Nurse Salary Guide

Nurse salaries skyrocketed during COVID-19, but will the boost last? As clinical staffing needs evolve in a world after the pandemic, that burning question challenges nursing leaders and talent alike across specialized care settings and geographic regions.

2024 Compensation Packages for RNs, LPNs/LVNs, and CNAs

2024 salary projections have not yet been published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases official nursing wage data annually. However, this report provides evidence-based 2024 projections for RNs, LPN/LVNs, and CNAs. These projections are derived from the April 2023 BLS compensation statistics combined with the latest industry trends.

By leveraging the most recent BLS data and evident year-long nursing compensation trends, this report projects well-researched salary ranges for these occupations in 2024. The projections represent the most accurate salaries that nurse leaders and healthcare decision-makers can expect as they budget for the year.


Nursing pay has reached record levels since 2020 – fueled by soaring demand and worsening retention struggles. However, can organizations afford to continue amplifying nurse compensation at recent clips? What about newer nurses weighing career options based on earning potential?

This nurse salary guide delivers clarity on growth trends with insights tailored for job seekers, executives, and health systems preparing budgets and staffing plans that hinge on understanding true market pay rates in 2024. It also provides benchmarks focused on long-term projections, rather than temporary volatility.

So what emerging trends appear sustainable? Where lies the greatest variance across experience levels, specialties, and locations? Delve deeper for those answers and more context below.

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RN Salary Rates for 2024

Over 3.1 registered nurses are presently employed in the United States. The average annual RN salary is expected to stand at $92,870, ranging from $63,490 to $133,710. On an hourly basis, the mean RN wage is $44.60, spanning $30.53 to $64.28.

RN Pay by Setting

Among major employers, outpatient care centers offer the highest RN salaries at an average of $98,951 yearly across 156,130 roles. Specialty (non-psychiatric) hospitals follow at $92,953 for 66,230 nurses.

Other top settings include general hospitals ($91,996 for 1.7 million RNs), psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals ($85,982 for 41,070 roles), home health services ($83,730 over 179,630 nurses), physician offices ($80,398 across 211,760 jobs) and nursing facilities ($82,404 over 132,000 positions).

Select non-clinical settings still lead in RN wages, like pharmaceutical/medicine manufacturing ($112,520), non-scheduled air transport ($110,130), and employment services ($110,050 across 123,150 nurses).

SettingEstimated RNs Employed in U.S. During 2024Projected Salary
Outpatient Centers156,130$98,951
Specialty Hospitals66,230$92,953
General Hospitals1,790,450$91,996
Psych & Substance Abuse Hospitals41,080$85,982
Home Health Services179,630$83,730
Physician Offices211,760$80,398
Nursing Facilities127,190$78,672
Wholesale Trade1,516$113,007
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing190$115,520
Non-scheduled Air Transport56$110,130
Employment Services123,150$114,520

RN Compensation by Region

In 2024, the highest-paying states for registered nurses continue to be concentrated along the Pacific Coast and Northeast. California leads with an average annual salary of $125,630, followed by Hawaii ($114,916), Oregon ($108,808), Massachusetts ($106,274), and Alaska ($105,409). Other top-tier wage states range from $90,630 to $137,630, including Washington, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

The next salary bracket spans $83,050 to $88,402 across the Mountain West and Midwest. Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming fall into this pay band for RNs.

Following at $77,250 to $82,390, includes Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont.

Finally, the lowest 2024 RN wages, from $38,481 to $76,489, appear in the Central South and rural Midwest – namely Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Mirroring long-term patterns, 2024 nursing salaries remain stratified by geography – with coastal and Northeast states continuing to lead.

RegionStatesSalary Range
Pacific & Upper Atlantic StatesCA, HI, OR, MA, AK, NY, CT, RI, MD$90,630 – $137,630
Southwest & Northern PlainsAZ, CO, NM, TX, WY, WI$83,050 – $88,402
Central, Southern and Eastern USADE, FL, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MT, NC, ND, OH, OK, UT, VT$77,250 – $82,390
Less Populated Central and Southern StatesAL, AR, IA, KS, MS, MO, NE, SC, SD, TN, WV$38,481 – $76,489

Weighing RN Salary and Cost of Living

The regions with the highest RN wages tend to have elevated housing expenses, while lower-paying areas generally offer more affordable living costs. Even as employers in coastal states invest more in nursing pay rates, nurses may feel their salaries do not stretch as far once accounting for cost-of-living differences.

Pacific Coast states continue leading average registered nursing salaries in 2024, followed by select Northeastern states like Massachusetts and certain Upper Midwest markets. The lowest RN wages persist in America’s rural Central Plains and Southern states with lower populations and cost of living.

StateSalaryCost of Living IndexAdjusted SalaryScore

RN Salaries by Metropolitan/Nonmetropolitan Areas

Reflecting statewide pay trends, the highest salaries for registered nurses in 2024 remain concentrated in California metro regions. The San Francisco/Oakland area continues to lead in paying the highest annual salaries at an average of $165,344 annually, with RNs working 36 hours per week on average and assigning 3-4 patients per shift. The top-paying non-urban markets shift to Northern California as well, at $129,654 in the Eastern Sierra region, where nurses work 40-hour weeks with patient loads of 4-5 assigned per shift.

By comparison, rural areas with substantial RN employment see significantly lower average wages. For instance, Kansas and Mississippi non-metropolitan regions offer average salaries of around $73,233 – nearly half that of California’s highest-paying non-metro region. This persisting gap, despite higher rural demand, highlights the deep compensation divide facing nurses between coastal and interior states.

In essence, as with compensation by state, average registered nursing pay by region in 2024 continues prior patterns – with California metro and non-metro areas outpacing rural Midwest and Southern markets by nearly 2x. This dynamic has significant implications for employer budgets and competition for talent.

Metropolitan AreasSan Francisco, Oakland$165,344
Non-Metro AreasEastern Sierra, Northern CA$129,654
Rural AreasKansas, Mississippi$73,233

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LPN/LVN Salary Rates for 2024

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) currently number 638,010 working across the United States. For 2024, average LPN and LVN salaries are projected to reach $56,373 annually, spanning from $43,169 to $81,861. Average hourly wages likely land around $33.01, ranging between $24.05 and $45.32.

Mirroring wider clinical labor market dynamics, demand for LPNs continues to rise across settings like hospitals, nursing facilities, clinics, and home health. However, talent supply has not kept pace – exerting real wage growth pressure. While trailing registered nurse salary growth, 2024 almost certainly marks another strong year for LPN and LVN pay trajectories.

With projections subject to change as new BLS statistics emerge, these 2023 estimates offer the best current insight into yearly and hourly earning power for licensed practical and vocational nurses.

LPN/LVN Salary Rates by Setting

As with RNs, outpatient care centers are the highest-paying clinical settings for LPNs and LVNs, estimated to employ 34,127 nurses at a yearly average salary of $63,458. Next on the list are nursing care/nursing facilities, which employ 173,961 nurses at $60,213 per year, on average. This is followed by continuing care retirement communities/assisted living facilities for the elderly (42,590 nurses at an average of $58,635 per year).

The next four highest-paying clinical settings for LPNs and LVNs are home health care services (85,583 nurses, $58,103 average annual salary), psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals (8,800, $57,513), general hospitals (83,274, $52,902) and physician offices (81,535, $51,210).

Once more, there are a handful of settings that employ very few nurses, but at considerably higher salaries. Though not representative of overall pay for LPNs and LVNs, this information may be of use to clinical employers struggling with retention. So far, the number of LPNs and LVNs they employ is statistically insignificant, yet the salaries they offer may be tempting for nurses seeking better-paying careers.

The top-paying employer in this category is personal care services, which currently employs 100 nurses at $93,779 per year on average. Next on the list are grantmaking and giving services (75 nurses at $74,850 per year on average) and insurance carriers (400, $67,125).

As with RNs, employment services are a major source of jobs for LPNs and LVNs, estimated to employ 30,000 LPNs and LVNs at an average annual salary of $66,600.

SettingEstimated LPNs/LVNs Employed in U.S. During 2024Projected Salary
Outpatient Centers34,127$63,458
Nursing Facilities173,961$60,213
Retirement Communities42,590$58,635
Home Health Services85,583$58,103
Psych & Substance Abuse Hospitals8,800$57,513
General Hospitals83,274$52,902
Physician Offices81,535$51,210
Personal Care Services100$93,779
Grantmaking Services75$74,850
Insurance Carriers400$67,125
Employment Services30,122$66,600

LPN/LVN Salary Rates by Region

In 2024, California edges just past Washington for the top average LPN/LVN salary at $72,128 annually, followed by Massachusetts ($70,415), Alaska ($68,830), Rhode Island ($68,754), and Nevada ($65,386). Additional leading wage states range from $62,186 to $72,128, including Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Hampshire amongst others.

The next tier, from $56,353 to $61,002, covers more affordable Mountain West and Midwest markets like Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

Central southern regions comprised of the middle bracket at $52,225 to $55 916 – Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin, for instance.

Lastly, the lowest 2024 LPN/LVN wages across Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi range from just $26,955 to $51,049.

Once again, New England and the West Coast states anchor the top average salaries, while rural Central South and Midwest states occupy lower tiers – maintaining geographical nurse wage disparities.

RegionStatesSalary Range
West Coast & Upper AtlanticCA, WA, AK$68.830 – $72,128
New England & Middle AtlanticMA, RI, NJ, NH$62,186 – $65,386
Central, South & EastCO, IL, CT, FL, TX, GA, NC, KS, OH, WI$52,255 – $55,916
Less Populated Central & SouthAL, OK, LA, KY, MS$26,955 – $51,049

Weighing LPN Salary and Cost of Living

StateAvg. SalaryCost of Living IndexAdjusted SalaryScore

Even as employers in coastal states invest more in licensed practical nursing pay rates, LPNs may feel their salaries do not stretch as far once accounting for cost-of-living differences.

Pacific Coast states like Washington continue leading average licensed practical nursing salaries in 2024, followed by California and select Northeastern states like Massachusetts. The lowest LPN wages persist in America’s rural Central Plains and Southern states with lower populations and cost of living.

LPN/LVN Salaries by Metropolitan/Non-metropolitan Areas

California metro areas lead average licensed practical/vocational nurse salaries again in 2024, with San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara at $83,010, the San Francisco/Oakland region at $82,884, and Santa Rosa at $79,112. The top non-urban wages shift to Alaska at $73,004, California’s Eastern Sierra at $68,404, and Central Oregon at $67,534.

Comparatively among areas with substantial LPN/LVN employment, rural Kansas offers average salaries of around $58,000 – over $15,000 less than California’s best non-metro localities.

RegionSalary Range
Metropolitan Areas$83,010 – $79,112
Non-Metropolitan Areas$73,004 – $67,534

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CNA Salary Rates for 2024

Over 1.35 million nursing assistants are employed across the United States. Average annual salaries for these workers now stand at an estimated $27,307 ranging from $28,851 to $47,318. Meanwhile, mean hourly wages land around $17.94, spanning from $13.88 to $22.76.

While still trailing registered and licensed practical nurse salary growth, strong demand has driven notable nursing assistant pay increases in 2022 and 2023. With talent shortages projected to intensify, 2024 should deliver another solid rise in average compensation for this critical support workforce.

As the foundational layer of the care delivery pyramid, understanding CAN and nursing assistant pay trajectory changes is key for provider financial planning.

CNA Salaries by Setting

Among top employers in 2023, specialty (non-psychiatric/substance abuse) hospitals lead nursing assistant salaries at $40,046 annually with over 28,128 roles. General medical/surgical hospitals follow with a base of $39,036 across 408,034 jobs, then nursing facilities at $36,215 with 461,068 positions. Continuing care retirement communities pay $35,254 and account for 145,351 nursing assistants, while home health services offer $33.125 with 84,122 roles.

Certain niche settings offer higher wages – like dental offices averaging $25,548 across just 504 CNAs and junior colleges at $71,325 with over 111 jobs. Though small volumes limit representation, these outliers should remain on the radar of long-term care and hospital providers.

Similarly, employment services pay above most clinical settings at $41,643 for 54,010 nursing assistants. With talent competition intensifying, retention strategy and budgeting feeling even greater urgency.

SettingEstimated CNAs Employed in U.S. During 2024Salary
Specialty Hospitals28,128$40,046
General Hospitals408,034$39,036
Nursing Facilities461,068$36,215
Retirement Communities145,351$35,254
Home Health Services84,122$33,125
Dentist Offices504$57,548
Employment Services54,010$41,643
Junior Colleges111$71,325
Technical & Trade Schools154$51,779
Non-scheduled Air Transport257$112,435
Colleges & Universities6,010$51,318

CNA Salaries by Region

Alaska leads average nursing assistant pay in 2024 at $45,952 annually, followed by the District of Columbia ($45,276), California ($45,019), New York ($44,884), and Oregon ($44,469). Additional top-tier wage states from $40,322 to $45,952 include Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Washington.

The next highest bracket, from $37,158 to $39,710, covers Northern Plains and Upper Midwest markets like Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Arizona, Montana, and Wisconsin. At $33,465 to $36,694, the central Southern tier includes Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, and New Mexico amongst others.

Lastly, the lowest 2024 wages, from $24,411 to $33.464, are concentrated across the deep South in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.

With California and the Northeast states continuing to lead averages, the wide dispersion of nursing assistant salaries by region persists through 2024.

RegionStatesSalary Range
West Coast & Few AtlanticAK, CA, OR, HI, NV, WA$40,322- $45,929
New England & Upper MidwestCO, MA, MD, MI, MT, WI$37,158 – $39,710
Central, South & SWFL, VA, OH, GA, IN, KS, NM$33,465 – $36,694
Southern USALA, OK, TX, AL, KY, Carolinas$24,411 – $33,464

Weighing CNA Salary and Cost of Living

StateAvg SalaryCOL IndexAdj SalaryScore
New York$44,884132$34,006112

While the highest paying states for CNAs tend to have high costs of living that diminish salaries, some regions balance strong compensation with more affordable living expenses. Even as employers invest more in nursing assistant wages, the impact varies greatly state-to-state after accounting for Differences in cost of living.

CNA Salaries by Metropolitan/Non-metropolitan Areas

The San Francisco and San Jose metro regions again lead nursing assistant pay in 2024 at $54,010 and $53,456 respectively. However, the top locations skew more diverse than nurse wages – with Minneapolis at $48,141 in third and New York City ranking sixth at $46,166.The highest non-urban salaries shift to Alaska at $48,607, California’s Eastern Sierra at $42,929, Massachusetts at $43,337, and Northern California at $42,596. Among rural areas employing significant volumes, Kansas lags at $37,605.

In essence, while California anchors the top metro wages, nursing assistants see relatively stronger earning power in Minneapolis, parts of the Northeast, and specific rural regions – even as regional variance persists. With turnover a mounting concern, narrowing geographic pay gaps could steadily gain priority.

AreaCities/StatesSalary Range
MetropolitanSF, San Jose, Minneapolis, NYC$46,166 – $54,010
Non-MetropolitanAK, Eastern Sierra CA, MA, Northern CA, KS$37,605 – $48,607

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Part 2: Travel Nurse Salaries

Travel nurse wages spike dramatically during the 2020 – 2021 peak pandemic demand, often ranging from $5,000 – $10,000 weekly. As acute volumes normalize, the average compensation has dropped back down but remains elevated compared to staff nurse roles.

Current projections peg the average 2024 travel nurse salaries around $3,500 a week, over double typical registered nurse pay scales. While moderating from pandemic heights, rates sit well above pre-2020 baselines as underlying shortages persist nationwide.

For budget-conscious providers still facing local hiring challenges, the premium for rapid contract labor persists into 2024. Projections could fluctuate further depending on the pandemic trajectory and other elements. But with the clinical labor tightness projected to intensify, reliance on travel nurses shows little sign of vanishing.

Increasingly, nurse leaders must factor contract labor costs into strategic planning. As clinical staffing grows more expansive, understanding compensation norms across the full talent spectrum is necessary.

Part 3: Projections for Nurse Salaries in the Coming Years

Given sustained labor scarcity and demand growth, registered nurse salaries appear unlikely to decline through 2024 based on forecasts. However, pandemic-fueled wage spikes above 4% yearly seem unsustainable.

Instead, projections peg RN pay expansion moderating around 2-3% annually – on par with pre-2020 scales – unless wider economic shocks emerge. This translates to potential average gains of $2,000 – $3,000.

For LPNs, LVNs, and CNAs, 2023 base pay rates could remain largely stable following faster pandemic-era rises. However, turnover persists in nursing facilities and home care. To compete in strained settings, budgets may shift towards bonuses, flexibility, and other non-wage benefits.

While the pandemic fueled a short period of abnormally high nurse wage accelerations, projections call for steadier yet healthy compensation growth by 2024. However, localized variations will continue based on labor dynamics.



  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Year). Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.
  2. Medscape. (2022). Registered Nurse/LPN Compensation Report.
  3. National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (2022). RN Workforce Report.
  4. Health Affairs. (2022). Nurse Employment During The First Fifteen Months Of The COVID-19 Pandemic.
  5. Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker. (Year). Health sector employment.
  6. Forbes. (2023). Travel Nursing: What The Past Offers The Future Of Staffing.
  7. Fierce Healthcare. (2023). Nearly a Third of Nurses Likely to Leave Career, Survey Shows.

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