What States Pay the Highest and Lowest Nursing Salaries

Where are the highest paying jobs?

Every nurse is interested in knowing how their salary compares to that of others. The new grad who is searching for that first job wants to know where the highest paying jobs are. Based on data provided by more than 18,000 nurse respondents in the allnurses Salary Survey, below you will find some general figures to help guide you.

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Where are the highest paying jobs?

As with any job, salaries for nurses vary greatly from state to state and even city to city within the same state. Below are listed average high and low state salaries by degree based on the results of the allnurses salary survey. In order to find the "best" state to work in, more than just the numbers below have to be considered.

These figures represent nurses of all levels of experience, age, position, specialty area, work setting, etc. The figures also do not account for the cost of living indexes.

Cost of Living

We all know that the cost of living index greatly affects the value of the salary and what that salary will buy.

Generally, the cost of living is highest on the West Coast and in the Northeast. The states in the South, Midwest, and sections of the Mountain West have the lowest cost of living.

Based on cost of living data provided by research conducted by the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of living indexes for the highest and lowest states are as follows.

States with the Highest Cost of Living:

HAWAII: 167.1
ALASKA: 134.5
NEW YORK: 130.4

States with the Lowest Cost of Living:

KANSAS: 91.9

How does your salary stack up to the ones listed?

Are you thinking about moving in search of a higher salary?

Remember......it's more than the numbers that count.

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Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

Woohoo, Kansas representin' our crappie salaries.

Specializes in SCRN. Has 9 years experience.

Illinois not on the list; hmm, somewhere in the middle. That is satisfying enough.

iShaybie, ADN

131 Posts

Specializes in progressive care. med surg. tele. LTC. psych.. Has 5 years experience.

Surprised NJ wasn't on the Highest COL list!


106 Posts

So Tennessee has the lowest cost of living, but doesn't pay the worst. I'll take it! Even if it did I wouldn't move, I love TN.


14 Posts

Well I been a RN almost 4 years now 2 years as a travel nurse. From my experience this is how much I got paid

NC $22hr and $3 night different

LI, NYC as a travel $65 hourly

NJ $55 hourly as a travel

NJ $45 hourly as a staff will start next month cause I need benefits


324 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

I'm surprised WV isn't in the bottom 6. Woohoo a list we're not on the bottom of!:yes:


2 Articles; 724 Posts

Specializes in public health. Has 5 years experience.

Do you have the full list? Do you know if the number reflects before or after tax?

Specializes in ICU.
sourapril said:
Do you have the full list? Do you know if the number reflects before or after tax?

Very important question here. Not all states have income tax, but I'm not familiar enough off the top of my head to know if any of the bottom states are free of income tax. If those are before tax numbers, those could be very skewed if a nurse is trying to figure out in what states the actual compensation is the worst.


10 Posts

This is so sad, all the money in the healthcare industry and some of us are getting nickeled and dimed.


7 Posts

Florida is definitely one of the bottom 6. I started as a GN at $21

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 14 years experience.

California state been pretty good to me. I make about 130k a year, part time. I do 4 8s (32 hours) a week. When you add in vacation time, holiday pay, etc. It's pretty hard to beat. My benefits are good. And some people cringe at cost of living, but bringing home 7k a month allows me to very comfortably afford that 1900/mo mortgage. I'm working on paying off my student loans and cars, hopefully that will be done in the next 5 years and we can live the low stress lifestyle. :)