According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses in 2014 was $66,640 ($32.04/hr) in comparison to a legal nurse consultant salary of up to $150/hr.*
I took a leave of absence from my job at the hospital for the summer and have not gone back! My goal was to bill $8,000 for one month. For December I billed $10,000! And this was just part time!
RN, BSN, CLNC
For RN job salaries, that’s an increase of less than 1% compared to 2013 ($66,220). Though the healthcare industry has experienced tremendous growth with an aging baby-boomer population as well as myriad changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, the value of a registered nurse’s salary is virtually stagnant.
On top of that RNs are now under more stress than ever to perform at exhausting stress levels in hospital environments that are driven more by cost cutting objectives than quality patient care.
For registered nurses considering alternative career options and who prefer to work in a healthy environment, legal nurse consulting is an exciting way to transform their careers and positively impact their salaries.
It pays to assess your RN salary. Watch the video above and view the “Legal Nurse Consultant Salary Infographic” to learn more on legal nurse consultant salary.
When evaluating the opportunity of achieving a legal nurse consultant salary, consider these three key factors that differentiate a legal nurse consultant’s earnings from the current RN job earning potential.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the highest paid RN job positions are all clustered in California, especially in metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and San Jose. While this is good news for RNs who work in those areas, the vast majority of registered nurses are limited in their earning potential due to where they choose to live.
The earning potential of a legal nurse consultant isn’t limited by location. In fact, while working from home, numerous legal nurse consultants conduct business with attorneys in several states. This allows them to maintain a high quality of life and demand a reasonable legal nurse consultant salary in any area they choose to live. As an example, Janice Lange, RN, BSN, CLNC and Joyce Gerdes, RN, BSN, CLNC have grown their legal nurse consultant business across 11 states. Watch their story.
The increase in the supply of newly licensed RNs along with those baby-boomer nurses who are holding onto their positions due to the poor economy has created a downward pressure on RN salaries. This is particularly true for the less experienced registered nurses looking to enhance their careers, both financially and by promotion.
With 1,819,134 attorneys practicing in the United States, the demand for legal nurse consultants has never been higher. Nowhere are attorneys able to find a more cost-effective addition to their litigation team when in need of medical-related case expertise.
This increased demand for legal nurse consultants, even those practicing part time, means legal nurse consultant salaries of up to $150/hr for their expertise and higher for advanced legal nurse consultants. Full-time legal nurse consultants now have incredible growth potential. As an example, Annmarie Johnson, RN, BSN, CLNC billed more than $10,000* in one month as a part-time consultant. Read her story.
Survey Results of the Legal Nurse Consultant Salary
Vickie Milazzo Institute undertook to assess the current status of the legal nurse consultant salary. The legal nurse consultants who responded to the survey are full time practicing CLNC consultants. The survey results are as follows:
Consulting expert fees range from $125-$175/hr.
More experienced legal nurse consultants charge up to $200/hr*.
Legal nurse consultants who serve as testifying experts charge between $250 to $400/hr.
The Institute’s survey revealed that consultants charge different fees for different law firms, discounting an average of 10-15% for law firms who hire them for large case volumes. The majority of legal nurse consultants report increasing fees at a rate of 2-5% annually.
In order to advance their careers, registered nurses often consider spending years obtaining additional degrees. However, according to a U.S. News & World Report article, often the significant investment in post-grad education, sometimes close to $60,000 per year, does not result in a significant increase in RN salary and career growth due to organizational factors in hospitals as well as their geographic location.
On the other hand legal nurse consultants are able to exert much more control on their post-certification earnings by not being limited to the hospital organizational hierarchy. In fact, not only are legal nurse consultants able to use their training in a legal nurse consultant program to consult with attorneys, they have additional opportunities to expand their careers by consulting with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and nonhospital healthcare organizations.
Overall, the legal nurse consultant salary continues to rise 2-5% annually as RN hospital salaries remain stagnant due to the growing stresses and strains occurring within the healthcare system.
For more information on legal nurse consultant certification click here.
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*Results are atypical and may vary from person to person.