Which Region of the USA Has the Best Job Outlook for Nurses?

If you are looking to become a nurse, you might be wondering what the job outlook is in your region and which areas of the country have the most promising job forecast for the field of nursing. The likelihood of finding a job in the nursing field is, overall, quite high due to the fact that nurses are always needed and health care is an essential field. However, there are certain areas of the United States that offer a better than average outlook for employment in the field of nursing.

Employment by State

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are several states whose employment of nurses is at a high level, between 58,650 and 249,980. The states that currently employ the highest number of nurses are: California, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. These states are all reported by the BLS to have higher than average numbers when it comes to total amount of nurses employed statewide.

Concentration of Nurses by State

Another way in which the BLS measures the amount of nursing jobs currently held, and trends thereof, is by measuring the concentration of nursing jobs held in a given state. Considering this, the BLS reports five states in which the concentration of nurses is highest. These states include South Dakota, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Missouri, and Massachusetts.

Annual Income

While registered nurses make about $65,470 as a median national average, there are five states reported by the BLS to have annual incomes averaging between $71,090 and $94,120 annually. The states in which registered nurses earn the highest income include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon. While this may be attributed to the higher cost of living in states such as California, Hawaii, and Alaska, it is still a substantial increase in pay over the national average, and nurses in these states are likely to enjoy a higher than average annual income.

Metropolitan Areas with the Highest Level of Employment

While state information is helpful, it is also useful to study the metropolitan areas in which nurses may enjoy a higher than average level of employment. The New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, specifically New York City, White Plains, and Wayne, top the charts. Shortly thereafter is the Chicago area of Illinois. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale, California are third on the list published by the BLS, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is fourth. Houston, Sugar Land, and Baytown Texas come in fifth while Dallas, Plano, and Irving come in seventh. Sixth on the list is the Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy area of Massachusetts. St. Louis is seventh and, finally, the Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Marietta areas of Georgia also report higher than average employment levels.

Overall Picture

Generally speaking, registered nurses are in high demand and will likely experience favorable pay, high employment, and job security throughout the country, particularly in a hospital setting. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reports that, on average, about 79 percent of all students who take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass it, so to improve your chances of obtaining a high-paying and stable nursing job, try to obtain experience where you can and stand out as an exceptional candidate. Given the BLS statistics above, however, California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania are some of the best locations in terms of pay, amount of nurses employed, and available number of metropolitan jobs.