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Survey names best states for nurses

As a licensed nursing professional, you have worked hard to obtain the education and certification required to practice your career. Whether you are currently enrolled in an RN to MSN program or completed your degree years ago, you likely want to pursue your career in a place that will appreciate your hard work and provide opportunities for growth and advancement.
Trying to figure out where to work after you complete your Master of Science in Nursing degree? Consider one of the states ranked at the top of the pack by personal financial resource WalletHub. The list was compiled based on 14 different metrics for nurses, including monthly median starting salary, projected competition, mandatory overtime restrictions, average number of work hours and average commute time. The metrics were divided into two main categories: “Opportunity and Competition” and “Work Environment.”

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Here is a quick look at the top five:

1. Washington
Taking the top spot is rainy but beautiful Washington state. With a total score of 59.18, the state ranked seventh in both the overall opportunity and environment categories. It is a promising location for new and seasoned nurses alike.

2. Illinois
The land of Lincoln comes in as the second ranked state on WalletHub’s list. While Illinois is not as promising for “Opportunity and Competition” – ranking 20th – it makes up for this deficit by being the fifth greatest state for work environment. If it’s important for you to feel valued in the workplace, Washington could be the state for you.

3. Texas
You probably have heard that everything is bigger in Texas, but did you know that includes greater opportunities for nurses? This No. 3 overall state excels at creating opportunities, coming in the third highest slot for the category. It ranks a respectable 19th for work environment.

4. Oregon
Another West Coast representative, Oregon joins Washington in the top five states for nurses. It ranked 17th for opportunity and 8th for work environment in the survey. And according to the popular employment website, Oregon is the seventh highest nurse paying state, with an average hourly wage of $22.91. Definitely an extra perk for the busy nursing professional.
5. Iowa
Rounding out the top five is Iowa. The state is a great option for opportunities and competition, earning the fourth place in that category. Work environment is also positive, ranking 17th on the list. If you enjoy living in the Midwest, Iowa should be on your mind when you finish your Master of Science in Nursing degree.


Honorable mentions
Looking for new opportunities? Consider moving to New Mexico. While the state did not break into the top 10 overall – it came in at 21 – it was the No. 1 spot for “Opportunity and Competition.” WalletHub also reported that it has the second-most nursing job-openings per capita, beat only by Washington, D.C.
If work environment is a high-value, you might find that Connecticut is the place for you. This New England state ranked 8th overall, and was at the very top in the work environment category. It was also in the 10th spot on’s list of highest paying states for nurses.


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