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Nurse First News Blog


Posted August 10, 2020

You can work at one facility permanently, become a travel nurse and travel the nation on a contract-to-contract basis, or pick up per diem shifts on the side. Once you earn your Registered Nurse license, you’re ready to start your adventure.

But where is the best place for nurses to work? Every state varies when it comes to the number of nursing jobs available, the amount of salary earned, the cost of living, and facility satisfaction. Knowing which areas are the best can help you determine where you might want to work and live. Let’s break it down below.

Nursing Job Demand By State

Worried about landing a job? Traveling to one of the top five states that are currently in demand for nurses might be a good move. Here are the states that have the highest demand for nurses right now:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. New Jersey
  4. South Carolina
  5. Alaska

Nurse.Org was able to calculate these numbers by looking at the current demand and projecting the demand of nurses needed in each state by 2030.

Highest Hourly Salary for nurses by State

Listed below are the highest paying states for nurses:

  1. California (Average hourly: $54.44 – Average RN salary $113,240)
  2. Hawaii (Average Hourly: $50.03 – Average RN Salary $104,060)
  3. District of Colombia (Hourly $45.59 – Salary $94,820)
  4. Massachusetts (Hourly $44.79 – Salary $93,160)
  5. Oregon (Hourly 44.69 – $92,960)

This next list has taken into account the cost of living AND the salary earning so we can get an accurate reading on how much you will actually bring home after expenses. Here were the top 5 states with the highest hourly salary for nurses after factoring in the cost of living:

  1. California (cost of living index: 134.8)
  2. Nevada (cost of living index 104.5)
  3. Alaska (cost of living index 131.6)
  4. Oregon (cost of living index 115.4)
  5. Massachusetts (cost of living index 134.7)

For comparison, Hawaii has a cost index of 167.4, and the District of Colombia is 149.2. For more information on calculating cost index visit Investopedia.

Best States for Nurses Satisfaction and Happiness

A high paying nursing job is something every nurse is looking for, but what about job satisfaction and happiness? You work every shift to make your patients comfortable and happy, you deserve this too!

  1. Minnesota (Quality of life ranking #2, Overall hospital rating by nurses 86%)
  2. Wisconsin (Quality of life ranking #3, Overall hospital rating by nurses 88%)
  3. Oregon (Quality of life ranking #18, Overall hospital rating by nurses inconclusive)
  4. Alaska (Quality of life ranking #19, Overall hospital rating by nurses 78%)
  5. Colorado (Quality of life ranking #10, Overall hospital rating by nurses 85%)

To calculate this rating took into account best states for quality of life, nurse salary, nursing demand, and average hospital ratings!

Do Your Research!

We created these lists to help you with your search for the perfect travel nursing contract. Don’t just take our recommendations verbatim, do more research on locations and facilities that correspond with your values. Do you value days off spent outside or are just salary driven? All these variables play into finding your perfect location! Happy traveling.

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