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How Much Do Rehabilitation Nurses Make?

Nalea Ko, MFA
Updated September 26, 2023
Want to advocate for patients with chronic illnesses and disabling injuries? Find out rehabilitation nurse salary information and the ways they can boost their earning potential.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Do you want to help patients regain their freedom and advocate for their rights? Rehabilitation nursing offers a fulfilling and high-paying career. These nurses help people with chronic illnesses and debilitating injuries regain their functions.

How much does a rehabilitation nurse make? Keep reading to find out about states with the highest rehabilitation nurse salaries.

Average Salary for Rehabilitation Nurses

Rehabilitation nurses and registered nurses (RNs) make salaries above the national average wage. The Social Security Administrative reports that workers in the United States make an annual salary of $55,628, on average. In comparison, rehabilitation nurses earn an average hourly wage of $31.18 or $72,290 annually.

Nurses can also boost their wages by gaining experience, responsibilities, and higher degrees to become nurse practitioners (NPs). NPs make a median annual salary of $120,680 and need at least a master of science in nursing degree to practice professionally.

Average Annual Salary
Source:Payscale, July 2022

Average Hourly Wage
Source:Payscale, July 2022

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The Highest-Paying States for Rehabilitation Nurses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks salaries by state for occupations such as RNs and NPs, but not rehabilitation nurses. However, state data for RNs and NPs can provide an estimation of rehabilitation nurse pay.

Top-paying states often have a higher demand for nurses and/or cost of living. Some states may also have mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, which increases the demand for nurses.

RNs are paid the most in California, with an annual mean salary of $124,000, or $59,62 per hour. The BLS reports that the other areas with the highest wages for RNs are Hawaii, Oregon, District of Columbia, and Alaska.

NPs also make the most in California, where they earn an annual mean salary of $151,830.

New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Massachusetts also pay NPs the highest salaries in the nation, according to the BLS.

3 Ways to Increase Pay As a Rehabilitation Nurse

Rehabilitation nurse pay typically increases as they grow professionally. The three ways listed below help nurses to fetch higher salaries.

  1. 1

    Become a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse

    CRRNs can make more than RNs. The CRRN credential requires at least two years of experience in rehabilitation nursing and passing the CRRN exam, administered by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. To maintain certification, a CRRN must have a current RN license, 1,000 hours of rehabilitation nursing experience, and at least 60 points of credit in continuing education, publication, or community service.

  2. 2

    Build Skills in Operations Management and Information Systems Management

    Rehabilitation nurses can make more by gaining experience in operations management and information systems management. Graduate-level programs and work experience can teach nurses about the quality and performance improvement strategies needed in health service organizations.

  3. 3

    Become a Rehabilitation Travel Nurse

    Rehabilitation travel nurses can make more money by traveling to neighboring states. These travel nurses help patients adapt and maximize their abilities in temporary positions at high-need hospitals, clinical, and rehabilitation centers, where they often receive higher weekly pay than regular on-staff positions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rehabilitation Nurse Salaries

question-mark-circleWhat is the starting salary for rehabilitation nurses?

Earnings for rehabilitation nurses increase as they gain more experience. RNs in the first 1-4 years of their careers make an average hourly salary of $29.65, according to Payscale. RNs with 5-9 years of nursing experience make an average of $31.14, while professionals with 10-19 years earn an hourly average of $33.94. After more than 20 years in nursing, RNs earn $36.22 an hour.

question-mark-circleWhat is the hourly salary for rehabilitation nurses?

RNs who have rehabilitation skills make an average hourly rate of $31.22. The lowest 10% of rehabilitation nurses make an average of $25.63 an hour, while the top 90% of nurses earn an average hourly wage of $39.67.

question-mark-circleWhere do rehabilitation nurses work?

Rehabilitation nurses help patients to regain their independence at clinics, community and home health agencies, hospitals, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facilities. They help people with amputations, brain injuries, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more. The job may also include advocating for patients in state or national legislatures.

question-mark-circleHow do you become a rehabilitation travel nurse?

The Nurse Licensure Compact provides multi-state nursing licenses to nurses in participating states, allowing nurses to travel across state boundaries to work without having to get an additional license. Nurses working in compact states can find work in neighboring states through job boards. These positions often provide bonuses and higher-than-average salaries.

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