It is a well know fact that nurses in all specialty areas are in great demand and that the nursing field offers job security and excellent employment prospects through the next ten years. Right alongside this demand is the relatively high salaries nurse earn but there are differences based on several factors.

Factors that determine nurse salary

The following are some of the most significant factors that determine nurse salary: a) years of experience; b) level of education; c) type of employer setting and public or private facility; d) specialty area; e) shift you work; f) facility location (rural or urban); g) whether the nurse is a member of a union; h) whether the facility is private or government funded; i) whether the nurse takes a benefit package or forgoes for a higher salary.

Years of experience

Most types of healthcare settings work on a seniority system so that the more experience you accrue, the grater will be your earnings. This will be especially true if you advance into supervisory or administrative roles.

Level of Education

In general, licensed practical nurses (LPN) earn less than registered nurses (RN) and advanced nurse practitioners with master’s degrees in nursing (MSN) degrees earn some of the highest salaries on all of the nursing profession with, many earning upwards of $100,000 per year or more depending on specialty. In most cases, salaries will also rise if an RN with a diploma in nursing pursues an associate’s degree or if an associate degree holder purses a bachelor of nursing (BSN) degree.

Type of Employer

Nurses employed in hospitals settings tend to earn more than those employed in private physician offices. Nursing facilities and home healthcare agencies tend to pay the lowest salaries of all healthcare settings.

Another determining factor with regard to nurse salary is whether your employer is private or government funded. In general, private hospitals and healthcare facilities tend to pay more than those who facilities that receive government funding.

The main contributing factor with regard to this nurse salary differential is how successful grant writers of public hospitals are in garnering government funds or private endowment contributions. However, even when the grant writer is successful in tapping into these resources, the issue then becomes dissemination of funds across departments, each with its own needs. Dissemination of funds is primarily the responsibility of the facility Board of Directors. Funds could be used to obtain new medical equipment, add care staff, or for the construction of a new wing.

Specialty area

Advanced practice nurses who specialize in one area of nursing, such as family nursing, pediatric nursing, family nursing, oncology nursing, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwifery, nurse psychiatric nursing, and clinical nurse specialist command some of the highest salaries in the nursing profession due to the advanced skills and knowledge they bring to their work. .

The specific department of the hospital in which the nurse works is also a contributing factor to salary differentials. For example, those nurses who work in emergency room nurses, operating rooms, recovery rooms, as well as those who work in intensive care units (ICUs) or cardiac care units (CCUs) often experience a high degree of stress and earn higher salaries to compensate for these working conditions. Another factor is the degree of risk associated with the specialty. For example, nurse anesthetists are well compensated for the degree of risk they assume.

Your shift

Most employers alter the rate of pay depending on the desirability of the shift. Nurses who work what is called the “graveyard shift” (between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00AM) earn a higher salary than nurses who work regular shifts (between 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM or 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM). This difference in salary is called a “shift premium.”


In many states and hospital settings nurses need to be members of the local nurses union before they are eligible to begin work. In most cases, being part of a union will mean a higher salary, although you will need to pay monthly or annual dues in return for union representation. Working in a union setting means that you will also earn a higher rate differential for overtime, typically $2.00 to $4.00 more per hour. These rates can greatly increase your salary if you need to work double shifts (“doubles”) as is often required within the nursing sector.  However, it is also the case that private hospitals can sometimes pay higher salaries than do unionized facilities.

Location of facility

This is perhaps the most significant factor in determining nurse salary. Cost-of-living expenses vary greatly from one region of the country to another and they are usually much higher in metropolitan areas than in suburban and rural communities. For example a registered staff nurse in New York City can expect to earn a salary in the range of $50,000 to $80,000 per year while the same nurse living in then Atlanta, Georgia area can expect to earn $50,000 to $75,000.

Benefits offered

Health benefits such as medical, dental, and optical plans are often offered to nursing professionals. This is in addition to pension plans and possible stock options that may also be available. These benefits add significant value to the total compensation package.

Too many times job candidates fail to account for the indirect cost savings that these benefits provide and how they actually add to base salary. For example, if you choose a family health plan and need to contribute $250 per month but would need to pay $500 if you were not covered by your employer the difference of $250 can genuinely be considered money in your pocket every month!

However, some nurses choose to forgo a certain part of the benefit package in exchange for higher base salaries. In many cases, these nurses are covered by the health plan of a significant other so can safely turn down health coverage with the facility.


Representative sample of national median nurse salaries across different practice areas. Figures as per Salary.com July 2011.

Licensed Practical Nurse


Staff Nurse-RN (hospital)


Staff Nurse-RN (ICU of hospital)


General Nurse Practitioner (w/MSN degree)


Clinical Nurse Specialist (w/MSN degree)


Nurse Anesthetist (MSN degree)


Oncology Nurse


Pediatric Nurse (MSN- Home Care)


Nurse Midwife


Midnight shift premiums range anywhere from $2.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour. Since most shifts in hospitals are now twelve hour shifts, midnights start around 7:30 p.m. and end around 7:30 a.m. These are attractive hours for many nurses since they get four days off during a week and are still considered full time at thirty six hours per week.

18 Best Nursing Career Choices in 2022 [Infographic]

Skyrocket your Earnings with these Nursing Careers

Nursing careers will continue to flourish due to the growth of the healthcare sector. It will grow annually at 5.4% from 2018 to 2022 according to Deloitte.  This is higher than the growth rate of just 2.9% from 2013 to 2017.

This article will tackle the nursing career paths that have the highest earning and growth potential.

If you are looking into being a nurse in the future, it is valuable to know as early as now what type of nurse you aspire to be.

Career progression (and the salary, too) highly depends on the education that you acquired to become a nurse.

The median salary of licensed practical or vocational nurses, whose training took only about a year or two, is lower by about $25,000 compared to that of a registered nurse.

To become a registered nurse (RN), there are several pathways:

  • 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • 3-year hospital diploma program
  • 2-year associate’s degree in nursing

More than passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), many of the higher-paying jobs will require further studies.  Commonly it is a master’s degree and further examinations specific for the chosen field.

Going further into details, read on to learn more about the top nursing careers.

Emergency Room / Trauma Nurse

  • Median Salary: $75,109
  • Projected Growth: 16% by 2024
  • Requirements: Emergency care requires high levels of education and experience. After becoming an RN, obtain a master’s degree in Nursing, undergo specialized training and get certified by the Board of Certification in Emergency Nursing.
  • Who It Is For: If you want a lot of action, become an emergency room nurse. You should be able to work well under pressure.  This is because most of the time, you will be handling injuries or trauma, some of which are life-threatening. Quick-witted and fast, you should be able to work well with the emergency physician and must understand triage. This job requires good documentation skills, too.

Not all emergency room nurses work in the emergency room of hospitals all the time.  Some of them are transport nurses who care for patients while on transit to a medical facility.

Some ER nurses also work in crisis intervention centres, sports events, or transport facilities like airports.

Cardiac Nurse

  • Median Salary: $65,470
  • Projected Growth: 19% by 2022
  • Requirements: This nursing career requires being a Registered Nurse with at least two years of experience and 2,000 hours in cardiac care nursing before applying for certification under the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine.
  • Who It Is For: Cardiac nursing is for those who can work under pressure and can work well in a team.

Cardiac care nurses are the ones who provide care for patients with heart problems. They work on a myriad of diseases including coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.

Under the supervision of a cardiologist, they look after the patient and help with the procedures conducted to assess the patients such as an electrocardiogram test.

cardiac nurse

Travel Nurse

  • Median Salary: $66,000 (RN)
  • Projected Growth: 16% by 2024
  • Requirements: As the title suggests, this job requires you to travel, be assigned in understaffed healthcare units and support for a while, or be sent overseas. Usually, travel nurses work under an agency and are contractual employees.
  • Who It Is For: If you do not want to be confined to work in a fixed hospital setting, then, this nursing career may just be right for you.

Their tasks include recording the patient’s medical history, checking up on the patient and measuring their vital signs.

Sometimes, they go to patients’ homes and educate the family members about the patient’s condition and home care.

Dialysis Nurse

  • Median Salary: $67,808
  • Projected Growth: 26% by 2022
  • Requirements: This nursing career will require an RN license, 2000 hours of experience in nephrology and two years in dialysis area and passing a certification exam. In addition, you would need fifteen hours of continuing education in nephrology.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is for the compassionate ones who would need to deal with the same ill patients on a regular basis for their treatment.

Dialysis nurses are RNs who are responsible and accountable for patients undergoing dialysis. This is a procedure wherein the blood of patients with kidney diseases is cleaned through a machine. They prepare the patient and assess their condition prior to the procedure.

Dialysis nurses are also tasked to maintain the machine, prepare it for use, and recover once done using.

Surgical Nurse

  • Median Salary: $67,000
  • Projected Growth: 16% by 2024
  • Requirements: Being a surgical nurse will require a surgical nursing certification and license as an RN.
  • Who It Is For?: Surgical nurses must have good observation and communication skills as they must work with a team during surgeries.

Surgical nurses work inside the operating room with three possible roles: as a scrub nurse, as a circulator nurse, or a Registered Nurse First Assistant.

Scrub nurses work directly with the surgeon, preparing and handing over the tools and instruments.

On the other hand, circulator nurses help monitor the patient during the surgery, they bring in the patients, and create a relaxing environment for them.

The Registered Nurse First Assistant is the most trained among the three types as nurses of this type helps the doctor directly in cutting tissues, suturing wounds, and controlling bleeding.

With advanced education, this nursing career can be progressed into becoming a nurse anaesthetist or patient educator.

Surgical Nurse

Oncology Nurse

  • Median Salary: $68,000
  • Projected Growth: 19% by 2022
  • Requirements: An RN wanting to take this nursing career path will need to have at least a year of related experience. Then, he or he must take the Oncology Nurse Certification by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is for compassionate and optimistic nurses who would have to uplift weak cancer patients.

Oncology nurses are nurses who provide nursing care to cancer patients. To treat cancer patients, oncology nurses assist in chemotherapy and radiation procedures.

Not only that, their job is to look after the cancer patients, monitor their symptoms and health condition.

They also help in educating the public, especially those high-risk, on how cancer can possibly be prevented.

Since patients of oncology nurses are potentially weakened by their illness, the job is quite emotionally and physically draining but can also be rewarding when the patients are treated.

Nurse Researcher

  • Median Salary: $69,000
  • Projected Growth: 26% by 2022
  • Requirements: You must be able to work with a team of other healthcare providers. Be on tip-top shape as some researches could require tough, physical conditions.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is for those with excellent technical writing skills and analytical thinking.

Nurse Researchers are those whose work is involved in clinical trials aimed to advance healthcare.

Usually, their work is to provide patient care for those who are undergoing a new treatment or taking a new medication. They work for projects commissioned by pharmaceutical companies or other health-related firms, medical laboratories or universities.

Nurse Researcher

Occupational Health Nurse

  • Median Salary: $70,000
  • Projected Growth: 16% by 2024
  • Requirements: You must be an RN with certification from the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is for those who would be willing to be assigned away from the hospital to attend to sick employees (or as preparation for any untoward incident in the workplace).

Occupational health and safety is a top priority of many industries as a loss in manpower due to illnesses and accidents may ultimately lead to a loss in income.

Laws and regulations are also in place to protect employees against risks and hazards that come with their job. This is where occupational health nurses help companies.

An occupational health nurse’s main objective is to keep employees healthy. In case of an accident, they are also the ones who administer first aid. They monitor the health condition of employees and educate them on how to prevent illnesses and job-related injuries.

Geriatric Nurse

  • Median Salary: $71,000
  • Projected Growth: 16% by 2024
  • Requirements: If you want to advance in geriatrics, be prepared to be an RN, render 2,000 hours in this specialty and then, pass a certification exam.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is good for those who are patient, empathetic, and physically strong.

As the baby boomers grow old, demand for healthcare workers in nursing homes has increased over the years. The World Health Organization reports that people are living longer lives which could be beneficial to societies globally.

However, this does not mean that our elders are spared from health deterioration due to aging. Old people tend to get into more injuries that hurt themselves and even when they are careful, their bones get weaker over time. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are common in old patients, too.

nursing specialty

Obstetrics Nurse

  • Median Salary: $73,000
  • Projected Growth: 26% by 2020
  • Requirements: Due to the high risk that nurses in this field face, training and certifications are stricter. After being an RN, an aspiring obstetrics nurse shall render 2,000 hours of experience in this field. Immediately after, he or she can apply for certification by passing the Obstetric Nursing exam from the National Certification Corporation.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is good for those who are committed to working with pregnant women. He or she must be patient.

Obstetrics nurses, or OB-GYN nurses, assist in the labor of expectant mothers and in the delivery of the babies. They also help in treating gynecological diseases.

The routine work involves common tasks of an RN but the goal of an OB-GYN nurse is more specialized.  It is their duty to keep both mother and baby healthy before, during, and even after the pregnancy.

They also educate women about reproductive health.

Informatics Nurse

  • Median Salary: $73,000
  • Projected Growth: Up to 26% by 2022
  • Requirements: Registered nurses who wish to take this nursing career path must complete a master’s degree in Health Informatics, Health Care Management or Quality Management.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is good for those comfortable with computers.

An informatics nurse’s line of work is not limited to nursing per se, but it extends to the high level of information management.  This is required in order to maintain patient records and ensure quality management.

With the use of software, computer programming, data science, and other related technologies, and informatics nurse sees to it that data are effectively communicated to end-users in a fast, comprehensible way.

At the same time, technology advancements like the ones that informatics nurses develop help in boosting productivity and cost.

He or she also makes sure that information is available for those who need access.

A reliable information database that informatics nurses maintain can ease decision-making which is significant in life-threatening situations.

Informatics nurse

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary: $87,000
  • Projected Growth: 19% by 2022
  • Requirements: To become one, an RN must be able to render sufficient hours prior to getting the certification from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
  • Who It Is For: If you like young children, then, this nursing career can be a good fit for you.

As the population continues to grow, health care for children becomes in demand, too.

Pediatric nurse practitioners work hand in hand with pediatricians in ensuring good health of young patients.

Working in pediatrics, it is the nurse who administers shots, prepares young patients in medical procedures, and conducts check-ups.

Additionally, their role includes educating the child and his family on proper nutrition and disease prevention.

Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary: $92,000
  • Projected Growth: 35% by 2024
  • Requirements: To become one, an RN should study family nursing practice in a master’s degree specializing in this field.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is for those that are flexible and can relate well to patients of all ages.

A family nurse practitioner is also an RN who, guided by a doctor’s diagnosis, can treat illnesses and prescribe medications.

They accommodate a wide range of cases from pediatrics to geriatrics. They observe patients, order laboratory tests, and assists in minor surgeries.

This position also has common functions with a physician, and so, they can work independently.

Some put up their own clinics and see patients, more like a family doctor.

With this, family nurse practitioners also advise patients and families of a holistic approach in curing and preventing diseases. This includes such advice as to diet adjustments and habit changes.

Certified Nurse Midwife

  • Median Salary: $93,000
  • Projected Growth: 25% by 2024
  • Requirements: To become one, an RN must continue with a master’s degree and render at least two years of experience in a midwife setting. Following this, work on the certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives Council.
  • Who It Is For: This is for nurses who welcome challenges and adrenaline rush that come with every labor and delivery.

A certified nurse midwife’s role starts from the moment that a pregnant mother comes for regular prenatal visits, up until the time that the mother has delivered the baby.

He or she must be on call to assist when the patient goes into labor.

Sometimes, a certified nurse-midwife establishes her own clinic, but oftentimes, she works with gynecologists and obstetrics physicians in a hospital setting.

She provides counseling, assists in the delivery, and provides postpartum care. She must be well-versed in mother and child health care.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary: $98,000
  • Projected Growth: 31% by 2022
  • Requirements: This nursing career is a type of advanced nursing. Two years of experience being an RN will be required to be accepted into a master’s degree. After completing the graduate program, nurses will then complete a thesis related to neonatal care. Check out the laws in your state, additional licenses may be required.
  • Who It Is For: This is for nurses who have a lot of patience and affection in taking care of babies.

The neonatal nurse practitioner works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This is where pre-term babies, or babies born with problematic health conditions stay after birth and assessment.

In the NICU, they take care of the baby by administering medications, doing kangaroo care, soothing the baby, and even changing the diapers.

Aside from looking after the baby, they also provide support to the family by updating them of the treatments and educating them about how they can better take care of the baby once discharged from the hospital.

neonatal nurse

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary: $99,000
  • Projected Growth: 19% by 2022
  • Requirements: An RN must also study further to have a master of science in nursing or, preferably a doctorate in nursing practice. These centres provide certifications: American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC); the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN); and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).
  • Who It Is For: This is for those who want an adrenaline rush.

This nursing career mostly deals with addressing severe injuries and trauma for a short period of time.

Apart from routine nursing activities like checking on the patient’s condition and symptoms, acute care nurses administer medications, insert intravenous fluids, and prepare the patients for operations.

An acute care nurse practitioner must be well-versed in emergency care and life support since many acute care patients are in severe health conditions.

Most acute care nurse practitioners specialize in one field, may it be geriatrics or cardiac care.

acute care nurse

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary: $102,000
  • Projected Growth: 5% by 2024
  • Requirements: This requires a master’s degree or higher, with specialization in psychiatric nursing.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is perfect for those with great communication and observation skills, extreme focus, and a lot of patience.

There is a rising need for psychiatric nurse practitioners as more patients are now seeking mental health care.

In the US alone, about a quarter of adults have mental health problems according to estimations.

With more people seeking professional help, the healthcare sector will also need more nurses working in this sector.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners work alongside psychiatrists in evaluating patients and administering treatments.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

  • Median Salary: $144,000
  • Projected Growth: 25% by 2022
  • Requirements: Ideally, he or she must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing who will go on to complete a master’s degree, specializing in anesthesia. A master’s degree would require a full year of clinical experience. Additionally, being an RN in Critical Care would be an advantage.
  • Who It Is For: This nursing career is fit for those with attention to detail and good communication skills.

A certified registered nurse anesthetist is a type of advanced practice registered nurse.

Working hand in hand with anesthesiologists, CRNAs are usually in charge of pre-operative, intraoperative and post-operative care of patients.

They check the physical state and review the medical history of the patient. They are also the ones who prepare and administer the anesthesia.


Best Nursing Careers

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There you have it!

Nursing careers are greatly varied as you can see in the list enumerated. But, as in any profession, each specialization has different demand and supply levels which affect the salary.

Additionally, there are factors affecting the salary of nurses such as location, shifting, and experience.

Taking up a nursing career should not be just about the money you will make. More than the salary, remember why you chose the profession.

Was it because you want to serve people? Was it because of personal advocacy?

Because at the end of the day, only the passionate ones who find satisfaction in their chosen nursing career stay and persevere.

Nursing Salary Guide in 2022

Section 1: Introduction to Nursing Career & Salary

Nurses play an important role in the healthcare industry. Not only do they work hand in hand with doctors, but they also spend ample time with patients helping them take their medicine, cleaning them, and providing crucial support in recovery.

With the demand for healthcare services rising, employment opportunities for nurses have also risen. In particular, the demand for employees with nursing skills was projected to rise by 7% between 2019 and 2029. This is among the fastest growth rates for any occupation in the US.

Besides the promising job outlook, nursing is quite a rewarding field to serve in. With professional nursing skills, it is possible to make a difference in the community. Let us take a look at the guide for nurse salary

Nursing Salary

With no end to demand in sight, salaries for practicing nurses have been rising all along. And this trend is expected to remain so until 2026 and even beyond according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The latest data indicates that the average salary of a Registered Nurse (RN) in the US is $73,300. However, the median annual wages for these professionals vary from one industry to the next as shown below.

nurse salary guide registered nurse pay by industry graph
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Based on the data appearing on the chart above, RNs who work in government hospitals take home an average of $78,390 while those who work for educational service institutions generally earn the least at an average of $61,850.

With advanced education, experience and a Master’s Degree in Nursing, nurses are eligible to work as either Nurse Anesthetists or Nurse Practitioners. In general, the pay for Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Practitioners is higher than the one for Registered Nurses (RNs).

But once again, the pay for Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Practitioners varies from one industry to the next as indicated in the chart below.

nurse salary guide anesthetists and practitioners pay salary by industry graph

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Referring to the data appearing on the chart above, Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetists earn the best salaries at State, local, and private hospitals ($120,540) and the least when working for educational services ($104,310).

That said, Nurse Anesthetists earn more than Nurse Practitioners. The former pocket $167,950 while the latter take home $107,030 on average per year.

Section 2: RN Career Outlook & Salary by State

Registered nurses are healthcare professionals with a nursing license and are extensively trained in nursing. There are so many types of nurses but they are not always registered or certified. An RN has expansive medical knowledge and hands-on training.

What Do RNs Do?

First of all, registered nurses are not limited to working in hospital settings only. They can also work in homes, clinics, assisted living facilities, schools, and more.

So, what exactly do they do? Their duties often depend on the patients they work with and where they work.

However, they also assess patients’ conditions, record their medical histories and observe them. Registered nurses also administer medicines and treatments, teach patients how to manage their illnesses and help conduct diagnostic tests.

More importantly, they consult and work with doctors or other health specialists. Some RNs also oversees nursing assistants, home health aides, and licensed practical nurses. Last but not least, they monitor and operate medical equipment.

Education Requirements & Qualifications Needed

A high school diploma is one of the essential prerequisites for becoming an RN. Besides, coursework in mathematics, biology, English, and psychology is important.

Commonly, there are three main academic paths to becoming a registered nurse. One route is to obtain a diploma in nursing. Diploma program generally takes three years and are offered by hospitals.

One can also become an RN by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). It takes two years to complete the ADN program. Once completed, you become eligible to take the registered nurse licensing examination.

Most aspiring nurses choose to pursue the BSN program after completing high school which takes four years. After completing any of the above programs, the next step is to pass the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Career Outlook

With the baby boomer population retiring from the workforce, the demand for RNs is only going to increase. The employment of RNs is projected to grow by 15% compared to other occupations between 2016 and 2026 according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This growth will be a result of increased rates of chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes. Demand for better healthcare services from the aging population will also see the demand for RNs increase.

Registered Nurse Salary Guide (By State)

State Average Rate (per hr) Salary (Annual)
Alabama (AL) $28.96 $60,230
Alaska (AK) $45.81 $95,270
Arizona (AZ) $38.64 $80,380
Arkansas (AR) $30.60 $63,630
California (CA) $57.96 $120,560
Colorado (CO) $37.43 $77,860
Connecticut (CT) $40.79 $84,850
Delaware (DE) $35.74 $74,330
Florida (FL) $33.42 $69,510
Georgia (GA) $34.38 $71,510
Hawaii (HI) $50.40 $104,830
Idaho (ID) $34.44 $71,640
Illinois (IL) $35.85 $74,560
Indiana (IN) $32.45 $67,490
Iowa (IA) $30.08 $62,570
Kansas (KS) $30.87 $64,200
Kentucky (KY) $31.12 $64,730
Louisiana (LA) $32.70 $68,010
Maine (ME) $34.16 $71,040
Maryland (MD) $39.23 $81,590
Massachusetts (MA) $46.27 $96,250
Michigan (MI) $35.57 $73,980
Minnesota (MN) $38.92 $80,960
Mississippi (MS) $29.45 $61,250
Missouri (MO) $31.68 $65,900
Montana (MT) $33.91 $70,530
Nebraska (NE) $33.41 $69,480
Nevada (NV) $43.15 $89,750
New Hampshire (NH) $36.52 $75,970
New Jersey (NJ) $41.21 $85,720
New Mexico (NM) $36.40 $75,700
New York (NY) $43.16 $89,760
North Carolina (NC) $33.15 $68,950
North Dakota (ND) $33.47 $69,630
Ohio (OH) $33.53 $69,750
Oklahoma (OK) $32.02 $66,600
Oregon (OR) $46.27 $96,230
Pennsylvania (PA) $35.66 $74,170
Rhode Island (RI) $39.81 $82,790
South Carolina (SC) $32.28 $67.140
South Dakota (SD) $29.31 $60,960
Tennessee (TN) $30.83 $64,120
Texas (TX) $36.92 $76,800
Utah (UT) $33.83 $70,370
Vermont (VT) $34.68 $72,140
Virginia (VA) $35.76 $74,380
Washington (WA) $43.90 $91,310
West Virginia (WV) $31.31 $65,130
Wisconsin (WI) $35.94 $74,760
Wyoming (WY) $34.90 $72,600

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics as of May 2020

(Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)

Section 3: Nurse Anesthetists’ Career Outlook & Salary by State

Also referred to as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), they are advanced practice nurses that administer anesthesia. They do this under the oversight of a dentist, anesthesiologist, podiatrist, surgeon and other qualified healthcare experts.

What Do CRNAs do?

For starters, they administer anesthesia for all types of conditions from the simplest to the most complex surgeries. In addition, CRNAs offer care before, during, and after anesthesia. They also examine patients’ medical histories for illnesses or allergies to ensure the safe provision of anesthesia. 

Additionally, it is their responsibility to discuss any side effects of the anesthesia with the patients. On top of that, a nurse anesthetist performs nerve blocks, epidural and spinal blocks. More importantly, they are taught to identify emergency cases and can initiate resuscitation.

Education Requirements & Qualifications Needed

For starters, nurse anesthetist programs often require applicants to have attained an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher especially in science courses. The science courses include physiology, chemistry, statistics, human anatomy, and microbiology.

On top of that, you’ll need to become an RN by pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree. In addition to this, you’re required to have at least one year of experience in an acute care setting. Next, you should pursue a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia program which will take you 24-36 months.

After graduating with a master’s degree, the next step is to take the national certification exam so you can begin your practice. Above all, you will have to acquire a valid RN license.

Career Outlook

According to the latest data from BLS, job opportunities for CRNAs are expected to grow by 31% between now and 2026. This is much faster than the expected average growth of most occupations. Therefore, this career holds great prospects for anyone who has what it takes to pursue the practice.

Apparently, the growth will occur mainly because of the increased emphasis on preventive healthcare. An increase in the aging population will also contribute greatly to the growth.

Nurse Anesthetist Salary Guide (By State)

State Average Rate (per hr) Salary (Annual)
Alabama (AL) $82.00 $170,560
Alaska (AK) (data not available)(data not available)
Arizona (AZ) $83.40 $173,460
Arkansas (AR) $80.30 $167,030
California (CA) $98.73 $205,360
Colorado (CO) $84.50 $175,760
Connecticut (CT) $104.50 $217,360
Delaware (DE) (data not available)(data not available)
Florida (FL) $84.98 $176,760
Georgia (GA) $86.36 $179,630
Hawaii (HI) $97.08 $201,930
Idaho (ID) $75.12 $156,520
Illinois (IL) $93.73 $194,950
Indiana (IN) $81.55 $169,620
Iowa (IA) $95.43 $198,480
Kansas (KS) $80.63 $167,700
Kentucky (KY) $78.70 $163,700
Louisiana (LA) $77.55 $161,310
Maine (ME) $95.64 $198,940
Maryland (MD) $87.88 $182,780
Massachusetts (MA) $94.18 $195,900
Michigan (MI) $96.09 $199,870
Minnesota (MN) $103.87 $216,050
Mississippi (MS) $83.92 $174,540
Missouri (MO) $91.16 $189,610
Montana (MT) $104.05 $216,420
Nebraska (NE) $85.04 $176,880
Nevada (NV) $107.54 $223,680
New Hampshire (NH) $94.99 $197,570
New Jersey (NJ) $99.76 $207,500
New Mexico (NM) $79.32 $164,980
New York (NY) $104.35 $217,050
North Carolina (NC) $92.71 $192,830
North Dakota (ND) $92.33 $192,050
Ohio (OH) $91,40 $190,120
Oklahoma (OK) $86.25 $179,410
Oregon (OR) $113.72 $236,540
Pennsylvania (PA) $88.99 $185,090
Rhode Island (RI) (data not available) (data not available)
South Carolina (SC) $89.35 $185,850
South Dakota (SD) $91.66 $190,660
Tennessee (TN) $82.22 $171,020
Texas (TX) $86.72 $180,380
Utah (UT) $61.12 $127,130
Vermont (VT) $91.24 $189,780
Virginia (VA) $86.15 $179,180
Washington (WA) $95.07 $197,740
West Virginia (WV) $90.11 $187,430
Wisconsin (WI) $111.31 $231,250
Wyoming (WY) $111.18 $161,603

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics as of May 2020

(Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)

Section 4: Nurse Practitioners’ Career Outlook & Salary by State

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who hold advanced degrees. They hold either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Their role, however, greatly differs depending on the state where one practice.

For instance, some states require their NPs to work under direct supervision or in collaboration with a doctor. On the other hand, certain states permit them to work independently.

What Do NPs do?

The duties of nurse practitioners largely depend on an individual’s specialization as well as the state in which they practice. Nonetheless, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NPs offer acute and specialty healthcare services.

Also, they are trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, order or perform diagnostic tests, and perform physical evaluations. They can also prescribe medication and create individualized treatment plans much as physicians do.

Education Requirements & Qualifications Needed

As an aspiring NP, you’re required to complete high school coursework in algebra, chemistry, and biology. It may also be important to take anatomy, statistics, and psychology if available.

Having completed high school, the next step is to become a registered nurse by pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing.  Next, you will need to get at least one year of experience in your area of interest like oncology or acute care.

After becoming an RN, you are required to enroll in an MSN program. This program takes a minimum of two years to complete and is quite intensive. Last but not least, you will have to get an advanced practice nursing licensure and certification so you can start working as an NP.

Career Outlook

Overall, nursing is already a fairly stable career. However, becoming a nurse practitioner can provide you with even more job security. Because of the aging population, the need for primary healthcare is expected to greatly rise over the next couple of years.

The BLS projects that NP jobs will increase by a whopping 31% between now and 2026. Compare that to an increase of 15% for RNs, and an average of only 7% for all occupations in the country.

Nurse Practitioners Salary Guide (By State)

State Average Rate (per hr) Salary (Annual)
Alabama (AL) $47.98 $99,790
Alaska (AK) $53.01 $110,270
Arizona (AZ) $56.48 $117,480
Arkansas (AR) $51.06 $106,210
California (CA) $70.18 $145,970
Colorado (CO) $53.77 $109,760
Connecticut (CT) $56.15 $116,780
Delaware (DE) $53.96 $112,230
Florida (FL) $48.58 $101,060
Georgia (GA) $51.07 $106,220
Hawaii (HI) $57.11 $118,780
Idaho (ID) $54.76 $113,890
Illinois (IL) $53.87 $112,060
Indiana (IN) $52.86 $109,940
Iowa (IA) $51.88 $107,910
Kansas (KS) $50.25 $104,530
Kentucky (KY) $49.26 $102,460
Louisiana (LA) $53.79 $111,880
Maine (ME) $53.64 $111,580
Maryland (MD) $55.40 $115,240
Massachusetts (MA) $60.60 $126,050
Michigan (MI) $52.48 $109,150
Minnesota (MN) $57.16 $118,900
Mississippi (MS) $52.67 $109,550
Missouri (MO) $51.38 $106,870
Montana (MT) $54.99 $114,370
Nebraska (NE) $51.60 $119,890
Nevada (NV) $57.64 $112,540
New Hampshire (NH) $54.07 $112,460
New Jersey (NJ) $62.93 $130,890
New Mexico (NM) $56.28 $117,050
New York (NY) $60.79 $126,440
North Carolina (NC) $52.10 $108,370
North Dakota (ND) $53.40 $111,070
Ohio (OH) $50.78 $105,630
Oklahoma (OK) $54.21 $112,750
Oregon (OR) $57.02 $118,600
Pennsylvania (PA) $53.64 $111,560
Rhode Island (RI) $56.39 $117,300
South Carolina (SC) $48.65 $101,190
South Dakota (SD) $49.56 $103,080
Tennessee (TN) $47.78 $99,370
Texas (TX) $56.11 $116,700
Utah (UT) $54,59 $113,550
Vermont (VT) $52.06 $108,280
Virginia (VA) $52.72 $109,660
Washington (WA) $60.81 $126,480
West Virginia (WV) $50.59 $105,220
Wisconsin (WI) $54.34 $113,030
Wyoming (WY) $57.12 $118,810

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics as of May 2020

(Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)

Section 5: Factors Affecting Salary & Summary

With job outlooks for the nursing career looking quite promising, there’s no doubt that this is one of the most stable careers in the country. However, not all nurses earn huge salaries. Here is a discussion of a number of factors that affect nursing salaries.

Level of Education

If you only have an Associate Degree, you’ll earn less than someone with a BSN working in the same institution. The more educated you are, the more you earn. And that explains why postgraduate degree holders who work as Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetics earn more than RNs. Case in point, nurse anesthetists in California take home an average of $133,780 as compared to RNs who pocket $106,950.


Just as is the case with other professions, the more experienced you are as a nurse, the more you’re likely to earn. The seniority-type scale also tends to favor those who work for particular organizations the longest.

Work Shift

Nurses who work during the “graveyard shift” i.e. 11 pm to 7 am are typically better paid than those who work during normal shifts. This, however, is not cast in stone. It’s just that generally, most employees tend to slightly vary their pay rates depending on the desirability of the work hours.


The state one lives in can affect their salary levels. It is important to keep in mind the fact that the cost of living varies from one state to the next. For example, RNs in California are paid an average of $51.42 per hour while their counterparts in South Dakota take home an average of $28.05.

Indeed, many of the highest-paying states are also characterized by high costs of transportation, housing, and food. On the contrary, a vast majority of the low-paying states are places where the costs of basic necessities are also generally low.

Metropolitan & Cities vs Nonmetropolitan Areas & Rural Areas

Nurses in metropolitan areas earn more due to the high cost of living in urban centers than in rural areas. For instance, nurses in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco metropolitan area in California earn an average hourly wage of $67.16.  That’s close to 72.8% higher than a nurse providing similar services in the best-paying non-metropolitan region of Mother Lode still within California.

We’ll help you decide!


If you are looking for a rewarding career that comes with lots of room for growth, consider training to become a nurse. Regardless of where you live or your preferred area of specialization, this career field can provide you with plenty of advancement opportunities.

It’s our hope that our detailed data breakdown at the national, state and industry levels will help you get a clearer picture of what this vast career line has in store for you both today and in years to come.