The Best States To Work in if You’re a Nurse

Updated on July 27, 2022
The Best States To Work in if You’re a Nurse

Being a nurse is one of the most rewarding professions, but nurses can’t make a living on the emotional satisfaction of helping people. If you’re looking to maximize your financial potential, you may be better off in one of these states that are the best to work in if you’re a nurse.

What Makes a State Attractive for Nurses?

Median Salary

Obviously, the states that pay registered nurses (RNs) high salaries are the most attractive to work in. Typically, states with larger populations and a higher demand for nurses in hospitals and health care facilities have the highest median salaries. As you’ll notice, the states that made our list have some of the highest populations in the country.

Projected Job Demand

Nurses also want to work in a state that experts project to have a strong demand in the future. The projected job demand for a state can depend on various factors—from an aging population to population increases or an expansion in healthcare and facilities.

Cost of Living

A robust salary doesn’t mean much to a nurse if the living costs are too high. Numerous factors determine the cost of living in a state, like taxes and the price of goods. Nurses don’t want to live in a place with higher salaries if it just means they have to spend more money to live.

Best States To Work as a Nurse


The Golden State is one of the best states to work in if you’re a nurse for various reasons, but the high median salary is primary among them. California has a vast population and needs nurses to help care for that populace. California facilities are willing to pay more to attract nurses from across the country.

California has a higher cost of living than other states, but the solid median salary and projected growth overcome these concerns. Plus, California is a state with a damage cap on medical malpractice insurance, offering another layer of protection for nurses.


North of California is another attractive destination for nurses: Washington. The Evergreen State is similar to California in that it may have a higher cost of living than some but offers substantial median salaries and a robust job growth projection for nurses.

New York

Whether working in the Big Apple or upstate, New York is one of the most lucrative states for nurses. The projected employment growth for nurses is one of the best in the country, coupled with an already high median salary, making it an attractive destination for nurses who want to earn a sizable paycheck.


Texas has a low cost of living and one of the most diverse workforces in the country, comparable only to California. The salary may not be as high, but the projected growth in the nursing industry is high, and since it’s a more affordable state, the benefits are still apparent.