RN Salary – How Much Do Registered Nurses Make 2019

So how much does a Registered Nurse make, what is the average RN salary, the highest paid cities, states and industries?  Below you will find all of the answers laid out clearly in easy to read tables and charts.

Finding all of the relevant figures can be a bit of a task – so I have put everything in one place – easy to find and easy to navigate!

You can also check out the Nurse Salary by State page for a deeper look at Registered Nursing salaries in each individual state in the U.S. – it breaks the information down into Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan areas and employment by industry.

Easily find the important details for Your town, city and state – when someone asks how much do nurses make – you have all the answers.

Don’t forget we have a detailed Registered Nurse Guide – covering everything you need to know about being a RN – and now we have a full guide to Registered Nurse Training Programs.

The U.S. Average Registered Nurse RN Salary is $73,550

In the United States the average annual salary for a Registered Nurse is currently $73,550 which breaks down as an average of $35.36 per hour, $1,414 per week and a monthly salary of $6,129.

Have a look at how this compares to the national average wage figures.

Hourly WageWeekly WageMonthly Salary Annual Salary
Registered Nurse RN Average Salary$35.36$1,414$6,129$73,550
U.S. National Average Salary$24.34$973$4,218$50,620

Highest Paid States for Registered Nurse

California comes out as the highest paying state for a Registered Nurse with an average annual salary of $102,700 – closely followed by Hawaii $96,990, Washington DC $90,110 and Massachusetts $89,330.

A general split can be seen – the highest paid states tend to be West Coast and North East centers of population (also with high cost of living).

At the other end of the payscale for nurses – Puerto Rico is the lowest paid state with an average RN salary of $34,630 – not so great if you live there!

For the mainland USA – Arkansas $58,810, Iowa $57,930, Alabama $57,890, Mississippi $57,700 and South Dakota comes bottom with $57,010.Registered Nurse Salary by State

The large variation can in part be explained by simple supply and demand influences – but also cost of living variations. We look at several factors …. if you keep on reading!

You can click on the map above to find Registered Nurse salary information in all states – here you can select your own state and see all the relevant data – highest paying areas, employment figures and more.

StateEmployment NumbersHourly WageAnnual Salary
California 282,290 $49.37$102,700
Hawaii 10,800 $46.63$96,990
District of Columbia 11,000 $43.32$90,110
Massachusetts 82,870 $42.95$89,330
Oregon 35,140 $42.68$88,770
Alaska 5,570 $42.07$87,510
Nevada 21,060 $40.86$84,980
New York 180,170 $40.12$83,450
New Jersey 80,560 $39.43$82,010
Connecticut 34,310 $38.56$80,200
Washington 56,880 $38.37$79,810
Minnesota 64,540 $37.28$77,540
Rhode Island 11,820 $36.85$76,650
Maryland 53,700 $36.18$75,250
Arizona 54,630 $36.11$75,110
Delaware 11,620 $35.18$73,180
Colorado 49,340 $34.89$72,570
Illinois 123,100 $34.66$72,090
Texas 212,230 $34.65$72,070
New Hampshire 13,190 $33.67$70,040
New Mexico 16,290 $33.58$69,840
Pennsylvania 143,130 $33.57$69,820
Vermont 6,270 $33.44$69,560
Wisconsin 55,940 $33.27$69,200
Michigan 94,090 $33.23$69,120
Virginia 64,260 $32.69$67,990
Georgia 75,000 $32.09$66,750
Montana 10,110 $31.87$66,280
Maine 14,200 $31.68$65,890
Ohio 124,620 $31.49$65,500
Wyoming 4,910 $31.20$64,900
Florida 178,330 $31.20$64,890
Idaho 13,320 $31.02$64,520
South Carolina 43,200 $30.59$63,630
Louisiana 45,970 $30.56$63,560
Missouri 72,090 $30.43$63,300
North Dakota 9,020 $30.35$63,140
Utah 21,340 $30.31$63,050
North Carolina 99,210 $30.08$62,560
Indiana 68,530 $30.02$62,450
Nebraska 22,870 $29.91$62,210
Oklahoma 28,000 $29.63$61,640
Kentucky 44,410 $29.58$61,530
West Virginia 20,410 $29.03$60,380
Tennessee 59,350 $28.87$60,050
Kansas 28,900 $28.82$59,940
Arkansas 24,380 $28.28$58,810
Virgin Islands-$28.26$58,770
Iowa 33,280 $27.85$57,930
Alabama 49,290 $27.83$57,890
Mississippi 28,760 $27.74$57,700
South Dakota 12,530 $27.41$57,010
Puerto Rico 19,090 $16.65$34,630

Highest Paying Cities or Metropolitan Areas for RN’s

California’s metropolitan areas are topping the tables again here. San Francisco, Salinas, San Jose and Oakland are amongst the highest paying cities for Registered nurses in the country – well above the average salary rates nationwide.

Other cities with higher than average RN salaries include : Honolulu $98,190, Los Angeles LA $95,650, Boston $92,180, NYC New York $90,840 and Anchorage $87,200.

Metropolitan AreaEmployment NumbersHourly WageAnnual Salary
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco CA14,170$67.16$139,700
Salinas CA2,470$62.47$129,940
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara15,990$62.09$129,140
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward CA35,480$60.08$124,970
Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA1,520$59.84$124,470
Vallejo-Fairfield CA3,170$57.61$119,830
Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley CA19,550$56.09$116,660
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade CA18,240$55.85$116,170
Napa CA1,430$54.68$113,740
Santa Rosa CA3,170$53.62$111,530

Highest Paid Non-Metropolitan Areas – Registered Nurse

Again similar wages trends show even for rural areas. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington and Alaska provide the top earning non metropolitan areas for nurses.

Non Metropolitan AreaEmployment NumbersHourly WageAnnual Salary
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area730$48.89$101,700
Eastern Sierra California nonmetropolitan area190$45.04$93,690
Hawaii / Kauai nonmetropolitan area1,610$44.78$93,130
N Central Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area-$44.12$91,770
Balance of Alaska nonmetropolitan area760$43.98$91,480
E Washington nonmetropolitan area810$43.46$90,400
North Coast of California nonmetropolitan area2,360$43.46$90,390
Southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area460$43.12$89,680
North Coast Oregon nonmetropolitan area630$42.19$87,750
N Mountains Region California nonmetropolitan area1,040$40.43$84,100

Number of Registered Nurses Employed in the United States

The total employed figures across all states stands at 2,906,840. The chart below shows the top 10 states by total number of RN’s employed. California employs the most RN’s – which helps explain the high wages for nurses in that state. Texas, New York and Florida all have high numbers of RN’s.

Highest Paying Industries for Registered Nurses

RN’s can find employment across a fairly wide range of industries – not just in hospitals. Have a look at the top paying industries below – you can see some of the highest paid nursing jobs.

IndustryHourly WageAnnual Salary
Federal government, including USPS$41.83$87,010
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - State owned$38.35$79,770
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals$37.16$77,290
Specialty hospitals - Privately owned$36.78$76,510
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - Privately owned$36.55$76,020
Outpatient Care Centers$36.39$75,680
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools$36.18$75,240
Insurance Carriers$35.84$74,540
Educational Services - State government owned$35.76$74,380
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals - State owned$35.18$73,180

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Career Outlook

The career outlook for Registered Nurses is very strong with expected growth of 19% (all careers growth is estimated at 11%) between 2012 – 2022. According to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2022 there will be an increase in the number of Registered nurses of 526,800 – yes, over half a million! That’s a lot of new nursing jobs for the near future – definitely a career with good prospects.

RN Salary Range

Obviously not all RN’s earn the same. Wage levels vary quite a bit depending on experience, years in the job, level of training , industry and location etc. In this next section we will look in more detail at some reasons for such a wide salary range.

The table below will give you an idea of the range to expect. The figures show the average wage earned by the top earning  10% and the lowest paid 10% of registered nurses. It is a useful way to see the potential earnings overall.

Starting Salaries for a RN

Although there are no official statistics for starting salaries for registered nurses it stands to reason that they are amongst the lower paid ranks. Using the salary scales in the table above you can safely say that they will earn in the bottom 10% depending on location and healthcare industry.

Most newly qualified rn’s will earn between $45,000 and $60,000. These estimates should be adjusted based on the average salaries in your state.

Factors Affecting RN Salary?

The main factors that affect RN salaries are: education, experience, location, position and industry.

Nursing Education Level

The level of education obtained by a RN will directly influence their earning potential. Of course this makes sense when you consider the different qualifications held by working nurses.

ADN – Associate Degree in Nursing – takes on average 3 years to complete. Although still accepted in many nursing jobs, it will be viewed as inferior to other qualifications and pay will usually be less especially when starting your career.

BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing – takes 4 years to qualify normally. Now seen as the standard entry qualification for RN-s by most employers. Over 50% insist on at least a BSN and over 80% prefer this level of degree. BSN educated nurses are in the top 25% earning registered nurses today.

MSN – Master of Science in Nursing – can take 6 years although usually taken as a bridge program. This degree is usually taken to further your career towards an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN). Needed to become Nurse Practitioners, CRNA’s, Nurse Midwives and Nursing Informatics.

DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice – this is a relatively new program also leading to APRN careers and also management and leadership roles in nursing.

For students starting out who want to become registered nurses it makes sense to aim for a good BSN course – giving you the best opportunities for earning and career progression in the future.

Experience

In such a varied career as nursing, experience will always be a factor in salary scales. Many hospitals have time in post factored into their salary scales. You can expect a RN with years of experience to earn substantially more than a new recruit! Let’s hope it stays that way.

Location

It is pretty obvious from the figures that the state, city or region you work in will have an impact on your earnings potential. Even when taken with experience and education – some states just earn more than others. Outside factors are at play here too such as cost of living, which we go into later on.

Position and Industry

Not all RN’s are equal and not all work directly with patients in hospitals. To the uneducated it can be surprising to learn some of the jobs registered nurses can do outside a hospital environment. They are employed across a wide range of jobs and industries – and this can be reflected in their salaries.

Male vs Female Registered Nurse Salaries

Shockingly, studies have shown that there is a gender pay gap between male and female RN’S. Male nurses do earn more than female nurses – but is that the whole story?

It is difficult to quantify accurately due to the wide range of salaries across the career. It has been noticed that male RN’s tend to have higher degree qualifications, tend to work in specialist roles and of course are less numerous than their female co-workers.

Some like for like comparisons have shown that men are earning more than women in the same positions – looks like wages difference between the sexes is a thing!

Registered Nurse Salary Video

Cost of Living Influence on RN Salaries

When you drill down into the salary data across the United States it probably shocks most people to see the wide variation of figures. We have looked at other influences such as experience and education and the effect they have on nurses wages.

To understand why one state or city is so different from another we need to consider another major factor – Cost of Living. Most cost of living indexes look at a range of cost – usually covering rent / housing, transportation, consumer goods, utilities and healthcare.

These costs vary across the country and also between cities and rural areas. I think we are all aware that rent in Manhattan will cost a lot more than in rural Iowa! This is extremely important to consider when judging where rn’s have the best earning potential.

It isn’t enough to know that nurses in California have the highest salaries – you need to consider how much of that extra income they need to spend in order to live there.

I have included a cost of living index figure in the list below. These figures have a baseline average cost of living of 100 – figures around 100 are average cost of living – above 100 have higher cost of living and below 100 are the cheapest states to live. They give a good indication at a glance – but do some research!

There are numerous different indexes available online but most show the same general trends with minimal variations. ref: http://coli.org/

State Salaries With Cost of Living Index

 

Alabama

Average RN salary: $57,890
Hourly wage : $27.83
Highest paid city : Montgomery
Number of RNs employed: 49,290
Cost of living index : 89.5

Alaska

Average salary: $87,510
Hourly wage : $42.07
Highest paid city : Anchorage
Number of RNs employed: 5,570
Cost of living index : 130.6

Arizona

Average salary: $75,110
Hourly wage : $36.11
Highest paid city : Phoenix
Number of RNs employed: 54,630
Cost of living index : 97.7

Arkansas

Average salary: $58,810
Hourly wage : $28.28
Highest paid city : Little Rock
Number of RNs employed: 24,380
Cost of living index : 88.4

California

Average salary: $102,700
Hourly wage : $49.37
Highest paid city : San Francisco
Number of RNs employed: 282,290
Cost of living index : 138.7

Colorado

Average salary: $72,570
Hourly wage : $34.89
Highest paid city : Boulder
Number of RNs employed: 49,340
Cost of living index : 105.5

Connecticut

Average salary: $80,200
Hourly wage : $38.56
Highest paid city : Danbury
Number of RNs employed: 34,310
Cost of living index : 128.8

Delaware

Average salary: $73,180
Hourly wage : $35.18
Highest paid city : Wilmington
Number of RNs employed: 11,620
Cost of living index : 106

District of Columbia

Average salary: $90,110
Hourly wage : $43.32
Highest paid city : Washington
Number of RNs employed: 11,000
Cost of living index : 162.9

Florida

Average salary: $64,890
Hourly wage : $31.20
Highest paid city : Naples
Number of RNs employed: 178,330
Cost of living index : 98.9

Georgia

Average salary: $66,750
Hourly wage : $32.09
Highest paid city : Atlanta
Number of RNs employed: 75,000
Cost of living index : 91.2

Hawaii

Average salary: $96,990
Hourly wage : $46.63
Highest paid city : Honolulu
Number of RNs employed: 10,800
Cost of living index : 190.1

Idaho

Average salary: $64,520
Hourly wage : $31.02
Highest paid city : Coeur d’Alene
Number of RNs employed: 13,320
Cost of living index : 94.2

Illinois

Average salary: $72,090
Hourly wage : $34.66
Highest paid city : Chicago
Number of RNs employed: 123,100
Cost of living index : 95.7

Indiana

Average salary: $62,450
Hourly wage : $30.02
Highest paid city : Gary
Number of RNs employed: 68,530
Cost of living index : 90.1

Iowa

Average salary: $57,930
Hourly wage : $27.85
Highest paid city : Iowa City
Number of RNs employed: 33,280
Cost of living index : 91.8

Kansas

Average salary: $59,940
Hourly wage : $28.82
Highest paid city : Topeka
Number of RNs employed: 28,900
Cost of living index : 89.7

Kentucky

Average salary: $61,530
Hourly wage : $29.58
Highest paid city : Louisville
Number of RNs employed: 44,410
Cost of living index : 91.8

Louisiana

Average salary: $63,560
Hourly wage : $30.56
Highest paid city : New Orleans
Number of RNs employed: 45,970
Cost of living index : 93.6

Maine

Average salary: $65,890
Hourly wage : $31.68
Highest paid city : Bangor
Number of RNs employed: 14,200
Cost of living index : 117.2

Maryland

Average salary: $75,250
Hourly wage : $36.18
Highest paid city : Portland
Number of RNs employed: 53,700
Cost of living index : 131.3

Massachusetts

Average salary: $89,330
Hourly wage : $42.95
Highest paid city : Boston
Number of RNs employed: 82,870
Cost of living index : 133.8

Michigan

Average salary: $69,120
Hourly wage : $33.23
Highest paid city : Bay City
Number of RNs employed: 94,090
Cost of living index : 89.3

Minnesota

Average salary: $77,540
Hourly wage : $37.28
Highest paid city : Minneapolis
Number of RNs employed: 64,540
Cost of living index : 101.5

Mississippi

Average salary: $57,700
Hourly wage : $27.74
Highest paid city : Jackson
Number of RNs employed: 28,760
Cost of living index : 85.7

Missouri

Average salary: $63,300
Hourly wage : $30.43
Highest paid city : Columbia
Number of RNs employed: 72,090
Cost of living index : 88.8

Montana

Average RN salary: $66,280
Hourly wage : $31.87
Highest paid city : Billings
Number of RNs employed: 10,110
Cost of living index : 104

Nebraska

Average salary: $62,210
Hourly wage : $29.91
Highest paid city : Omaha
Number of RNs employed: 22,870
Cost of living index : 93.3

Nevada

Average salary: $84,980
Hourly wage : $40.86
Highest paid city : Las Vegas
Number of RNs employed: 21,060
Cost of living index : 108.3

New Hampshire

Average salary: $70,040
Hourly wage : $33.67
Highest paid city : Manchester
Number of RNs employed: 13,190
Cost of living index : 109.3

New Jersey

Average salary: $82,010
Hourly wage : $39.43
Highest paid city : Newark
Number of RNs employed: 80,560
Cost of living index : 122.5

New Mexico

Average salary: $69,840
Hourly wage : $33.58
Highest paid city : Albuquerque
Number of RNs employed: 16,290
Cost of living index : 92.8

New York

Average salary: $83,450
Hourly wage : $40.12
Highest paid city : New York NYC
Number of RNs employed: 180,170
Cost of living index : 135.7

North Carolina

Average salary: $62,560
Hourly wage : $30.08
Highest paid city : Durham
Number of RNs employed: 99,210
Cost of living index : 94

North Dakota

Average salary: $63,140
Hourly wage : $30.35
Highest paid city : Fargo
Number of RNs employed: 9,020
Cost of living index : 98.7

Ohio

Average salary: $65,500
Hourly wage : $31.49
Highest paid city : Lima
Number of RNs employed: 124,620
Cost of living index : 92.8

Oklahoma

Average salary: $61,640
Hourly wage : $29.63
Highest paid city : Oklahoma City
Number of RNs employed: 28,000
Cost of living index : 88.1

Oregon

Average salary: $88,770
Hourly wage : $42.68
Highest paid city : Hillsboro
Number of RNs employed: 35,140
Cost of living index : 131.2

Pennsylvania

Average salary: $69,820
Hourly wage : $33.57
Highest paid city : Philadelphia
Number of RNs employed: 143,130
Cost of living index : 98.6

Puerto Rico

Average salary: $34,630
Hourly wage : $16.65
Highest paid city : San Juan
Number of RNs employed: 19,090
Cost of living index : n/a

Rhode Island

Average salary: $76,650
Hourly wage : $36.85
Highest paid city : Providence
Number of RNs employed: 11,820
Cost of living index : 122.5

South Carolina

Average salary: $63,630
Hourly wage : $30.59
Highest paid city : Charleston
Number of RNs employed: 43,200
Cost of living index : 98.3

South Dakota

Average salary: $57,010
Hourly wage : $27.41
Highest paid city : Rapid City
Number of RNs employed: 12,530
Cost of living index : 98.5

Tennessee

Average salary: $60,050
Hourly wage : $28.87
Highest paid city : Memphis
Number of RNs employed: 59,350
Cost of living index : 89.5

Texas

Average salary: $72,070
Hourly wage : $34.65
Highest paid city : Houston
Number of RNs employed: 212,230
Cost of living index : 91.3

Utah

Average salary: $63,050
Hourly wage : $30.31
Highest paid city : Salt Lake City
Number of RNs employed: 21,340
Cost of living index : 98.2

Vermont

Average salary: $69,560
Hourly wage : $33.44
Highest paid city : Burlington
Number of RNs employed: 6,270
Cost of living index : 118.7

Virginia

Average salary: $67,990
Hourly wage : $32.69
Highest paid city : Charlottesville
Number of RNs employed: 64,260
Cost of living index : 102

Washington

Average salary: $79,810
Hourly wage : $38.37
Highest paid city : Tacoma
Number of RNs employed: 56,880
Cost of living index : 109.5

West Virginia

Average salary: $60,380
Hourly wage : $29.03
Highest paid city : Morgantown
Number of RNs employed: 20,410
Cost of living index : 94.7

Wisconsin

Average salary: $69,200
Hourly wage : $33.27
Highest paid city : Madison
Number of RNs employed: 55,940
Cost of living index : 95.8

Wyoming

Average salary: $64,900
Hourly wage : $31.20
Highest paid city : Cheyenne
Number of RNs employed: 4,910
Cost of living index : 90.5

Don’t forget to check out our pages for Nurse Practitioners, LVN or LPN salary and general nursing careers salary information – have a good look around.