Best Places to Live as a Nurse

Wondering which are the best places to live as a nurse? Here you will learn about the states with the highest employment or RNs, their annual mean wage, and the benefits of different cities. There will also be tips on how to start your nursing journey.

American flag with stethoscope

Are you thinking of changing your career to nursing, but you are not sure if it will be worth it in your state? According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, there are almost 4.2 million registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S. But where are they? Where are the best places to live as a nurse? Keep reading to learn more about the places with the highest concentration of nurses, the highest annual wages, and the best cities to be a nurse.

States with the Highest Employment of RNs and Highest Annual Wages

The nursing profession varies depending on the state. It is affected by the state’s elder population, high-risk individuals, and total population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the states with the highest employment level of RNs in 2021:

  • California: employed 324,400 RNs, and their annual mean wage was $124,000.
  • Texas: employed 217,630 RNs, and their annual mean wage was $79,120.
  • New York: employed 188,300 RNs, and their annual mean wage was $93,320.
  • Florida: employed 187,920 RNs, and their annual mean wage was $72,000.
  • Pennsylvania: employed 149,270 RNs, and their annual mean wage was $76,000.

Best Places to Be a Nurse

Knowing the number of RNs per state is useful, but where would a nurse thrive more? Having a high concentration of medical centers or the business of a city can determine the best places to live as a nurse.

Boston Massachusetts

Boston is home to more than 60 medical or healthcare colleges in its metro area. Along with its high-ranking medical centers such as Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, this city is a nurse’s dream come true. The average annual salary of an RN in Massachusetts is $104,150.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is already an affordable city to live in with prices lower than the national average. Many residents appreciate the small-town feel with all the perks of living in a big city. It provides many weekend opportunities to visit beautiful outdoor scenery like Bracken Cave and the Riverwalk. For anyone who enjoys a little history, San Antonio is home to the Alamo and Roosevelt Park.

San Antonio River

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta offers jobs for nurses in a wide variety of specializations. With more than five million people, Atlanta has multiple outdoor recreation spaces and many festivals including Providence Canyon and the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. The average annual salary of an RN in Georgia is $85,180.

Palo Alto, California

Besides being known as the “birthplace of Silicon Valley,” Palo Alto has an abundance of parks and outdoor spaces. Palo Alto is a great assignment city for a travel nurse interested in being close to the beach.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is home to some amazing nursing programs, from specialized schools to four-year institutions. Pittsburgh was also ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report.

Rachel Carson Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

How to Start Your Nursing Journey

Most nursing schools require a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to qualify for their ABSN programs. However, some schools are willing to accept students who have between 54 and 65 college credits. Minimum cumulative GPA requirements for ABSN programs range between 2.75 and 3.0.

It’s also common for nursing schools to have ABSN prerequisite requirements ranging anywhere from four to 10 courses that must be satisfied before admission. But for the most part, you should expect to requirements.

What to Look for in an Accelerated Nursing Program

When it comes to finding the right accelerated nursing program for you, here are some things you should look for:

  • Look at the admission requirements to make sure you qualify.
  • Consider the number of prerequisites, which are not part of the accelerated timeframe.
  • Ensure the school and program maintain appropriate accreditation status.
  • Make sure the program has first-time NCLEX pass rates that are above average.
  • Look at programs that have multiple start dates a year.

What to Expect from the ABSN Program Curriculum?

ABSN program curricula typically involve a rigorous blend of fundamental nursing courses, hands-on nursing skills and simulation labs, and in-person clinical rotations in diverse areas of nursing practice.

Accelerated nursing students typically spend between 40 and 60 hours on their studies just to keep pace. Some programs have students complete their fundamental coursework online, which brings a level of flexibility to the rigors of nursing school.

nurse using laptop at desk

Thinking of Going Back to School?

If you want to become a nurse, there are program options that can accelerate you into the profession.

By visiting the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), you’ll find that it has 755 member schools that offer ABSN programs. A selection of ABSN programs is listed below:

SchoolStateStarts a YearGPA Requirement
Adelphi UniversityNY13.0
Ashland UniversityOH23.0
Averett UniversityVA32.8
Barry UniversityFL13.2
Baylor UniversityTX13.0
Belmont UniversityTN13.0
CSP GlobalMN, OR33.0
College of Mount Saint VincentNY33.0
Concordia University IrvineCA33.25
Concordia University TexasTX33.0
Curry CollegeMA23.0
Duke UniversityNC23.0
Felician UniversityNJ33.0
Harding UniversityAR32.5
Indiana WesleyanIN22.75
Lewis UniversityIL12.75
Linfield CollegeOR13.0
Loyola University ChicagoIL23.0
Madonna UniversityMI32.8
Marian UniversityIN, OK & TN32.8
Mercer UniversityGA33.0
Northeastern UniversityMA & NC33.0
Notre Dame of Maryland UniversityMD33.0
Pacific Lutheran UniversityWA33.0
University of Detroit MercyMI23.0
University of St. Thomas HoustonTX33.0
Utica UniversityNY32.8
Xavier UniversityOH32.75

Editor’s note: The information presented in this table is accurate as of original publication date.

Your Path to Nursing School After College Starts Here.

Now you know the best places to live as a nurse once you finish your program. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits, we can help connect you with an ABSN program that aligns with your qualifications.

Simply complete our online form and be prepared to be contacted by schools that match your criteria. There is no cost to you, and you are not obligated to attend any of the nursing schools that contact you.