How Much Do Neuroscience Telephone Triage Nurses Make?

Maura Deering, J.D.
Updated March 15, 2023
Telephone triage nurses increase access to healthcare for many patients. Learn more about telephone triage salary potential and which states pay the most.
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Nurse talking on the phone to a patient and looking at a chartCredit: Inside Creative House / iStock / Getty Images Plus

If you are interested in providing assistance and advice to patients over the phone, a career as a telephone triage nurse may be right for you. While large HMOs have used telephone advice nurses since the 1970s, today’s telephone triage systems feature convenient access to healthcare, with electronic records immediately accessible to physicians and other healthcare professionals.

This guide explores telephone triage salaries, along with ways to increase your earning power and information on which states pay the most.

Average Salary for Telephone Triage Nurses

As a registered nursing (RN) specialty area, the average telephone triage salary totals $82,750 per year, or $39.78 an hour, according to 2023 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data for all RNs. At the RN level, telephone triage salaries are comparable to nurse researchers, travel nurses, and informatics nurses. Telephone triage nurse earnings range from $59,450 for the lowest 10% to $120,250 for the highest 10%. Pay rates can vary by geographic location, employer type, and level of education or experience.

Average Annual Salary for all RNs
Source:BLS, January 2023

Average Hourly Wage for all RNs
Source:BLS, January 2023

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The Highest-Paying States for Telephone Triage Nurses

While specific telephone triage salary information is unavailable, earnings tend to be on par with those of all RNs. The BLS lists the top-paying states for all RNs as California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Alaska. At the high end, California RNs earn an average of $124,000 per year. In the fifth position, Alaska RNs make $97,230. Factors that contribute to average salaries in different locales can include the cost of living, the region’s level of demand for nurses, and whether the area is metropolitan or rural.

4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Telephone Triage Nurses

Telephone triage nurses can increase their salaries without relocating by becoming certified, earning a higher degree, or taking on administrative roles in telehealth. All three of the actions described below can demonstrate to employers a commitment to telephone triage nursing and increased expertise.

  1. 1

    Become a Certified Ambulatory Care Nurse

    According to the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN), telehealth nursing is an integral part of ambulatory care nursing. Specific telephone nursing practice certification is no longer available, but the AAACN recommends that telephone triage nurses obtain certification in ambulatory care nursing. The qualifying exam contains content on telehealth nursing and also offers a broader scope or practice.

  2. 2

    Increase Your Education Level

    RNs with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) can earn an average of $15,000 more per year than those with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). A master of science in nursing (MSN) can increase annual pay by an additional $10,000 on average.

    Even completing a training course, such as the AACN’s accredited online Telephone Triage as Professional Nursing Practice, may boost your income potential.

  3. 3

    Gain Experience in Administrative Roles

    Managerial roles in telephone triage nursing can increase base salaries. Generally, RNs with five years of experience in telephone triage and 1-3 years of supervisory experience qualify to seek opportunities in administrative positions. The typical annual salary range for phone triage nurse managers is $105,000-$137,000.

Frequently Asked Questions About Telephone Triage Nurse Salaries

How much do telephone triage nurses make?

As an RN specialty area, telephone triage nurse salaries can be grouped with BLS data for all RNs. The BLS provides a salary range of $59,450-$120,250 between the lowest 10% and highest 10% of RN earners.

Who may perform telephone triage?

Nurses licensed as RNs typically perform telephone triage, but other types of nurses also work in telehealth. These include licensed practical nurses and advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners.

What skills do you need to be a triage RN?

Telephone triage nurses need strong skills in verbal communication, use of technology, health assessment, collaboration, focus, and attention to detail. Employers may require bedside nursing experience or emergency department triage.

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