Looking for guaranteed employment in the next few years? Become a nurse.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions for registered nurses is expected to increase by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, representing a job outlook that is significantly better than the average for this time frame. In 2017, the total employment of registered nurses nationwide was 2,906,840, nearly one percent of the U.S. population, and is expected to reach 3,393,200 by 2026.

Demographic and social trends are contributing to the rise of the nursing profession. The combination of an aging population, retiring Baby Boomers, emphasis on preventive care, and increased life expectancy has led to an increased demand for nursing services, as well as home aides and other healthcare service professionals. As the specific demand for residential care facilities increases, nurses will need to be available around-the-clock.

On a national level, nurses are well compensated for their work. In 2017, the median pay for nurses was $70,000 per year, compared to $37,690 for all occupations. The current salary range for nurses is generally $50,000-$139,000, depending on factors like experience, education, and location.

Although nurses provide similar services nationwide and work similar shifts, wages are not evenly distributed across the country. Some cities offer better wages for nurses than others.

To determine which cities offer the highest and lowest salaries for nurses, LiveCareer, an online resume builder, analyzed salary, employment, and cost-of-living data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. For a fair comparison, the cities were ranked by “adjusted median salary,” which accounts for regional price parity and takes into account the cost of living in each urban area.

Most of the best paying cities are in the West, with 9 of the top 15 in California. Those cities also have the highest unadjusted salaries as well. Conversely, cities in Florida and Utah account for 8 of the bottom 15 metropolitan areas and have some of the lowest unadjusted salaries. Cities in the Northeast and Midwest are scattered throughout the list. Here are the best and worst paying cities for nurses.

The Best Paying Cities for Nurses

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1. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $118,147
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $120,510
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $41,910
  • Total number of nurses: 18,240

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2. Stockton-Lodi, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $111,747
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $111,300
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $35,880
  • Total number of nurses: 4,270

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3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $109,371
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $139,010
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $57,540
  • Total number of nurses: 15,990

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4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $103,665
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $129,270
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $51,750
  • Total number of nurses: 35,480

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5. Fresno, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $94,258
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $90,770
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $32,860
  • Total number of nurses: 7,560

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6. Bakersfield, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $93,971
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $90,870
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $33,940
  • Total number of nurses: 5,340

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7. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $90,472
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $92,010
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $42,460
  • Total number of nurses: 22,500

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8. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $89,376
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $87,410
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $34,400
  • Total number of nurses: 15,620

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9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $88,547
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $95,100
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $35,480
  • Total number of nurses: 27,720

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10. Urban Honolulu, HI

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $84,341
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $104,920
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $42,880
  • Total number of nurses: 8,480

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11. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $83,124
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $70,240
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $25,600
  • Total number of nurses: 5,500

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12. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $80,980
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $94,180
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $41,920
  • Total number of nurses: 23,100

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13. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $80,674
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $82,530
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $44,220
  • Total number of nurses: 39,290

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14. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $80,008
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $94,170
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $39,800
  • Total number of nurses: 102,330

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15. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $78,947
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $87,710
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $50,250
  • Total number of nurses: 60,260

The Worst Paying Cities for Nurses

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1. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $59,822
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $57,070
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $29,560
  • Total number of nurses: 4,260

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2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $60,790
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $65,410
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $34,670
  • Total number of nurses: 54,350

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3. Wichita, KS

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $61,109
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $55,120
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $34,900
  • Total number of nurses: 6,220

Photo Credit: Jason Kolenda / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Provo-Orem, UT

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $61,849
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $59,870
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $33,430
  • Total number of nurses: 3,530

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5. Baton Rouge, LA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $62,538
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $58,160
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $35,550
  • Total number of nurses: 7,780

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6. Jacksonville, FL

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $62,724
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $60,090
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $34,910
  • Total number of nurses: 13,750

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7. Chattanooga, TN-GA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $62,923
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $56,190
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $33,350
  • Total number of nurses: 5,670

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8. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,026
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $59,560
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $40,020
  • Total number of nurses: 7,310

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9. Ogden-Clearfield, UT

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,312
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $60,210
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $35,290
  • Total number of nurses: 3,140

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10. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,410
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $63,030
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $37,840
  • Total number of nurses: 11,150

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11. Knoxville, TN

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,469
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $56,170
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $33,460
  • Total number of nurses: 7,370

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12. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,667
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $63,030
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $32,690
  • Total number of nurses: 6,730

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13. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,681
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $59,160
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $31,840
  • Total number of nurses: 3,930

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14. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,814
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $58,900
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $34,090
  • Total number of nurses: 5,970

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15. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

  • Nursing median salary (adjusted): $63,820
  • Nursing median salary (unadjusted): $62,480
  • All occupations median salary (unadjusted): $37,220
  • Total number of nurses: 13,490

Methodology & Full Results

Salary and employment numbers are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2017 (released on March 30th, 2018). The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) is conducted semiannually and collects data on wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments for about 800 occupations. Data from self-employed persons are not collected and are not included in the estimates.

For each metropolitan area: Nursing median salary (unadjusted) is the annual median wage for registered nurses provided by OES; All occupations median salary (unadjusted) is the annual median wage across all occupations provided by OES; Total number of nurses is the estimated total employment of registered nurses rounded to the nearest 10, also provided by OES.

To compute the cost-of-living adjusted Nursing median salary (adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Price Parities for 2016 (updated on May 17th, 2018) was used. The adjusted median salary for each metro was calculated by dividing the unadjusted salary by its price parity. Only the largest 100 metropolitan areas by population were included in the analysis. The metros are ordered by their adjusted median salary for nurses.

If you are considering nursing as a career path, registered nurses usually obtain a B.S. in nursing (BSN) or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). All registered nurses must be licensed. For tips on applying to nursing jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a number of helpful resources. Additionally, you can find nursing resume templates on LiveCareer.