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Registered Nursing Jobs By The Numbers

Across the country, registered nurses are in moderate to high demand, and this is expected to continue until 2030, according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for registered nurses is around $77,000 per year or roughly $37 per hour, though it may be less for those just starting. Salary ranges can vary based on where nurses live and which type of healthcare facility they serve.

It is projected that there will be 194,500 openings for registered nurses each year for the next decade; currently, there are more than 3 million RNs in the workforce. Openings are caused by nurses retiring and those leaving the workforce due to burnout and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many nurses are retiring, and not enough new nurses can be sufficiently trained in time to replace them.

Salary Comparison Tool

This tool will allow you to easily search and compare the average salaries of nurses for many cities and locations across the U.S. You can search by city and state. Salary data is provided through the BLS.

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Why Are More Nurses Needed?

With a large, aging population, people living longer overall, and the persistent presence of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, the demand for RNs isn't likely to slow anytime soon, according to the American Nurses Association. Nursing shortages can be found nationwide, with the South and the West having the sharpest demand. Nurses impact patient care delivery more than any other job in healthcare. Too few nurses result in the quality of care going down.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), colleges and universities are having a hard time expanding their current nursing education programs; more than 80,000 qualified applicants are denied admission each year due to not having enough space. Shortages of nursing teaching staff and clinical preceptors contribute to the problem. The organization is working with government entities to collaboratively develop legislation and strategies to resolve the shortage while recognizing it will take time.

Nursing Employment Needs Across the Country

California has the most acute nursing shortage, with the lowest RN-to-patient ratio in the United States. Consequentially, nurses in the state can earn the highest compensation; Indeed reports that RNs in California earn $45.63 per hour as an average base salary – states including Texas, New Jersey, and South Carolina trail behind.

Florida, Ohio, and Virginia have a sufficient amount of nurses. States with the most nurses overall include California (274,650), Texas (207,810), New York (180,730), Florida (174,710), and Pennsylvania (139,480).

State Nursing Shortage Guide

Wondering which states have the largest nursing shortages, or what the projection of demand in your state looks like in the next few years? Our Nursing Shortage Guide breaks it all down.

States With the Largest Nursing Shortages

The RN Workforce

According to a 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, more than 60% of RNs work in hospitals and medical centers, including private and government facilities. About 15% of nurses work in ambulatory care, while the remaining work in residential and nursing home care facilities and education and training.

The average age of an RN is 50, with racial and ethnic minority groups accounting for 26.7 percent of RNs. Men account for 9.6 percent of nurses. Adapting to changing times and technology, telehealth capabilities were reported in 32.9 percent of workplaces.

Though it has been widely recognized that RNs with bachelor's degrees improve patient outcomes, just over 60% of RNs hold this degree. The goal set by the Institute of Medicine of having 80% of nurses with BSN degrees has not been achieved.

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