Registered Nurse (RN) Salary in the US
If you are thinking of becoming a registered nurse, you already understand what kind of skills and nursing credentials you need. On the “Nurse Salary” website, we will focus mainly on nursing salaries, annual wage, hourly wage, and comparison with previous years. We will do our best always to update all our data and help you choose your career.
We have gathered official data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to put together the US Nurse Salary website so you can be sure that all the data is up to date. The latest official data from BLS are from 2019. Now, considering COVID-19 situation that broke out in 2020. there is a chance that earnings will be different in the future, but we will have to wait for the new data for 2020.
Registered nurses (RN) are in high demand, especially after all the events in 2020. job projections for the future are solid, according to BLS. To earn higher than the average salary, you will need to obtain additional certifications, advanced degrees, specialize in a particular area. Every certificate and degree will improve your chances to get a job with a higher salary, get a position at a more prestigious hospital.
Employment and Wages for Registered Nurses (RN)
Registered nurses (RN) assess patient health problems and needs. Their job is to develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain all medical records, administer nursing care to their patients. They also may advise their patients on health maintenance, disease prevention, and provide case management. As you go through your schooling, you will discover a wide range of specialties in nursing. Every nursing specialty is a little bit different ad comes with its advantages and disadvantages. You will choose from other types of categories, from working with babies, kids, adults to older people. One of the most significant differences in nursing specialties is salary.
You will also learn that different places pay different salaries for the same type of work. There are many employers in the industry, and every single of them is a bit different. Top 5 employers for registered nurses in the United States with the highest levels of employment:
|Industry||Hourly mean wage|
Annual mean wage
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||$38.20||$79,460|
|Offices of Physicians||$33.45||$69,570|
|Home Health Care Services||$35.41||$73,660|
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)||$33.53||$69,740|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$40.73||$84,720|
On top of all that, different states pay different salaries to registered nurses. Mainly, that comes because of the higher living costs, so even if you earn a higher base salary, living costs in a particular state will often negate a higher wage. In some cases, you will even be in a situation where you would be better living in a cheaper state earning less. Top paying states in the US for registered nurses:
|State||Hourly mean wage|
Annual mean wage
Average Registered Nurse (RN) Salary by State
One of the biggest questions future nurses ask is, “What is the average registered nurse (RN) salary by the state?” You need to understand that RN salary is influenced by education, experience, certification, and training. I have created the following chart using official data from 2019, ranking states from the lowest paying one to the highest. By hovering your mouse over the bar, you will see the exact salary for each US state. In case you have trouble seeing the salary, you have a detailed salary by state and hourly wage below in the table.
As expected, California and Hawaii pay the highest salaries for RNs while Alabama, Mississippi, and South Dakota pay the least. Of course, before making your conclusion, you need to take into account expenses as well. On individual pages for every state, we will try to answer this and many other questions to get a clear picture of RN salary, overall satisfaction with the money earned, bonuses, and overtime.
|State||Annual mean wage|
Hourly mean wage
|District of Columbia||$94,820||$45.59|
* Latest data provided by BLS for 2019
* Mean wage without bonuses, night shifts, weekends, profit sharing, and commission
Nurse Salary Chart in the US for 2019
To visually understand where you can expect higher salaries as a registered nurse in the US, I have created this map. On the map of the US, you can see which states pay more. You can see that in the west, states pay higher salaries. On the east, you can expect higher wages in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania.
Nursing Jobs with the Highest Salaries (May 2019)
Considering that latest BLS official statistics are finalized in May, 2019 we will provide here official data. When describing individual nursing jobs, we will share as much data as we can so we have included data from Salary.com, Indeed.com, BLS.gov, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com to help you as much as we can.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – $168.000
- General Nurse Practitioner (NP) – $107.000
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – $105.500
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHN) – $105.500
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – $103.700
- Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse (NICU) – $102.400
- Pain Management Nurse (PMN) – $101.900
8. Nursing Administrator (NA) – $99.700
9. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – $98.400
10. Registered Nurse First Assist (RNFA) – $96.400
11. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP) – $89.600
12. Nurse Educator (NE) – $81.300
13. Informatics Nurse (IN) – $79.000
14. Critical Care Nurse (CCN) – $74.500
15. Health Policy Nurse (HPA) – $71.700
15. Health Policy Nurse (HPA)
Health Policy Nurse works on the tasks related to advocacy, analysis, research, evaluation, and policy implementation.
Salary: The national average for HPAs in 2019 was $71.703 with wage of $34.47 per hour (40 hour week). ZipRecruiter reports salary of $79.178 as of June 2020.
Growth: positive growth in the next ten years
Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing, health policy program
Jobs: Hospitals, Management Office, Control, Health Organizations, Private Practices, inspection, Law Practice
13. Informatics Nurse (IN)
Informatics Nurse is currently one of the most sought after positions in the nursing field. Implementation of electronic medical records skyrocketed demand for INs.
Salary: The average salary in 2019 was $79.014, according to Payscale, $37.98 per hour. For 2020, Payscale reports $78.145 before bonuses, while ZipRecruiter reports annual pay of $102.230 a year for 2020.
Growth: The estimated need for 70.000 Informatics Nurses in the next five years.
Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing, Computer Science or Master in Information
Jobs: Hospitals, Healthcare Tech Companies, Medical Record Companies, Clinics, Agencies
14. Critical Care Nurse (CCN)
Critical Care Nurses are nurses with a specialized set of skills for dealing with life and death matters. CCNs most often work in ICUs.
Salary: National average in the US for Critical Care Nurses was $74.588 in 2019. At the same time, annual salaries range from $50.500 to $188.000 with the majority in the range of $77.000 in 2020.
Growth: Critical Care Nurses are always in shortage. Overall, CCNs don’t have a problem finding a job.
Requirements: CCRN certificate, specific training for intensive care
Jobs: Hospitals, care facilities, surgical centers, labs, care unites, emergency, clinics
11. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP) is a primary healthcare provider who works with elderly patients.
Salary: Median salary for GNPs in 2019 was $89.637, according to the Payscale.com website. The average hour rate was $43.09. They also report a salary of $96.125 as of June 2020.
Growth: Considering that we have an aging population with a longer life span, we may say that there will be a growing need for GNPs in the future.
Requirements: Master Degree in Nursing, Certificate
Jobs: Hospitals, clinics, long term care, nursing homes, agencies, retirement homes, retirement communities
12. Nurse Educator (NE)
Nurse educators work with other nurses, train them, and educate them. It is excellent fit for persons that love working with other people.
Salary: According to BLS, in 2018, Nurse Educators earned $81.350, $39.11 per hour. As of June 2020, we received reports ranging from $68.000 to $85.000.
Growth: There is always a shortage for nurse educators with thousands of open positions.
Requirements: Master Degree, national certification
Jobs: Hospitals, private practices, university, college, clinics, agencies
9. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Family Nurse Practitioner ensures proper injury care, diagnosis, treatment, disease prevention, recovery. FNPs examine patients and treat their illnesses in collaboration with other professionals.
Salary: The average salary in 2019 for FNPs was $98.408 per year, with $47.31 per hour. Salary.com reports a median salary of $109.440 as of June 2020.
Growth: According to BLS, we expect all nurse practitioner jobs to grow in the next ten years.
Requirements: FNP-BC designation
Jobs: Hospitals, clinics, urgent care, ambulatory centers
10. Registered Nurse First Assist (RNFA)
Registered Nurse First Assist (RNFA) is a registered nurse that assists during surgical operations. Responsibilities differ by institution.
Salary: Average RNFA in 2019 was between $87.226 and $107.411, with $51.50 per hour (36 hours per week). According to salary.com, the salary for 2020 is $97.479 as of June.
Growth: Surgical centers are opening across the US, and there is a high demand for RNFAs.
Requirements: CNOR certification, RN license, experience
Jobs: Surgical centers, hospitals, private offices, agencies
7. Pain Management Nurse (PMN)
Pain Management Nurse helps patients manage pain after surgery and work with patients with chronic pain problems. They educate patients about pain management, help them to avoid addiction.
Salary: The average salary of PMNs in the US in 2018 was $101.916, with $48.99 per hour. Salary.com reports a salary of $125.511 as of June 2020.
Growth: Considering that PMNs can work in many healthcare settings, they will be in high deman in next ten years. The need for them will continue to rise.
Requirements: Experience as an RN, a certificate for Pain Management Specialist.
Jobs: hospitals, drug dependency clinics, rehabilitation centers, clinics, health centers
8. Nursing Administrator (NA)
Nursing Administrator deals with nursing operations from management to functions and budgeting.
Salary: The average salary in 2018 was $99.730, with $47.95 per hour. BLS reports the median salary for 2019 of $98.350 per year. Salary.com indicates salary of $94.566 as of June 2020.
Growth: There is an expected growth of 20% in the following years.
Requirements: Master Degree in Healthcare Administration, state licensing, Masters in Business Administration
Jobs: Hospitals, care facilities, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics
5. Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Registered nurses that love delivery, labor, parental care, and obstetrics Certified Nurse Midwife can be a fantastic carer path.
Salary: According to BLS stats, in 2018, CNMs earned, on average, $103.770 per year, $49.89 per hour. In 2019, earnings went up to $105.030. Salary.com reports an average of $110.436 as of June 2020.
Growth: Future looks promising for CNMs considering expected growth of 16% in the next ten years.
Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing first, then hospital training program or 2/4 year nursing degree. You must pass NCLX-RN.
Jobs: Hospitals, birthing clinics, private clinics
6. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse (NICU)
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse is an excellent carer path for persons who love babies.
Salary: On average, in 2018, NICUs earned $102.480 with $54.75 per week (36 hours per week). Salary.com reports a salary of $124.756 on average as of June 2020.
Growth: Considering the frequency of premature births, it is expected that we will see a higher demand for NICUs in the following years.
Requirements: You can earn a certificate as a registered nurse making neonatal nurse practitioner or specialist. The higher degree comes with a higher salary.
Jobs: Hospitals, birth centers, private clinics, nurseries, intensive care, pediatric clinics
3. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Persons who decide to work in a specialized clinic or unit should consider the Clinical Nurse Specialist as their carer path. Working on diagnosing and treating different conditions is enjoyable for many persons.
Salary: According to BLS, Clinical Nurse Specialists earned $106.028 in the United States in 2018. On average, CNS are paid $50.98 per hour. The average base salary reported on Indeed is $105.720 a year without overtime. According to Salary.com, CNS reported a base salary of $106.989 as of June 2020.
Growth: Because Clinical Nurse Specialists offer specialized care, they are now chosen more often than physicians to work on clinics and hospitals. Because of this, we expect growth in demand in the following years.
Requirements: Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in clinical nursing
Jobs: Hospitals, clinics, private practices
4. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHN)
A psychiatric nurse is a great carer call for persons interested in mental health. You will have an opportunity to work with patients that suffer from different mental disorders and persons with substance abuse issues.
Salary: On average, in 2018, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners earned $105.650 per year with $50.79 per hour wage. In 2019 according to Indeed, PMHNs earned $123.000 with $15.000 bonuses and overtime while Salary.com reported an average salary of $106.884 as of June. 2020.
Growth: Considering that there is a need for improvement in mental healthcare, we expect that psychiatric nurse practitioners will be in high demand.
Requirements: The minimum degree required is a Master of Science in Nursing and Psychiatric Nurse license.
Jobs: Hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health units, clinics
1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs) are skilled professionals that prepare and administer anesthesia to patients. They work in collaboration with anesthesiologists, dentists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals. They are considered as the highest paid nurses.
Salary: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists earned on average in the USA $167.950 per year in 2018. In 2019, the annual wage was $174.790. Salary.com reports that CRNAs reported $218.200 on average as of June 2020.
Growth: Expected to grow in the next ten years, about 17 percent.
Requirements: Master’s degree from an accredited education program.
Jobs: Hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, pain management centers, ambulatory centers
2. General Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Choosing a general nurse practitioner can be an excellent career choice since you may open the independent practice of work in different primary care settings. Also, you can advance in your skills and earn more in the process.
Salary: General nurse practitioners earn in 2018 $107.030 on average. With 40 hours per week, NPs made $51.45 per hour on average. In 2019, salaries went up to $109.820. Salary.com reports $109.431 as of June 2020.
Growth: BLS reported that they expect a 26% growth in the next ten years. Considering also that you can open independent practice, going for this career path can be a great choice.
Requirements: You need a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as a minimum degree. Also, you may need a license depending on a state where you live (or work).
Jobs: Hospitals, Clinics, Private Practice, Urgent Care, Outpatient Clinics
Future for Registered Nurses
Considering that there are tons of different nursing specializations, I must say that the future for anyone in nursing is bright. Of course, in the case that you are willing to work and learn. The latest situation with COVID-19 proved that nursing jobs are essential for the entire society. BLS shared their data, from which we may see that we can expect 16% growth in the next five years. Since their predictions are based on the pre-COVID situation, we will see an even more significant increase in the future.
The end of the year is closing, and we are now waiting impatiently to see changes in the registered nurse salaries. There are many signs that wages went up due to the whole situation in the health system. We may expect even higher salaries than before. If you are sitting there thinking about your future career, I must say that this is the best time to get into nursing.