Starting your nursing career, or continuing to grow it, can be heavily influenced by your pay – just like any other profession. Finding out how much you can make as a nurse not only involves planning more education but considering which state you will be practicing in. Salaries vary depending on the type of nursing specialty, and there are many to chose from. Simply searching how much money a nurse makes just doesn’t cut it these days. 

Because it can get tedious searching for nurse salaries by state, we created a list with all the relevant information about the average nurse salary per state, and all in one place. You will find information about the average nursing pay scale, how much do you make a month as a nurse (the hourly wages),  what the differences are between registered nurses and RN’s with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and a list of Registered Nurse salaries for all states in the US.

How much does a Registered Nurse make in the United States?

How much money a registered nurse makes varies from state to state, but can be influenced by experience, education, training and other certifications.

Here is the average annual salary for registered nurses in table format, easy to search:

StateAnnual RN SalaryAnnual Adjusted RN Salary
Alabama$55,270$60,134
Alaska$80,970$55,788
Arizona$71,390$72,818
Arkansas$55,360$62,501
California$94,120$60,331
Colorado$67,920$65,339
Connecticut$75,660$54,702
Delaware$70,820$69,829
District of Colombia$75,790$36,682
Florida$61,780$62,830
Georgia$60,770$65,996
Hawaii$84,750$27,205
Idaho$59,100$63,769
Illinois$66,260$69,838
Indiana$57,520$63,560
Iowa$52,540$57,269
Kansas$56,040$61,700
Kentucky$57,510$62,973
Louisiana$61,260$64,446
Maine$60,700$54,144
Maryland$71,090$52,962
Massachusetts$83,370$55,524
Michigan$64,430$71,517
Minnesota$70,780$70,214
Mississippi$57,740$65,881
Missouri$56,990$62,461
Montana$59,920$59,441
Nebraska$56,350$61,083
Nevada$77,870$75,300
New Hampshire$63,920$53,054
New Jersey$75,820$59,215
New Mexico$66,710$69,045
New York$74,100$51,129
North Carolina$58,760$62,344
North Dakota$53,520$53,841
Ohio$60,970$64,750
Oklahoma$55,980$62,026
Oregon$78,530$66,279
Pennsylvania$65,000$64,090
Rhode Island$73,070$57,945
South Carolina$58,940$59,412
South Dakota$52,800$50,846
Tennessee$55,800$61,715
Texas$66,350$72,521
Utah$59,810$63,997
Vermont$63,350$49,983
Virginia$63,050$62,546
Washington$75,350$71,432
West Virginia$54,490$58,086
Wisconsin$64,000$66,048
Wyoming$60,690$65,667

All the data was gathered from the Bureau Labor of Statistics and Numbeo.

What States have the highest paid nurses?

The highest paying state in the United States is California, with an average annual RN salary of $94,120. It is followed by Hawaii with $84,750 per year, Massachusetts with $83,370 per year, Alaska with $80,970, Oregon with $78,530, Nevada with $77,870, Washington with  $75,350, New Jersey with  $75,820, Connecticut with $75,660 and in New York a nurse can make $74,100.

What state has the highest paid nurses

The lowest paying US states

Iowa is the lowest paying state, with an average RN salary of $52,540.  Supply and demand influences and other popular factors listed below explain the variations in pay:

  • Location – The state where a nurse works has a big impact on its income. Dense metropolitan areas will always be paying more that rural environments, even if the demand is high.
  • Career specialization – Nurses who work in a specialized field of nursing can earn significantly more. Specialized fields usually welcome registered nurses that already hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree.
  • Experience and work hours – Nobody can underestimate the power of acquired years of valuable experience.

What state has the lowest paid nurses

The average nursing pay scale in the U.S

In May 2015, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that registered nurses brought in a median salary of $67,490 per year. The majority of nurses made from $46,360 to $101,630 annually. The nursing pay scale can vary according to the different nurse specialties and also nursing workplaces.

Starting salaries at hospitals can range from $47,060 to $55,200 a year. The best-paid 10 percent of RNs made more than $96,320, which was based on the workplace (hospitals, health centers, specialist units, etc.), geographic location and specialty.

average nurse practitioner salary

There are some projected employment figures that are favorable to highly trained nurses. Reports predict a rise of 19%, equaling an extra 526,800 RNs that are needed to replace and replenish the nursing pool by 2022. Nowadays, registered nurses can be in charge of other nursing staff such as LPNs (licensed practical nurses), CNAs (certified nursing assistants, and medical assistants, that require an increase in responsibility and clinical hours. The responsibilities are the result of high-level requirements necessary to run a team of nursing staff. The level of education shows the differences in responsibilities and salaries between registered nurses and the nursing staff they supervise. 

The average nursing salary by state

Here you can find detailed information about the nurse salary in each state.

Alabama

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Alabama (AL) is $55,270 which is below the national average. The monthly salary is $4,605, equaling an average of $26.57 hourly wage.

Alaska

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Alaska (AK) is $80,970 which is well above the national average. The monthly salary is $6,747 or an average of $38.93 per hour.

Arizona

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Arizona (AL) is $71,390 which is above the national average. The monthly salary is $5,949 or an average of $34.32 hourly wage.

Arkansas

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Arkansas is $55,360 which is below the national average. The monthly salary is $4,613 or an average of $26.62 per hour.

California

The average Registered Nurse Salary in California (CA) is $94,120 which is well above the national average.. The monthly salary is $7,843 or an average of $45.25 per hour.

Colorado

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Colorado (CO) is $67,920 which is almost exactly the national average for RN’s,  $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,660 and it breaks down as an average of $32.66 hourly wage.

Connecticut

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Connecticut is $75,660 which is well above the national average for Registered Nurses, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,305 and it breaks down as an average of $36.37 per hour.

Delaware

The average, or mean, Registered Nurse Salary in Delaware is $70,820 which is well above the national average for Registered Nurses,  $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,901 and it breaks down as an average of $34.05 per hour.

Florida

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Florida (FL) is $61,780 which is below the national average for RN’s, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,148 and it breaks down as an average of $29.70 per hour.

Georgia

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Georgia (GA) is $60,770 which is below the national average for RN’s,  $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,064 and it breaks down as an average of $29.22 per hour.

Hawaii

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Hawaii (HI) is $84,750 which is above the national average for RN’s,  $67,930. Monthly salary is $7,062 and it breaks down as an average of $40.74 per hour.

Idaho

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Idaho (ID) is $59,100 which is below the national average for RN’s,  $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,925 and it breaks down as an average of $28.42 per hour.

Illinois

The average Registered Nurse Salary in Illinois (IL) is $66,260 which is just below the national average figures for RN’s, $67,930. Monthly salary $5,521 and it breaks down as an average of $31.86 per hour.

Indiana

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Indiana (IN) is $57,520 which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,793 and it breaks down as an average of $27.65 hourly wage.

Iowa

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Iowa (IA) is $52,540, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,378 and it breaks down as an average of $25.26 per hour.

Kansas

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Kansas (KA) is $56,040, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,670 and it breaks down as an average of $26.94 per hour.

Kentucky

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Kentucky (KY) is $57,510,  which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,792 and it breaks down as an average of $27.65 per hour.

Louisiana

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Louisiana (LA) is $61,260 which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,105 and it breaks down as an average of $29.45 per hour.

Maine

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Maine (ME) is $60,700, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,058 and it breaks down as an average of $29.18 per hour.

Maryland

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in  Maryland (MA) is $71,090, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,924 and it breaks down as an average of $34.18 per hour.

Massachusetts

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Massachusetts (MA) is $83,370, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,947 and it breaks down as an average of $40.08 per hour.

Michigan

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Michigan (MI) is  $64,430, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,369 and it breaks down as an average of $30.97 per hour.

Minnesota

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Minnesota (MN) is $70,780, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,898 and it breaks down as an average of $34.03 per hour.

Mississippi

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Mississippi (MS) is $57,740, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,811 and it breaks down as an average of $27.76 per hour.

Missouri

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in  Missouri (MO) is $56,990, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,749 and it breaks down as an average of $27.40 per hour.

Montana

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in  Montana (MT) is $59,920, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,993 and it breaks down as an average of $28.81 per hour.

Nebraska

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in  Nebraska (NE) is $56,350 which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,695 and it breaks down as an average of $27.09 per hour.

Nevada

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Nevada (NV) is $77,870, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,489 and it breaks down as an average of $37.44 per hour.

New Hampshire

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in New Hampshire (NH) is $63,920, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,326 and it breaks down as an average of $30.73 per hour.

New Jersey

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in New Jersey (NJ) is $75,820, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary $6,318 and it breaks down as an average of $36.45 per hour.

New Mexico

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in New Mexico (NM) is $66,710, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,559 and it breaks down as an average of $32.07 per hour.

New York

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in New York (NY) is $74,100, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,175 and it breaks down as an average of $35.63 per hour.

North Carolina

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in North Carolina (NC) is $58,760, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,896 and it breaks down as an average of $28.25 per hour.

North Dakota

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in North Dakota (ND) is $53,520, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,460 and it breaks down as an average of $25.73 per hour.

Ohio

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Ohio (OH) is $60,970, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,080 and it breaks down as an average of $29.31 per hour.

Oklahoma

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Oklahoma (OK) is $55,980, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4.665 and it breaks down as an average of $26.91 per hour.

Oregon

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Oregon (OR) is $78,530, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,544 and it breaks down as an average of $37.75 per hour.

Pennsylvania

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Pennsylvania (PA) is  $65,000,  which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,416 and it breaks down as an average of $31.25 per hour.

Rhode Island

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Rhode Island is $73,070,  which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,089 and it breaks down as an average of $35.13 per hour.

South Carolina

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in South Carolina (SC) is $58,940, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,911 and it breaks down as an average of $28.33 per hour.

South Dakota

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in South Dakota (SD) is $52,800, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,400 and it breaks down as an average of $25.39 per hour.

Tennessee

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Tennessee (TN) is $55,800, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,650 and it breaks down as an average of $26.83 per hour.

Texas

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Texas (TX) is $66,350, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,529 and it breaks down as an average of $31.90 per hour.

Utah

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Utah (UT) is  $59,810, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,984 and it breaks down as an average of $28.76 per hour.

Vermont

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Vermont (VT) is $63,350, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,279  and it breaks down as an average of $30.46 per hour.

Virginia

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Virginia (VA) is $63,050, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,254  and it breaks down as an average of $30.31 per hour.

Washington

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Washington (WA) is $75,350, which is above the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $6,279  and it breaks down as an average of $36.22 per hour.

West Virginia

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in West Virginia (WV) is $54,490, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $4,540  and it breaks down as an average of $26.20 per hour.

Wisconsin

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Wisconsin (WI) is $64,000, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,333  and it breaks down as an average of $30.77 per hour.

Wyoming

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Wyoming (WY) is $60,690, which is below the national average for RN’s viewed across all U.S. states, $67,930. Monthly salary is $5,057  and it breaks down as an average of $29.18 per hour.

What is the difference between a RN & a RN with a BSN: Salary & Training

A common misunderstanding is that registered nurses who have a BSN degree do not make more than nurses who have an ADN degree if they work as a registered nurse.  So, the BSN salary you get really depends on which nurse specialty and job you will choose.

difference between an ADN nurse and a BSN nurse

However, it is true that nurses with a BSN degree qualify for more advanced positions, which may come with a higher pay. While salaries and workloads vary between specialties, the BSN gives candidates an edge over other RNs with lower qualifications.  Your paycheck is guaranteed to improve over a general registered nurse’s salary if you obtain your BSN degree.

Registered Nurse Training and Education

Whichever route you choose to become a registered nurse, you will need the minimum of a High School Diploma. Although the training along the way can vary, all RNs are educated to degree level.

Here are the most popular routes you can choose to  become a nurse:

  • The Nursing Diploma Programs, usually lasting 3 years, are at the lower entry level and can help you with your nursing career.
  • The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the standard degree course many people chose that can last up to 3 years depending on each individual’s qualifications.
  • The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the gold standard. The majority of BSN programs can last up to 4 years.
  • The RN to BSN Bridge Program is an accelerated degree program designed for licensed registered nurses who want to complete their BSN degree.

Completing an RN to BSN degree program can open the doors to supervisory positions and higher salaries. Hospitals and institutions see BSN degrees as a more professional grade of training and are highly desirable. If you’re a candidate with a BSN qualification, you will tend to be employed and command higher salaries.

What is the average salary for a Registered Nurse with a BSN Degree?

How much do you make with a BSN in nursing?

After becoming a qualified RN with a BSN degree, there are many areas of specialization that will help you improve prospects and salary. Here are a few more common nursing jobs available to registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree:

  • Geriatric Nurse – Geriatric nurses might earn more in top-paying industries like general medical and surgical hospitals, physician offices and home health care services. According to BLS data, RNs earned salaries such as $70,590, $62,850 and $66,910 in 2013.
  • Pediatric Nurse – Pediatric nurses earn $48,000 to $68,000 a year. However, compensation depends on the level of education, experience, geographic location and the type of facility. Experienced pediatric nurses can earn $100,000 a year or more.
  • Charge Nurse – Charge nurses earned a median annual income of $71,597 as of November 2010, with the middle 50 percent of professionals in this role earning between $65,216 and $80,611.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – Certified nurse midwives make an average annual salary of $91,998. According to the BLS Occupational Outlook, the median expected annual salary for nurse midwives is $96,970.

 average salary for a Registered Nurse with a BSN Degree

Keep in mind that actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. Read the latest BLS data to find out more information about specific nursing specialties and job outlook.

The Cost of Living in the United States

Even though the average U.S. registered nurse salary is $67,930. When the cost of living is factored in, most of the metropolitan areas that seem to offer the highest pay turn out to be less desirable if you consider the cost of living.

While salaries may be higher on the West coast, there are also higher prices that bring us to the conclusion that bigger paychecks aren’t necessarily signs of a wealthy life.

expensive states cost of living

For example, earning at least $75,000 per year is a comfortable paycheck. However, this $75,000 has to be adjusted to account for the costs of living differences.

The Cost of Living Index (the average for the entire U.S. is 100) measures the cost of services and consumer goods in an area relative to the rest of the country. This index takes into account the different overall costs of living in each U.S. state. For cost of living that is below the U.S. average, it raises the median nurse salary since salaries in those states are more valuable. Likewise, it lowers the median nurse salary for states where the cost is living is above the U.S. average as the prices are higher in those areas.

The most expensive states in the U.S

California tops the list of the most expensive states to live in.

With an annual salary of $94,120 which is well above the median registered nurse salary, California ranks number one in annual registered nursing pay. While Cali is a beautiful city to live in,  it is very polluted, and the cost of living is very high, with an index of approximately 135 or 30 percent more expensive than the average.

Living in Hawaii is a dream, especially for the beach and tropical side lovers. Nurses earn higher than average but they spend a lot of their paycheck on utility bills, rent, and imported goods.

most expensive states to live in

Most people consider New York and California as the most expensive states, but Alaska is among the top states with higher prices and cost of living. If you happen to enjoy the idea of cold days and night, be happy to find out that the Land of the Midnight Sun offers an annual nursing salary that is around $80,970.

However, the expensive lifestyle lowers it down to a real $55,788 per year, paycheck adjusted to Alaska’s cost of living index of 131.1. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Washington D.C are among the most expensive as well. If you want to find more information about the cost of living, pros, and cons for these areas, you can check USA Today’s article.

The least expensive States in the U.S

Arkansas is a go-to city if you’d like to live a cheap and comfortable. Even if the median annual salary for a registered nurse is $55,360, which is below the national average, the cost of living index is low and rises your real annual income to $62,501.

Nebraska is a fairly affordable state to live in. The annual income for registered nurses is $56,350 and is raised by the below average cost of living index  $61,083.

Utah, for example, the annual adjusted nurse salary equals $63,997 for a registered nurse.Additionally, Utah is a safe and cozy place to live and raise a family.

least expensive states for nurses

This list of the states in the U.S uses data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and other resources. Each state is ranked by its cost of living index, Third Quarter 2016 Cost of Living.

There are a few states like Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, Montana, Florida, and Wisconsin that make it around the benchmark, paying decent salaries according to a fair, low cost adjusted of living. The states produce a monetary amount that is relatively similar to the nationwide reference point even when adjusting for cost of living.

Closing thoughts

Registered nurses with a BSN degree will be in high demand in the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the profession to grow 16 percent by 2024, opening up 439,300 new jobs. Furthermore, registered nurses are expected to gain more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2017.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a nurse?

Find more about the BSN degree if you want to broaden your horizon, your education and most importantly, your salary.

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