The 10 States With The Highest Registered Nurse Salaries For 2019

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 1 month ago

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Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do registered nurses get paid where I live?

And while there are many things to go into how much you, specifically, can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for registered nurses by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.

To better understand how salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for registered nurses by state.

Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.

The state with the best salary for registered nurses after this adjustment? That would be Registered Nurses.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for salaries:

  1. Nevada
  2. Texas
  3. Michigan
  4. Oregon
  5. California
  6. Washington
  7. Arizona
  8. Minnesota
  9. Illinois
  10. Georgia

Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.

If you’re interested, you can read more about the job scene here:

How we determined pay by state

As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for registered nurses from the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their ‘Occupational Employment Statistics.’

To make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the cost of living in each state.

We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the cost of living relative to average. As an example, the cost of living index in California is 135.9 and the average pay is $106950, so our index value would be:

$106,950 * (100 / 135.9) = $78,697

We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for registered nurses.

Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.

Detailed List Of Registered Nurse Salaries By State

Rank State Adjusted Salary Average Wage Cost Of Living
1 Nevada $82,884 $85,620 103.3
2 Texas $80,363 $72,890 90.7
3 Michigan $80,146 $71,330 89.0
4 Oregon $78,788 $91,080 115.6
5 California $78,697 $106,950 135.9
6 Washington $78,583 $82,670 105.2
7 Arizona $78,571 $77,000 98.0
8 Minnesota $78,293 $78,920 100.8
9 Illinois $78,107 $73,890 94.6
10 Georgia $75,437 $68,950 91.4
11 New Mexico $74,331 $71,730 96.5
12 Wisconsin $73,832 $71,470 96.8
13 Delaware $73,767 $74,800 101.4
14 Wyoming $73,376 $67,360 91.8
15 Idaho $72,866 $67,110 92.1
16 Indiana $72,469 $64,860 89.5
17 Missouri $72,046 $65,130 90.4
18 Colorado $71,522 $74,240 103.8
19 Ohio $71,236 $66,820 93.8
20 Oklahoma $70,717 $63,080 89.2
21 Utah $70,612 $65,670 93.0
22 Nebraska $70,382 $64,470 91.6
23 Arkansas $69,781 $60,780 87.1
24 Kentucky $69,723 $63,100 90.5
25 Pennsylvania $69,418 $70,390 101.4
26 Virginia $69,236 $69,790 100.8
27 Massachusetts $69,070 $92,140 133.4
28 North Carolina $69,062 $64,850 93.9
29 Tennessee $68,590 $61,320 89.4
30 Alaska $68,123 $89,310 131.1
31 Mississippi $68,090 $58,490 85.9
32 Kansas $67,886 $61,030 89.9
33 New Jersey $67,883 $82,750 121.9
34 Louisiana $67,478 $63,970 94.8
35 Florida $67,355 $66,210 98.3
36 Montana $66,914 $67,450 100.8
37 West Virginia $66,145 $61,780 93.4
38 North Dakota $66,136 $65,740 99.4
39 South Carolina $65,463 $64,940 99.2
40 New York $65,351 $85,610 131.0
41 Alabama $65,208 $59,470 91.2
42 Iowa $64,978 $59,130 91.0
43 Rhode Island $64,971 $78,420 120.7
44 Connecticut $63,602 $81,220 127.7
45 New Hampshire $62,188 $72,760 117.0
46 Maryland $61,211 $76,820 125.5
47 Maine $61,019 $67,610 110.8
48 Hawaii $58,415 $98,080 167.9
49 Vermont $57,109 $69,160 121.1
50 South Dakota $56,258 $58,340 103.7
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