How Much Does a Registered Nurse Make – Review
Selecting a career path to pursue is one of the most significant life decisions. Choosing a caring profession like nursing or social work is often considered a calling and a career. However, despite having a strong sense of commitment to the well-being of others, registered nurses also need to make a living.
They are highly qualified and specialized professionals who have studied for several years. Some nurses also complete additional training to specialize in a specific field. Their salaries reflect those qualifications, but they also vary for other reasons.
The State of Nursing Employment Across the Country
The demand for registered nurses across the United States continues to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 275,000 vacancies will open for registered nurses by 2030. This increase equals a growth rate of around 9%, which is close to the average for all occupations.
However, not every field of nursing is growing at an equal pace. While registered nurses work in hospitals, physician’s offices, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, and outpatient care services, the latter category is growing faster than the industry average. Long-term rehabilitation centers are another growth area for nursing care across the United States.
Nursing employment differs widely between different states. Data compiled by BLS researchers shows that nurses are most sought-after in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
California alone employs nearly 325,000 registered nurses. Texas is home to more than 217,000, with New York and Florida almost tied for third place with just over and just under 188,000 nurses, respectively. Pennsylvania rounds out the top five states with below 150,000.
How Nursing Salaries Vary in the Different States
California does not only top the chart for most nursing jobs but is also ahead of the other states regarding nursing salaries.
The national average annual wage for registered nurses is $77,600, which equals an hourly wage of $37.31. In California, nurses make more than $120,000 per year on average. Hawaii follows the Golden State with an annual average salary of just over $106,000 and Oregon with nearly $99,000. Although not technically a state, nurses in Washington, D.C., are among the top earners, with just over $98,500. Alaska completes the top five states.
States like South Dakota are on the other end of the chart. In Mount Rushmore State, as South Dakota is known, registered nurses make an average of just over $60,000 per year.
Unsurprisingly, Californian cities also dominate the leaderboard when the statistics are broken down into more detail. San Francisco, California, currently pays the highest average annual nursing salary at just below $150,000. The city is followed by San Jose, Vallejo, Sacramento, and Salinas, all in California.
The question is, why are some states paying nurses more than others? The main reason behind the disparities is differences in the cost of living. Renting an apartment or buying a home in coastal California carries a different cost than living in a more rural state.
Does it make sense for registered nurses to move to a better-paying state? Besides considering family ties and other commitments, nurses need to look at average salaries adjusted for the cost of living. Considering living costs, California still comes out on top, followed by Oregon and Alaska.
Other Causes of Varying Nursing Salaries
Apart from geographical location, a registered nurse’s education and the type of employer also influence their average annual salary.
Business support services tend to offer some of the most lucrative nursing positions. The federal executive branch, medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturing, investment funds, and other administrative positions offer above-average nursing salaries.
Most registered nurses work in shift systems in hospitals and nursing homes, affecting their pay. Working weekends, nights, and holidays can lead to significant overtime pay for those without other commitments. Current figures suggest some practitioners make as much as $12,000 per year in overtime pay alone.
Starting salaries tend to be significantly lower than industry averages, something to bear for anyone starting in nursing. For the first few years of a nurse’s career, salaries tend to increase regularly, with many reaching their peak after about ten years in the field.
Finding the Right Staff to Fill Vacancies
As demand for registered nurses continues to grow, employers in lower-paying states may find it hard to access to quality and volume of nursing staff they need. That is when staffing on demand can save time and costs.
Working with a proven, experienced partner like TrueCare gives diverse employers easy access to a nationwide network of registered nurses. TrueCare has built its network of medical professionals deliberately to include different levels of experience, general practice, and specialist qualifications.
This extensive network of registered nurses allows employers to hire nursing staff as and when they need them. There is no long-term commitment or contractual obligation. Employers pay for the services they need as and when they need them.