Top 25 Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses
May 2023

The 30 Best Cities for Nurses for Salary

Top 25 Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses

Highest Paying Cities

The best cities for nurses salaries are located throughout the country and these areas offer a high salary compared to the cost of living. Although nurses are needed everywhere, when it comes to paying benefits, workload, and opportunity, location is everything.

There’s talk all over the US about the growing nursing shortage, and there are a few areas that are unaffected. But some areas are working to close the gap in the number of nurses the old-fashioned way. And attracting them with higher pay, especially to cities that have become known for their quality of life and vibrant growth. If you’re a nurse today, the ball’s in your court! You can live where you want to live and trust that a job will be there for you. So, keep reading to to learn more about the top cities for nurses with high paying nursing jobs!

Ranking the Highest Paying Cities for Nurses

This Top RN ranking is based on city wage data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the cost of living index (COLI) for each city. We used the BLS salary information and adjusted the annual wage to account for the differences in cost of living to find the cities with the highest average salaries. Read on to find out which ones made the list of highest paying cities!

Nurse SalaryNationwide
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$77,600 (BLS)

1. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is a great place to live due to its diverse population, endless entertainment options, and year-round warm climate. There’s something for everyone in this world-famous west coast city, from incredible cultural attractions to outdoor activities like hiking and surfing. Around four million people live in Los Angeles making it the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the US. Additionally, average RN salaries in the Los Angeles metropolitan area are well above the national average. This Southern California city offers ample opportunities for nurses to start or advance their nursing career!

Employers and Major Hospitals in Los Angeles California: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Additionally, LA has many large physician networks, County Department of Health Services facilities, and countless private practices.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 78.7

Nurse SalaryLos Angeles CA
Registered Nurses Average Salary$125,350 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $157,276

Best Nursing Schools in Los Angeles

2. San Diego California

San Diego has an average of about 260 sunny days per year. This city by the Pacific Ocean is close to a variety of outdoor recreation, nightlife, and vibrant culture. So there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of your living experience. Nurses are always in high demand in San Diego and there are many places to find employment. And nursing working in this city earn a higher than average hourly wage in all positions.

Major Employers and Hospitals: UC San Diego Health, Sharp HealthCare, Kaiser Permanente, and the Scripps Health Hospitals are the city’s world-class healthcare facilities.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 82.9

Nurse SalarySan Diego CA
Registered Nurses Average Salary$117,830 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $142,135

Best Nursing Schools in San Diego

3. Houston, TX

The largest city in Texas and the 4th-largest in the US is Houston. In addition to business, entertainment, and technology, Houston is a world leader in healthcare and one of the best cities for nursing professionals. In fact,

Major Employers and Hospitals: Houston’s Texas Medical Center is the world’s largest medical complex, with more than 60 medical facilities and more than 106,000 employees.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 69.9

Nurse SalaryNationwideHouston Texas
Registered Nurses Annual Salary$77,600 (BLS)$88,880 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $127,153

10 Best Nursing Schools in Houston

4. Boston, MA

One of the United States’ oldest and most prominent cities, Boston is a historic treasure and a modern marvel, remaining one of the New World’s most influential cities for nearly four centuries. Boston is also a center of learning and research, with more than 60 colleges and universities in the metropolitan area, including Harvard University, Boston University, and MIT – some of the foremost names in higher education. Additionally, this historic city has a list of medical centers and world-renowned hospitals.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Massachusetts General, Tufts Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 84.6

Nurse SalaryBoston MA
Registered Nurses Average Salary$106,980 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $126,454

Best Nursing Schools in Boston

Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts

5. Cincinnati, OH

The fastest-growing economy in the Midwest, Cincinnati, OH, hit a rough patch in the last part of the 20th century, as the creep of the Rust Belt hit the industrial town, but the ‘Nati has bounced back in a big way in the last decade. With a lot of vacant real estate left from the economic downturn 20 years ago, young professionals and families are returning to Cincinnati, where a relatively low cost of living and a growing job market has created a strong attraction.

Major Employers and Hospitals: University of Cincinnati Medical Center, West Chester Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Christ Hospital Health Network, The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 64.4

Nurse SalaryCincinnati OH
Registered Nurses Average Salary$80,740 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $125,373

Best Nursing Schools in Ohio

6. Minneapolis, MN

Recognized as a global city, Minneapolis is one of the Midwest’s most vibrant and culturally rich cities, and not just because of Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson. Minneapolis is also known for being one of the most advanced, and affordable, healthcare systems in the US.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Mayo Clinic Hospital St Marys Campus, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Centre

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 74.9

Nurse SalaryMinneapolis MN
Registered Nurses Average Salary$92,190 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $123,084

RN to BSN Nursing Schools in Minnesota

7. San Antonio, TX

Texas’ oldest city (founded in 1731), San Antonio, TX, has also been one of the fastest-growing cities in America since the turn of the 21st century. San Antonio is home to several Fortune 500 companies, as well as a large healthcare system. And there are nursing jobs at many highly-ranked hospitals, including

Major Employers and Hospitals: Methodist Hospital, University Hospital, and also Baptist Medical Center.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 67.6

Nurse SalarySan Antonio TX
Registered Nurses Average Salary$83,040 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $122,840

Best Nursing Schools in Texas

8. Atlanta, GA

With well over 5 million people in the sprawling suburbs and exurbs around the city there are ample opportunities for good food, sports events, and also theatre. Additionally, the city boasts numerous parks with walking paths, dog parks, swimming pools, farmer’s markets, and a variety of annual festivals. Additionally, just outside of Atlanta outdoor enthusiest can hike the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Marked by industry, business, culture, and modern development, Atlanta, GA is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US. As the home of Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest, most prestigious academic health complex, Atlanta is also a worldwide center of medicine and health sciences.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Emory Healthcare including Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Northside Hospital Atlanta

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 73.8

Nurse SalaryAtlanta GA
Registered Nurses Average Salary$90,270 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $122,317

10 Best Nursing Schools in Atlanta

9. Louisville, KY

Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville is also one of the oldest and most historical cities west of the Appalachians, and its status helped make it one of the Midwest’s leading cities early on. First, a hub for river traffic, then a crucial railroad crossing, Louisville built its name and economy on shipping, still one of the city’s main industries.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Baptist Health Louisville, the Louisville Jewish Hospital, which partners with Catholic Health Initiatives as Kentucky One Health, is another significant employer. The University of Louisville Hospital is an academic healthcare center in the city and offers generous salaries and signing bonuses for nurses. All these make Louisville the best city for nurses in Kentucky.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 66.5

Nurse SalaryLouisville KY
Registered Nurses Average Salary$81,280 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $122,226

Best Kentucky Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools

10. Modesto, CA

Modesto is a thriving city located in California’s Central Valley. With over 200,000 residents, Modesto is the 18th largest city in California and a major agricultural and transportation center. Farming is an important part of Modesto’s economy, and the city is home to a number of large farms and agricultural processing facilities. The city is also home to a number of tech and biotech companies, along with two universities and numerous hospitals. One of Modesto’s most famous residents is George Lucas, of Star Wars fame.

Modesto is home to many excellent health care facilities and nursing programs, making it a great place for nurses to work and practice. The higher than average cost of living is offset by the high salaries for nurses in Modesto.

Employers and Major Hospitals: Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Memorial Medical Center, Modesto City Schools, Doctors Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 116

Nurse SalaryModesto CA
Registered Nurses Average Salary$138,510 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $119,405

11. Austin, TX

The city of Austin, TX, is known for many things. Austin is the capital of Texas, and the home of the University of Texas’ main campus, a center of learning and research in the state. The city is regarded as one of the coolest in the US with its legendary music, art, and film industry. It’s a city where self-proclaimed weirdos and yuppies cross paths, and where cultures merge rather than clash. Austin is also one of America’s healthiest cities, thanks to a highly active outdoor life and an exceptional network of healthcare facilities and professionals. The fastest-growing major city in the US, Austin attracts everyone – great nurses included.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, St. David’s Medical Center, and the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 73.2

Nurse SalaryAustin TX
Registered Nurses Average Salary$86,720 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$118,470

10 Best Nursing Schools in Austin

12. Phoenix, AZ

In the center of the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ, is the capital and biggest city in Arizona. Metropolitan Phoenix’s more than four and a half million people make up more than half the state’s population. Phoenix has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the US for nearly two decades, with an increasingly diverse population drawn to a growing tech and financial sector.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Banner Gateway Medical Center, Arizona State Hospital, Abrazo Healthcare – Arrowhead Hospital, Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix, HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center, Banner Estrella Medical Center, Banner Children’s Hospital

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 74.0

Nurse SalaryPhoenix AZ
Registered Nurses Average Nursing Salary$87,410 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$118,122

10 Best Nursing Schools in Phoenix

13. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is an incredibly beautiful city, surrounded by stunning natural beauty which can be enjoyed year-round. This Alaska city has a rich cultural history, offering plenty of exciting activities and attractions that will keep you constantly entertained and inspired.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Alaska Regional Hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center, St. Elias Specialty Hospital

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 88

Nurse SalaryAnchorage Alaska
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$103,150 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $117,216

Best RN to BNS Nursing Schools in Alaska

14. Baltimore, MD

From exciting nightlife to delicious foods, Baltimore’s diverse cultural and entertainment offerings make living in the city an exciting and enjoyable experience. Baltimore is a vibrant city with many attractions and amenities to enjoy.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center, Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Washington Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 76.4

Nurse SalaryBaltimore MD
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$89,510 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $117,160

Best Nursing Schools in Baltimore

15. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, located in the high desert pinon-juniper woodland on the banks of the Rio Grande. It is known for its lively music, food, and art scene, as well as its world-renowned International Balloon Fiesta. Old Town Albuquerque is a popular tourist destination due to its rich history and diverse culture. It features a variety of restaurants, shops, museums, galleries and other attractions.

Major Employers and Hospitals: VA Medical Center, Presbyterian Hospital, Presbyterian Medical Services, Heart Hospital of New Mexico, and Lovelace Women’s Hospital. The University of New Mexico Hospital provides a children’s hospital, burn center, and level I pediatric and adult trauma centers.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 68.1

Nurse SalaryAlbuquerque NM
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$79,520 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $116,769

Best Nursing Schools in Albuquerque

16. Boise Idaho

The Idaho city of Boise is in the western part of the United States and is known for its vibrant growing economy. Residents enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, rafting and kayaking along the Boise River.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, St. Luke’s Boise is the flagship hospital of St. Luke’s Health System and Idaho’s largest health care provider, Vibra Hospital of Boise, Treasure Valley Hospital

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 70.2

Nurse SalaryBoise Idaho
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$81,240 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $115,726

Best Nursing Schools in Idaho

17. Dallas, TX

In the first half of the 2010s, Dallas was the fastest-growing city in America, with more than 800,000 people moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. It’s also one of Texas’ top cities for registered nurses and cities for healthcare. The prominent hospitals including the The Texas nursing shortage has made an impact on the healthcare system of Dallas as well. Dallas-Fort Worth hospitals have seen an alarming number of nurses retiring, without a sufficient number of prepared, licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) to replace them. It’s especially important for managerial and leadership roles, which require a BSN degree or higher.

Major Employers and Hospitals: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the Baylor University Medical Center, and numerous Texas Health hospitals.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 77.1

Nurse SalaryDallas TX
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$87,850 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $113,943

10 Best Nursing Schools in Dallas

18. Seattle, WA

The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA, has also been one of the fastest-growing cities in the US for the last decade. As one of the highest paying cities for nursing salaries, its job opportunities attract thousands of nurses every year.

Major Employers and Hospitals: University of Washington Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Overlake Medical Center.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 92.9

Nurse SalarySeattle Washington
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$105,540 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $113,606

Best Nursing Schools in Seattle WA

19. St. Louis, MO

The center of economic and cultural life in Missouri is St. Louis. It is on the Mississippi River and is the region’s largest metropolitan region with more than 3 million residents. In addition, St. Louis is now a center for healthcare and research in the Midwest and one of the highest-paying cities for nurses in the US.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Barnes-Jewish Hospital, SSM Health that includes SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. This Catholic healthcare system based in St. Louis and operates 20 hospitals in the Midwest.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 67.8

Nurse SalarySt Louis MO
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$75,170 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary by COLI$110,870

Best Missouri Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools

20. Orlando, FL

The Theme Park Capital of the World, Orlando, FL, is one of the foremost tourist destinations in the US. It is home to Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and, of course, the legendary Gatorland. Florida’s third-largest city, Orlando is home to more than 2 million people in the metropolitan area and has developed a massive service economy, as well as a world-class film, entertainment, and technology industry. With so many people and a steady stream of millions of tourists every year, Orlando also has a significant healthcare system, with world-class healthcare facilities. The University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine and College of Nursing, which has both grown extensively in the last decade, also provide a place for nurses and nurse educators.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, The University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine and College of Nursing

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 74.1

Nurse SalaryOrlando FL
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$79,120 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $110,812

10 Best Orlando Florida Nursing Schools

21. Detroit Michigan

Detroit has a long history in the auto industry and is the birthplace of the modern car. Its population boomed during and after World War II, and the city has seen a resurgence in recent years. Detroit is an area with lots of great things to offer. From a year-round variety of cultural attractions to its vibrant city life, there is something in Detroit for everyone to enjoy.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women’s Hospital, Sinai-Grace Hospital.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 74

Nurse SalaryDetroit Michigan
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$82,000 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $110,811

Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools in Michigan

22. Philadelphia, PA


One of the most historic cities in the US, Philadelphia, PA, was the central city of America’s early years, from the colonial days through the American Revolution and the beginning of the Republic. Philadelphia remains one of the largest and most prominent cities in the US. Philadelphia is also a model for nursing education. From the UPenn School of Nursing to many online RN to BSN programs from nationally-ranked institutions, like the Drexel University online BSN. Like other cities, the nursing shortage in the City of Brotherly Love is severe, with hospitals offering everything from signing bonuses to housing allowances and tuition reimbursement for nurses to work, continue their education, and move into the supervisory positions being vacated by retiring nurses.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Temple University Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Hospital, Jefferson Health-Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center, Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian – the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) is a major multi-hospital health system aka Penn Medicine.

Cost of Living Index (COLI): 79.3

Nurse SalaryPhiladelphia PA
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$87,830 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$110,757

10 Best Nursing Schools in Philadelphia

23. Oklahoma City, OK

If there’s one major American city that never gets its due, it’s Oklahoma City. While it lacks the cool factor of a city like Austin, Oklahoma City has something that is attracting more and more professionals, entrepreneurs, and families. OKC has been called “recession-proof,” one of the best places to live, and one of the best places to start a business in the US, and a strong, secure job market is much of the reason. The economic stability of Oklahoma City applies to healthcare, too. Steady, deliberate growth in the population has given Oklahoma City the means and time to build a solid healthcare system, with numerous hospitals and other facilities providing nurses with opportunities.

Major Employers and Top Hospitals: OU Medical Center, Cedar Ridge Hospital

COLI: 70.7

Nurse SalaryOklahoma City
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$77,350 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $127,153

24. Denver, CO

The Mile-High City, Denver, CO is the largest city in the Rocky Mountain region, with nearly 3 million people in the Denver metro region. Denver is home to the University of Colorado’s medical center, the Anschutz Medical Center, widely ranked one of the world’s top academic medical complexes. The University of Colorado Hospital is just one of many potential employers for Colorado’s nurses – many of whom are educated at the CU College of Nursing.

Major Employers and Hospitals: University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health Hospital, Presbyterian-St Luke’s Medical Centre, Saint Joseph Hospital, Porter Adventist Hospital, Kindred Hospital Denver

COLI: 81.7

Nurse SalaryDenver CO
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$87,790 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$107,454

Best Nursing Schools in Denver CO

25. Indianapolis, IN

The capital of Indiana, and one of the largest cities in the Midwest and a center of government, business, sports, and transportation. Indy made its name on trade, originally, being a major railroad and highway hub, but in modern-day, the city is especially known for finance and insurance companies with several Fortune 500 companies in the metropolitan area. It’s also a sports capital, with nationally-renowned professional basketball and football teams, and the legendary Indy 500, one of the world’s top auto races. Indianapolis is also central to healthcare in the state, including some of the top nursing schools in Indiana, and some of the best online RN to BSN programs in the nation, such as Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis. With the Indiana University Health Academic Health Center, and many excellent hospitals, Indianapolis offers an exceptional job market for nursing professionals.

Major Employers and Hospitals: IU Health University Hospital, Kindred Hospital Indianapolis, Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Riley Hospital for Children, St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital

COLI: 76.5

Nurse SalaryIndianapolis IN
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$80,450 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$105,163

Best RN to BSN Nursing Schools in Indiana

26. New York City, NY

This vibrant city never sleeps, so you’re always guaranteed to find something exciting happening around every corner. New York City has endless opportunities for cultural experiences, from delicious cuisine to award-winning Broadway shows.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Presbyterian Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the NYU Langone Medical Center a world-class university research hospital.

COLI: 100

Nurse SalaryNew York City
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$104,860 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $104,860

Nursing in New York

27. Tampa, FL

The city of Tampa, FL, has come a long way since it was the cigar capital of the USA. With a large population, millions of tourists, and the senior population characteristic of Florida, Tampa also has a strong healthcare system made up of more than 20 hospitals, many nationally ranked. With healthcare so critical to Florida’s economy, nursing education is also one of the state’s greatest strengths; some of the nation’s top nursing schools are in Florida, including the College of Nursing at Tampa’s University of South Florida. USF Health is just one of the two dozen-strong hospitals helping to make Tampa one of the best cities for nurses.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Tampa General Hospital, Morton Plant Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital-Tampa, James A. Haley VA Hospital, Florida Hospital Tampa, Memorial Hospital of Tampa, Moffitt Cancer Center 

COLI: 76.3

Nurse SalaryTampa FL
Registered Nurses Average Nursing Salary$79,920 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$104,744

Best Nursing Schools in Tampa Florida

28. Miami, FL

One of the largest global cities in the South, Miami, FL, is a peculiar and spectacular place, known the world over for beautiful beaches, beautiful people, and wild nightlife. It’s also a highly diverse city, with the largest population of Cuban-Americans, and is one of the largest majority-Hispanic cities in the US. A vibrant culture with a booming economy, Miami made its wealth from tourism, real estate, and communications, and with that wealth – and an enormous population – Miami has invested heavily in its healthcare infrastructure.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Baptist Health South Florida is one of the single largest employers in the Miami major metropolitan area, while the University of Miami Hospital is a top-notch academic teaching and research institution. Many other hospitals, clinics, and private practices keep Miami’s nursing salaries up and keep nurses happy.

COLI: 81.9

Nurse SalaryMiami FL
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$81,810 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $99,890

Best Nursing Schools Miami

29. Nashville, TN

Nashville is one of the South’s biggest boomtowns, with one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation, in areas ranging from manufacturing and banking to religion as the headquarters of several Christian denominations. While the music industry is worth more than $6 billion in economic impact, though, Nashville is actually dominated by the healthcare industry, with hundreds of healthcare corporations.

Major Employers and Hospitals: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of the foremost teaching and research hospitals in the world. In addition to educating some of the South’s most expert nurses at the School of Nursing, VUMC employs more than 20,000 people, including thousands of nurses, and has been named one of the best hospitals to work in America.

COLI: 81.9

Nurse SalaryNashville TN
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$77,240 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary$94,310

Best Nursing Schools Nashville

30. Birmingham, AL

Alabama’s largest city, with more than one million residents in the metropolitan area, Birmingham, AL, has truly come into its own in the 21st century. The city first grew in stature as the main manufacturing center of the Deep South. For good reason, Birmingham is one of the best-paying cities for nurses in the South. Much of Birmingham’s growth and development has been due to the University of Alabama Birmingham, which has blossomed into one of the South’s premier public research universities.

Major Employers and Hospitals: University of Alabama Birmingham Health System, Baptist Medical Center, and the nationally-ranked Children’s Hospital.

COLI: 75.0

Nurse SalaryBirmingham AL
Registered Nurses Annual Average Salary$70,290 (BLS)
Adjusted Salary $93,720

Best Alabama RN to BSN Nursing Schools

What States Employ the Most RNs?

Below are the top 5 states with the highest employment level in Registered Nurses.

StateEmploymentLocation Quotient
New York190,4701.01
BLS States with the highest employment level in RNs.

How Much Does a Nurse Earn Per Year?

The exact amount a nurse earns per year varies greatly. Factors that influence the average nursing salaries include specialty, experience level, geographic region, and type of employer. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for registered nurses is $77,600.

Where Do Nurses Get Paid the Most?

Nurses generally get paid the most in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Oregon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these five top paying states have the highest mean salary for nurses. And it is not a coincidence that most of the the highest paying cities are in the highest paying states.

Below are the top five states with the highest average RN salary.

StateAnnual mean wage 
BLS States with the highest pay for RNs.

The top paying cities and metropolitan areas for Registered Nurses are all in California and include San Francisco, San Jose, Vallejo, Santa Rosa, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. But that’s not the whole story. California has the highest salaries for nurses but also has one of the highest cost of living indexes in the country.

How Does the Cost of Living Affect the Salary of Registered Nurses?

The cost of living affects the salaries of registered nurses across the country in various ways. In any region, the COLI can influence the wage rate of nurses employed in the area. Generally, nurses in areas with higher costs of living, like metropolitan areas, can expect to earn a higher annual salary than nurses in areas with a low costs of living.

Due to higher costs of living, nurses in more expensive areas may find it more difficult to afford the same lifestyle as those in less expensive areas, even with the same wage. Similarly, the cost of living can affect the benefits a nurse receives. Employers in more expensive areas may offer higher benefits to attract nurses. So, while some nurses can earn more in many metro areas, it also costs more to live in these locations.

Annual Cost of Living Index (COLI)

1Mississippi 85.0
2Oklahoma 85.8
3Kansas 87.5
4Alabama 88.1
5Georgia 88.6
6Missouri 89.1
7Iowa 89.2
8Indiana 89.9
9West Virginia 90.0
10Tennessee 90.2
11Arkansas 90.6
12Ohio 91.9
13Nebraska 91.9
14Michigan 92.2
15Texas 92.5
16Wyoming 92.5
17Illinois 92.6
18Louisiana 93.6
19New Mexico 94.0
20South Carolina 94.3
21South Dakota 94.5
22Kentucky 94.9
23Wisconsin 95.5
24North Carolina 95.7
25North Dakota 97.1
26Minnesota 97.5
27Pennsylvania 98.2
28Idaho 99.6
29Utah 102.8
30Virginia 102.8
31Florida 102.8
32Nevada 103.2
33Colorado 104.6
34Montana 104.8
35Delaware 105.6
36Arizona 105.8
37New Jersey 112.4
38Rhode Island 112.9
39Washington 114.2
40Maine 115.3
41Vermont 115.9
42New Hampshire 116.1
43Connecticut 116.8
44Oregon 121.2
45Maryland 124.0
46Alaska 126.6
47New York 134.5
48California 137.6
49Massachusetts 149.7
50District of Columbia 152.2
51Hawaii 184.0
US United States100.0

When is the Best Time and Place to Become a Nurse?

The nursing shortage is based on several factors. These include the retirement of Baby Boomer nurses, most of them in supervisory or leadership positions. Additionally, the inability of nursing schools to accommodate demand and the intensive nature of nursing education contribute to the shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nearly 195,000 new nursing jobs to open in the next decade. This is a growth rate of 6%, at pace with the national average, and median salaries are also going up everywhere.

But for all these same reasons it may be an excellent time to become a nurse. It’s a great situation for nurses. A shortage of labor means workers have more flexibility and opportunity, and can really shop around for the state, city, and even facility they want. A good nurse can pick up and go just about anywhere, setting their sites on the most nurse-friendly hospitals in the US, or lighting out for the highest-paying states for nurses. Or nurses can relocate a little closer and find the highest-paying city for nurses in their state.

In this era of mobility, when professionals are perpetually looking for their next better job, travel nursing has become popular, but you can only live a transient life for so long. If you’re a travel nurse who’s getting tired of the nomadic life and feel ready to settle down in a town that treats nurses right, look for a post in one of these highest paying cities.


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