Is an RN salary enough for DC area?

  1. HI,

    I am from California and might need to move to the DC area due to a family member taking a job there. I see the salaries are much lower in DC. I am an ICU nurse with 8yrs of experience and 1year of service in Iraq with the Army as an RN. Is it really possible to live in or around the DC area on a nurses salary without being poor?

    I am used to the inflated wages in Cali and the high cost of living. It seems DC has a high cost of living with a lot lower wages.
    I would appreciate any input on salaries and cost of living.

  2. Visit Catch-22 RN profile page

    About Catch-22 RN

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 10


  3. by   RNchemo

    Well, yes the DC area is pretty expensive, and the pay is not as much as in CA. To get an idea of rent, I suggest looking at Craigslist. If you are looking to buy and can afford it, this is actually a good time as housing prices are down. If you write back about which hospital you are thinking about or where your family member will be working I would be happy to give you a better idea about the areas near that location that are good to live and an idea about prices. If you have 2 incomes you will be fine. Also, not sure if you are looking to be full time, PRN etc... GW pays critical care float pool RN's $55/hr.
  4. by   Catch-22 RN
    I am thinking of working in the city like at Georgetown, GW etc. I would be living with someone working in DC also. We have no idea what good affordable areas we could live in at this point. This is a possible move that will be in a year or two. Any salary and cost of living info would be great. I would be looking into working full time with benefits.

  5. by   RNchemo
    OK, I should have asked if you are concerned with schools or not. Generally, DC public schools are quite bad. There are some excellent charter schools in the district though, and some of the schools in affluent NW DC neighborhoods are good as well. In Virginia, Arlington, and Fairfax counties both have some great schools. In the MD suburbs Montgomery County has many good public schools.

    Salary wise I am not sure how much someone with 8 or 9 years of experience is paid. Several years ago new grad pay at Georgetown I believe the pay was $28/hr. I am confident that both critical care and years of experience would bump that up but have no idea exactly how much. When I worked at G'town, I loved living in Rosslyn, VA. It the the part of Arlington immediatly across the Key Bridge from Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, and the bottom of the National Mall. Just a bit further up in Rosslyn is Clarendon which is great too. These ares have mostly condos, apartments, and a few super expensive town houses and homes. There are nice amenities, it is quite safe, and you are one stop via Metro from GW, the G'town shuttle picks up at the Rosslyn Metro station as well.

    GW is hands down the most convinent location, but I haven't worked there so can't speak to the pay or environment. Georgetown is a place that I didn't fully appreciate until I saw a bit more of what is out there. They are a Magnet facility, and do a lot in terms of staff education and having opportunities to advance without leaving bedside nursing. Check out there clinical ladder. There are 2 or 3 ICU's and I would visit each unit to check out it's culture. The facilities are old and outdated. G'town is in an excellent neighborhood, but not easily accessible except by car and you have to pay for weekday parking. Neighborhoods close to the hospital are Georgetown, Foxhall, and Glover Park. All expensive, and all nice.

    Suburb wise, in close-in Virginia, prices are around $800K that goes down as you get further out. The Maryland suburbs really aren't as convenient to G'town and GW in my opinion. GL!
  6. by   babyNP.
    Yep, DH and I survive just fine on just my nursing salary.
  7. by   Jules A
    I would guess that cost of living in CA is more expensive than DC. I live in Maryland which is cheaper and work in DC.
  8. by   ChristineN
    Well I'm making double what I made when I worked in Pennsylvania. I am able to save a good portion of my salary, and live rather comfortably.
  9. by   Chris,BSN,RN
    yes it is

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