The registered nurse (RN) is one of the highest level nurse occupations. They directly work with doctors, nursing staff, and other medical professionals to provide direct patient care. The RN is one of the most essential and most respected occupations in the health care community. Job growth for registered nurses is expected to be faster than average and registered nurse salary rates are good. The first step to qualify for registered nursing jobs is to enroll in a RN training program to become licensed.
Registered Nurse Salary Info
Many students are choosing a career as a registered nurse because the salary is very competitive for the amount of education required to obtain a license. In general a student can complete a bachelor’s degree (about 4 years) and begin working right away.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average registered nurse salary in 2010 was $64,690 per year, or approximately $31 per hour. The highest 10% of registered nurses earned over $95,130 per year.
RN Salary by Work Location
An RN can work in a variety of different environments. Depending on where the nurse works and what they are doing, salary may vary. The highest paid RNs work in private general medical and surgical hospitals, earning $66,650 per year. Other work environments and their respective salaries include:
- Offices of physicians ($62,880)
- General medical and surgical hospitals; local ($62,690)
- Home health care services ($60,690)
- Nursing care facilities ($58,180)
Top Paying States for Registered Nurse Salary
As you can see from the figure to the right, the highest paying registered nurse locations are centered on the west coast and the north east. As a whole registered nurses earn a significantly higher salary than most other occupations. Meaning, if you live in a state that has a lower registered nurse salary, you are still earning more than the average American.
Most students want to know, “Where can I earn the highest salary as a RN?” In 2012, the top 5 highest paying states for registered nurse salary were:
- California: $45.25/hr – $94,120/yr
- Hawaii: $40.74/hr – $84,750/yr
- Massachusetts: $40.08/hr – $83,370/yr
- Alaska: $38.93/hr – $80,970/yr
- Oregon: $37.75/hr – $78,530/yr
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Registered Nurse
There are many excellent communities across the United States that are ideal for registered nurses. However, for many years California has dominated the list of top paying cities for registered nurses. One could argue that this is because the cost of living is higher in California. But who would argue with a $100k+ salary wherever you lived?
- San Jose, CA – $122,990
- Vallejo, CA – $119,310
- Oakland, CA – $113,520
- San Francisco, CA – $110,630
- Sacramento, CA – $107,710
Registered Nurse Jobs
With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, healthcare is a rapidly growing area. More and more people every day are in need of medical and health services. The BLS projects that the registered nurse occupation will grow by 26% between 2010 and 2020. This could result in over 700,000 new RN jobs! This is the perfect time to begin a RN training program and take advantage of the excellent registered nurse salary.