States With the Highest Registered Nurse Salaries

When contemplating a career as a registered nurse (RN), it is important to investigate how much can be made on an annual basis. By knowing what type of salary to expect, a person can make certain decisions regarding the path of their RN career. In researching annual salaries, it will quickly become apparent that not all states are equal in terms of pay, with some paying significantly higher than others.

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California
At the top of the list for highest paying states is California, where an RN can earn roughly between $39,532 and $97,438 annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which takes the mean annual wage into consideration, there’s no question that the Golden State’s nurses are well compensated for their skill. The annual mean wage for California’s RNs is $90,860. The highest paying metropolitan areas are also in California, with the highest annual mean wage in the Vallejo – Fairfield area. Here the annual mean wage is as high as $120,540. The 90th percentile wages for California is $128,250.

Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts is second when it comes to paying top dollar for registered nurses. When looking at the mean annual salary for RNs in the state, it is $86,810. The BLS also records Massachusetts’ percentile wages. The salary for the 10th percentile is $54,870, $82,430 for the 50th percentile, and $132,670 for the 90th percentile. This is higher than the recorded 90th percentile for California.

Hawaii
The state that offers the third highest pay, according to the BLS, is Hawaii. The mean annual wage for registered nurses working in the state is reported at $83,950. When looking at the state’s percentile wages, the 90th percentile make $113,729, the 50th percentile earn $84,030, and the 10th percentile have an annual salary of $57,890.

Alaska
In Alaska there are approximately 5,460 RNs. Although there are fewer employed nurses, they earn the fourth highest annual mean wage in the country, at $82,080. The percentile wage for the state is $108,700 for the 90th percentile, $80,430 for the 50th percentile, and $61,360 for the 10th percentile, which is higher than the state of Hawaii’s 10th percentile.

Nevada
Nevada rounds out the top five highest paying states for registered nurses in the United States. RNs that are employed in the state earn a mean annual salary of $77,840. Percentile wages for the state are $57,210 for the 10th percentile, $77,570 for the 50th percentile, and $96,570 for the 90th percentile.

Considerations
Although these are the top paying states for RNs, a person starting their career as a nurse should also keep other issues in mind. Salaries are dependent on factors such as the number of years a person has worked as a licensed RN, the specialty, the city within the state, and the type of employer. Another point to consider is the cost of living within the state. Some states have a higher cost of living than others. This can negate the higher pay as food, gas, and other expenses will take away from one’s yearly salary. A person working in a state that pays RNs less than a state like California or Massachusetts may still have the same quality of life as an RN who does work in those states.

Salary is an important factor for people who are entering the nursing field as RNs. It can help them to make important decisions regarding their future, such as where they want to live and work. When researching top salaries for nurses, it is important to keep the cost of living in mind in order to determine the true impact of the salaries earned by the RNs in these states.

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