Nursing Salary Guide

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 19% between 2010 and 2022. 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.

Nursing Salary

With no end of 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 $71,730. However, the median annual wages for these professionals vary from one industry to the next as shown below.


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 Practitioner is higher than the one for Registered Nurses (RNs).

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


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 hospital ($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 out of 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 as 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) $28.59 $59,470
Alaska (AK) $42.94 $89,310
Arizona (AZ) $37.02 $77,000
Arkansas (AR) $29.22 $60,780
California (CA) $51.42 $106,950
Colorado (CO) $35.69 $74,240
Connecticut (CT) $39.05 $81,220
Delaware (DE) $35.96 $74,800
Florida (FL) $31.83 $66,210
Georgia (GA) $33.15 $68,950
Hawaii (HI) $47.16 $98,080
Idaho (ID) $32.26 $67,110
Illinois (IL) $35.53 $73,890
Indiana (IN) $31.18 $64,860
Iowa (IA) $28.43 $59,130
Kansas (KS) $29.34 $61,030
Kentucky (KY) $30.34 $63,100
Louisiana (LA) $30.76 $63,970
Maine (ME) $32.51 $67,610
Maryland (MD) $36.93 $76,820
Massachusetts (MA) $44.30 $92,140
Michigan (MI) $34.29 $71,330
Minnesota (MN) $37.94 $78,920
Mississippi (MS) $28.12 $58,490
Missouri (MO) $31.31 $65,130
Montana (MT) $32.43 $67,450
Nebraska (NE) $31.00 $64,470
Nevada (NV) $41.16 $85,620
New Hampshire (NH) $34.98 $72,760
New Jersey (NJ) $39.78 $82,750
New Mexico (NM) $34.49 $71,730
New York (NY) $41.16 $85,610
North Carolina (NC) $31.18 $64,850
North Dakota (ND) $31.61 $65,740
Ohio (OH) $32.13 $66,820
Oklahoma (OK) $30.33 $63,080
Oregon (OR) $43.79 $91,080
Pennsylvania (PA) $33.84 $70,390
Rhode Island (RI) $37.70 $78,420
South Carolina (SC) $31.22 $64,940
South Dakota (SD) $28.05 $58,340
Tennessee (TN) $29.48 $61,320
Texas (TX) $35.04 $72,890
Utah (UT) $31.57 $65,670
Vermont (VT) $33.25 $69,160
Virginia (VA) $33.55 $69,790
Washington (WA) $39.75 $82,670
West Virginia (WV) $29.70 $61,780
Wisconsin (WI) $34.36 $71,470
Wyoming (WY) $32.38 $67,360

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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 the 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. 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) $77.78 $161,780
Alaska (AK) $90.24 $187,690
Arizona (AZ) $69.55 $144,670
Arkansas (AR) $89.89 $186,970
California (CA) $102.03 $212,210
Colorado (CO) $83.03 $172,700
Connecticut (CT) $91.58 $190,480
Delaware (DE) $90.32 $187,860
Florida (FL) $85.29 $177,390
Georgia (GA) $72.63 $151,070
Hawaii (HI) $92.58 $192,580
Idaho (ID) $68.88 $143,270
Illinois (IL) $91.59 $190,500
Indiana (IN) $75.28 $156,580
Iowa (IA) $110.54 $209,130
Kansas (KS) $76.73 $159,600
Kentucky (KY) $83.07 $172,780
Louisiana (LA) $76.62 $159,370
Maine (ME) $81.88 $170,300
Maryland (MD) $91.90 $191,160
Massachusetts (MA) $91.98 $191,320
Michigan (MI) $86.81 $180,560
Minnesota (MN) $90.45 $188,130
Mississippi (MS) $78.52 $163,320
Missouri (MO) $76.48 $159,080
Montana (MT) $118.45 $246,370
Nebraska (NE) $90.88 $189,030
Nevada (NV) $78.47 $163,220
New Hampshire (NH) $82.60 $171,800
New Jersey (NJ) $90.94 $189,150
New Mexico (NM) $72.53 $150,860
New York (NY) $91.89 $191,130
North Carolina (NC) $85.70 $178,250
North Dakota (ND) $95.13 $197,860
Ohio (OH) $83.84 $174,380
Oklahoma (OK) $84.99 $176,780
Oregon (OR) $98.91 $205,730
Pennsylvania (PA) $82.33 $171,250
Rhode Island (RI) $92.24 $191,853
South Carolina (SC) $79.08 $164,480
South Dakota (SD) $90.56 $188,360
Tennessee (TN) $72.54 $150,880
Texas (TX) $76.21 $158,510
Utah (UT) $77.55 $161,300
Vermont (VT) $84.27 $175,289
Virginia (VA) $90.06 $187,320
Washington (WA) $94.05 $195,610
West Virginia (WV) $88.02 $183,080
Wisconsin (WI) $98.47 $204,820
Wyoming (WY) $77.69 $161,603

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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 practices.

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 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) $46.14 $95,970
Alaska (AK) $59.08 $122,880
Arizona (AZ) $53.25 $110,750
Arkansas (AR) $50.15 $104,300
California (CA) $64.32 $133,780
Colorado (CO) $53.47 $111,210
Connecticut (CT) $56.74 $118,020
Delaware (DE) $52.09 $108,340
Florida (FL) $48.61 $101,100
Georgia (GA) $51.32 $106,750
Hawaii (HI) $57.96 $120,570
Idaho (ID) $49.33 $102,600
Illinois (IL) $50.86 $105,800
Indiana (IN) $49.61 $103,200
Iowa (IA) $51.10 $106,290
Kansas (KS) $47.80 $99,430
Kentucky (KY) $47.97 $99,790
Louisiana (LA) $50.64 $105,340
Maine (ME) $49.63 $103,220
Maryland (MD) $55.32 $115,060
Massachusetts (MA) $59.01 $122,740
Michigan (MI) $51.39 $106,880
Minnesota (MN) $57.29 $119,160
Mississippi (MS) $52.74 $109,700
Missouri (MO) $49.27 $102,470
Montana (MT) $49.76 $103,510
Nebraska (NE) $49.90 $103,800
Nevada (NV) $54.11 $112,540
New Hampshire (NH) $52.62 $109,460
New Jersey (NJ) $58.70 $122,100
New Mexico (NM) $52.80 $109,810
New York (NY) $58.16 $120,970
North Carolina (NC) $50.05 $104,100
North Dakota (ND) $51.06 $106,200
Ohio (OH) $49.02 $101,970
Oklahoma (OK) $49.65 $103,280
Oregon (OR) $52.89 $110,010
Pennsylvania (PA) $47.24 $98,250
Rhode Island (RI) $52.54 $109,290
South Carolina (SC) $48.03 $99,910
South Dakota (SD) $48.41 $100,690
Tennessee (TN) $46.15 $95,990
Texas (TX) $53.39 $111,060
Utah (UT) $50.88 $105,840
Vermont (VT) $50.96 $106,000
Virginia (VA) $50.56 $105,170
Washington (WA) $56.56 $117,650
West Virginia (WV) $48.41 $100,690
Wisconsin (WI) $51.34 $106,790
Wyoming (WY) $55.78 $116,030

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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.

Experience

Just as it 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 longest.

Work Shift

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

State

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.

Summary

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.

AD

★ Featured Online Nursing Programs

You might also be interested in one of the following featured nursing programs that are currently accepting students and have online or hybrid nursing programs. You can get in touch with these featured programs directly to get your questions answered. Be sure to check with each program on specific prerequisites for their program!

Online BSN Programs

Online MSN Programs

SPONSORED SCHOOLS


FIND PROGRAMS