How Much Do Long-Term Care Nurses Make?

Jody Dugan, RN, BSN
Updated February 10, 2023
Looking for a detailed guide on long-term care nursing salaries? Check out the key factors that can influence salary with this rewarding career.
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A long-term care (LTC) nurse works in settings such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities with patients who cannot function independently due to illness or disability. These specialized registered nurses (RNs) often undergo additional training to care for elderly patients or individuals with mental and physical disorders.

Many factors affect compensation. The data on this page is the most recent information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other credible sources.

Fast Facts About Long-Term Care Nurses

  • check-circleAs of March 2022, the average annual salary for an RN with long-term care skills is $64,370, or $29.96 per hour.
  • check-circleThe 65+ population has almost a 70% chance of needing LTC.
  • check-circleIn 2020, the 5th highest level of employment in RNs was skilled nursing facilities.

Average Salary for Long-Term Care Nurses

LTC nursing practice and salaries can be impacted by your level of education. You can choose the academic path that fits the career plan and compensation you desire: master of science in nursing (MSN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), associate degree in nursing (ADN), or licensed practical nurse (LPN).

The table below breaks down what salary you can expect based on what degree you hold as per March 2022 data.

DegreeAverage Annual Salary
MSN — Nursing Home Nurse Practitioner$89,960
MSN or BSN — LTC Nursing Director$85,480
MSN or BSN — LTC Administrator$80,300
BSN or ADN — Staff RN$60,170
Source: Payscale,

What Kind of Salary Growth Can Long-Term Care Nurses Expect?

Ways to Increase Pay as a Long-Term Care Nurse

Compensation for an LTC nurse differs based on several variables, including education, certification, practice setting, and clinical focus. Another factor that contributes to income is experience.

The table below details hourly pay in relation to years of experience.

Less Than 1 Year ExperienceEntry-Level RN1-4 Years’ ExperienceEarly Career RN5-9 Years’ ExperienceMid-Career RN10-19 Years’ ExperienceExperienced RN20+ Years’ ExperienceLater Career RN
$27.80 per hour$30.31 per hour$30.27 per hour$31.01 per hour$31.19 per hour
Source: Payscale (March 2022)

Highest- and Lowest-Paying States for Long-Term Care Nurses

The BLS does not provide salary information for specialized roles such as LTC nursing. However, compensation would be consistent with the general RN salary.

According to the BLS, the highest-paying state for a general RN is California with an average annual salary of $120,560. The other states identified on the top five list include Hawaii ($104,830), Massachusetts ($96,250), Oregon ($96,230), and Alaska ($95,270).

States with the lowest-ranking salaries include Arkansas ($63,640), Iowa ($62,570), Mississippi ($61,250), South Dakota ($60,960), and Alabama ($60,230).

Based on these figures, California nurses can earn twice as much as nurses in Alabama.

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How Do Long-Term Care Nurse Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

LTC nurse salaries earn about $10,000-$15,000 lower than other popular nursing choices such as neonatal, dialysis, travel, and pediatric nurses. Factors affecting earning potential include education, demand, certifications, and nursing specializations.

For example, a clinical nurse specialist with an MSN typically earns more than an LTC RN with an advanced degree.

CareerAverage Annual Salary
Clinical Nurse$93,800
Travel Nurse$80,890
Dialysis Nurse$76,120
Neonatal Nurse$69,400
Pediatric Nurse$60,680
Source: Payscale (March 2022)

Related Pages

4 Ways to Increase Pay as a Long-Term Care Nurse

LTC nurses can expect a wide range of salaries based on certification, education level, years of experience, and managerial work. According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of RNs earn less than $53,410 a year, and the highest 10% earn north of $116,230 annually.

1. Consider Pursuing Certifications

A certification is a designated credential earned by an individual that demonstrates credibility and specialized knowledge. Getting certification can lead to more attractive job opportunities and higher salaries for LTC nurses.

2. Increase Education Level

With the complexity of evolving healthcare, it is advantageous to consider your level of education. Deciding to earn a BSN over an ADN presents job prospects with higher salaries. To find the most opportunities, consider a master’s degree in nursing or administration.

3. Gain Experience in Administrative Roles

Gaining experience, especially in nurse administration, can open the door to a higher salary. Steps to top-paying positions such as chief nursing officer or nursing home administrator consist not only of gaining academic knowledge, but also practicum experience with leaders in LTC clinical settings.

This firsthand experience is appealing to employers and can have a positive impact on your salary.

4. Switch Practice Setting

Choosing to work in an alternate setting in LTC nursing can be beneficial. Cross-training provides understanding about diverse patient populations and settings through the continuum of care. Having the experience to function in a variety of environments presents more opportunities for you as an LTC nurse and can position you to earn a higher income.

Frequently Asked Questions: Long-Term Care Nurse Salary

What do long-term care nurses do?

LTC nurses work in assisted living communities and care homes with patients who cannot function independently due to illness or disability. These nursing home and assisted living nurses are skilled RNs who often undergo additional training to care for elderly patients or individuals with mental and physical disorders.

Is long-term care nursing stressful?

Whether in an acute care setting or a long-term environment, nursing can be a stressful career. LTC nursing can pose heightened stress due to elevated levels of burnout from higher patient loads, inadequate staffing, and increased patients’ needs.

Do nursing home nurses make good money?

Nursing home nursing can be a very good career. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for nursing home RNs is $84,610 a year, or $41 per hour, as of March 2022.

What is the highest-paying job in a nursing home?

Depending on the organizational structure and size of the nursing home, the top-paying RN jobs are in administration. This role can be either a chief nursing officer or nursing home administrator.

Learn More About Other Nursing Specialties

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