Orthopedic Nurse Salary: A Comprehensive Guide to Earnings and Job Prospects

In 2023, the majority of orthopedic nurse salaries range between $76,000 to $122,000, with variations depending on factors such as experience, location, education, and more.

Are you considering a career in orthopedic nursing, or perhaps you’re already in the field and curious about the current orthopedic nurse salary trends? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the factors that influence income, regional trends, and how to potentially increase your earnings. 

We’ve navigated the ever-changing salary landscape and can offer valuable insights to help you make informed decisions. So, whether you’re an aspiring orthopedic nurse, a seasoned professional, or simply curious about the profession, read on to discover what you can expect when it comes to compensation in this rewarding and dynamic field.


If you are considering a career as an orthopedic nurse, understanding the salary range and job prospects is crucial. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of what you can expect, helping you make an informed decision about your future career.

Orthopedic Nurse Job Description

The job responsibilities of orthopedic nurses typically include the following:

  • Providing care to patients with musculoskeletal conditions and injuries
  • Assessing and monitoring patients’ conditions, including pain levels, mobility, and wound healing
  • Collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement treatment plans
  • Educating patients and their families on post-operative care and rehabilitation
  • Administering medications and treatments as prescribed
  • Operating and monitoring specialized equipment, such as traction devices and orthopedic implants
  • Ensuring patient safety and comfort during procedures and treatments
  • Documenting patient care and maintaining accurate medical records
  • Participating in ongoing education and training to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in orthopedic nursing

Orthopedic Nurse Salary


According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for orthopedic nurses in the United States is $104,111 as of March 2023. However, salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience level, geographic location, and the type of healthcare facility where an orthopedic nurse is employed. 

Orthopedic nurse salary by state

Below, you will find a map of the average annual salary for orthopedic nurses in all 50 states in the U.S., according to ZipRecruiter:

Highest-paying states for orthopedic nurses

Here are the highest-paying states in the U.S. for orthopedic nurses, according to ZipRecruiter:

Highest-paying cities for orthopedic nurses

Here are the highest-paying cities in the U.S. for orthopedic nurses, according to ZipRecruiter:

What Factors Determine the Salary for an Orthopedic Nurse?

Several factors determine the salary of orthopedic nurses:

  1. The level of education and experience: Nurses with higher levels of education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), may earn more than those with only an associate degree.
  2. The geographical location: Nurses working in urban areas may make more than those in rural areas due to the higher cost of living. 
  3. The type of employer and work setting: Salaries may differ based on the type of employer, such as private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or outpatient clinics. For instance, nurses working in hospitals or specialty clinics may earn more than those in long-term care facilities. Additionally, the overall financial health of the employer or industry can impact salary levels.
  4. The demand for orthopedic nurses: The job market and demand for orthopedic nurses in a particular area can impact salary levels. Regions with a higher demand for these professionals may offer more competitive salaries to attract and retain talent.

How To Increase Your Salary as an Orthopedic Nurse

There are several ways to increase your salary as an orthopedic nurse, including:

  • Getting a BSN or MSN degree.
  • Gaining specialized knowledge and experience in orthopedics through certifications, workshops, or seminars.
  • Seeking opportunities for advancement within your workplace, such as becoming a charge nurse or nurse manager.
  • Working in high-demand areas or accepting overtime shifts.
  • Negotiating your salary during the hiring process or at performance reviews.

How To Become an Orthopedic Nurse

Those interested in pursuing a career as an orthopedic nurse should meet several requirements, including the following:

Educational requirements

Orthopedic nurses need at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become registered nurses (RN). After obtaining a nursing degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), nurses can gain experience working in a hospital or clinical setting. Advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can also lead to higher-level nursing positions in orthopedics. 


Orthopedic nurses can obtain a certification in Orthopaedic Nursing (ONC), valid for five years, from the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) to demonstrate their specialized knowledge and skills. Other organizations, such as the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON), offer specialized pediatric orthopedics and musculoskeletal ultrasound certifications. 


To become an orthopedic nurse, nurses typically need experience working as registered nurses (RN). While there is no set amount of experience required, most employers prefer or require at least one to two years of experience as an RN. 

To advance in the field of orthopedic nursing, nurses should gain experience working in orthopedic units or clinics and become familiar with common orthopedic conditions and treatments.  


Orthopedic nurses require a wide range of skills to be successful in their field, including but not limited to the following: 

  1. Strong communication skills to effectively communicate with patients, families, and other healthcare providers.
  2. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assess patient needs, develop care plans, and make clinical decisions.
  3. Organizational skills to manage multiple patients, medications, and procedures simultaneously.
  4. Attention to detail to ensure accuracy in patient care, documentation, and medication administration.
  5. Empathy and compassion to provide emotional support to patients and families who may be experiencing pain or discomfort due to their condition.


Our comprehensive guide has highlighted the key factors influencing orthopedic nurse salaries. As the demand for skilled healthcare professionals grows, orthopedic nursing emerges as a promising and rewarding career path. 

To maximize earning potential and career satisfaction, we encourage both aspiring and current orthopedic nurses to explore further education and certification opportunities, stay informed about industry trends, and consider regional salary variations. By doing so, you can make well-informed decisions, chart a fulfilling career trajectory, and contribute meaningfully to the essential field of orthopedic healthcare.

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