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

Updated on May 4, 2020
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The author enjoys researching the job market to report on the latest salaries, opportunities, and employment trends.

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 2.98 million registered nurses earn a median of $35.24 per hour or $73,300 per year for the entire country. However, wages can range from a low of $25.04 per hour or $52,080 per year to a high of $53.47 per hour or $111,220 per year. Jobs for RNs are expected to grow by 15 percent until 2026 states the BLS, which is much faster than average.


The state with the highest population, California, also offer the most job opportunities for registered nurses at 302,770 positions.

  • Salaries here are also the highest for the profession at a mean $54.44 per hour or $113,240 per year.
  • Other top-paying states are Hawaii at $104,060 per year, the District of Columbia (which the BLS classifies as a state) at $94,820 Massachusetts at $93,160 and Oregon at $92,960.
  • Except for California, none of these top-paying states correlate with those having the most jobs, which are Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. Salaries in these states range from $67,610 to $87,840 per year.


The metropolitan areas with the most jobs are New York with 174,280 positions, Los Angeles with 111,780, Chicago with 97,0300, Philadelphia with 71,120, and Dallas with 60,620.

These areas differ from the cities with the highest pay, which are all in California. They are San Jose at $140,740, San Francisco at $138,000, Santa Cruz at $134,000, Salinas at $133,580, and Vallejo at $131,190. Employment numbers here range from a low of 1,410 positions in Santa Cruz to a high of 38,580 in San Francisco, which are far lower than the numbers of the high employment cities.


With almost 1.7 million positions, general medical and surgical hospitals have the most jobs for registered nurses, followed by doctors’ offices with 197,890 jobs, home health care services with 177,790, nursing care facilities with 151,300 and outpatient care centers with 147,550.

The best salaries were in business support services at $92,200, the Federal Executive Branch at $90,340, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing at $86,400, aerospace product and part manufacturing at $85,430, and traveler accommodations at $85,120.

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© 2011 Aurelio Locsin


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