ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

Highest Paid Nurses in the USA: Where Registered Nurses Earn the Most

Updated on December 13, 2016
By TimeForNurses
By TimeForNurses | Source

In hospitals, clinics and health centers, registered nurses (RNs) interact with patients far more times than doctors. In addition to medical skills needed to treat patients, educate their families, and perform diagnostic procedures, RNs must also show caring, sympathy, understanding, and offer good communication. In short, they require superb bedside manners to succeed in earning the highest salaries. The U.S. Department of Labor reveals where registered nurses earn the highest pay.


The nation’s 2.6 million registered nurses earn a median of $31.10 per hour or $64,690 per year for the entire country. However, wages can range from a low of $21.24 per hour or $44,190 per year to a high of $45.74 per hour or $95,130 per year. Jobs for RNs are expected to grow by 22 percent until 2018 states the BLS, which is much faster than average.


The state with the highest population, California, also offered the most job opportunities for registered nurses at 240,030 positions. Salaries here were also the highest for the profession at a mean $42.06 per hour or $87,480 per year. Other top-paying states are Massachusetts at $84,990 per year, Hawaii at $82,130, Alaska at $79,350 and Maryland at $76,450. Except for California, none of these top-paying states correlate with those having the most jobs, which are Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. Salaries in these states range from $63,010 to $74,000 per year.


The metropolitan areas with the most jobs are New York with 96,270 positions, Chicago with 76,600, Los Angeles with 64,630, Boston with 48,240 and Philadelphia with 44,720. These areas differ from the cities with the highest pay, which are all in California. They are San Jose at a mean $116,150, Oakland at $100,900, San Francisco at $97,600, Salinas at $97,450 and Napa at $97,090. Employment numbers here range from a low of 1,350 positions in Napa to a high of 16,840 in Oakland, which are far lower than the numbers of the high employment cities.


With 1.5 million positions, general medical and surgical hospitals have the most jobs for registered nurses, followed by doctors’ offices with 232,000 jobs, home health care services with 146,380, nursing care facilities with 134,460 and outpatient care centers with 89,090. The best salaries were in personal care services at a mean $86,470, the federal government at $79,530, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing at $74,940, medical equipment and supplies manufacturing at $74,930, and colleges, universities and professional schools at $74,180.

Are you a nurse?

See results

© 2011 alocsin


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      torjob 2 years ago

      great info for RN in US...For who needs to know more about Regitred nurse jobs in Canada, here is the url:

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 5 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Alocsin, that is a very well-put and informative hub about nurses. No wonder most of the nurses in my country would opt to work as RN in the US. Thanks much!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Having just written a hub about becoming a nurse, this was an interesting read. Although I knew the salaries could be quite good, I was unaware that they went that high!

      Shared, up, interesting, pinned and tweeted.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Absolutely right, Peggy W. Unfortunately, the BLS statistics don't include cost of living, otherwise we'd get a more accurate picture of what a salary is really worth in an area.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      While some of those higher salaries sound great, the cost of living also must be taken into account. Some of those high paying states also have extremely high housing costs, for example. Nursing is a great profession! Here is to all past, present and future nurses! May they be happy wherever they choose to live and work. Voting this interesting and useful.