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Top 10 Best and Worst States to Be a Nurse

Top 10 Best and Worst States to Be a Nurse

NursingLink.com and CareerVoyages.gov

There is a projected need for 1,001,000 nurses needed in the United States by 2016. Nurses are one of the most in demand professions in America, but with so many job openings, it begs the question: Where should you work? NursingLink is committed to providing its members with the most most pertinent career research available. Below is the 10 best and worst places to be a Nurse based on salary and job openings.


Top 10 Highest Nurse Paying States

State Salary (hourly)
1. California $25.45
2. Hawaii $24.76
3. Massachusetts    $23.38
4. New Jersey $23.33
5. Alaska $23.09
6. Delaware $22.98
7. Oregon $22.91
8. Nevada $22.83
9. Maryland $22.79
10. Connecticut $22.62


Search jobs below or see the 10 lowest paying states

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    midlifecrisis35

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    If your employer is not doing a yearly 'market analysis' of what other facilities in your area are paying, they should be. I have received two unexpected raises of $1.00/hr in three years in addition to 3-3.5% per year raises. I have been in the field 10 years, and have gone from a start of $12.50/hr in 1998 to $25.89 today. Part of that increase came from changing jobs; and from a three year attempt at unionization in which the contract gave us 6% a year. I can't complain. The rates (excluding agency RNs) are pretty consistent here as a result of these market surveys. (I'm in St. Louis and we need RNs; scrub techs as well, I'm in the OR)

    I agree that insufficient training and preceptorship is a tremendous cause of frustration for new grads. You're often being trained by a short-staffed, burned-out crew, and the consistency of preceptorship suffers. I was 6 months out of school and assigned as night charge nurse on a medicine floor over four other very experienced RNs (who didn't want the position); 52 beds, 9-10 patients/RN. Assignments were not by acuity, but by hallway, so some nights, some RNS 'got off easy' while others struggled to get their charting done by 5 am before the docs started making rounds. Needless to say, my stress level was through the roof, and when the hospital started a fellowship program to train RNs to work in surgery, I jumped at it. Haven't looked back. I remember once having 4 patients over the age of 96, one of whom didn't want to disturb me at 2 am because she thought I was 'napping', LOL. So she got up to go to the BR on her own and fell. My first 'incident' (of course writing it up and getting her hip xrayed shoots your night). By the grace of God, her hip wasn't broken.

    Anyone interested in working in STL, write me here.

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    cynicallance

    almost 6 years ago

    8 comments

    i am very happy to see this list. however, based on salary and job openings really does not take into account what makes myself and i hope others happy as nurses. i have hollered from the highest mountain tops that a large reason for such a great demand for nurses , yet never taken into account , is....rotten training once a new grad gets to a hospital. it makes the new grad, and often those with slightly more experience feel compelled to ask "why did i get IN this profession anyway" and "i dont think this is the career for me" i would LOVE to start a grass roots push to demand and hospitals provide good training for their new grads. not a union per se, but something that says...."if you do not contractually provide at least X amount of preceptorship or fellowship time then there will be little to no-one apply at your hospital from this group." if you find this of interest please email me at lancern67@verizon.net

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    ablankenship1987

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    One thing that this article does not take into account is the fact that the cost of living is less in the lower paying states. The cost of living in California and Hawaii (the two highest paying states) is astronomical compared to that in Oklahoma, Arkansas and others on this list! I would venture to say that the reason for the $10 decrease in hourly wages from California to South Dakota is because housing, groceries, and utilities also drop in price.

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    Account Removed

    almost 6 years ago

    i am a registered nurse here in the philippines and the only thing i can say is that no matter where you are in the states,if you are a nurse,you are lucky.Dont you know that here in the philippines,we are only paid 200 pesos ($4) in 8 hours duty?my gooodnesss!!!!!!!!! we are harrased here. thats the reason why im so eager to take NCLEX in order to ework there.

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    shaypettway

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    i am an lpn charge nurse and have been at the same ltc facility for 10 years. i started at 14.50 an hr and 10 yrs later only make 21.50. benefits are very exspensive. i get a 3% raise a year. and now because of the rising economy i am looking for a per diem job which is not going so well. my job will not give overtime because of the budget!! its crazy---shanen

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    NurseCorie

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    The salaries on this are based on an "average" per state. It varies by facility, whether it's private, non-profit, medi-care, all that jazz. So of course it varies. I'm an LVN in the state of CA. Some new grad LVNS get paid $25+/hr. It just varies. :)

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    NurseEsau

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I am strictly an agency LPN I work through 5 different agencies in the little rock, AR area. Payscale is anywhere from 20-30 dollars an hour. I do pretty good and when i pass my nclex-rn it will be a little more than double. 32-44 an hour.. by working like this I work in around 30 different facilities. which counts up for a lot of different experience fast. thats what i like.

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    mandyLPN

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    i work in iowa and make barely over 16 dollars an hour. very accurate as far as iowa goes, i think i need to move
    mandylpn

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    paulamichaud

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    My niece just graduated with a BSN in June and is working at an acute care hospital in Philadelphia with a starting salary of more than $55,000. Where did you get these numbers? Nursing salaries are highly variable state to state. Nurses in RI go to Boston to earn almost double what they could make in Providence. Nurses in community nursing have traditionally made less than acute care. Many nurses in the early late 1970s were making $20/hr. Surely, even in poor paying areas, nurses practicing in a professional model make more than what you say, or should I be thankful that I've always worked in urban areas!

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    Dbear123

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    While being a nurse for over 25 years, I work along new grad nurses that make the same as I. Where did I go wrong? I started out at $3.35 hour in 1983. Barely making $18.53 hour now, even with all speciality care and training. Wages have gone up, but so has inflation, more that wages. So complaining doesn't do it. If any one tells you that nursing is a highly paid area, wrong....! I really like what I have chosen. It is so strange from state to state the wage differences.

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    kellycna

    almost 6 years ago

    20 comments

    Looks like I'll be moving to Cali!

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    NurseKitty08

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I live in Texas and this pay scale is ridiculous and irrelevant... I make wayyyyy more than any of the hourly wages posted coming out of nursing school... I have gone from LVN to RN now working on my Masters which I already hold a Masters in another field... And there is NO Gentelemen's agreement here because I have gotten pissed off walked out of one hospital only to be offered $10 more at another one... I treat my degree like I treat a business... I have to see how management is handled.. how the floor is run ect.. I sell my degree bc it is my services that I get paid for... But then again I do have skills beyond the average nurse...

    And to the person who stated that MA know more than RN's I believe that is a blatant lack of understanding... because that will be the very remark that cost someone their life...

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    rn1gm2

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I live in California and I'm making $42.00/ hr plus benefits

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    sidecarbum

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I'm not sure where they found those nursing salaries, but here in the Bay area an experienced nurse working the night shift can make $70.00 or more depending on the level, my daughter as a new LVN working in a SNF makes $28/hr on the dayshift. Those wages are like really inaccurate, although the bayarea has a very high cost of living. Still we seem to be compensated well including medical dental and vision. So come travel to the bay area in California i guess. I believe that we are still with a nursing shortage here although not at my hospital.

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    BHKSLPN

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Speaking as a nurse in Kansas, I have to say that the figure for our state is pretty accurate AS AN AVERAGE for LPNs. I work for a staffing agency in the metropolitan area I recently moved into and every facility/job pays on their own scale. I haven't worked in a hospital setting, so I cannot speak from personal first-hand knowledge on those rates, however, the LTC facilities seem to pay comparable standard rates across the board...and yes, they are definately higher pay than Dr offices, clinics, etc. Through this agency, my pay has varied from $18-$32/hr but taking into consideration that insurance is only available to RNs with this agency, I know my take home pay would be less by one-third to half of what I have received. I can say that I went through the interviewing process with a womens health center, but when it came to discussion of pay, I was surprised to be offered only $11.25/hr for the first ninety days, at which time it would possibly increase to $11.75/hr. Now putting the insurance issue aside, there was not a chance I could afford daycare for two kids and pay my regular bills on that wage (and I am not an extravagant person with numerous 'luxury' bills.. I mean just the BASICS.)

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