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Highest-Paying States for Registered Nurses

Highest-Paying States for Registered Nurses

No. 1 might surprise you

 LaylaBird/E+ via Getty Images

The national spread of coronavirus has drawn much attention to how essential registered nurses (RNs) are to the nation’s well-being. In 2018, nurse practitioners were among the fastest-growing jobs in the country. And based on data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care workers report some of the highest wages in the nation. 

Using data and information from and Nurse.org, this is how all 50 states and Washington, D.C. rankeded on RNs pay in 2019 by average salary from lowest to the highest.

51. South Dakota

51. South Dakota

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Nursing is certainly not a job that is declining in the U.S., but nurses in South Dakota were paid the lowest in the nation in 2019. The average hourly pay was $28.63 and the average RN salary was $59,540. There were a total of 12,950 nurses in South Dakota in 2019.

50. Mississippi

50. Mississippi

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Mississippi pays its nurses the second least in the nation. The average salary for RNs in Mississippi was $59,750 with the average hourly pay approximately $28.73.  There were more than 29,000 RNs in Mississippi in 2019.

49. Alabama

49. Alabama

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Nurses in Alabama were paid an average hourly rate of $28.96. The average salary was $60,230. There were a total of 49,190 RNs in Alabama in 2019. Alabama was also among the states with the highest bankruptcy filings for 2019.

48. Iowa

48. Iowa

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Known for the Field of Dreams, Iowa doesn’t have the dreamiest salaries in the nation for nurses. The average hourly pay for nurses in Iowa was $29.13 in 2019 and the average salary was $60,590. There were a total of 32,980 RNs in Iowa.

47. Arkansas

47. Arkansas

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Nursing is certainly not a job that can be done from home. RNs in Arkansas were the fifth-lowest-paid in the nation in 2019. The average hourly pay was $29.49 and the average salary was $61,330.  There were more than 25,000 RNs in Arkansas.

46. Kansas

46. Kansas

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For the 30,370 RNs in Kansas, the average hourly pay was $30.02 and the average salary was $62,450.

45. Tennessee

45. Tennessee

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The average hourly pay for nurses in Tennessee was $30.08 in 2019 and the average salary was $62,570. There were a total of 63,330 nurses in Tennessee.

44. West Virginia

44. West Virginia

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The average hourly pay for nurses in West Virginia was $30.39. The average salary was $63,220. There were 19,830 RNs in West Virginia.

43. Kentucky

43. Kentucky

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The average hourly pay for nurses in Kentucky was $30.65 in 2019. The average RN salary was $63,750. There were 43,840 RNs in the state of Kentucky.

42. Missouri

42. Missouri

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The average hourly rate for RNs in Missouri was $30.85 and the average salary was $64,160.  There were 68,840 RNs in Missouri.

41. Oklahoma

41. Oklahoma

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There were a total of 31,350 RNs in Oklahoma. The average hourly pay in 2019 for RNs was $31.15 and the average salary was $64,800.

40. South Carolina

40. South Carolina

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The average hourly pay for RNs in the state of South Carolina was $31.17. The average RN salary was $64,840. As of 2019, there were 46,860 RNs in the state.

39. Louisiana

39. Louisiana

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The average RN salary in Louisiana was $65,850 in 2019. The average hourly pay was $31.66.  There were 40,870 in Louisiana as of 2019.

38. North Dakota

38. North Dakota

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As of 2019, there were only 9,750 RNs in North Dakota. The average hourly pay was $31.87 and the average RN salary was $66,290.

37. North Carolina

37. North Carolina

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Although there was a significantly higher number of RNs in North Carolina in 2019 compared to North Dakota, the average pay was close. There were just over 99,900 RNs working in the state. The average hourly pay was $31.94 and the average RN salary was $66,440.

36. Indiana

36. Indiana

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In 2019, the average RN salary in Indiana was $66,560 with an average hourly pay of $32. The total number of RNs in 2019 was 67,510. If nurses in the state don’t feel like that is fair, there are plenty of negotiating tips.

35. Nebraska

35. Nebraska

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Compared to Indiana, Nebraska had over 40,000 fewer RNs in 2019 — there were only 23,800. The average hourly pay for RNs in Nebraska was $32.04 and the average salary was $66,640.

34. Florida

34. Florida

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The average hourly pay for RNs in Florida was $32.50 in 2019. The average RN salary was $67,610. As of 2019,  there were a whopping 181,670 RNs in the sunshine state.

33. Utah

33. Utah

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Utah is one of the happiest states in the nation. The average salary was $67,970 for RNs in Utah. The average hourly pay was $32.68. In 2019, there were 21,650 RNs in Utah.

32. Ohio

32. Ohio

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The average RN salary in the state of Ohio was $68,220 in 2019. The average hourly pay was $32.80. In 2019, there were 125,470 nurses in Ohio.

31. Wyoming

31. Wyoming

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The average hourly pay for RNs in Wyoming was $33.03 in 2019. The average RN salary was $68,690. The total number of RNs in Wyoming was 5,120 in 2019, the lowest in the nation.

30. Montana

30. Montana

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The average hourly pay in 2019 for RNs in Montana was $33.34. The average salary was $69,340. In some cases, there may be room for negotiating. When data was compiled, there were 10,310 RNs in the state of Montana.

29. Idaho

29. Idaho

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The average RN salary in Idaho in 2019 was $69,480. The average hourly pay was $33.40. There were a total of 14,110 RNs in Idaho in 2019.

28. Georgia

28. Georgia

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RNs in Georgia earned an average salary of $69,590. The average hourly pay was $33.46. In 2019, there were 75,430 RNs in Georgia.

27. Maine

27. Maine

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Maine is among the best states for working moms, and for the 14,490 RNs in the state, the average salary was $69,760 and the average hourly pay was $33.54 in 2019. 

26. Vermont

26. Vermont

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Vermont had a total of only 6,270 RNs in 2019. The average hourly pay was $33.77 and the average RN salary was $70,240.

25. Pennsylvania

25. Pennsylvania

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Compared to Vermont, Pennsylvania had over 140,000 more RNs in 2019 — there were 148,040 RNs. Yet the average pay in the states is pretty comparable. Pennsylvania’s average RN salary was $71,410 and the average hourly pay was $34.33 in 2019.

24. Virginia

24. Virginia

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The average RN salary in Virginia in 2019 was $71,870. The average hourly pay was $34.56. There were 66,040 RNs in Virginia as of 2019. 

23. Wisconsin

23. Wisconsin

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Wisconsin had 61,930 RNs in 2019. The average hourly pay was $34.91 and the average salary was $72,610. One ranking also had Wisconsin among the best places to raise a family.

22. Michigan

22. Michigan

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The average hourly pay for RNs in Michigan was $35.19 in 2019 and the average salary was $73,200. As of 2019, there were 96,900 RNs in Michigan.

21. New Mexico

21. New Mexico

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RNs in New Mexico earned an average hourly pay of $35.24 and an average salary of $73,300. In 2019, there were 17,350 RNs in New Mexico. 

20. Illinois

20. Illinois

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Nursing is an essential job and should be celebrated. In 2019, Illinois had a total of 129,530 RNs. The average hourly pay was $35.34 and the average RN salary was $73,510. 

19. New Hampshire

19. New Hampshire

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The average salary for RNs in New Hampshire in 2019 was $73,880. The average hourly pay was $35.52. There were a total of 14,320 RNs in 2019. 

18. Delaware

18. Delaware

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Delaware’s RNs earned an average of $35.63 an hour and a $74,100 salary. As of 2019,  there were 11,730 RNs in Delaware.

17. Texas

17. Texas

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RNs in Texas earned an average of $35.84 an hour and a $74,540 salary. As of 2019, there were a whopping 218,090 RNs working in Texas.

16. Colorado

16. Colorado

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The average salary for RNs in Colorado in 2019 was $76,230. RNs earned an average of $36.65 an hour. There were 52,510 RNs in Colorado in 2019. 

15. Maryland

15. Maryland

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In 2019, there were a total of 53,150 RNs in Maryland. The average hourly pay was $37.46 and the average RN salary was $77,910. 

14. Arizona

14. Arizona

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The average hourly pay for RNs in Arizona in 2019 was $37.66 and the average salary was $78,330. In 2018, there were a total of 54,590 RNs in Arizona. Arizona is home to several of the top cities for jobs

13. Minnesota

13. Minnesota

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In 2019, RNs in Minnesota earned an average of $38.52 an hour. The average salary was $80,130. The total number of RNs in Minnesota in 2019 was an even 71,000.

12. Rhode Island

12. Rhode Island

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The average RN salary in Rhode Island in 2019 was $82,310. On average, RNs earned $39.57 an hour. Rhode Island had 12,630 RNs in 2019.

11. Connecticut

11. Connecticut

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Connecticut had a total of 34,740 RNs in 2019. The average salary for RNs was $83,440 and, on average, RNs earned $40.12 an hour. Perhaps these high salaries are why the state can afford to pay so much for weddings. Connecticut is one of the states that spends the most on nuptials.

10. New Jersey

10. New Jersey

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New Jersey was the tenth-highest-paying state for nurses in 2019. The average hourly rate was $40.52 and the average salary was $84,280. New Jersey had a total of 80,140 nurses in 2019.

9. Washington

9. Washington

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Washington had a total of 58,000 people employed as RNs in 2019. The average hourly pay was $41.43 and the average salary was $86,170.

8. New York

8. New York

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In 2019, the RNs in New York were the eighth-highest-paid in the nation. The average hourly pay was $42.23 and the average salary was $87,840.

7. Nevada

7. Nevada

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RNs in Nevada were some of the highest-paid in the nation in 2019. The average salary was $88,380 and the average hourly pay was $42.49. Nevada had a total of 22,940 RNs in 2019. 

6. Alaska

6. Alaska

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Alaska had only 6,210 RNs in 2019, but they were the sixth-highest-paid in the nation. The average salary for RNs in Alaska was $90,500 and the average hourly pay was $43.51. Alaska is also one of the states with the lowest income taxes.

5. Oregon

5. Oregon

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Oregon had the fifth-highest-paid RNs in the nation. The average RN salary in 2019 was $92,960 and the average hourly pay was $44.69. Oregon had a total of 36,660 RNs.

4. Massachusetts

4. Massachusetts

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If you can get over the fact that it’s a state that also gets some of the highest snowfall levels in the country, Massachusetts is a good place to be a nurse. Massachusetts’ RNs are bringing home the big bucks. The average RN salary in 2019 in the state was $93,160. The average hourly pay was $44.79. There were 81,020 RNs in Massachusetts in 2019. 

3. Washington, DC

3. Washington, DC

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Nursing can be a high-stress job. There were a total of 10,890 RNs in Washington, D.C. in 2019. The average hourly pay was $45.59 and the average salary for RNs was $94,820. The District of Columbia is actually among the places in the country with households bringing in six figures.

2. Hawaii

2. Hawaii

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The second-highest-paid RNs in the nation reside in Hawaii. RNs were paid an average of $50.03 an hour in 2019 and earned an average salary of $104,060. The state also has some of the priciest homes in the nation.

1. California

1. California

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The highest-paid RNs in the nation are in California. California RNs earned an average of $54.44 an hour and an average salary of $113,240. As of 2019, there were 302,7770 RNs in California, the most in the nation. As coronavirus sweeps through the U.S., nurses are one group of essential employees keeping the nation afloat. Nursing isn’t the only job in the medical field that gets compensated well and is in demand. In fact, some of the fastest-growing job markets in the country are in health fields.

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