Virtually every state in the US needs more nurses as soon as possible. A lot of factors have combined to create a severe nursing shortage in the United States. First of all, all across the US, the Baby Boomer generation outnumbers younger generations. As Boomers age, they need more care, including hospital care and care from other medical settings. Furthermore, Boomer-aged nurses are retiring, and there just aren’t enough Gen-X and Millennial nurses to fill in the gap. If you become a nurse, you’ll be an important part of bridging that gap no matter where you go.
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What States Have the Most Need for Nurses?
That said, if you’re open to working in different locations or moving to a new state, you should look up the nursing shortage by state when you look for a job. Some states have a much higher need for new nurses than others. If you work in one of these states, you’ll be working where you’re needed the most, delivering healthcare to people who may not otherwise get what they need.
First, there’s California. While California’s major cities have enough nurses for now, the smaller cities and more rural areas struggle to find enough nurses to provide the right level of care. That’s why if you’re looking up nursing shortages by state, then California comes out on top. In fact, California has a shortfall of 44,500 nurses, outnumbering the state with the next-highest need by 28,000. California has a large population to begin with because of its size. It’s a popular location for people who leave their home states. California has also experienced a recent population growth. adding to the problem. Combine that population growth with its aging boomer population, and California has a serious nursing need on its hands. If new nurses don’t start filling in the gap, then California could face an enormous crisis.
Next, Texas has one of the biggest nursing shortages by state, at a 15,900 shortfall. While Texas has experienced a growth in nursing, that growth is simply not enough to keep up with the need. Like California, Texas has a large population. That population includes a lot of aging baby boomers, just like populations across the US. The nursing shortfall in Texas could reach its peak within the next several years.
After Texas, New Jersey has one of the highest needs at 11,400 nurses. This fact often surprises people because New Jersey has a much smaller population than Texas and California. It’s true that the population numbers haven’t contributed much to New Jersey’s nursing needs. However, other factors have kept New Jersey from getting the nursing help that it needs. The main issue comes from the fact that New Jersey doesn’t have enough nursing faculty to educate upcoming nurses. As a result, qualified nursing students get rejected from nursing programs, leaving those students to pursue an education elsewhere. Few of those students return to New Jersey, which has created a gap in necessary care. If New Jersey doesn’t get a lot of nurses and educators from out of state, they’ll face a very real crisis in the near future.
Fourth, South Carolina needs 10,400 nurses to overcome its shortfall. South Carolina is the third most popular state for retirees, which means that it has a large aging population. This aging population has a lot of healthcare needs, and they’ll need far more nurses to help meet those needs. Nurses who specialize in geriatric care will be especially welcome in South Carolina, though this state would gladly accept well-education nurses from all specialties.
Next, there’s Alaska, which needs 5,400 new nurses in a short amount of time. Alaska has one of the biggest senior citizen populations in the US. Combine that population with the distance between Alaska and the rest of the US, and you’ve got a recipe for a big nurse shortage. Just like with South Carolina, Alaska needs nurses who are equipped to provide care for senior citizens.
After Alaska comes Georgia, which needs 2,200 more nurses than it currently has. More than half of Georgia’s current nurses are aged 60 or older, which means that nurses are retiring faster than they can be replaced. Georgia researches anticipate facing a major nursing need within the next several years.
Finally, South Dakota has a nursing shortage of 1,900. Like many other states, South Dakota faces a combination of an aging population and a lack of nursing students. Researches have noted other factors in South Dakota’s nursing shortage, including low pay. South Dakota is working on fixing its shortage problem, but until they do, they may find themselves in crisis.
What are the Highest-Paying Locations for Nurses?
With the high nursing demand, nursing students want to know the best place to be a nurse in the world. With the right education and and the right specializations, many nurses have their pick of the highest paying nursing jobs. Types of nursing jobs and salaries vary from one state to the next. With a few exceptions, the best places to be a nurse are often the same places that have the nursing shortfalls mentioned above. Some of these states offer incentives for incoming nurses because they want to make their states appealing to new care providers. These incentives include high pay and excellent benefits. Furthermore, some nursing schools in these states have great scholarships and financial aid programs.
The best states for nurse practitioners and RNs include some of the highest-paying jobs. Some of the highest paying nurse jobs come from these states:
- California has an average RN salary of $102,700
- Hawaii has an average RN salary of $96,990
- DC has an average RN salary of $90,910
- Massachusetts has an average RN salary of $89,330
- Oregon has an average RN salary of $88,770
You may have noticed that California, which has the biggest need for new nurses, has the highest-paying nursing jobs. Some of the other high-need states also tend to pay very well. Alaska lands at #6 on the list, while New Jersey lands at #9. South Carolina and Georgia both fall toward the middle, providing a very comfortable pay level for new nurses. The outlier, unfortunately, is South Dakota. As mentioned above, in spite of having one of the biggest needs for nurses, South Dakota offers the worst average pay for nurses in the US.
When it comes to the best states for Nurse Practitioners, you can find benefits other than excellent pay. In fact, you can find great benefits for all sorts of nurses. While there’s nothing wrong with searching for the highest paying nurse jobs or the highest paid nurses in the world, you should also consider other factors. As mentioned above, other factors matter. Some states offer nurses autonomy, benefits, and protections against burnout. These states include many places in the northwest, northeast, and southwest. Alaska, which has a high need for nurses, falls among them. Other beneficial states include Washington, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Arizona, and New Mexico. Many other states are working toward granting nurses more work-related autonomy and other benefits. Authorities from these states are hoping to entice new nurses to work in their states. Keep an eye on nursing news in the future to see upcoming changes.
Finally, when considering the best places for nurses, keep in mind that certain specialities make more money than others. Here some of the highest averages based on specialty:
- Nurse anesthetist: $157, 690
- Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner: $102,000
- Certified nurse midwife: $96,970
- Nurse practitioner: $95,350
- Pediatric nurse: $89,000
- Critical care nurse: $80,000
- Gerontological nurse practitioner: $64,906
Of course, you should consider more than pay when it comes to a nursing career. Specializing in something that you’re not passionate about is a recipe for quick burnout and resentment. However, if you have a passion or even an interest for any of the specialties listed above, you should absolutely pursue the one that interests you the most.
How Does RN Licensing Work from State to State?
To overcome the nursing shortfall, the US has a program called travel nursing. With travel nursing, nurses receive temporary assignments and practice nursing in several states. Assignments last for several weeks at a time. This way, the places that need nurses the most can fill in the care gap, and adventure-seeking nurses can travel all across the United States. Travel nursing programs provide help with housing and other needs, and nurses get a chance to explore their new locations during time off. However, a lot of interested nurses wonder how this program is even feasible. Getting a nursing license in one state is challenging enough as it is. Does a traveling nurse need a license for every state? Do these nurses need to take multiple exams?
Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to these complications. Can you hold a nursing license in multiple states? Yes, and it’s not as complicated as you might imagine. Many nurses, especially those who want to travel, wonder how to become a registered nurse in multiple states. For those who want to travel, registered nurse license requirements are more or less the same as those for non-traveling nurses.
The first question is how to become a registered nurse. This process includes graduating from nursing school and taking the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you’ve completed this process, you can participate in the above-mentioned travel nursing program that will let you move between states. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) offers a program called the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The Compact is a multi-state nursing license. Nurses with this license can practice in any of the participating states. Not all states in the US participate in the program, so make sure that your state of choice does participate before you pursue this choice.
You may have noticed that some of these states are also the ones with the most need for nurses. If you have a multi-state nursing license, you should still familiarize yourself with the nursing laws in the state where you practice. Even with a multi-state license, you still have to abide by the nursing laws in the state where you work. Failure to comply with state regulations can mean a loss of your nursing certification.
If you’re wondering how to become a registered nurse in a new state, but you don’t want to become a travel nurse, then you can also pursue a temporary license so that you can get to work right away. With a temporary license, you can work as a nurse in a new state while you wait for your permanent license. You won’t have to delay your work, which means that you won’t have to delay your income.
Is Nursing a Good Career Choice for International Students?
Nursing for international students can be an excellent career choice, and the US has some great nursing programs for international students. Students may choose to practice nursing in the US, or they can bring their nursing work back to their home countries. Both choices are equally valid, and bot choices come with pros and cons. Either way, international students can have a great experience in the US.
Now, nursing in USA for foreigners has a step-by-step process. First, international students must be accepted into an American university. One of the biggest concerns about United States education is affordability. If you’re looking for the cheapest nursing schools in USA for international students, start by researching schools with overall affordability. For example, the University of Michigan is affordable overall, and it has a great nursing program. Other affordable schools include Purdue University, Florida State University, and several others. Take your time researching nursing schools. You have a lot of great options, and many of the affordable options provide excellent educations.
You can also find some great nursing school scholarships. When it comes to nursing scholarships, international students have several options. These scholarships come from lots of different sources, including corporate companies, private donations, government entities, and the schools themselves. These scholarships have different requirements, too. Some are merit-based, some are income-based, and many require a combination of both. Some require an essay, while others have an application process that will only take a few minutes. Even after finding an affordable school, applying for a scholarship is an excellent idea. Scholarships can take a lot of the stress off of students who need to pay for college. While a nurses’s salary can certainly help a person pay for an education quickly, a scholarship will still take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Dedicate a fair amount of time to your scholarship research. The more time you dedicate to your scholarships, the more likely you are to get this kind of financial help.
After acceptance to a US university, the next step is to get either an F1 or a J1 visa. Both of these visas are for people who want to attend a university in the US. The difference comes from how students are allowed to earn an income while not studying. F1 visas only allow for part-time work on campus. J1 visas allow for full-time work while the student isn’t at school. Either way, students must be accepted into a United States university before they can obtain a visa. It’s very important to complete the steps in the correct order.
Nursing in USA for foreigners can be highly challenging, but very rewarding. Many foreign nursing students choose to work in the United States after they graduate from nursing school. After graduation, nurses who come from abroad must meet the right requirements. Other than the visa requirements, nursing in USA requirements for foreigners are the same as the requirements for US citizens. Of course, nursing in the US requires a nursing education and a valid nurse’s license. You’ll obtain your license by taking the NCLEX-RN exam, which your education will prepare you to take. You can either get a nursing license for one state, or you can get a multi-state license as discussed above. Once you pass, you’ll get your certification, and you can start working as a nurse.
Of course, once you’ve graduated from nursing school, you can’t stay in the US with a student visa anymore. You’ll need a nursing visa if you’d like to keep working in the United States. The process for obtaining a nursing visa is similar to the process of obtaining a student visa. However, a nursing visa allows you to work legally, while a student visa allows you to study. As a result, a few of the application steps will look different. Overall, though, you’ll have a similar experience, and once you’ve been through the process of getting a student visa, you may find your second visa easier to obtain.
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