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Highest Paying States for Nurses of All Types

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Highest Paying States for Nurses

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, you’re not alone. According to HealthAffairs.org, about 155,000 RN’s graduate each year, and that may not be enough to fill the expected demand according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. But if you’re open to relocating, you may also be wondering what are the best states for nurses along with which are the highest paying states for nurses.

Keep in mind, that just because a state has high average salaries for a nurse, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best place for you. Think about other factors like cost of living, the number of nurses needed in that state, and other criteria that lead to your personal satisfaction.

That said, if you can find a high-paying nursing job, in an area you love, with a reasonable cost of living, you will have high likelihood of satisfaction in your new career.

So let’s look at the highest paying states for nurses. We’ve also incorporated WalletHub’s analysis of the best states to live in which analyzes aspects of states like affordability and quality of life. This can help highlight when a state might be high paying but might have some other drawbacks to consider.

Related: Nursing School Guide

The Highest Paying States for Registered Nurses

Not surprisingly California comes in as the state with the highest salary for RN’s. As most of us know, however, California is also an expensive place to live, so naturally, wages are going to be higher. That said, its average wage is considerably higher than the next state on the list, and the demand is sky-high. If you love sunshine, then California is a good option.

It’s also hard to ignore some of the popular east coast destinations like Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. These states all rank very high when it comes to high paying states, but they also rank very well in WalletHub’s ranking of best states to live in.

Regardless of which state you end up gaining employment in, you will see the 9oth percentile of RN’s can make a significant amount more than the average. Not only are RN’s in high demand but they can command a great salary after gaining some experience. 

StateTotal EmploymentHourly AverageAnnual AverageAnnual 90th PercentileWalletHub Rank
California 307,060$57.96 $120,560 $173,37027
Hawaii 11,260$50.40 $104,830 $134,66042
Massachusetts 84,030$46.27 $96,250 $146,4802
Oregon 36,840$46.27 $96,230 $126,47038
Alaska 6,240$45.81 $95,270 $126,26049
Washington 59,300$43.90 $91,310 $125,97030
District of Columbia 10,320$43.29 $90,050 $123,540
New York 178,550$43.16 $89,760 $126,6603
Nevada 23,420$43.15 $89,750 $121,10044
New Jersey 78,590$41.21 $85,720 $110,5101
Connecticut 33,400$40.79 $84,850 $113,32022
Rhode Island 12,150$39.81 $82,790 $105,15036
Maryland 51,480$39.23 $81,590 $106,04023
Minnesota 70,820$38.92 $80,960 $107,0005
Arizona 55,520$38.64 $80,380 $104,29037
Colorado 52,330$37.43 $77,860 $104,07016
Texas 219,330$36.92 $76,800 $103,04033
New Hampshire 13,840$36.52 $75,970 $101,4008
New Mexico 17,100$36.40 $75,700 $98,23050
Wisconsin 63,630$35.94 $74,760 $99,0606
Illinois 127,450$35.85 $74,560 $103,21018
Virginia 66,450$35.76 $74,380 $102,30012
Delaware 11,410$35.74 $74,330 $100,15032
Pennsylvania 146,640$35.66 $74,170 $99,87010
Michigan 97,820$35.57 $73,980 $98,08025
Wyoming 5,010$34.90 $72,600 $95,87013
Vermont 6,810$34.68 $72,140 $98,38011
Idaho 12,800$34.44 $71,640 $95,4804
Georgia 73,230$34.38 $71,510 $98,81035
Maine 14,160$34.16 $71,040 $93,92019
Montana 9,980$33.91 $70,530 $93,55021
Utah 23,690$33.83 $70,370 $92,1607
Virgin Islands520$33.74 $70,190 $93,080
Ohio 129,090$33.53 $69,750 $91,37026
North Dakota 9,970$33.47 $69,630 $88,78015
Florida 183,130$33.42 $69,510 $93,50014
Nebraska 24,060$33.41 $69,480 $90,22020
North Carolina 99,110$33.15 $68,950 $93,25028
Louisiana 41,690$32.70 $68,010 $87,42048
Indiana 66,460$32.45 $67,490 $88,31029
South Carolina 45,930$32.28 $67,140 $86,15046
Oklahoma 32,950$32.02 $66,600 $85,16043
Missouri 71,560$31.68 $65,900 $91,88031
West Virginia 19,800$31.31 $65,130 $87,18040
Kentucky 42,940$31.12 $64,730 $84,07039
Kansas 29,430$30.87 $64,200 $83,45024
Tennessee 61,040$30.83 $64,120 $86,17034
Arkansas 25,300$30.60 $63,640 $82,48045
Iowa 32,610$30.08 $62,570 $80,6109
Guam690$29.91 $62,200 $88,120
Mississippi 28,800$29.45 $61,250 $82,26047
South Dakota 13,130$29.31 $60,960 $79,90017
Alabama 48,850$28.96 $60,230 $80,42041
Puerto Rico 19,250$17.05 $35,450 $48,300

The Highest Paying States for Licensed Practical Nurses

For those of you who are practical nurses, or are thinking about becoming one, you will be happy to see there are many high paying states for this type of nurse. Not surprisingly, many of the same state that pay well for registered nurses, also are atop the list for practical nurses.

Alaska takes the top spot for highest paying states when it comes to practical nurses, followed closely again by California. The east coast states once again perform well when looking at those states that round out the top ten.

StateTotal EmploymentHourly AverageAnnual AverageAnnual 90th PercentileWalletHub Rank
Alaska330$32.51$67,620$83,15049
California71,320$30.81$64,090$85,71027
Massachusetts14,790$29.04$60,400$76,6702
Washington7,870$28.74$59,780$76,97030
Nevada2,690$28.70$59,700$73,74044
Rhode Island1,120$28.41$59,090$76,14036
Connecticut7,950$28.09$58,430$69,50022
District of Columbia1,390$27.80$57,810$69,860
New Jersey15,590$27.69$57,590$68,6201
Oregon3,810$27.56$57,320$66,92038
New Hampshire2,070$27.12$56,400$67,3908
Maryland8,940$27.03$56,220$67,48023
Arizona7,440$26.84$55,820$67,04037
Illinois19,630$26.24$54,580$67,93018
Colorado4,960$26.11$54,310$65,98016
Hawaii930$26.04$54,160$64,60042
Delaware2,290$25.92$53,920$65,29032
Michigan12,700$25.10$52,220$63,94025
New York44,440$24.66$51,300$64,8403
Vermont990$24.64$51,240$63,72011
New Mexico1,900$24.27$50,480$65,57050
Virgin Islands170$24.25$50,440$64,190
Pennsylvania35,240$24.16$50,250$63,90010
Minnesota14,210$23.96$49,840$62,6005
Wyoming440$23.55$48,980$62,84013
Idaho2,520$23.38$48,640$62,0704
Maine1,070$23.27$48,390$62,43019
Texas69,650$23.26$48,380$63,14033
Wisconsin8,050$23.11$48,070$61,5306
North Dakota2,520$23.10$48,060$60,68015
Indiana14,710$23.02$47,890$60,93029
Utah1,860$22.86$47,550$62,4307
Virginia20,750$22.79$47,410$60,19012
North Carolina16,250$22.65$47,120$59,75028
Florida41,560$22.46$46,710$60,25014
Ohio40,850$22.40$46,590$59,52026
Montana1,850$22.12$46,010$59,21021
Iowa6,140$22.05$45,860$57,5609
Nebraska5,530$21.98$45,710$58,06020
Kansas6,860$21.66$45,050$57,50024
Georgia22,170$21.48$44,690$58,57035
Missouri14,770$21.39$44,490$56,79031
Kentucky9,390$21.23$44,160$56,67039
South Carolina9,780$20.97$43,630$57,12046
Oklahoma12,850$20.79$43,250$54,08043
Tennessee24,610$20.35$42,330$52,57034
Louisiana18,560$20.16$41,920$51,90048
Arkansas11,540$20.08$41,760$52,65045
Alabama12,000$19.56$40,680$51,58041
Mississippi9,580$19.39$40,340$50,59047
South Dakota2,020$18.95$39,420$50,09017
Guam100$18.85$39,200$50,900
West Virginia5,980$18.72$38,940$50,05040
Puerto Rico4,310$11.46$23,840$36,010

The Highest Paying States for Nurse Practitioners

Last, but certainly not least when it comes to earnings potential are nurse practitioners. While it takes quite a bit more schooling, you will see below that the earnings potential for nurse practitioners is quite substantial.

In fact, the vast majority of these states pay nurse practitioners on average a six-figure salary. The 90th percentile of nurses in this category is closing in on $200k per year. That’s not bad when you consider this can also be a very gratifying line of work if you’re someone that enjoys helping people

StateTotal EmploymentHourly AverageAnnual AverageAnnual 90th PercentileWalletHub Rank
California15,100$70.18$145,97027
New Jersey5,800$62.93$130,890$177,0101
Washington3,720$60.81$126,480$162,08030
New York14,850$60.79$126,440$167,3203
Massachusetts6,430$60.60$126,050$167,8502
Nevada1,290$57.64$119,890$159,49044
Minnesota4,080$57.16$118,900$147,0905
Wyoming340$57.12$118,810$160,54013
Hawaii390$57.11$118,780$163,52042
Oregon2,220$57.02$118,600$154,95038
Arizona4,790$56.48$117,480$156,24037
Rhode Island690$56.39$117,300$153,42036
New Mexico1,080$56.28$117,050$153,44050
Connecticut2,630$56.15$116,780$162,06022
Texas14,680$56.11$116,700$157,15033
District of Columbia860$55.84$116,150$148,590
Maryland3,320$55.40$115,240$155,05023
Montana710$54.99$114,370$142,92021
Idaho810$54.76$113,890$163,8304
Utah1,610$54.59$113,550$158,8907
Wisconsin4,820$54.34$113,030$137,5806
Oklahoma1,970$54.21$112,750$144,24043
New Hampshire1,060$54.07$112,460$144,3008
Delaware740$53.96$112,230$148,56032
Illinois6,890$53.87$112,060$144,62018
Louisiana3,170$53.79$111,880$158,17048
Maine1,360$53.64$111,580$138,60019
Pennsylvania8,150$53.64$111,560$158,29010
North Dakota690$53.40$111,070$142,75015
Alaska770$53.01$110,270$166,76049
Indiana5,700$52.86$109,940$137,48029
Colorado3,080$52.77$109,760$144,66016
Virginia5,790$52.72$109,660$141,34012
Mississippi3,640$52.67$109,550$145,77047
Michigan4,880$52.48$109,150$136,57025
North Carolina6,040$52.10$108,370$139,47028
Vermont460$52.06$108,280$141,95011
Iowa2,010$51.88$107,910$141,1809
Nebraska1,500$51.60$107,330$135,68020
Missouri6,200$51.38$106,870$137,34031
Georgia8,120$51.07$106,220$143,09035
Arkansas2,730$51.06$106,210$135,02045
Ohio9,430$50.78$105,630$140,54026
West Virginia1,200$50.59$105,220$142,17040
Kansas2,580$50.25$104,530$132,91024
South Dakota590$49.56$103,080$130,54017
Kentucky4,250$49.26$102,460$134,75039
South Carolina2,820$48.65$101,190$129,56046
Florida13,010$48.58$101,060$134,23014
Alabama3,930$47.98$99,790$129,81041
Tennessee8,300$47.78$99,370$131,59034
Guam50$39.66$82,490$137,830
West Virginia5,980$18.72$38,940$50,05040
Puerto Rico4,310$11.46$23,840$36,010

The Bottom Line

Nursing is one of the most popular and in-demand professions in the country. Given the current rate at which our population is aging, and increased dependence on medical care, that trend is likely to continue for many years to come.

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, or already are one and are wondering what are the highest paying states for nurses, hopefully, you’ve found the necessary data in this article.

Keep in mind that the highest paying doesn’t always equate to the highest satisfaction, so also give consideration to the livability scores provided by WalletHub. Finding the right job in the right place is your greatest chance for long-term satisfaction in your job.

 

Author: Kevin D

I'm an entrepreneur committed to increasing access to higher education through technology and other educational mediums that deliver high value at a reasonable cost.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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