Where Do Nurses Make the Most Money by State and City?

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Question of the Week: Where Do Nurses Make the Most Money in America?

There are four professions that will never go out of business and they are farmers, because people won’t stop eating, plumbers because people won’t stop using the bathroom, funeral homes because people won’t stop dying, and nurses because people won’t stop getting sick.

Nursing continues to be one of the most popular fields in the country and as the baby boomer generation has aged, the demand for nurses has increased accordingly.

Many of the reasons people choose nursing is the helping of others, but to be frank, the pay isn’t terrible either. That being said, it’s important to understand the value of a nurse in a given area.

This article will take a dive into some of the locations where nurses make the most money.

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What states has the highest paid nurses?

Where do nurses make the most money with lady pushing elderly man

1 – California

 Easily one of the most expensive states to live in, California also tops the chart as one of the most well-paying states for nurses.

With earnings climbing over $100,000 a year, this is one of the best states for pay, but remember that cost of living is higher so your dollar may not be as effective as it would be elsewhere.

While the state as whole is known for a higher cost of living, keep in mind there are pockets that may be less affected by cost of living. Ensure you research the areas to fully understand what your dollar can buy.

2 – Massachusetts

 Another state that pays well if you are nurse is Massachusetts. With an average pay scale around $89,000 a year, this is another great option for nursing professionals.

Keep in mind also that on the east coast, there are many schools that are highly regarded in the medical field and with those come research hospitals.

Depending on where you live within the state can also come into play because if you live in the middle of nowhere, you are likely to experience more competition for few employment slots, where as in the city there are many more opportunities to become employed.

3 – Alaska

If you are willing to travel and don’t mind being cold, then Alaska may be a choice for you. Nearing pay of $87,000 a year, this pay is matched with a higher cost of living due to the logistical location of the state.

While this may not be for everyone, it can certainly be a new adventure filled with stories and experiences you can take with you anywhere.

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How Much Do Nurses Make a Year By the Top Cities in America?

According to Forbes, the first top-paying cities for registered nurses are all located in California.

  1. Salinas, CA – $131,710
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $128,990
  3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – $128,610
  4. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – $127,440
  5. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA – $120,530
  6. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $115,900
  7. Stockton-Lodi, CA – $111,140
  8. Napa, CA – $106,060
  9. Modesto, CA – $106,040
  10. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA – $104,680

How Much Nurses Make an Hour by the Top Cities in America?

  1. Salinas, CA – $63.32
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $62.01
  3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – $61.83
  4. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – $61.27
  5. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA – $57.95
  6. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $55.72
  7. Stockton-Lodi, CA – $53.43
  8. Napa, CA – $50.99
  9. Modesto, CA – $50.98
  10. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA – $50.33

Keep track of your nursing expenses through a bookkeeping software such as FreshBooks!

What Nurse Specialty Pays the Most?

While these are some of the locations, it is important to also consider which field of nursing you plan on going into. There are many different specialties to choose from and each has their own benefits.

Where do nurses make the most money with lady taking care of new mom and new baby in the hospital

The next part of this article, we’ll go over where nurses can make the most money within their field. All of these statistics were derived from the NurseJournal.org.

1 – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary

If you’ve been in any sort of situation that has required surgery then you have likely worked with a nurse who specializes in anesthesia. With a range between $105,000 to $130,000, this is a solid pay scale, especially if you are just starting out.

Remember though, when a nurse chooses to specialize their skills become more valuable to that respective field, but also the competition increases.

This can cause the pay ranges to change but also, you have to factor in the cost of living.

2 – Nurse Researcher Salary

Next on our list is a nurse researcher, which is exactly as it sounds. Typically working with schools or medical facilities, an individual going into this particular niche can look to make between $75,000 and $95,000.

This field is a field that can also lead you into the world of pharmaceuticals or even medical testing for products.

3 – Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Salary

Rounding out our list is a mental health nurse practitioner, which is becoming more in demand and mental health awareness is on the rise.

As technology and information is learned at rapid speed, people are becoming affected mentally in ways that even 10 years ago were not yet realized.

Individuals within this field can expect to make around $70,000 to $90,000, which is a very respectable income. Combine that with overtime and other work experience, you can look for that number to continue rising.

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Things to Remember Regarding Nurses Salaries

Overall, finding the right combination of location and practice can open up a new set of doors. The cost of living in some places may be higher but that should be taken into account when your salary is decided.

Keep in mind also, that many nurses are hourly, which allows the possibility of overtime and more income.

Where do nurses get paid the most. How to get paid the most money as a nurse.
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Earning money isn’t everything but it certainly is a large factor in deciding where to begin or advance your career. Nurses will always be needed and continue to be an extremely noble profession.

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Until the next money adventure, take care!


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(Original Article Date: January 2, 2019/Updated July 22, 2020)

Nikida Metellus

Nikida Metellus is a financial freedom advocate, author, and the reimagined voice behind ThemeParkHipster.com, now focused on helping you achieve a debt-free life and financial success. Based in Orlando, Florida, she combines her love for theme parks with actionable financial strategies, offering a unique perspective on balancing fun and finances. As the author of Complete Tax Planning Guide, she has now expanded her expertise to guide you on the road to financial freedom. Co-founder of Bramework and a coffee enthusiast at heart, Nikida is committed to empowering you with practical tips and insights to manage your money wisely. When she's not blogging or exploring Florida's attractions, she enjoys quality time with her husband and two daughters. Welcome to your journey toward a financially free life!

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