The 10 Highest-Paying States for Nurses

Map of the Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses

Money isn’t everything, but a good paycheck is nice—especially if you’re paying off debt from that Nursing education.

We looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to rank states by how much the average Registered Nurse makes there (as of May 2018). Here are the top 10, along with some of the other benefits each state has to offer.

These rankings are adjusted for each state’s Cost of Living Index (COLI). It might sound attractive to make $90k per year working in Hawaii. However, for what you’d pay to live in the Aloha State, that salary won’t amount to much.

1. California

Golden Gate Bridge
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $106,950
  • Hourly: $51.42
  • COLI: 138.7

Even with a high cost of living, California still tops our list of highest paying states. While you might have to reconsider this positioning if you find yourself placed in the heart of San Francisco or Los Angeles, California is still one of the most desirable destinations for Travel Nurses.

With 840 miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, it is the perfect place to get away while you work. From 1,000-year-old redwoods that stand 250 feet tall to all that Hollywood can offer, California pays well in money and adventure.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in California

2. Nevada

Nevada is the highest paying state for travel nurses.
Photo by Bradley Wentzel on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $85,620
  • Hourly: $41.16
  • COLI: 108.3

Love Vegas enough to live there? Working as a Nurse in Nevada, you’ll have some extra cash to spare for those casinos and late-night shows. Nevada is one of the highest paying states for Nurses, and the good news is there’s plenty of opportunity for work. WalletHub’s 2019 Best and Worst States for Nurses ranked Nevada as having the lowest competition of all states.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Nevada

3. Massachusetts

Downtown Boston
Photo by todd kent on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $92,140
  • Hourly: $44.30
  • COLI: 133.8

Boston is a city unlike any other in the country. A big city with a small-town feel, envelop yourself in the city’s sports scene and treat yourself to the local cuisine. Massachusetts also has plenty to offer outside of Boston. With bustling suburbs spread throughout the state, there are plenty of options for Travel Nurses.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Massachusetts

4. Oregon

Oregon is the tenth highest paying state for nurses in the US
Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $91,080
  • Hourly: $43.79
  • COLI: 131.2

In WalletHub’s study of best states for Nurses, Oregon ranked first. With a great work environment and good compensation, it is hard to argue with that. Oregon also offers plenty of outdoor activities. Hike the Columbia River Gorge or jump into the deepest lake in the United States (Crater Lake).

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Oregon

5. Alaska

Alaska Beautiful View
Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $89,310
  • Hourly: $42.94
  • COLI: 130.6

While the cost of living is high in Alaska, healthcare facilities do their best to offset it by offering some of the highest pay in the country. You cannot get much more adventurous than taking an assignment in the faraway state of Alaska. If you’re up for it, you’ll have a chance to explore Alaska’s stunning mountains, glaciers, and fjords.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Alaska

6. Washington

Washington is the fifth highest-paying state for travel nurses in the US.
Photo by John Westrock on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $82,670
  • Hourly: $39.75
  • COLI: 109.5

Washington kicks off the second half of our list for the highest paying states for Travel Nurses. Ranked third on WalletHub’s list of best states to work for Nurses, Washington offers beautiful views and a wealth of hiking trails to wander. However, if you’ve been working in a sunnier environment, be prepared for clouds and rain.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Washington

7. Minnesota

Minnesota is the sixth highest paying state for nurses in the US.
Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $78,920
  • Hourly: $37.94
  • COLI: 101.5

Minnesota pays its Nurses well, and also ranked second on WalletHub’s study of best places to work for Nurses. Find time to discover some of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes and the breathtaking waterfalls that accompany them. While winters tend to be cold and snowy in Minnesota, autumn and the changing leaves are a sight to behold.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Minnesota

8. Arizona

Arizona is the second highest-paying state for travel nurses in the US.
Photo by Jasper van der Meij on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $77,000
  • Hourly: $37.02
  • COLI: 97.7

It is tough to complain about the warmth and miles of natural beauty that Arizona offers. Hike the Grand Canyon, visit the Red Rock State Park or camp at Havasu Falls. If you love the outdoors, an assignment in Arizona will allow you to create a lifetime of memories. There are not many states where you can drive from the desert (Phoenix) to a ski mountain (Flagstaff) in two hours.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Arizona

9. New Jersey

New Jersey Pier
Photo by Chermel Porter on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $82,750
  • Hourly: $39.78
  • COLI: 122.5

New Jersey packs a big punch with everything that it has to offer. From Atlantic City to the esteemed and historic Princeton University, the state has centuries of history and an amazing mix of cultures. You’re just a quick trip from Manhattan if you ever want a day trip to NYC.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in New Jersey

10. Texas

Texas is the third highest-paying state for travel nurses.
Photo by Benton Witcher on Unsplash
  • Annual Salary: $72,890
  • Hourly: $35.04
  • COLI: 91.3

Texas rounds out our list of highest paying states for Nurses. Considering the Lone Star State’s size and population, you won’t have trouble finding work in the healthcare field. Visit the Alamo, float down a river, and enough at enough barbecue joints to become an expert. There is plenty to see and do in Texas.

See BlueForce Nursing Assignments in Texas

Where will you go next?

Now that you know the highest paying states for Nurses, it’s time to start thinking about your dream destinations. Did this list make you think about any state differently? Is compensation one of your biggest factors when choosing an assignment? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.