Hello everyone, welcome to this article on the salary structure of a Chief Nurse Officer!

In this article, you will learn everything about the Chief Nursing Officer Salary.

By the time you are done reading this article, we are sure that you will have already known the earning potential and job outlook of healthcare providers in this line of career.

Here are some points we will cover in this article:

  • CNO’s starting and average salary
  • CNO’s salary by state, experience, city
  • How CNOs can increase their earnings

Let’s start right away!

Starting Salary vs. Average Salary

Starting Salary vs. Average Salary

Chief Nursing Officers (also known as Charge Nurse or Matron) receive their income every month.

Onset, a Chief Nurse earns $47.46 hourly (this figure is better used as a yardstick than the basic pay), $8,230 monthly equivalent to about $98,710 yearly.

Chief Nurse Officers are also known as Executives in hospitals.

Executives receive their income at adjustable rates, meaning that their income changes as they go higher up in position or as their duties change.







Average Salary

Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) attain a climax mean income of $65.50 hourly, $11,350 monthly, and about $136,250 annually after working for five years in a healthcare organization.

The average Chief Nursing Officer’s salary is $65.50 an hour, $11,350 a month, or $136,250 a year.

In most healthcare organizations, the influx of patients and the standard of living where a CNO is assigned to work are two preeminent factors amongst others, that determines the remuneration of a CNO.







Chief Nurse Officer Salary by Years of Experience

Chief Nurse Officer Salary by Years of Experience

The higher up you go as a Chief Nursing Officer in a healthcare organization, the more your income increases.

Chief Nurse Officer Salary by Years of Experience

For example, if as a CNO you have about 1 to 4 years of experience in this field, you will earn a mean annual income of $112,910.

This is 14% more than the mean income of a starting CNO.

However, if you have 5 to 9 years of working experience as a Chief Nursing Officer, you will earn a $132,880 median pay annually.

This is 35% more than the mean income of a starting CNO.

More so, if you have 10 years or more of work experience in this field, you will probably receive a $185,810 yearly income.

This is 88% higher than the mean annual income of a starting CNO.

Your starting income can however be high if you’ve been an effective Chief Nursing Officer at a former healthcare organization.

Level of Experience








1-4 Years of Experience




5-9 Years of Experience




10-19 Years of Experience




20 Years or More Experience




Chief Nurse Officer Salary by State

Chief Nurse Officer Salary by State

Chief Nursing Officers receive various remuneration.

In Alabama, your annual income can be as low as $118,740 and high as $173,680 in California.

CNOs in the Golden State earn salaries that are 46 percent higher than CNOs in the Yellowhammer State.

CNO salaries are highest in northeastern states like New Jersey ($155,740), New York ($150,440), and Massachusetts ($149,980), and western states like California, Washington ($150,490), and Oregon ($141,120).

If you work in any southeastern state, you’re likely to earn a very low income as a CNO because they are likely the lowest-paying states.

In Alabama, and Florida CNOs are paid $120,250 while in South Carolina CNOs are paid $120,400.  

These differences in remuneration are a result of the differences in living standards in the districts.

For example, if you work in California, the cost of living in California in comparison with the cost of living in Alabama, is 68% apart – i.e your cost of living in California is 68% more than that of Alabama.

Thus, we can rightly conclude that working as a CNO in Alabama is better since you’re able to buy more goods and services for lesser.





















































































































New Hampshire




New Jersey




New Mexico




New York




North Carolina




North Dakota




















Rhode Island




South Carolina




South Dakota




























West Virginia












Chief Nurse Officer Salary by City

Chief Nurse Officer Salary by City

Your income as a Chief Nursing Officer differs also from cities in a state.

A good example is Texas, CNOs earn a median annual salary of $138,860.

However, in Houston, a CNO earns an amazing $149,700 which is 8% more than the state’s mean income.

Still, in the same state, a CNO earns $131,350 in San Antonio which is 5% less than the state’s mean income.

The cost of living in Houston in comparison with the cost of living in San Antonio is 7% higher.

This also indicates that CNO duties are competitive in these areas.

Bayou City is a healthcare hub with more than 85 hospitals and more than 19,000 patient beds.

This is the largest medical facility worldwide and it is located in Houston.

In Houston, top executive skills like CNOs are highly competitive.

Chief Nurse Officer Salary by City

It gives employment to about 7% of the city’s labor force as it hires more than 10,000 workers.

Its healthcare sector employs more than 10,000 people, almost 7 percent of the city’s workforce.

This is quite different in San Antonio where healthcare doesn’t have so much of an impact on the city’s financial system.  

It has fewer hospitals, and healthcare doesn’t play as large a role in the city’s economy.

It has quite a small number of hospitals.

Therefore, there’s very little demand for competent CNOs and equally lower income for those available.

The Top Paying States for Chief Nurse Officers

The Top Paying States for Chief Nurse Officers

Northeastern and far western states seem to pay the highest salaries to Chief Nursing Officers, as mentioned before.

If you work in California, you’ll be among the most paid Chief Nursing Officers.

In California, the salary ranges of CNOs are $173,680 and $175,500, this is 12% more than the $155,740 annual average of CNOs in New Jersey – the 2nd highest-paying state.

This is a result of California’s high standard of living and the important role that healthcare plays in the state’s economy.

Competent CNOs are valued in California because they help tackle a major problem faced by most healthcare organizations in the state – hiking healthcare costs – and keep it in control.




Annual Salary





New Jersey






New York




















Massachusetts however, has a remarkable functional CNO labor force.

The report shows that a lot of companies are presently recruiting for this position.

The10 states listed above pay more than the national average.

This, no doubt shows that as a CNO, changing domains will give room for higher chances of economic growth to you.

How Chief Nurse Officers Can Increase Their Earnings

How Chief Nurse Officers Can Increase Their Earnings

Itemized below are five suggestions that may help increase your chances of earning a higher salary as a CNO or Nurse Manager:

Earn your DNP

For a fact, Registered Nurses who have earned a DNP degree are expected to earn more money than Registered Nurses with just MSN degrees.

It is logical, therefore, to conclude that there will be a difference in the incomes of CNOs with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and CNOs with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, even though there is no actual analysis of this given.

So far, there’s no higher degree for practice-based training in Nursing other than the Doctor of Nursing Practice (or its equivalent Ph.D.) in a relevant Nursing department.

So if you pursue and earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), with a focus on executive administration, this will make you highly prized in the CNO job market since your skills play a key role in implementing great ideas and in the overall smooth running of any healthcare organization.

So if you are still running a Bachelor’s degree program (BSN) and your goal is to become a director of Nursing someday, now you know how you still need to take your Nursing education.

Work with a larger healthcare system

Healthcare organizations with a labor force of 10,000 employees or more pay most to Chief Nursing Officers and other top executives.

This is a result of the financial returns or turnover of these organizations.

A small-scale or Private practice organization that employs a Chief Nursing Officer will hardly if ever be able to offer up to the standard salary average for CNOs.

On the contrary, a large healthcare organization with a massive influx of patients and a high number of Nurses will up to the standard average or more to you as a Chief Nursing Officer.

Gain more years of experience as a CNO

On average CNOs earn a standard annual income of $136,250.

After five years of working experience in an organization, the majority of Chief Nursing Officers attain this mark.

As a Chief Nursing Officer position, your annual pay increases at intervals.

This means that the more your years of experience in the field, the more your income increases.

Therefore your annual income as a CNO will soar higher than the average pay if you spend above five years in the field.

Other reports show that of your 11 to 20 years of work experience as a Chief Nursing Officer or more you may be able to earn up to $200,000 annual income or more in the long run.

Work to earn more bonuses

On average, Chief Nurse Officers earn annual bonuses equivalent to 19.2 percent of their base salary.

Records show that you can earn bonuses of up $34,086.

These figures of course differ with organizations.

Also, patient satisfaction is a key factor in determining whether you earn a bonus and how much you earn bonus.

Work to earn more bonuses

When you equip and exert your team of Nurses to deliver top-notch quality care to patients, the organization you work for is no doubt known for this.

It brings them a certain amount of popularity and recognition for excellence which in turn earns you a fat bonus from the organization.


CNOs’ remuneration varies from state to state.

As such, to earn a higher income as a Nurse Leader or a Nurse Executive, you can decide to move to a state where the pay is higher.

As you’ve seen in this article, northeastern states like New Jersey and California pay way higher than western states like Alabama due to differing standards of living.

Also even within states, CNO’s income varies among cities – Texas as an example, Houston pays far higher than San Antonio.

Other Benefits Apart from Salary

Other Benefits Apart from Salary

Apart from your basic income, pursuing a career in Nursing leadership qualifies you for a broad variety of rewards.

As competent CNOs, you have the right to broker these advantages that may convince you to accept employment in an organization.

These advantages often include a yearly percentage with an assured amount added to the basic income.

Lease/loan assistance, health plan, life coverage, and absolute involvement in the subsidiary executive pension plan are some other advantages.

Bear in mind, however, that profit-making hospitals do not provide as many benefits as non-profit making healthcare organizations do – non-profit making organizations offer higher incomes and worthwhile benefits.

As a Chief Nursing Officer with effective management abilities, there are a lot of benefits open to you.  

A number of these advantages are; liberty at the workplace, monetary benefits, and the privilege of training and equipping other younger Nurses to deliver high-quality patient care.

Below is a detailed list of some advantages of being a Chief Nursing Officer:

Higher Autonomy

As a Chief Nursing Officer, you have almost absolute authority over the way your work is organized and how you handle the Nursing staff.

The Chief Executive Officer and Governing body of the healthcare organization would normally set goals but not a detailed set of instructions on how to attain them.

You’ll be the one to decide what to do and how to do it.

As such you have the privilege(s) to utilize your proficiency as well as various experiences in Nursing administration.

Higher Job Satisfaction

Approximately 48% of Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) found their jobs “satisfying” and 37% found them “highly satisfying” according to a survey conducted in 2008 by the American College of Healthcare Executives.

This can mean a lot of things like, suggests that Autonomy, comparatively high salaries, authority, a positive relationship with the CEO, organizational support, and responsibility are all components that contribute to CNO workplace satisfaction.

Variety of employment opportunities

Your acquired experiences as a Chief Nursing Officer no doubt make you a highly beneficial employee on a large scale of various healthcare organizations.

If you wish, you could choose to utilize your skills in several healthcare organizations in different states and work in combined healthcare centers within a city or countryside health center.

You could also seek employment in big private practices if they have a sizeable Nursing workforce to require a Chief Nursing Officer.

Easy acquisition of work hours

A very exciting advantage of being a CNO is you don’t have to set an alarm to wake you up, you work according to your time.

This means that you can resume at your workplace and close when you choose as long as you do all that is required of you by the Chief Executive Officer.

Truth be told, though you’ll likely work more than forty hours weekly it’ll be basically on your demands.

The years of experience could also be obtained while running your Nursing program or while working on a related job.

Opportunity to develop new skills

The CNO’s leadership role makes it easier to coordinate all Nursing operations in a medical facility.

But in today’s increasingly complex healthcare delivery matrix, the executive Nursing practice involves understanding business administration and finance.

While CNOs may learn the fundamentals in a Master’s degree program like in health management, they’ll likely hone their expertise in managing Nursing budgets, establishing compensation wages, and planning new patient services on the job.

Several Networking opportunities

You’ll have the opportunity to work with various healthcare experts from whom you can acquire new skills and learn recent findings in healthcare which will help you in your duties as a CNO.

All CNOs receive comparable advantages irrespective of the organizational structure.

Several Networking opportunities

Although these advantages differ with the healthcare organization, the common ones are:

  • Paid leave of absence
  • Medical insurance
  • Certification recompense
  • Pension plan
  • Family and Medical leave
  • Childbirth leave
  • Dental coverage
  • Dependent Medical Insurance plan
  •  Life coverage
  • Relocation aid
  • Family service
  • Mourning leave
  • Eyecare plan
  • Deductions
  • Tuition recompense
  • Nursing conference attendee
  • Conference Travel coverage
  • Relocation plans
  • Several work-related travels


Conclusion on Chief Nurse Officer Salary

A Chief Nurse Officer earns good money, more than regular Nurse Practitioners, because they are in high demand, and they are highly sought-after in most places around the world.

Even though the salary looks good and the job outlook is amazing, make sure you are not going into this career because of the money.

Focusing on the money alone will distract you from the purpose of your career.

Remember, you still need to become an active member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an American organization that offers Nurses their respective certifications.

A review of the salary structure is just to give you an idea of what you can make and to determine if this career path will be worth your while.


FAQs on Chief Nurse Officer Salary

How much do Chief Nursing Officers make in the United States?

In the United States, Chief Nursing Officers earn a mean annual income of $128,031 or $53.54 annually. This is based on a PayScale income analysis and the u.s bureau of labor statistics (BLS) report.

How much do Chief Nursing Officers make outside the United States?

Chief Nursing Officers earn working outside of the States earn an average annual salary of approximately $120,000. Since regulations, currency differences, economic conditions, and personal preferences come into play, some Chief Nurse Officers may earn slightly higher or lower than this approximate value.

What factors can affect CNO Nursing salary?

The years of experience, where you work, and the location in the state can affect your salary as a CNO. Your competency in your previous place of employment (part-time or full-time) can also affect your salary as an entry-level CNO in an organization.

How much tax will a Chief Nurse Officer pay on their salary?

Individually, the income tax rate is 37%. However, this is dependent on different taxable incomes. For an individual, within the range of $41,776 to $89,075 the tax rate is 22 percent. A Chief Nursing Officer earning within the range of $89,076 to $170,050, the tax rate is 24 percent.

How Can CNOs increase their salary expectation?

You can acquire experiences. The years of experience of a CNO affect the income, the more years of working experience, the higher the income. You can also get employment in larger healthcare organizations, which would increase your income. You can also get gain experience in non-profit making hospitals.

How Can I become a CNO?

Firstly, meet the educational requirements, which include at least a master’s degree in a relevant health discipline. After that, pass the NCLEX-RN, which gives you the right to practice and gain 6 to 7 years of clinical experience. Finally, apply for the role of Chief Nurse Officer.


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