These Are The 10 Highest Registered Nurse Salaries By State

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 6 months 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. Michigan
  3. Texas
  4. Washington
  5. Oregon
  6. Illinois
  7. Arizona
  8. California
  9. Minnesota
  10. New Mexico

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

If youÂ’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 2016 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 $101750, so our index value would be:

$101,750 * (100 / 135.9) = $74,871

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 $81,113 $83,790 103.3
2 Michigan $77,640 $69,100 89.0
3 Texas $77,607 $70,390 90.7
4 Washington $76,159 $80,120 105.2
5 Oregon $75,259 $87,000 115.6
6 Illinois $74,936 $70,890 94.6
7 Arizona $74,928 $73,430 98.0
8 California $74,871 $101,750 135.9
9 Minnesota $73,353 $73,940 100.8
10 New Mexico $71,160 $68,670 96.5
11 Georgia $70,842 $64,750 91.4
12 Wisconsin $70,175 $67,930 96.8
13 Delaware $69,842 $70,820 101.4
14 Wyoming $68,605 $62,980 91.8
15 Ohio $68,187 $63,960 93.8
16 Oklahoma $67,970 $60,630 89.2
17 Colorado $67,967 $70,550 103.8
18 Idaho $67,828 $62,470 92.1
19 Pennsylvania $67,820 $68,770 101.4
20 Missouri $67,289 $60,830 90.4
21 Indiana $67,094 $60,050 89.5
22 Utah $67,053 $62,360 93.0
23 Louisiana $66,845 $63,370 94.8
24 Massachusetts $66,761 $89,060 133.4
25 Mississippi $66,367 $57,010 85.9
26 Arkansas $66,165 $57,630 87.1
27 Virginia $66,140 $66,670 100.8
28 New Jersey $66,103 $80,580 121.9
29 Kentucky $66,088 $59,810 90.5
30 Alaska $65,942 $86,450 131.1
31 Nebraska $65,906 $60,370 91.6
32 Florida $65,747 $64,630 98.3
33 Tennessee $65,335 $58,410 89.4
34 North Carolina $65,314 $61,330 93.9
35 Kansas $64,805 $58,260 89.9
36 South Carolina $63,981 $63,470 99.2
37 Montana $63,789 $64,300 100.8
38 West Virginia $63,576 $59,380 93.4
39 Alabama $62,390 $56,900 91.2
40 Rhode Island $62,303 $75,200 120.7
41 Iowa $61,857 $56,290 91.0
42 New York $61,702 $80,830 131.0
43 Connecticut $61,292 $78,270 127.7
44 North Dakota $61,207 $60,840 99.4
45 Maryland $59,529 $74,710 125.5
46 New Hampshire $58,700 $68,680 117.0
47 Maine $57,581 $63,800 110.8
48 Vermont $55,970 $67,780 121.1
49 South Dakota $53,924 $55,920 103.7
50 Hawaii $52,954 $88,910 167.9
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