How Much Does a Nurse Earn

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26th May 22

Nursing as a career is up there with the most selfless and rewarding. Your professional life is devoted to helping others regain, maintain and manage their physical and mental health. While no doubt challenging, many of these heroes commit themselves to the wellbeing of others every day. 

However, many aspiring Nurses want to know ‘Is a Nurse’s salary enough to meet the demands of the role?’ Many question this and with the difference between the income of NHS Nurses and Private Nurses being widely debated, it can be hard to know. Luckily, we’ve got the answers for you!  

How Much Do Nurses Earn – UK 2022 

UK Nurses have the option of choosing to work as a Nurse in the National Health Service (NHS) or as a Nurse in the private sector. Both career paths offer ample opportunities for employment and progression, but the Nurse salary, UK learners, can be quite different between the two sectors.  

For anyone studying to become a Nurse or considering getting into nursing, you must understand the differences between NHS and Private Nursing annual incomes when considering your future. 

How Much Do NHS Nurses Earn? 

As an NHS Nurse, wages are extremely transparent as they are based on the Agenda for Change (AfC) system. This was introduced to eliminate problems that had previously been associated with unfair wages for different NHS professionals like Nurses, Midwives and other healthcare workers.  

How Much Does a Nurse Earn

As such, your NHS Nurse salary will grow in accordance with your experience and professional development. It is worth noting that these figures change regularly and can grow in line with inflation and approved government pay rises for Nurses. The figures below were correct at the time of writing.  

NHS Nurse Starting Salary 

If you’re wondering ‘What is the starting salary for a Nurse in the NHS?’, graduate Nurses start on a Band 5 Nurse Salary which begins at £25, 655 and grows to £31, 534 with experience.  

More specially, graduate NHS Nurses in Band 5 can expect: 

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £25,655 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £25,655 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £27,780 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £27,780 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £31,534 
  • 5-6 years’ experience - £31,534 
  • 6-7 years’ experience - £31,534 
  • 7+ years’ experience - £31,534 

NHS Band 6 Nurse Salary 

Nurses at this level would typically work in Nurse Specialist or Senior Nurse roles and would command a wage between £32,306 and £39,027.  

More specifically, Band 6 Nurses can earn: 

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £32,306 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £32,306 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £34,172 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £34,172 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £34,172 
  • 5-6 years’ experience - £39,027 
  • 6-7 years’ experience - £39,027 
  • 7-8 years’ experience - £39,027 
  • 8+ years’ experience - £39,027 

How to Become a Nurse

NHS Band 7 Nurse Salary  

This Band caters to Nurse Practitioners or Advanced Nurses and typically requires you to have a Masters degree for entry. In Band 7, Nurses can expect to earn between £40,057 to £45,839 per year. 

More specifically, a Band 7 Nurses income will be: 

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £40,057 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £40,057 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £42,121 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £42,121 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £42,121 
  • 5-6 years’ experience - £45,839 
  • 6-7 years’ experience - £45,839 
  • 7-8 years’ experience - £45,839 
  • 8+ years’ experience - £45,839 

NHS Band 8 Nurse Salary 

You’ll be in a Head of Nursing Teams role if you make it into Band 8, such as a Chief Nurse or Modern Matron. Band 8 have sub-bands a, b, c and d with the Nurse yearly income increasing through each. As a Band 8 Nurse, you can expect to earn between £47,126 and £90,387 per year. 

More specifically, Nurses in Band 8 can receive: 

Nurse Band 8a  

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £47,126 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £47,126 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £47,126 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £47,126 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £47,126 
  • 5+ years’ experience - £53,219 

Nurse Salaries and Jobs

Nurse Band 8b  

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £54,764 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £54,764 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £54,764 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £54,764 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £54,764 
  • 5+ years’ experience - £63,862 

Nurse Band 8c  

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £65,664 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £65,664 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £65,664 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £65,664 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £65,664 
  • 5+ years’ experience - £75,874 

Nurse Band 8d  

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £78,192 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £78,192 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £78,192 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £78,192 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £78,192 
  • 5+ years’ experience - £90,387 

NHS Band 9 Nurse Salary

The highest Nursing Band offered by the NHS is Band 9 and it pays the annual income of Nurses in Consultant level roles. As an expert in your area of nursing, you will be one of the highest earning Nurses and can expect to receive between £93,735 and £108,075 each year! 

More specifically, Consultant Nurses can earn: 

  • 0-1 years’ experience - £93,735 
  • 1-2 years’ experience - £93,735 
  • 2-3 years’ experience - £93,735 
  • 3-4 years’ experience - £93,735 
  • 4-5 years’ experience - £93,735 
  • 5+ years’ experience - £108,075 

Nursing Earnings and Careers

Benefits Package for NHS Nurses 

While the NHS Nurse wages can be rather substantial as you move up the ranks, one of the main things that draw Nurses into the NHS is the benefits package.  

Just an example of some of the great NHS Nurse benefits you can expect include: 

  • Earn between 30% and 60% more for working unsociable hours 
  • The renowned NHS Pension Scheme 
  • 27 days holiday in addition to bank holidays off 
  • Maternity and paternity leave that more than exceeds the statutory minimum  
  • Free counselling support and access to occupational health 
  • Full sick pay for 6 months and half pay for 6 months  
  • Fully funded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 

How Much Does a Private Nurse Earn? 

It is often assumed that the Private Nurse salary, UK learners, is vastly more substantial than that of Nurses working within the NHS. While this can be true in many cases as the earning potential isn’t capped like it is in the NHS, that’s not always to say the grass is greener 100% of the time. 

If you’re thinking of becoming a Private Nurse, there are certain things you need to take into consideration about your earning potential first.  

For starters, the reason there is so much debate on what type of Nurse earns the most money is that many Private Nurse jobs are advertised with a negotiable salary. Where the NHS pay bands are clear for all to see, Private Nurses can demand more for their time if they have the skills and experience to back up their requests.  

This can be excellent if you are a highly qualified and seasoned Nurse, but if you are just starting out, you may find it is harder to prove your worth and demand a higher wage over time. Your Nurse wage won’t always go up automatically with years served, nor will you benefit from government agreed pay rises. The benefits package will also be different with every employer and chances are not as substantial as the one provided by the NHS. 

So, the answer is ‘yes’ Private Nurses can earn more than NHS Nurses, but not always. 

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How Much Do Agency Nurses Earn? 

Many NHS and Private Nurses will find themselves at some point in their careers working alongside Agency Nurses. These Nurses are on hand to fill in when there are staff shortages and extra support is needed to help out.  

Agency Nurses are paid at an hourly rate and this typically far exceeds that of other Nurses. Now, this high earning potential is no doubt desirable, but there are also considerations to take into account before committing to becoming an Agency Nurse.  

Firstly, Agency Nurses don’t get sick pay. So, if you are unwell, which happens to us all at some point, you will not receive any income whatsoever. Secondly, Agency Nurses receive no annual leave, so any break you have away from work comes at a significant cost.  

Further to this, your income is not guaranteed as there may be periods when nursing shifts aren’t available. You can cast the net wider and put yourself forward for more opportunities, but this could mean you would be working in locations or disciplines that don’t appeal to you.  

In this instance, if you’re a: 

  • Nurse looking for part-time work 
  • Looking to transition into fewer shifts as you enter retirement age 
  • Aiming to get a wealth of experience by working in hospitals, medical centres, prisons and schools, and by trying out several disciplines 

Agency work could be ideal. Though, if you want consistent work and a guaranteed income in an area of nursing you are passionate about, this isn’t the path for you.  

What is the Average Wage of a Nurse? 

One of the best indicators of your earning potential in any career is to look at the average salary of professionals in that space.  

Online Nursing Courses

As explored, Nurse wages differ depending on the employer and type of employment. However, there are many job boards and recruitment sites that thankfully keep track of the nursing wages offered in each nursing job advertisement.  

As it stands, it’s estimated the average income of a Nurse in the UK sits between £33,000 and £35,000 per year. This paints a picture that the average UK Nurse holds a minimum of 5 years of experience. 

Become a Nurse 

If you want to kick-start a career in nursing and take advantage of the salaries and benefits packages on offer, we can help you get the knowledge and qualifications you need to reach this goal.  

Any UK Registered Nurse must complete a nursing degree that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) before they can qualify. This requires you to meet a number of entry requirements, which are a mixture of Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications.  

learndirect is the leading UK online course provider, offering Level 2 qualifications like GCSEs and Functional Skills, plus Level 3 qualifications like A Levels and Access to Higher Education Diplomas.  

Our online Access to Nursing Diploma is one of the most popular methods of meeting the Level 3 entry requirements, and can get you ready to study nursing at university within a year.  

Find out more about how this course can help you become a Nurse by calling our Course Advisors on 01202 006 464 or by contacting us online. Alternatively, you can click below to view the course in more detail! 

Nursing Online Courses learndirect

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