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The 25 Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in 2020

These U.S. Cities Pay Registered Nurses the Highest Salaries Based on Cost of Living

Nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs in the healthcare industry. As a career, it offers stability, great pay, and personal fulfillment. In fact, many nurses consider their profession to be a calling rather than a job. Those who enter the nursing field are passionate and caring individuals who strive to improve the health of others in their communities. It truly is a noble profession.

As a Registered Nurse (RN), however, serving others should not prevent you from planning ahead by researching the benefits and average nursing salaries across the country.

Not only will RNs likely see a surge in employment growth in the coming years, but they can receive considerable salaries without having to spend too many years in school. This comprehensive RN salary guide will attempt to cover the following questions:

  1. Do nurses get paid well?
  2. How much does a nurse earn per year?
  3. Where do nurses get paid the most?
  4. What are the highest paying states for Registered Nurses?
  5. And what are the top paying cities for nurses?

Before we delve into RN salaries by city, let’s start with the top paying states and industries for nurses as well as the average nurse’s salary nationwide.

Nurses Salary

How Much Do Nurses Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Registered Nurses earn an average salary of about $77,000 per year, and an average hourly wage of about $37.00 per hour.

These rates can greatly vary depending on your employer, experience, and specialization. For instance, nurses working in the pharmaceutical industry make an average salary of $86,400, while those working in doctor’s offices earn an average salary of $69,570.

Here’s a closer look at the top paying industries and average salaries for nurses, by employment type:

Highest Paying Industries for Nurses

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Pharmaceutical Industry $41.54 $86,400
Outpatient Care Centers $40.73 $84,720
Specialty Hospitals $38.86 $80,840
General Hospitals $38.20 $79,460
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals $35.87 $74,610
Home Health Care Services $35.41 $73,660
Nursing Care Facilities $33.53 $69,740
Physician Offices $33.45 $69,570

Highest Paying States for Nurses

A nurse’s pay can also vary by location. For instance, here are the top 5 paying states for nurses as well as the average nurse salary per hour:

  1. California:
    • Average Hourly Wage: $54.44
    • Average Annual Salary: $113,240
  1. Hawaii:
    • Average Hourly Wage: $50.03
    • Average Annual Salary: $104,060
  1. Washington, D.C.:
    • Average Hourly Wage: $45.59
    • Average Annual Salary: $94,820
  1. Massachusetts:
    • Average Hourly Wage: $44.79
    • Average Annual Salary: $93,160
  1. Oregon:
    • Average Hourly Wage: $44.69
    • Average Annual Salary: $92,960

More to a Nurse’s Salary than a Paycheck

When it comes to quality of life, there are a lot of factors to consider, and where you chose to work plays a major role.

It can feel a little overwhelming, but a little bit of research can go a long way.

For example, we wanted to take a granular look at the highest paying US cities, by evaluating their average nursing salaries as compared to their cost-of-living.

Our Methodology

We pulled the cost-of-living index (COLI) values for each city in our study from Expatistan.

Average RN salaries and other statistics were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The average cost-of-living index (COLI) for all of the U.S. cities we compared was about 162. If a city like Modesto, California, had a COLI of 140, then it would be 14% less expensive to live there than the average city in our list.

Based on the COLI for each city, we adjusted their annual wage to account for the difference in cost of living. In the example above, the average salary of $112,790 in Modesto was increased to $130,593, making it the highest paying city for Registered Nurses.

Based on each city’s cost-of-living index, average salaries were increased or reduced proportionately to better measure overall RN compensation and quality-of-life in each respective city.

The Highest Paying Cities for Nurses

Here are the 25 best paying cities for nurses in 2020 based on their cost-of-living index, starting with the highest paying city of them all!

1. Modesto, California

Modesto, California

First up on our list of highest paying cities is Modesto, a vibrant and populous city in the state of California. You might already be familiar with Modesto: Not only does it have the largest wine factory in the world, but George Lucas—the acclaimed creator of Star Wars—was born there.

Located in the Central Valley, 68 miles south of Sacramento and 92 miles east of San Francisco, Modesto provides residents with a bustling downtown, numerous restaurants, theaters, and festivals. The area is also surrounded by rich farmland. Consequently, agricultural production contributes a great deal to its economy as well as the farm-to-table movement.

Modesto is also a major hub for education and healthcare. Some of the top employers include Memorial Medical Center, Modesto City Schools, Doctors Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. In terms of cost-of-living, Forbes has recognized Modesto as one of their “Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities”. Modesto ranked eighth in housing affordability and travel time, and has been noted for its forecasted job growth.

There are several reasons to choose Modesto for your nursing career. Nurses in this city earn an average salary of about $113,000 per year, while the top-earning nurses can make as much as $175,000, or more. When its cheaper cost of living is factored into the equation, their adjusted nurse’s salary in Modesto grows even higher. Given the thriving location, top employers, and high wages, it’s no wonder Modesto, California is at the top of our list.

How much do nurses make in Modesto, CA?

  • Nurses in Modesto make an average salary of $112,790.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $175,490 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 140
  • The cost of living in Modesto is 14% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its cost of living raises a nurse’s pay to $130,593.

2. San Jose, California

San Jose, California

San Jose is the economic, cultural, and political center of the world-renowned Silicon Valley. Its estimated population was 1,021,795 in 2019, making it the third-most populous city in California. San Jose is often referred to as a “global city” for its innovation and wealth.

The city might be known for its high-tech industry and coastal weather, but it’s also home to large healthcare organizations like the Regional Medical Center of San Jose, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and El Camino Hospital. Each of these facilities has received prestigious awards, and El Camino Hospital has repeatedly been designated as a nursing magnet hospital. Even though San Jose has a higher cost of living than some of our other cities, it can be an attractive destination for nurses thanks to its coveted location and average nursing salary.

How much do nurses make in San Jose, CA?

  • Nurses in San Jose make an average salary of $140,740.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $197,650 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 195
  • The cost of living in San Jose is 20% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $116,993.

3. Sacramento, California

Image of boats floating in water in the city of Sacramento California

Sacramento is the capital of California and one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. This growth can partially be attributed to its status as a prominent financial center on the West Coast. It’s also a major educational hub, not to mention a key area for California’s healthcare industry (i.e. Sutter Health, world-renowned UC Davis Medical Center, etc.)

Sacramento is a tourist destination. For instance, it’s home to The California Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the California Hall of Fame, the California State Capitol Museum, and the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. And don’t forget about Sacramento’s budding contemporary culture, giving it the nickname of “the most hipster city” in California.

There are several reasons to choose Sacramento for your nursing career. In addition to its notable healthcare organizations, nurses in this city earn over $126,000 per year, on average. Even with its higher cost of living factored into the equation, the adjust nursing salary in Sacrament remains well over $100,000 per year.

How much do nurses make in Sacramento, CA?

  • Nurses in Sacramento make an average salary of $126,560.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $179,060 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 178
  • The cost of living in Sacramento is 10% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its cost of living lowers a nurse’s pay to $115,253.

4. Riverside, California

Riverside, California

Riverside is the most populous city in the Inland Empire metropolitan area. It’s named for its location beside the Santa Ana River, and residents there can reach downtown Los Angeles in just under an hour. Riverside is also the birthplace of California’s citrus industry; home of the largest Mission Revival Style building in the U.S.; and home to the University of California, Riverside. Furthermore, the UC Riverside School of Medicine is the first new research-based public medical school in decades.

Many have relocated to Riverside for its warm, dry climate. Numerous colleges, universities, and vocational schools can also be found in the city. Since the cost-of-living is 7% cheaper than the average city in our study, the adjusted average nursing salary in Riverside is raised to well over $114,000 per year.

How much do nurses make in Riverside, CA?

  • Nurses in Riverside make an average salary of $105,570.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $149,280 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 150
  • The cost of living in Riverside is 7% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $114,084.

5. Las Vegas, Nevada

The “Entertainment Capital of the World” is well known for the dazzling Las Vegas Strip. A city of lights, resort hotels, restaurants, and residential high-rises, Las Vegas is a world-renowned destination. However, there’s much more to it than meets the eye.

For instance, Las Vegas maintains lower taxes and cost of living. When it comes to homeowners, their utilities cost 10% less than the national average. Las Vegas residents can further benefit from their city’s increasing incomes and zero state income tax. Not only is Las Vegas a great destination for seeking employment, most residents are able to lay down roots for a reasonable price. Nurses in Las Vegas can make an average salary of about $90,000, with some earning well over $120,000 a year. As Southern Nevada continues to grow, so does the demand for more healthcare providers.

How much do nurses make in Las Vegas, NV?

  • Nurses in Las Vegas make an average salary of $91,330.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $122,110 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 153
  • The cost of living in Las Vegas is 6% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $96,760.

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Visit ABQ said it best: “At the heart of New Mexico beats the pulse of a vibrant city.” In fact, Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city. It maintains a modern downtown area that nicely contrasts with Old Town Albuquerque. Filled with historic adobe buildings, Old Town houses San Felipe de Neri Church, five museums, and many shops. The neighboring Indian Pueblo Cultural Center also recounts the area’s tribal history.

Albuquerque is also a hub for nurses. The city contains various state-of-the-art medical centers. Some of the top hospitals include the 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. It’s also the home of an advanced primary stroke center, not to mention the biggest group of adult and pediatric specialty programs in the state.

How much do nurses make in Albuquerque, NM?

  • Nurses in Albuquerque make an average salary of $75,050.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $97,050.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 128
  • The cost of living in Albuquerque is 21% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $95,042.

7. San Francisco, California

San Francisco has been called the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. Covering an area of about 47 square miles, this city welcomes all who pass through its Golden Gates. San Francisco is perhaps most famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Coit Tower, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Of course, don’t forget about the cable cars!

The city also maintains a diversified service economy. In 2016, approximately 12% of workers found employment in education and healthcare. Other high-ranking sectors included professional business services at 27%, leisure and hospitality at 14%, and government services at 13%. Plus, as of 2017, San Francisco County was named the 7th highest-income county in the United States, thanks to a per capita personal income of $119,868. The cost of living is expensive in this city, but San Francisco is also one of the highest paying cities for registered nurses.

How much do nurses make in San Francisco, CA?

  • Nurses in San Francisco make an average salary of $138,000.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $196,450 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 240
  • The cost of living in San Francisco is 48% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $93,206.

8. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city on the coast of California. The Santa Ynez Mountains rise in the background, while oceanic views and pleasant weather create an ideal atmosphere for living, playing, and working. Often called the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is also known for its sense of community, rich agricultural land, plentiful wineries, and many tourism hotspots. Don’t miss its upscale boutiques and restaurants, not to mention the Mediterranean-style buildings in downtown!

In addition to serving as a popular tourist and resort destination, Santa Barbara has established a diverse economy, including large sectors in education, technology, healthcare, finance, agriculture, and manufacturing. The Cottage Health Organization is one of its top employers, and the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital maintains a Level I Trauma Center training institution with resident physicians in internal medicine, surgery, and radiology. Medical students also complete rotations at Cottage Hospital.

How much do nurses make in Santa Barbara, CA?

  • Nurses in Santa Barbara make an average salary of $108,940.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $148,470 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 190
  • The cost of living in Santa Barbara is 17% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $92,941.

9. Houston, Texas

A grand metropolis in Texas, Houston extends to Galveston Bay and is often linked to the Space Center Houston (one of NASA’s visitor centers). The downtown area features several highlights, such as the Theater District, the Houston Grand Opera, and the upscale Historic District, which offers 19th-century architecture amid ritzy restaurants.

Without a doubt, Houston is a popular choice for healthcare professionals. The city is home to the Texas Medical Center (TMC), which contains the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions. They provide patient and preventive care while employing more than 73,600 people. The Texas Medical Center houses the outstanding M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and (reportedly) more heart surgeries are performed at the TMC than anywhere else in the world.

How much do nurses make in Houston, TX?

  • Nurses in Houston make an average salary of $81,350.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $103,740 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 144
  • The cost of living in Houston is 11% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $91,574.

10. Greensboro, North Carolina

Greensboro is the third-most populous city in North Carolina. The cost of living is cheaper than the average of the other cities in our study by a whopping 25%. Not only are prices more affordable, Greensboro also has room for plenty of family fun. The Greensboro Science Center allows visitors to marvel at red pandas, sharks, and a hands-on museum. Plus, the nearby Bog Garden is a wetlands area filled with flowers, birds, and an elevated boardwalk.

In the city’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, two health systems ranked as some of the largest employers in Greensboro. Cone Health ranked second with about 7,218 employees, and High Point Regional Health System ranked seventh with about 2,320 employees. The BLS has also indicated that education and health service ranks fourth in the top ten industries of Greensboro, creating about 48,400 jobs overall.

How much do nurses make in Greensboro, NC?

  • Nurses in Greensboro make an average salary of $68,300.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $93,370 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 121
  • The cost of living in Greensboro is 25% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $91,498.

11. San Diego, California

San Diego is a coastal city that’s known for its many beaches, extensive parks, and pleasant climate. It’s also famous for its many attractions like the San Diego Zoo, numerous art galleries, museums, and gardens. A deep-water harbor contains a large naval fleet within San Diego. Plus, the USS Midway—an aircraft carrier turned into a museum—is open to the public.

In addition to the city’s long association with the United States Navy, San Diego recently emerged as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. According to a 2016 comprehensive financial report, Sharp HealthCare ranks third among the city’s top employers. Scripps Health and Kaiser Permanente also ranked in this top-ten list.

While the city’s cost of living may be more expensive, the average nurse in San Diego earns more over than $100,000 a year. With its ideal location and budding health sector, San Diego is a city to watch.

How much do nurses make in San Diego, CA?

  • Nurses in San Diego make an average salary of $104,860.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $147,930 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 187
  • The cost of living in San Diego is 15% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $90,896.

12. Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Spokane, the “Lilac City,” is situated within Washington state. It’s located near Spokane River, west of the Rocky Mountain foothills, and 92 miles south of the Canada-U.S. border. Visitors are often attracted to Riverfront Park, where cable cars offer mesmerizing views of Spokane Falls.

This city also houses the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. It explores the area’s history using exhibits on art, culture, and Native American heritage. Spokane’s economy has seen success in the medical and health science fields as well. In 2013, the top employers in Spokane were the State of Washington, Spokane Public Schools, and the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.

How much do nurses make in Spokane, WA?

  • Nurses in Spokane make an average salary of $80,070.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $107,950 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 143
  • The cost of living in Spokane is 12% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $90,763.

13. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

If you like sunny cities, Tucson has roughly 350 days of sunshine per year! The area is said to inspire a sense of freedom among those who visit. Given the mountainous views and desert blooms, it makes sense that some might see the city as an oasis.

Tucson is the one of the most populous cities in Arizona. Along with Phoenix, it anchors the Arizona Sun Corridor (i.e. a mega region of five metropolitan areas). Banner Health is the state’s biggest private employer, accounting for more than 39,000 employees in 2016. Education and health services is also one of the highest-ranking sectors for employment within the state of Arizona. The low cost of living and average nursing salary makes Tucson an attractive prospect for nurses.

How much do nurses make in Tucson, AZ?

  • Nurses in Tucson make an average salary of $74,570.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $95,490 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 136
  • The cost of living in Tucson is 16% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $88,879.

14. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, the capital and largest city of the state of Hawaii, is a major hub for international business and military defense. It’s also known for hosting a number of east-west and Pacific cultures, cuisine, and traditions. Located on the south shore of Oahu, Honolulu offers a center for dining and nightlife, not to mention various high-rise hotels, the iconic crescent beach, and Diamond Head crater cresting the horizon.

Some companies based in Honolulu include Hawaii Pacific Health and The Queen’s Health Systems. Even though cost of living is more expensive in this city, experienced nurses can make over $132,000 per year.

How much do nurses make in Honolulu, HI?

  • Nurses in Honolulu make an average salary of $106,550.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $132,160 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 200
  • The cost of living in Honolulu is 23% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $86,357.

15. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan as well as the largest American city on the United States-Canada border. Regarded as a notable cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to art, architecture, and design. It’s also known as the “Motor City” for its connection to the auto industry. Plus, music lovers can rejoice: Detroit is the birthplace of Motown Records!

When it comes to healthcare, there are more than a dozen major hospitals in the city. Some of these include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center. The DMC is the biggest private employer in the City of Detroit. Like Tucson, Detroit’s cost of living is significantly cheaper than the average of the cities in our study. This affordability raises a nurse’s average salary by more than 10%.

How much do nurses make in Detroit, MI?

  • Nurses in Detroit make an average salary of $75,810.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $98,810 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 143
  • The cost of living in Detroit is 12% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $85,934.

16. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Niche said it best: “Boise is one of the best places to live in Idaho. Living in Boise offers residents a dense suburban feel, and most residents own their homes. In Boise, there are a lot of bars, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and young professionals live in the city.”

Boise is both the capital and most populous city within the state of Idaho. The Boise River Greenbelt offers a series of tree-lined trails and parks that hug the water’s edge. In downtown, you’ll find contemporary works and a sculpture garden in the Boise Art Museum. If you’re a history junkie, you’ll also find 19th-century prison cells, gallows, and historic weaponry in the Old Idaho Penitentiary.

Some of the biggest employers in Idaho include St. Luke’s Health Systems and the Saint Alphonsus Health System. Not only can nurses enjoy this regional hotspot for jazz, theater, and indie music, with enough experience they can also earn over $93,000 per year.

How much do nurses make in Boise, ID?

  • Nurses in Boise make an average salary of $71,530.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $93,900 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 135
  • The cost of living in Boise is 17% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $85,888.

17. Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville serves as a gateway to the Shenandoah National Park. It’s the heart of the Charlottesville metropolitan area, which combines the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson. This city is known for being the home of two U.S. presidents: Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. It is also home to the University of Virginia and a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Due to several historical sites, Charlottesville attracts thousands of tourists every year. The economy is also rooted in healthcare, as its largest employers include the University of Virginia Medical Center and the UVA Health Services Foundation. This unique city boasts a cheaper cost of living and an average nursing salary of about $75,000 per year.

How much do nurses make in Charlottesville, VA?

  • Nurses in Charlottesville make an average salary of $74,560.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $104,040 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 141
  • The cost of living in Charlottesville is 13% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $85,716.

18. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island, has roots in American art and silver. It’s home to renowned Brown University as well as the Rhode Island School of Design. Visitors will come across 18th- and 19th-century homes on the streets of College Hill. Waterplace Park serves as the backdrop for the WaterFire art installation, which lights up the nearby tidal basin during summer and special events.

Today, Providence houses eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning, which have redirected the city’s economy toward service industries. One of their primary hospitals is Rhode Island Hospital, the largest general acute care hospital in the state, not to mention the Level I Trauma Center for Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, and parts of Connecticut.

Nurses in Providence make an average salary of about $82,000 a year, while the highest paid RNs can earn salaries reaching $105,000 (or more) each year.

How much do nurses make in Providence, RI?

  • Nurses in Providence make an average salary of $82,170.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $105,450 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 156
  • The cost of living in Providence is 4% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $85,382.

19. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, TN

Memphis is a city in Tennessee that can be found along the Mississippi River. It’s the second most populous city in the state, and acts as the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region. The heart and soul of Memphis truly belongs to music.

In fact, the area has become quite famous for its strains of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. Major stars like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded albums at the famous Sun Studio. Some popular attractions include Presley’s Graceland mansion, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

The Memphis region also supports various hospitals, including the Methodist and Baptist Memorial health systems, two major private hospitals in the country. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is the biggest healthcare provider in the Memphis region and the fourth-largest employer as of 2018Modern Healthcare magazine also ranked Methodist Healthcare in their list of “Best Places to Work.” In addition, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital resides in Memphis.

How much do nurses make in Memphis, TN?

  • Nurses in Memphis make an average salary of $66,730.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $87,550 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 127
  • The cost of living in Memphis is 22% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $85,171.

20. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

With an estimated population of nearly four million people, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California. It’s also the second most populous city in the United States (New York City takes the number one spot). Los Angeles can be called the cultural and commercial center of Southern California. Known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and entertainment industry, the city is nothing short of a sprawling metropolis.

Los Angeles is located beside the Pacific Ocean and sits within a basin. Mountains crest the horizon, as do tall, impressive buildings. Some of its best-known attractions include the iconic Hollywood sign, Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the TCL Chinese Theatre.

In a 2018 financial report, the largest non-government employers in LA were ranked. Kaiser Permanente reached the number one spot with about 37,468 employees. Providence Health and Services Southern California ranked fourth with about 15,952 employees. In addition, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center ranked seventh with about 14,903 employees. Given the size of LA’s healthcare industry, it’s no wonder some nurses can earn as much as $149,690.

How much do nurses make in Los Angeles, CA?

  • Nurses in Los Angeles make an average salary of $106,190.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $149,690 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 203
  • The cost of living in Los Angeles is 25% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $84,794.

21. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

As the economic and cultural center of Ohio, Cincinnati is also the fastest-growing economic power in the Midwestern United States.

Cincinnati currently houses three major sports teams: The Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball; the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League; and FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer.

The city also features historic architecture. In fact, some structures have stayed intact for about 200 years. You can also visit the Over-the-Rhine district, which is well known for its 19th-century architecture. Additionally, you can plan a day trip to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. History lovers might enjoy the Cincinnati Museum, while art fans could tour the Cincinnati Art Museum (works are displayed that span 6,000 years).

Regarding healthcare, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center is one of Ohio’s leading institutes for community health. The relatively low cost of living, historical aspects of the city, and economic-powerhouse status makes Cincinnati one of the best cities for nurses.

How much do nurses make in Cincinnati, OH?

  • Nurses in Cincinnati make an average salary of $70,370.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $95,470 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 135
  • The cost of living in Cincinnati is 17% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $84,495.

22. Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota

Known as the “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis – St. Paul is a major metropolitan area built around the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers in east-central Minnesota. Minneapolis is the most populous city in Minnesota, and Saint Paul is the state capital. Their unique urban cultures caused an observer to state that “St. Paul is the last city of the East; Minneapolis the first city of the West.”

Thanks to a thriving economy and diverse population, the Twin Cities has a lot to offer healthcare workers. Although cost of living is the same as the average of our other cities, Registered Nurses in Minneapolis – St. Paul still enjoy an average salary of $84,400.

How much do nurses make in Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN?

  • Nurses in Minneapolis – St. Paul make an average salary of $84,400.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $110,230 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 162
  • The cost of living in Minneapolis – St. Paul is equal to the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability slightly raises a nurse’s pay to $84,451.

23. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas city view

San Antonio is a city in south-central Texas that’s blanketed by a rich colonial heritage. Visitors and residents alike can visit The Alamo, a Spanish mission that has been preserved as a museum. Along the San Antonio River, you can also enjoy the miles-long River Walk, which is a famous promenade dotted with cafes and shops. There’s also the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot structure that offers a remarkable view of the city.

San Antonio’s economy focuses mainly on sectors like military, healthcare, government-civil service, and tourism. Several companies are also headquartered in the city, including Carenet Health. Forbes magazine recently included San Antonio on their list of “Best Places for Business and Careers.”

How much do nurses make in San Antonio, TX?

  • Nurses in San Antonio make an average salary of $72,410.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $96,330 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 139
  • The cost of living in San Antonio is 14% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $84,442.

24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the Midwest. It sits on Lake Michigan’s western shore and is known for its breweries, Harley-Davidson Museum, and Milwaukee Public Museum, which includes a large-scale European Village and a re-creation of old Milwaukee.

In this city, the healthcare industry alone makes up 27% of the jobs. The Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex houses health organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, the Ronald McDonald House, Curative Rehabilitation, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Of course, there are various other health organizations and systems in Milwaukee.

Our study has found that the cost of living in Milwaukee is cheaper than the average of all the other cities. The average Milwaukee nurse can also enjoy a salary of $73k or higher.

How much do nurses make in Milwaukee, WI?

  • Nurses in Milwaukee make an average salary of $73,970.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $97,210 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 142
  • The cost of living in Milwaukee is 12% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability raises a nurse’s pay to $84,439.

25. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

The final destination on our list, Portland is the largest and most populous city in tree-dotted Oregon. It lies on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, sitting in the shadow of snowy Mount Hood. Many are familiar with the parks, bridges, and bicycle paths in the “City of Roses.” Portland is also famous for its eco-friendliness and coffeehouses. Affectionately dubbed a hipster city, Portland offers diverse art, theater, and music scenes.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy warm, dry summers and cool winters. Their relatively mild weather should persist for years to come, as this green city has enacted a comprehensive plan to reduce CO2 emissions. Various hospitals and healthcare systems also operate in Portland.

Although cost of living tends to be higher, the average RN will still earn around $100k each year.

How much do nurses make in Portland, OR?

  • Nurses in Cincinnati make an average salary of $95,420.
  • For some people, in the 90th percentile, salaries can reach as high as $124,390 or more.
  • Cost of Living Index (COLI): 185
  • The cost of living in Cincinnati is 14% more expensive than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average income based on its affordability lowers a nurse’s pay to $83,607.

Unitek College offers several nursing programs for aspiring nurses, including our BSN program and Vocational Nursing school.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and tuition assistance options.* Take the first step toward a rewarding future in healthcare!

 

 

*for those who qualify