How Much Do Nurses Make?

For every job out there, there is one fact everyone wants to know. How much will I make? It is an important question, it defines the lifestyle you can have, which school you’ll be able to send your children to, and the family vacations you’ll be able to take. Unfortunately, nursing is a career that pays drastically different depending on region, employer, type of nurse, and experience. Take a look below to discover the range of pay for nursing.

By location

Much of the discrepancy among nurse’s pay is due to location. Some states and regions have a higher cost of living, requiring higher pay to maintain a certain lifestyle. The median pay for nurses is $65,470 per year, with the top 10% making over $94,720 and the bottom 10% making less than $45,040. The cities with the top paying nursing jobs include San Jose California, Vallejo California, Oakland California, Sacramento California, and San Francisco California. The top ten highest paying states for nurses are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, Nevada, Maryland, and Connecticut. The ten worst paying states are North Dakota, Louisiana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, and South Dakota in order from best to worst.

By industry sub-section

Health care is a broad industry, it can range from legal advice to elderly care. Nurse salaries depend largely on the industry sub-section for which a nurse works. For example, nurses who work in government locations make over $68,000 on average annually, compared to the $58,000 annual wages earned in nursing and residential care facilities, a full $10,000 less.

Regardless of the type of nurse you become, there are many ways you can earn a high salary. Consider relocating to a state or city with high nurse wages, or work in sub-sections of the health care industry that pay well.