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Highest Paying States for Nurses in 2024

 

Are you a nurse who is curious about salaries in different cities and states? Are you considering moving and you’re wondering how your salary, housing prices, and cost of living expenses will affect your bottom line? Read on to discover how much money you can make as a registered nurse!

Average Annual Salary

In the United States, the average annual salary is around $94.000 and the average hourly wage is around $45, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

States with the Highest and Lowest Salary

California comes in as the highest paying state for nurses at $137,690 per year, while South Dakota comes in as the lowest paying state for nurses at $69,030 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Types of Registered Nursing with Higher Average Salaries

  • Travel Nurse: Nurses with a compact license can travel to other states and work in any type of department. Travel nurses that work with travel companies have the opportunity to make significantly more money and usually have better benefits.

  • Operating Room Nurse: OR nurses specialize in various procedures surgeries. The opportunity to take call allows for nurses to significantly increase their wages.
  • Intensive Care Unit Nurse: ICU nurses specialize in critical care patients that have acute or chronic health conditions.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse: NICU nurses specialize in caring for newborns with acute health conditions.
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse: PICU nurses specialize in caring for pediatric patients with acute or chronic health conditions.
  • Nurse Manager: Nurse managers supervise a particular department and are responsible for overseeing nurses, delegating tasks, and attending to administrative concerns.
  • Flight Nurse: Flight nurses transport patients in a helicopter or plane from one medical setting to another.

Other Factors to Consider

Of course, paychecks aren’t everything. Nurses should consider how far their money will go in each state. Sales tax, utilities, and gas prices can all affect your bottom line.

Sales taxes on everyday purchases can quickly add up. In California, Indiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, there is a sales tax of 7% or more on purchases. But in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, there is no sales tax.

The cost of monthly utility bills can put a dent in your pay check. Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota all have lower monthly electricity payments, while California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are at the top end of average monthly electric prices.

Traveling to and from work can drain a nurse’s bank account if they live far from their workplace and they drive their own car. Gas prices in California, Hawaii, and Washington have soared to an average of almost $5 per gallon, while gas prices remain low in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana at around $3 per gallon.

Most importantly, nurses need to consider whether they will rent or buy, and should factor in the average sales price of a home or average monthly rent payment of a state before they consider moving. A balance between income and living expenses is important. 

10 Cities with the Best Pay for Registered Nurses

  1. San Francisco, California
    • Average annual salary of $181,000
  2. San Jose, California
    • Average annual salary of $179,000
  3. Sacramento, California
    • Average annual salary of $157,000
  4. Stockton, California
    • Average annual salary of $136,000
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii
    • Average annual salary of $133,000
  6. San Diego, California
    • Average annual salary of $132,000
  7. Modesto, California
    • Average annual salary of $131,000
  8. Los Angeles, California
    • Average annual salary of $129,000
  9. Bakersfield, California
    • Average annual salary of $125,000
  10. Portland, Oregon
    • Average annual salary of $116,000

 

There are many opportunities for registered nurses in the United States. Finding the balance of where you want to live and how much money you can earn is the first step in your exciting nursing career!