Nurses and a Doctor in front of the hospital

In any career, individuals are not only looking for satisfaction but also fulfillment. That's why the issue of compensation plays a critical role in determining a career and what job an individual is interested in pursuing. It's common for individuals to seek employment opportunities in an industry generally known to offer the highest level of compensation.

Today, the nursing occupation stands out as one of the most lucrative employment opportunities in the country. Besides the open opportunities available in the market at any given time, it's essential to communicate that this sector offers attractive remuneration. Here are some related nursing specializations and salaries you can expect across the country. 

What Are the Top 10 States Overall for Nurse Salaries?

As you already know, different states have varying average salaries for nurses. There's no doubt that some significant factors determine the amount of money each state is willing to pay. However, it's always necessary to understand the highest-paying states to consider them as you look for nursing vacancies across the country. 

Recommended Reading - How Much Do Nurses Make In Each State in The USA?

We have conducted a detailed analysis for each of the nursing positions below, so please click through for more information.

Top Ten States Median Average Salary for All Nursing Positions Analyzed



Median Annual Salary

Cost Of Living Index Position

1 - Highest



3/50 States




13/50 States




5/50 States




6/50 States




8/50 States




4/50 States


New York


2/50 States


New Jersey


11/50 States


District Of Colombia


No data


Rhode Island


9/50 States

What Are the Lowest Ten States Overall for Nurse Salaries?

As highlighted above, some states are known for offering the highest average salary for nurses. However, some states are also known for providing the lowest level of compensation to their nurses. There's no argument that the list keeps changing almost every year, but most states shown below have been known to offer the least average salaries for many years. However, it is important to understand the relevance compared to the cost of living in each state.



Median Annual Salary

Cost Of Living Index Position

1 - Lowest



47/50 States




21/50 States




45/50 States




35/50 States


South Carolina


33/50 States




40/50 States




24/50 States




32/50 States


South Dakota


22/50 States




49/50 States

What Are The Best-Paid Nursing Positions in the USA?

In the United States, not all nursing specialties are paid the same. As you'll learn, there are some occupations in this industry where individuals record huge average salaries; however, these are usually highly specialized and require many years of education and work experience.

Graph about the median average salary vs position

Generally, these nursing positions attract the highest pay in their respective states. However, it's essential to communicate that these nursing specialties don't usually get similar average salaries in all the states across the country. Some of these nursing specialties include:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

  • Nurse Practitioner

  • Flight Nurse

  • Travel Nurse

  • Intensive Care Unit Nurse

What Are the Lowest-Paid Nursing Positions in the USA?

In the nursing industry, some specializations don't attract considerable compensation. However, these opportunities are available in every state across the country, so you don't have to avoid a specific state as you look to avoid such specializations. 

Essentially, these nursing positions don't involve a lot of skills and competency. However, you'll still handle some sensitive nursing roles. Here is a list of the lowest pain nursing positions in the country. 

  • Home Health Assistant

  • Certified Nursing Assistant

  • Geriatric Nursing Assistant

  • Licensed Practical Nurse

  • PRN Nurse

What Are the Average Salaries of All the Different Key Nursing Positions?

As you've already discovered from the analysis above, various nursing positions attract different salaries. In addition, these employment opportunities come with unique and varying responsibilities, so the average wages are significantly different.

However, as you'll continue to discover, some states have been paying high average salaries for the same positions. That's why a significant share of the people in such states have been looking to secure employment opportunities in those states. Here are some specific nursing positions and the salaries they've been attracting in the country.

How Much Do CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) Make?

Certified Nursing Assistant, commonly known as CNA, is an entry nursing position that most nursing practitioners have to pass through in their careers. This position does not require any work experience or complex nursing knowledge. Only classroom work and essential practice are essentially needed for you to become a Certified Nursing Practitioner. 

Recommended Reading - Certified Nursing Assistants Salaries

Therefore, you don't expect to make much from this position. In most cases, the average salary for a CNA is $32,500. However, this salary usually varies based on the employer, prior job experience, and geographic location. 

How Much Do GNAs (Geriatric Nursing Assistants) Make?

A GNA (Geriatric Nursing Assistants) is a certified nurse assistant with specialized training in caring for older adults. GNAs work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care settings. They help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating. 

GNAs also provide emotional support to residents and their families. This is not a specialty position from the above analysis but is sensitive. That's why nurses in this position make around $32,555 every year

Recommended Reading - Geriatric Nursing Assistant Salaries

How Much Do LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) Make?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide primary nursing care. These nurses are under the supervision of senior registered nurses and doctors. Most LPNs work in hospitals and may work in nursing homes, clinics, and physicians' offices. In addition, some states allow LPNs to work independently in specific settings, such as taking blood, giving injections, and changing dressings. Based on their responsibilities, most licensed practitioner nurses take home an average of $51,098 every year. 

Recommended Reading - Licensed Practical Nurses Salaries

How Much Do RNs (Registered Nurses) Make?

This is a nurse who has graduated from a nursing program and has passed a national licensing exam. Such individuals are responsible for promoting health, preventing disease, and caring for the sick and injured. According to Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for RNs is $76,945. 

However, such nurses can make significantly more depending on their experience and specialty area. For example, those working in critical care or emergency rooms can make upwards of $90,000 annually. In addition, nurses with a doctorate or master's degree may earn more than the median wage.

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How Much Do HHAs (Home Health Aides) Make?

Home health aides (HHAs) are responsible for providing primary care and assisting with activities of daily living for patients in their homes. HHAs typically work under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse and may also provide some limited home health services independently. Because they work in patients' homes, HHAs must be able to travel to their patients' homes and have access to transportation. The median annual wage for HHAs is $27,121, which can grow with experience.

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How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

Travel nurses travel to work in various locations around the country. They typically work 13-week assignments, although some travel nurses choose to work shorter or longer assignments. Travel nurses usually make more money than staff nurses and receive a per diem to cover their expenses while on duty.

The hourly pay for such a nurse is $42, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This hourly pay equals an annual average salary of $87,959 for full-time travel.

Recommended Reading - Travel Nurses Salaries

How Much Do ICU Nurses Make?

ICU nurses are nurses who work in intensive care units (ICUs). They provide care for critically ill patients who need close monitoring and support. ICU nurses use a variety of machines and technology to monitor their patients' vital signs and ensure they are stable. They also administer medications, provide respiratory support, and perform other tasks to keep their patients comfortable and safe. The average salary for ICU nurses is about $84,281.

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How Much Does A (CRNA) Nurse Anesthetist Make?

A CRNA is a nurse who has been specially trained to administer anesthesia. CRNAs are uniquely qualified and experienced to provide this vital service. They play an essential and fundamental role in ensuring that patients receive the best care before, during, and after surgical operations.

CRNAs are highly skilled and compassionate professionals who understand the importance of working with other healthcare team members to provide the best care for their patients. Nurse anesthetists earnanaveragesalary of $140,358 per year.

Recommended Reading - Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Salaries

How Much Do ER Nurses Make?

An ER nurse is a professional who provides care and treatment to patients in emergencies. They are often the first point of contact for patients involved in accidents or suffering from severe medical conditions. ER nurses must be able to think quickly and act decisively to provide the best possible care for their patients. These nurses play an instrumental role in the healthcare system and are often the difference between life and death for many patients. That is why they get an average salary of $78,452.

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How Much Do NICU Nurses Make?

A (NICU) nurse is a registered nurse with specialized training and experience caring for premature newborn infants or with medical conditions requiring close monitoring and support. The NICU environment can be very demanding, both physically and emotionally, but extremely rewarding. These nurses get an average salary of $151,321, but this can change depending on state and experience.

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How Much Do Labor and Delivery Nurses Make?

A labor and delivery nurse is a registered nurse who works in a hospital's labor and delivery unit. The labor and delivery nurse provides care to women and supports the family members during labor and childbirth. The labor and delivery nurse has a vital role in caring for the mother and child during labor and delivery. Various states around the country pay these nurses around $75,192 annually for their roles.

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How Much Do Scrub Nurses Make?

A scrub nurse is an experienced surgical nurse who works in the operating room alongside the surgeon. Scrub nurses ensure that the operating room is clean and sterile and that all necessary equipment and supplies are available. They also assist the surgeon during surgery by passing instruments and providing other assistance. Also known as operating room (OR) nurses or surgical services nurses, scrub nurses must be able to work well under extreme work pressure and remain calm in emergencies. Today's average annual salary for a scrub nurse in the United States is $73,367.

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How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Make?

A pediatric nurse is usually a registered nurse who specializes in caring for infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and home health care agencies. They usually offer direct care to the patient and support services to families. Pediatric nurses must have at least an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), although many choose to pursue a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher. Pediatric nurses get an average annual salary of $69,474.

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How Much Does a Charge Nurse Make?

A charge nurse is a registered nurse in charge of a particular nursing unit during a shift. The charge nurse is the senior and responsible for the overall care of the patients on the team and the supervision of the other nurses and support staff. The charge nurse may also be responsible for managing medications and supplies and coordinating with other medical staff. Charge nurses get an annual average salary of $73,298.

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How Much Do Flight Nurses Make?

Flight nurses are specially trained nurses who provide high-quality care to critically ill or injured patients needing emergency medical transport. Flight nurses work in various hospitals, air ambulance services, and critical care units. Flight nurses must be able to think quickly and make decisions under pressure. They must remain calm in emergencies and work well as a team. These nurses earn an average salary of $89,579 yearly for their sensitive role. 

Recommended Reading - Flight Nurses Salaries

Conclusion About Nurse's Salaries in The USA

From this analysis, it's clear that different nursing positions attract different annual average salaries. It is also clear that various states around the country have different nursing salaries. Therefore, as you make your next career move, you must consider where you would like to work as a nurse and what nursing position is more rewarding. 

ShiftMed is the leading staffing platform for nurses that you can rely on to secure your next nursing assignment across the country. This platform has over 60,000 nursing employees across the country, clearly illustrating its success in the nursing industry. 

Download ShiftMed today and get your next nursing assignment.