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How do nurses’ salaries in Switzerland compare to the rest of the world?

How do nurses’ salaries in Switzerland compare to the rest of the world?
A nurses armband - which also looks a little like the Swiss flag. Photo by Julien Flutto on Unsplash
Switzerland is known for having some of the highest salaries in the world in a variety of industries, but how much do nurses earn - and how much does that compare with other countries?

There are an estimated 215,000 nurses employed in Switzerland, which means roughly one nurse for every 11.4 residents. This is well above the EU average of one nurse per 8.4 residents. 

While the cost of living is a major factor, nurses in Switzerland do earn a comparatively high salary. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

How do you become a nurse in Switzerland – and how much do you earn?

To become a nurse in Switzerland you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship. 

This varies from other countries, particularly in the English-speaking world, where nursing tends to be a university course. 

Switzerland will generally recognise nursing credentials gained abroad, whether this is from university or an apprenticeship. 

READ MORE: Which jobs pay the most and least after a Swiss apprenticeship?

Nurses earn an average of between 4,920 and 6,060 francs per month – or CHF59,000 to CHF72,720 – depending on where they live and their experience. 

This puts them second-highest after IT workers among apprentice-based workers. 

This comes from various sources including official Swiss figures, along with those from Switzerland’s Lohn Computer comparison site and OECD figures. 

It also compares relatively favourably with white collar jobs such as architects (CHF6,250 per month) and teachers (CHF7,292). 

READ MORE: What do teachers earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

You can find out the average wage for your job at the following link. 

How does this stack up compared to other countries? 

It is perhaps no surprise to learn that Switzerland compares relatively favourably to other European countries when it comes to nursing salaries. 

According to OECD figures from 2017, Switzerland among the top nations for remuneration of hospital nurses among OECD countries. 

Luxembourg is in first place where nurses are paid CHF99,800 per year, followed by the United States (CHF69,000), Netherlands (CHF64,200), Iceland (CHF63,500), Australia (CHF63,000) and Ireland (CHF62,500). 

The OECD estimate for Switzerland of CHF59,000 is on the lower end of the scale, so while they had Switzerland in seventh, some more experienced nurses will be earning higher than the average in all of the above countries other than Luxembourg. 

Keep in mind that these figures do not take into account purchasing power or cost of living figures, which are of course notably high in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland so expensive?


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