11 Highest Paying States for Nurses

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Which are the highest paying states for nurses?

The American Nurses Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.” A nurse is a specialist trained to care for the sick and/or elderly, but this is a highly simplistic description of the numerous jobs nurses undertake to improve the quality of life of their patients. Nurses bridge the gap between patients and doctors and help the former to recover by providing constant care. In a case of a patient with a terminal illness nurses are often employed at home, so the patient is not hospitalized and separated from their family, especially during their last days.

To become a registered nurse in the United States, you need to earn one of three degrees: a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BDN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a nursing diploma. Another prerequisite is taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, after which you officially qualify as a registered nurse. The average registered nurse earns $71,000 in the United States, but the salary increases significantly if you choose to train further and specialize in a particular field. If this number seems too little, however, perhaps you might want to pursue another career with a more generous salary, in which case, check out our article on the 11 highest paying states for OBGYNs.

Highest Paying States for Nurses


Since the field of nursing includes a broad spectrum of jobs and specializations, we decided to refer to the salaries of registered nurses (RNs), who form the backbone of the healthcare system in the United States. The average annual and average hourly salaries for each state were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau is a fact-finding agency, and a unit of the Department of Labor and hence provides authentic figures for salaries as well as the number of nurses employed in each state. We ranked the states according to the average annual salary and selected the top eleven for this article.

Now that we’ve covered most of what you need to know, let’s start off with the actual list of the 11 highest paying states for nurses.

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