Registered Nurse Salary by State in 2017

registered nurse salaryThe demand for many occupations may be dwindling; however, the demand for qualified registered nurses is increasing in the United States, and is one of the main reasons why searching for a registered nurse salary is a top Google search along with how to become a registered nurse. The United States Department of Labor forecasts that the need for Registered Nurses (RNs) will increase by an astounding 19% by the year 2022. There are already approximately 2.7 million RNs working in the United States. A 19% increase adds up to 500,000 new nursing jobs in less than a decade, and that number doesn’t even take into account the number of positions that will be vacated as aging nurses retire.  In addition to the salary of a registered nurse you can also review a registered nurse job description.

Highest Paying States for Registered Nurses

StateSalary per a year
California$98,400
Hawaii$88,230
Massachusetts$85,770
Alaska$85,740
Oregon$82,940
Nevada$71,450
Washington$78,540
New Jersey$78,330
New York$77,110
Connecticut$76,370

Summary Of Registered Nurse Salary Information

Registered Nurse Salary

These numbers suggest that the job outlook for nursing is very strong, particularly considering that the average registered nurse salary in the U.S. is currently $69,790 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number is significantly higher than the average national salary for all jobs of $47,230 per year, but how much do nurses make from state to state?

We’ve crunched the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for you. Below you’ll find information on all the factors to consider as you analyze and compare RN salaries by state. At the bottom of the article, we’ve also included an alphabetical listing of each and every state for quick reference.

Factors Affecting Nurse Salary

The average salary of a nurse varies widely based on a variety of factors. The most important factors are:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Position
  • Industry

Depending on the combination of these factors, RN salary can average as low as $45,880 per year in the lowest 10 percentile, and up to $98,880 per year in the highest 10 percentile. That’s a pretty drastic range, from $22.06 per hour to $47.54 per hour.

Percentile Bracket | Average Annual Salary

90% | $98,880

75% | $81,080

50% | $66,640

25% | $54,620

10% | $45,880

Highest Paying States for RNs

Out of all the factors that determine a nursing salary, location is perhaps the most important, as there is a big discrepancy in RN salary from state to state and region to region. East coast and west coast states generally pay the highest salaries, along with Hawaii and Alaska. Within each state, metropolitan regions usually have higher nursing salaries than rural areas.

The state with the highest average RN salary is California, with an average wage of $98,400 per year. California is also home to the 10 highest paying regions in the Country, all within the greater Bay Area and Central Valley region. South Dakota, by comparison, has the lowest average nursing wage at $53,970 per year.

Per the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor, here are the top ten highest paying states for registered nurses.

  • California: $98,400 per year
  • Hawaii: $88,230 per year
  • Massachusetts: $85,770 per year
  • Alaska: $85,740 per year
  • Oregon: $82,940 per year
  • Nevada: $71,450
  • Washington: $78,540
  • New Jersey: $78,330
  • New York: 77,110
  • Connecticut: 76,370

States with the Highest RN Salary Growth Since 2011

Various factors affect changes in average nursing salary from year to year. The biggest factors are undoubtedly the national economy and each individual state economy, both of which have experienced either declines or periods of slow growth since the “Great Recession” starting in 2007.

Even so, from 2011 to 2014, the average wage for all jobs in the United States increased from $45,230 to $47,230 per year. The average salary for RNs from 2011 to 2014 experienced similar modest growth, from $69,110 to $69,790 per year.

Of the fifty states in the United States, twenty-two had an increase in average salaries for RNs since 2011. The states that experienced the highest growth generally included the states with the highest overall salaries for nurses. Once again, California is at the top of the list with an increase of over $7,000 over the four-year span.

Per the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor, here are the top five states with the best salary growth for registered nurses.

  • California: $7,540
  • Oregon: $5,720 per year
  • Hawaii: $4,280 per year
  • Washington: $3,700
  • Alaska: $3,660

States with the Highest Number of Nurses

The number of nurses varies from state to state more drastically than does average salary for registered nurse. As you might expect, the number of nurses in each state generally corresponds with the overall population of each state.

Per the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor, here are the top five states with the highest number of employed registered nurses.

  • California: 253,310
  • Texas: 190,170
  • New York: 169,560
  • Florida: 163,960
  • Pennsylvania: 128,750

Best Location Quotient

The total number of nurses in each state isn’t always the best indicator of job availability and competition. Another factor to consider is location quotient, which is a measure of how prevalent nursing jobs are in a given state or region. As the United States Bureau of Labor explains, “A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.”

Per the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor, here are the top five states with the highest location quotients for registered nurses.

  • South Dakota: 1.43
  • West Virginia: 1.36
  • Mississippi: 1.29
  • Rhode Island: 1.28
  • Missouri: 1.26

Nursing Job Outlook

Whichever state you choose to live and work in as a nurse, the outlook for your future is bright. With an increasing demand for nurses, job security is higher for nurses than any other occupation.

When considering which state you want to practice nursing in, it is important to remember to check with the state board of nursing for that state’s licensing requirements. While the NCLEX-RN examination is a nationally standardized test, education requirements do vary from state to state. California, for example, has very stringent education requirements for licensed nurses.

Across the entire country, nursing is a great career choice. Not only do you get to work in a rewarding occupation where you get to care for people, the nursing field offers great job security, opportunity for growth, and broad benefits on top of a great salary.

Here are the statistics for all fifty states in alphabetical order. All data is from the United States Bureau of Labor.

Alabama

  • Average salary: $56,680
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,160
  • Number of RNs employed: 43,680
  • Location quotient: 1.18

Alaska

  • Average salary: $85,740
  • Increase from 2011 to 2014: +$3,660
  • Number of RNs employed: 5,780
  • Location quotient: 0.89

Arizona

  • Average salary: $71,300
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,040
  • Number of RNs employed: 47,020
  • Location quotient: 0.94

Arkansas

  • Average salary: $56,480
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$510
  • Number of RNs employed: 22,780
  • Location quotient: 0.99

California

  • Average salary: $98,400
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$7,540
  • Number of RNs employed: 253,310
  • Location quotient: 0.84

Colorado

  • Average salary: $69,600
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$930
  • Number of RNs employed: 44,370
  • Location quotient: 0.94

Connecticut

  • Average salary: $76,370
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$520
  • Number of RNs employed: 33,780
  • Location quotient: 1.03

Delaware

  • Average salary: $70,160
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,900
  • Number of RNs employed: 10,090
  • Location quotient: 1.20

Florida

  • Average salary: $62,720
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,300
  • Number of RNs employed: 163,950
  • Location quotient: 1.08

Georgia

  • Average salary: $62,350
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$20
  • Number of RNs employed: 68,010
  • Location quotient: 0.86

Hawaii

  • Average salary: $88,230
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$4,280
  • Number of RNs employed: 10,650
  • Location quotient: 0.87

Idaho

  • Average salary: $60,320
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$2,350
  • Number of RNs employed: 11,890
  • Location quotient: 0.95

Illinois

  • Average salary: $68,030
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$840
  • Number of RNs employed: 111,600
  • Location quotient: 0.97

Indiana

  • Average salary: $58,900
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$490
  • Number of RNs employed: 59,610
  • Location quotient: 1.03

Iowa

  • Average salary: $54,020
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$720
  • Number of RNs employed: 31,860
  • Location quotient: 1.06

Kansas

  • Average salary: $56,800
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,950
  • Number of RNs employed: 26,380
  • Location quotient: 0.98

Kentucky

  • Average salary: $57,980
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$2,060
  • Number of RNs employed: 43,740
  • Location quotient: 1.22

Louisiana

  • Average salary: $60,230
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$3,960
  • Number of RNs employed: 40,460
  • Location quotient: 1.06

Maine

  • Average salary: $63,320
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$2,780
  • Number of RNs employed: 14,460
  • Location quotient: 1.24

Maryland

  • Average salary: $72,210
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$3,280
  • Number of RNs employed: 47,790
  • Location quotient: 0.94

Massachusetts

  • Average salary: $85,770
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,040
  • Number of RNs employed: 79,910
  • Location quotient: 1.21

Michigan

  • Average salary: $67,180
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,750
  • Number of RNs employed: 90,340
  • Location quotient: 1.12

Minnesota

  • Average salary: $71,450
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$2,800
  • Number of RNs employed: 56,000
  • Location quotient: 1.03

Mississippi

  • Average salary: $56,560
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$2,920
  • Number of RNs employed: 28,070
  • Location quotient: 1.29

Missouri

  • Average salary: $58,040
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,580
  • Number of RNs employed: 67,250
  • Location quotient: 1.26

Montana

  • Average salary: $61,810
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,620
  • Number of RNs employed: 9,500
  • Location quotient: 1.08

Nebraska

  • Average salary: $57,550
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$510
  • Number of RNs employed: 20,040
  • Location quotient: 1.07

Nevada

  • Average salary: $80,240
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$2,400
  • Number of RNs employed: 18,430
  • Location quotient: 0.78

New Hampshire

  • Average salary: $65,790
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$510
  • Number of RNs employed: 12,390
  • Location quotient: 0.99

New Jersey

  • Average salary: $78,330
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,870
  • Number of RNs employed: 76,790
  • Location quotient: 1.00

New Mexico

  • Average salary: $65,790
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$870
  • Number of RNs employed: 14,930
  • Location quotient: 0.95

New York

  • Average salary: $77,110
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,740
  • Number of RNs employed: 169,560
  • Location quotient: 0.97

North Carolina

  • Average salary: $60,030
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$930
  • Number of RNs employed: 89,070
  • Location quotient: 1.11

North Dakota

  • Average salary: $58,120
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$520
  • Number of RNs employed: 7,680
  • Location quotient: 0.88

Ohio

  • Average salary: $62,490
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$780
  • Number of RNs employed: 126,880
  • Location quotient: 1.23

Oklahoma

  • Average salary: $57,830
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,700
  • Number of RNs employed: 26,390
  • Location quotient: 0.84

Oregon

  • Average salary: $82,940
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$5,720
  • Number of RNs employed: 31,050
  • Location quotient: 0.93

Pennsylvania

  • Average salary: $66,570
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$570
  • Number of RNs employed: 128,750
  • Location quotient: 1.15

Rhode Island

  • Average salary: $75,510
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$2,790
  • Number of RNs employed: 11,800
  • Location quotient: 1.28

South Carolina

  • Average salary: $59,670
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,680
  • Number of RNs employed: 41,270
  • Location quotient: 1.11

South Dakota

  • Average salary: $53,970
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,740
  • Number of RNs employed: 11,620
  • Location quotient: 1.43

Tennessee

  • Average salary: $57,030
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$3,630
  • Number of RNs employed: 55,560
  • Location quotient: 1.02

Texas

  • Average salary: $68,590
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$1,010
  • Number of RNs employed: 190,170
  • Location quotient: 0.85

Utah

  • Average salary: $61,100
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$540
  • Number of RNs employed: 19,550
  • Location quotient: 0.77

Vermont

  • Average salary: $64,320
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$890
  • Number of RNs employed: 6,540
  • Location quotient: 1.09

Virginia

  • Average salary: $63,880
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$1,830
  • Number of RNs employed: 62,700
  • Location quotient: 0.86

Washington

  • Average salary: $78,540
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$3,700
  • Number of RNs employed: 51,600
  • Location quotient: 0.90

West Virginia

  • Average salary: $56,390
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$430
  • Number of RNs employed: 19,120
  • Location quotient: 1.36

Wisconsin

  • Average salary: $65,590
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: +$790
  • Number of RNs employed: 57,270
  • Location quotient: 1.06

Wyoming

  • Average salary: $60,790
  • Salary change from 2011 to 2014: -$140
  • Number of RNs employed: 4,850
  • Location quotient: 0.86