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and dementia.

As care shifts from hospitals to outpatient and ambulatory care clinics, rehab centers and long-term care facilities, nursing jobs open in those settings. Home health care jobs are also increasing.

Advanced practice nursing jobs such as nurse anesthetist and nurse-midwife will grow faster than regular RN positions by about 31 percent. Other jobs for registered nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing or higher degrees will also increase at a faster rate than jobs for RNs without four-year degrees. A BSN degree is required in 44 percent of hospitals and other health care facilities, as of 2014.

The median pay for registered nurses was $65,470 per year or $31.48 per hour as of 2012.