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Labor and delivery nurses help ensure healthy deliveries and good outcomes for both mothers and infants. The work can be physically and emotionally exhausting, but deeply rewarding. The U.S. has high maternal mortality rates for an economically advanced country, but labor and delivery nurses can help save patients' lives.
This guide explores typical labor and delivery nurse salary ranges, factors that affect labor and delivery nurse pay, and how to maximize your salary. Keep reading for more information that can help you negotiate the salary you deserve.
Average Salary for Labor and Delivery Nurses
According to Payscale data from June 2022, the average annual labor and delivery nurse salary is $68,720, and the average hourly wage is $32.09. Salaries can vary widely, depending on local demand and cost of living, experience and education, and level of responsibility.
These salary ranges are below the national average of $82,750 and an hourly rate of $39.78, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for all registered nurses (RNs). However, labor and delivery nurses earn more than the hourly $29.25 rate ($61,450 annually) that Payscale reported for pediatric nurses in May 2022.
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The Highest-Paying States for Labor and Delivery Nurses
The BLS does not separate labor and delivery nurse salaries from all RNs, but its overall RN salary data indicates where labor and delivery nurse pay is likely to be highest. The states with the top RN salaries are also among the states with the greatest cost of living in the country.
In California, the average salary is $124,000, followed by Hawaii at $106,530 and Oregon at $98,630. Aside from geography, factors affecting labor and delivery nurse pay include experience and education, leadership responsibilities, and shifts and overtime.
4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Earn Specialty Certification
One way to increase your labor and delivery nurse salary is by demonstrating your value and expertise through specialty certification. The National Certification Corporation offers an inpatient obstetric nursing certification and a certificate in obstetric and neonatal quality and safety. With a growing emphasis on addressing the holistic needs of pregnant patients, the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation offers holistic nursing certification.
Earn Your BSN or MSN
Increasing your formal education is another way to increase your labor and delivery nurse pay. Payscale reports an average $73,000 annual salary for nurses with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), $89,000 for nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and $98,000 for nurses with a master of science in nursing (MSN). Earning an MSN can prepare you to become a nurse practitioner.
Complete Additional Training and Education
You can also increase your labor and delivery nurse salary through other programs and training. The S.T.A.B.L.E. program provides training on post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization for sick infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers neonatal resuscitation training, and the American Heart Association offers training in pediatric life support.
Become a Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse
If pursuing additional education is not the best option for you, but you are geographically flexible, you can significantly increase your labor and delivery pay by becoming a travel nurse. Travel nurses go where the demand is highest, so can earn excellent salaries, often more than staff nurses with the same qualifications. Most travel nurses work through agencies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Labor and Delivery Nurse Salaries
How much do labor and delivery nurses make?
The average labor and delivery nurse salary, according to Payscale data from June 2022, is $68,7200. The median salary is $69,000, and the highest 10% of labor and delivery nurse salaries are $98,000 or higher, while the lowest 10% are $52,000 or lower.
Where do labor and delivery nurses work?
Most labor and delivery nurses work in hospitals, but they also work in standalone birthing centers. Standalone centers may be part of a health system or independently owned. Some labor and delivery nurses specialize in home deliveries as well.
What skills do you need to be a labor and delivery nurse?
Being an effective labor and delivery nurse requires excellent teamwork, as they partner with midwives, obstetricians, and the rest of the labor and delivery team. They must also be excellent communicators and advocates for the patient.
How long is a shift for labor and delivery nurses?
Most hospital shifts are 12 hours long. However, labor and delivery nurses may also work 8-10-hour shifts. A 12-hour shift generally means working three days per week.
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