10 Highest Paying States for a Nurse Annual Salary

Registered nurses can work in a variety of different specialties, depending on their education and certifications. Typically, as a registered nurse gains more experience or branches into different nursing specialties, they may expect higher annual salaries as a result.

The national average yearly salary for a registered nurse is 78,775 per year.

Some degree levels and sub-specialties can pay more than others, and for some nursing fields, all you need is your associate degree in nursing and your RN certification to get started in the career path. In this article, we will look at the average annual salary for nurses by state, and specifically, the 10 highest-paying states for nurses.

Read more: How To Negotiate Salary (With Tips and Examples)

What is a nurse?

A registered nurse (RN) is a medical professional who provides treatment and care to a diverse range of patients. Nurses may commonly possess certification in nursing as well as a minimum of an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or higher. Registered nurses may work in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, long-term care facilities and other healthcare environments. Nurses may also perform a wide array of duties in caring for patients. Some of these tasks nurses can be responsible for may include:

  • Assisting physicians and nurse managers in the diagnosis and treatment of patients
  • Assessing and treating symptoms of illness, disease, injury and other health issues
  • Performing routine physicals and patient check-ups
  • Evaluating patient health and using vital sign monitoring equipment to monitor patient health
  • Maintaining and recording patient medical information and files
  • Educating patients and offering medical advice on health and wellness

Nurses may also take on other tasks and responsibilities, depending on their certifications, specialties and education level.

Average nurse's salary

According to the Indeed salary analysis and data guide, the national average salary for a registered nurse in the United States is $28.91 per hour. This translates to an average annual salary of $70,574 per year when assuming a 40-hour work week and working 52 weeks per year. Additionally, registered nurses may earn a considerably higher income working in different states as well as possessing specialty certifications or higher degrees. For instance, a critical care registered nurse (CCRN) with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) can earn substantially more than an RN with an associate degree (ADN). Depending on your career interests, there are numerous job opportunities that offer high nursing annual salaries.

Related: 10 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs

Average salary for highest-paying states

Registered nurses can earn above or below the national average level, depending on where they work. Each state can have its own rate of income for RNs, and your income in each state can also depend on your degree or certification level, as well as years of experience. Following is a list of the highest paying states for registered nurse salaries. The salaries below were populated using state-specific data from Indeed. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please check Indeed Salaries.

1. New Mexico

New Mexico can compare to the national average salary for registered nurses at $33.37 per hour. When calculated according to a 40-hour work week, this can translate to $69,410 per year.

2. Colorado

Registered nurses in Colorado may expect a state average annual salary of $72,494 per year. This is comparable to the national average salary.

3. Texas

Texas may also offer a substantial income with a nurse annual salary of $72,884 per year.

4. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is above the national average with an average nursing salary of $36.03 per hour, roughly $75,504 per year.

5. Massachusetts

Massachusetts can also offer an average state income well above the national level. With a rate of $37.07 per hour, Massachusetts nurses may earn an annual salary of $77,106 per year.

6. Connecticut

Registered nurses in Connecticut may be able to earn an annual income of around $77,758 per year, seven percent above the national average.

7. New Jersey

New Jersey nurses earn a state average of $37.50 per hour according to Indeed's salary data and analysis. This translates to a nurse's annual salary of $78,000 assuming a 40-hour work week.

8. Oregon

Oregon sees an average nurse's salary of $38.36 per hour, roughly $79,789 per year. According to Indeed's salary guide, this is 13 percent above the national average.

9. Washington

Washington is another high-salary state with an average nurse's salary of $38.75 per hour, or about $80,600 per year.

10. California

California may be one of the highest-paid states for registered nurses. With a nurse's annual salary of roughly $112,872 per year, California is a substantial 56 percent above the national average.

Nurse qualifications

To be certified and work as a registered nurse, there are several qualifications you may need to meet. Depending on your field of interest (nursing has many specialty fields), you can choose from a variety of nursing programs with different degree options. The following information outlines the common qualifications that RNs can be expected to have.


Registered nurses usually complete at least an associate degree in nursing, although many choose to pursue their bachelor's of science in nursing. Both degree options can lead to master's degrees in nursing or other specialty fields.


All practicing nurses must hold a registered nurse's certification in the state they work in. The certification is obtained by taking and passing the national examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). The exam can be taken with an associate degree or higher. After obtaining an RN certification, nurses may enter the career field. RNs may also choose to specialize in a nursing field such as pediatrics, psychiatry, oncology or ICU and critical care nursing. Each nursing specialty may have its own additional certifications.


Registered nurses must also possess a range of skill sets in order to be successful in the role. Soft skills like communication, empathy, interpersonal and teamwork skills can be necessary in providing care to patients and working as part of a medical team. Hard skills such as technical, medical and research skills can also be crucial for succeeding in the position.

Read more: 10 Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Related jobs

Registered nurses can also have a variety of other job opportunities open to them. Additional certifications like critical care nursing (CCRN), clinical nursing and psychiatric nursing are several related jobs that RNs may choose to pursue. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link for each job title below.

National average salary: $1,584 per week

Primary duties: Critical care nurses work with a variety of patients that may be treated in the intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals, in post-operative recovery and in other critical care settings. These nurses gain certification by taking and passing the licensure exam offered through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

National average salary: $1,767 per week

Primary duties: Neonatal nurses work with newborn infants with birth defects, birth conditions or other at-risk health problems, typically in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a hospital. Neonatal nurses are typically RNs who have pursued their certifications in neonatal intensive care nursing or neonatal resuscitation.

National average salary: $108,854 per year

Primary duties: Psychiatric nurses are also registered nurses who have a specialty focus. They commonly work in psychiatric hospitals, healthcare facilities and rehab centers with mentally ill patients with a variety of mental health conditions. Commonly, RNs may pursue their certifications in psychiatric and mental health nursing.

souce : https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/nurse-annual-salary

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