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Where Do the Best-Paid Nurses Work?

Certain regions and job settings are more conducive to a well-paid nursing career.

Those who enroll in an RN program know that becoming a nurse can help them earn a good living. But if you’re already an RN, do you know how you can maximize your earnings? Different regions and different types of employers pay their nurses different wages. Here are the places where registered nurses earn the most, as of May 2018.1

The Best States for RN Pay

The average RN in the United States earns $75,510 a year. But in some states, RNs earn significantly more. The top five states for average annual RN pay are:

Where Do the Best-Paid Nurses Work?

  • California: $106,950 average annual wage
  • Hawaii: $98,080 average annual wage
  • District of Columbia: $92,350 average annual wage
  • Massachusetts: $92,140 average annual wage
  • Oregon: $91,080 average annual wage

The Best Cities for RN Pay

California isn’t just the state that pays RNs the most, it’s also home to the metropolitan areas that pay RNs the most. In fact, the top five metropolitan areas for RN pay are all in California. They are:

  • San Francisco—Redwood City—South San Francisco: $128,990 average annual wage
  • Salinas: $131,710 average annual wage
  • San Jose—Sunnyvale—Santa Clara: $128,610 average annual wage
  • Santa Cruz—Watsonville: $127,440 average annual wage
  • Sacramento—Roseville—Arden-Arcade: $120,530 average annual wage

The Best Job Settings for RN Pay

Many of the top-paying job settings for RNs fall outside of the typical RN employers. However, more than half of all RNs work for hospitals, physician offices, or home healthcare services—and among the more common RN employers, outpatient care centers pay the most ($79,230 average annual wage), and general medical and surgical hospitals pay the second most ($77,730 average annual wage).

Another Way You Can Increase Your Pay

If you’re like many working adults, you would prefer not to move to another state or change industries to earn a better salary. The good news is, there is a way to stay where you are and still position yourself for a better salary throughout your nursing career: You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN degree).

When you move from RN to BSN, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and enhance your skills, which can make you more valuable to your employer. And being more valuable can mean earning more money. According to a report by Nursing Journal, an RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and one to four years of experience earns $12,515 more per year on average than does a non-BSN RN with the same amount of experience.2

Needless to say, it can be worth it to return to nursing school. And that’s doubly true when you consider that you can earn your nursing degree online. Through an online nursing school, you don’t have to take time away from your career—you can continue working full time while you complete your nursing program. Online education allows you to arrange your coursework around your nursing shifts.

On top of that, many online nursing programs are specifically geared toward helping RNs like you earn their BSN as quickly as possible. Some RN to BSN online programs will give you the opportunity to transfer up to 75% of the credits you need for graduation, giving you a significant head start toward earning your degree. Plus, some online RN to BSN programs also offer a competency-based option that lets you learn—and earn credits—at your own pace.

There are multiple ways you can earn more as a nurse, but perhaps none are as practical as earning an online nursing degree. When you earn your BSN, you can put yourself in position to take your career further.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
2Source: https://nursejournal.org/bsn-degree/bsn-degree-rn-differences

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.


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