RN Wages

Show Me the Money

Answers to Your Questions About RN Income Across the US

One of the most common concerns RNs have, whether new or experienced, is salary expectations for a given geographical area. Forums abound with questions regarding salary in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and in obscure rural areas like Alvin, TX. In order to answer address some of these questions questions, salary information from five hospitals and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are presented below in order to compare real wages to BLS statistics.

The hospitals I gathered data for are below. Regional Health in Rapid City, SD and University of Washington Medical Center both provided salary information directly over the phone. Several other hospitals declined to provide information.

Regional Health - Rapid City, SD

Starting point: 22.50

Mid-point 27.5

University of Washington Medical Center - Seattle, Washington

27.60 to 52.64 per hour, depending on experience.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital - Philadelphia, PA

Not allowed to discuss over the phone

Philadelphia VA hospital - Philadelphia, PA

Directed inquiry to several websites. Would not discuss salary or transfer call to someone who could.

The Crescenz Medical Center - Philadelphia, PA

Registered Nurse, Infection Preventionist

$60,733.00 to $116,250.00 per year


Balcones Heights Outpatient Clinic - San Antonio, TX

Registered Nurse Care Coordinator

$55,837.00 to $116,539.00 per year

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration - Seattle, WA

Registered Nurse, Renal Dialysis Unit

$66,000.00 to $121,889.00 per year


What Can I Expect to Make in Another City?

The table below will allow you to see an average for various locations as well as obtain a locality adjustment. The new adjustment numbers are based on an individual who is working in Rapid City at the Regional Health Center’s mid-point range of $27.50. So, if an RN is earning $27.50 then they can expect to earn the following rates at the localities listed below.




Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, GA-AL


Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH-RI-ME


Buffalo-Niagara-Cattaraugus, NY


Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI


Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN


Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH


Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH


Dallas-Fort Worth, TX


Dayton-Springfield-Greenville, OH


Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO


Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI


Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic, CT-MA


Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, TX


Huntsville-Decatur, AL


Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA


Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL


Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI


Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI


New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA


Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD


Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ


Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA


Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA


Raleigh-Durham-Cary, NC


Richmond, VA


Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Yuba City, CA-NV


San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA


San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA


Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA


Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA


Rest of U.S.


State of Alaska


State of Hawaii


What Accounts for the Difference in Pay?

Several factors affect your wage when you are finally offered employment. First, your experience matters. A recent graduate will not make as much as someone with several years of experience.

The department or specialty you work in also makes a difference. An oncology nurse, emergency room nurse, and a nurse at a senior care facility will have different wages. The difference persists even if years of experience are held constant.

Third, your level of education will make a difference in your pay as well. Registered nurses may attain an associates all the way to a Ph. D. in nursing (although the latter is rare). Many RNs enter the field with an associates or bachelor’s degree. This difference alone not only makes a substantial difference in your pay; but, but also your opportunities for employment because some facilities only hire nurses who have at least attained a bachelor’s degree. Specializations and certifications also make a difference. They demonstrate that you are an expert in a given area such as critical care or progressive care nursing.