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What States Pay the Highest and Lowest Nursing Salaries

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allnurses allnurses (Admin)

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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.

What States Pay the Highest and Lowest Nursing Salaries

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
WASHINGTON DC: 144.8
CONNECTICUT: 132.7
ALASKA: 134.5
NEW YORK: 130.4

States with the Lowest Cost of Living:

TENNESSEE: 90.6
KENTUCKY: 91
ARKANSAS: 91.5
INDIANA: 91.7
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.

top-8-states-DIPLOMA-salary.jpg top-8-states-ASSOCIATE-salary.jpg top-8-states-BSN-salary.jpg top-8-states-MSN-salary.jpg bottom-6-states-ALL-DEGREES-salary.jpg bottom-6-states-DIPLOMA-salary.jpg bottom-6-states-ASSOCIATE-salary.jpg bottom-6-states-BSN-salary.jpg bottom-6-states-MSN-salary.jpg

what-states-pay-the-highest-and-lowest-nursing-salaries.pdf

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48 Comment(s)

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

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

Woohoo, Kansas representin' our crappie salaries.

RN-to- BSN, ADN, RN

Specializes in SCRN. Has 6 years experience.

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

iShaybie

Specializes in medical surgical.. Has <1 years experience.

Surprised NJ wasn't on the Highest COL list!

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.

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

smartassmommy

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:

sourapril

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?

calivianya, BSN, RN

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.

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

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

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 11 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. :)

BSN16

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

dirtyhippiegirl said:
Woohoo, Kansas representin' our crappie salaries.

Iowa too...:down:

BSN16

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

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

Ummm...GNs in iowa start at $16.

dannibeeRN

Has 6 years experience.

NickiLaughs said:
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. 🙂

Cali has also been good to me! My stats are the same as yours except I work 3 12s a week. I live very comfortably in the East Bay Area with my husband and kids. We close on a new house next week and my student loans are next on my "to do" list. It's unfortunate that some areas in the country don't match that area's current cost of living. We work hard at what we do and deserve to get compensated well for our efforts.

DesertSky, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN, CCRN - ICU & ER. Has 7 years experience.

I can tell you the low pay represented for Kansas is before taxes. Shockingly enough, Kansas also has some of the highest tax rates in the country. :(

DesertSky, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN, CCRN - ICU & ER. Has 7 years experience.

calivianya said:
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.

Kansas is one of the lowest paying across numerous lists and has a relatively high rate of state income tax.

DesertSky, BSN

Specializes in BSN, RN, CCRN - ICU & ER. Has 7 years experience.

As someone who started as a new grad with a BSN in Kansas, it is true the pay is very low. After securing a job in another state before learning my husband's job was relocating him to Kansas, it was like a punch in the stomach when I compared new grad pay in Kansas to my other job offer.

The one thing I will mention is that due to the low pay, cold winters, and general lack of people flocking to move to Kansas, there are plenty of opportunities for new grads especially in speciality areas. It may be harder to land a job as a new grad in larger cities such as Kansas City or Wichita, but if you are willing to move to more rural areas of Kansas there are an abundance of opportunities. If you work for 2 years and take advantage of your employer paying for all of your certifications (TNCC, ACLS, PALS, etc...) you will be very marketable and will have an abundance of job offers wherever you would like to move...