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Top 20 Cities for Nursing Careers

Top 20 Cities for Nursing Careers

Nurses provide some of the most essential care in cities everywhere. Whether in hospitals, at urgent care facilities, in retirement communities, or for other healthcare service providers, nurses are a critical component of the healthcare industry.

Nearly 3 million nurses are employed in the United States, according to May 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). RNs have a national average salary of $73,550 (or a mean hourly wage of $35.36). The job outlook for RNs is very good, with projected growth of 15% over the next ten years. That’s much faster than the average growth estimated for all occupations, due mostly to longer average (and more active) lifespans and increasing rates of chronic health conditions across the population.

RNs typically work in a team environment, supporting patient care through assessment, administration of medication, recordkeeping, patient education, performing tests, and more. They often work in fast-paced or high-stress environments, and they may frequently work long or overnight shifts to ensure 24-hour care for their patients. Nurses may provide generalized care, or they might find a specialty to focus on—such as oncology, pediatric care, or urgent care—depending on their interests, skill sets, past experience, and available employment opportunities.

Registered nurses often earn a bachelor’s degree before pursuing their RN licensure, but some obtain a license and begin working with an associate degree or even a diploma. If you are considering continuing your education to prepare for licensure and become a nurse, we want to make sure you have the highest chance of finding success in a new nursing career.

Here are the twenty metropolitan areas with the highest employment of registered nurses according to the BLS.

Number 1

New York

Area: New York, New York; Jersey City, New Jersey; and White Plains, New York

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 18.34

Hourly mean wage: $43.76

Annual mean wage: $90,840

 

Number 2

Los Angeles

Area: Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale, California

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 17.92

Hourly mean wage: $45.99

Annual mean wage: $95,650

Number 3

Chicago

Area: Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights, Illinois

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 20.57

Hourly mean wage: $36.84

Annual mean wage: $76,640

Number 4

Houston

Area: Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land, Texas

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 17.62

Hourly mean wage: $38.01

Annual mean wage: $79,060

Number 5

Boston

Area: Boston, Cambridge, and Newton, Massachusetts

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 23.45

Hourly mean wage: $46.70

Annual mean wage: $97,130

Number 6

Dallas

Area: Dallas, Plano, and Irving, Texas

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 16.51

Hourly mean wage: $35.81

Annual mean wage: $74,480

Number 7

Atlanta

Area: Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell, Georgia

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 15.42

Hourly mean wage: $33.92

Annual mean wage: $70,540

Number 8

Minneapolis

Area: Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington, Minnesota

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 20.34

Hourly mean wage: $39.19

Annual mean wage: $81,510

Number 9

Phoenix

Area: Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale, Arizona

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 19.53

Hourly mean wage: $36.61

Annual mean wage: $76,140

 

Number 10

St. Louis

Area: St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 27.03

Hourly mean wage: $31.69

Annual mean wage: $65,910

 

Number 11

Washington, D.C.

Area: Washington, D.C.; Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 13.01

Hourly mean wage: $39.13

Annual mean wage: $81,500

 

Number 12

Baltimore

Area: Baltimore, Columbia, and Towson, Maryland

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 24.17

Hourly mean wage: $36.62

Annual mean wage: $76,160

Number 13

Pittsburgh

Area: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 27.59

Hourly mean wage: $31.43

Annual mean wage: $65,380

Number 14

Philadelphia

Area: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 34.16

Hourly mean wage: $39.55

Annual mean wage: $82,270

Number 15

Tampa

Area: Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, Florida

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 23.74

Hourly mean wage: $32.21

Annual mean wage: $67,000

Number 16

Nassau County

Area: Nassau County and Suffolk County, New York

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 21.95

Hourly mean wage: $42.46

Annual mean wage: $88,320

Number 17

Riverside

Area: Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario, California

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 19.32

Hourly mean wage: $46.88

Annual mean wage: $97,520

Number 18

Cleveland

Area: Cleveland and Elyria, Ohio

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 26.76

Hourly mean wage: $32.85

Annual mean wage: $68,320

Number 19

Denver

Area: Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood, Colorado

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 18.80

Hourly mean wage: $35.58

Annual mean wage: $74,010

Number 20

Indianapolis

Area: Indianapolis, Carmel, and Anderson, Indiana

RNs employed per 1,000 jobs: 25.36

Hourly mean wage: $32.06

Annual mean wage: $66,690

Registered nurses are a critical component of our healthcare system, and we need educated and experienced RNs nationwide.

If you’re seeking employment as an RN, these are twenty of the best areas in the country to start looking for nursing opportunities! With high numbers of registered nurses employed in these metropolitan districts—and often with salaries higher than the national average—this list includes a great selection of places to consider for both education and employment in the nursing field.

Ready to find a degree program near you? The Imagine America Foundation maintains a robust database of online and campus schools nationwide.

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