Which States Will Need Nurses Most in 2013?


This past March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job growth in the healthcare sector was outpacing growth from 2011, accounting for one out of every 5 new jobs created this year.

What’s especially interesting about these numbers is that about 75% of those healthcare jobs are – and will be – in nursing.

While not every nursing school graduate and current nurse looking for work found a job in 2012 (and many who did find jobs did so only after many months of searching and interviewing), population growth, an aging workforce, and an aging population will likely create an ongoing need for many more nurses in virtually every state…

A growing shortfall…

By 2015, the U.S. Department of Health projects that 400,000 new nurses will be needed just to fill vacancies left by retirees.

By 2020, the U.S. Government predicts that it will be short between 800,000 and one million new and replacement nurses. (Including being short close to 117,000 nurses in California alone.)

A Johns Hopkins/Cleveland Clinic study in 2011 stated that the number of states receiving a grade of D or F for their RN “shortage ratio” will have increased from 5 in 2009 to 30 by 2030.

Where will the jobs be? 2013, and beyond:

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2010-2020, released this past February, the Registered Nursing workforce will be the top U.S. occupation in terms of job growth through 2020 and is expected to grow from 2.74 million nurses in 2010 to 3.45 million in 2020.

So as the demand for nurses to fill positions theoretically outstrips supply, in which state will you be most needed (and where will you most want to go)?

The top 10 States with the Most Nursing Job Openings (based on 2010/2011 data) are:

1. California                  10,900

2. Florida                      7,440

3. New York                  6,360

4. Ohio                         4,630

5. North Carolina           4,093

6. Illinois                       4,020

7. New Jersey               3,700

8. Michigan                   3,500

9. Georgia                     3,340

10. Massachusetts        3,290

A large portion of the approximately 712,000 new nursing jobs that experts estimate will need to be created in the next few years will be in Western states (though it’s Eastern states that seem to have the most jobs available today, whether or not they’re having trouble filling them), with California’s population base, quality-of-life, highest number of nursing positions open, and highest-hourly pay standing out particularly.

Highest hourly wages for nurses

State                Salary (hourly)    (based on 2010/2011 data 2010/2011)

1. California                  $25.45

2. Hawaii                       $24.76

3. Massachusetts          $23.38

4. New Jersey               $23.33

5. Alaska                       $23.09

6. Delaware                   $22.98

7. Oregon                     $22.91

8. Nevada                     $22.83

9. Maryland                   $22.79

10. Connecticut             $22.66

Nurse administrators and faculty needed too

In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a report which called for 80% more baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce and doubling the population of nurses with doctoral degrees. (The current U.S. nursing workforce boasts 50% of registered nurses prepared at the baccalaureate or graduate degree level, with most of those nurses at the baccalaureate level.)

The report highlighted what is perhaps an equally large problem: There aren’t enough nurses qualified to teach as many nursing students as could be available or lead teams of medical professionals as nurse administrators and/or nurse practitioners.


What do you think?

We’ve had some of our most spirited Comments discussions in the past on the topic of whether or not there really is a nursing shortfall in America. (Or at least on whether or not the job market for U.S. nurses is booming.) What do you think?

Has finding a job as a nurse for you (or friends/family) been tough or relatively quick? Or has finding a job in nursing been hard for reasons beyond the number of total or available jobs (i.e. available jobs in the state you want to be in, etc…)?

Have your say in the Comments area below…


25 comments on “Which States Will Need Nurses Most in 2013?”

  1. California has some of the highest wages because it has some of the highest costs of living, overly burdensome taxes, and most of these jobs will be in hospitals in “undesirable” areas, contributing to even longer commutes just to get to work (in Cali traffic) from a decent place to live. California also has a mandate that the patient load not exceed 5 patients in acute care – even if the acuity level is not that burdensome, so most facilities elect instead to go CNA-less so as the RN you get to do primary care as well as all the other stuff. PASS.

  2. Where in the world do those salary wages come from? I can guarantee nurses are making a lot more per hour in the majority of those states!

  3. I was wondering where they received those salary wages too??!!! Im in the Washington D.C area and most jobs are atleast giving 25.00-30.00 an hour.

  4. the wage for Florida was left out from the chart of job wage statistic…….
    was thar an error.? Because some agency jobs are given to RN/ADN/12 to 15$/HR.

  5. depends on your level of experience. I know the new nurses where I work make around $22-25/hr but I make more with 20+ years nursing experience. We deserve more for what we do, the occupational hazards (exposure to NASTY germs, for one) and for most of us, no pensions other than what we put into our own funds.

  6. Stating RNs in our LTC facility in Ohio make $22 to $24. As an RN/ADN with 25 years experience I am at $29.50/hr as an ADON

  7. Anticipating this shortage 5 years ago, I looked into getting at least my masters in Nursing to be able to teach at a community college level. I have a BSN. They make is so Darn hard (not academically) to even get into a masters program for nursing. It was not worth it for me. So many hoops to jump through, and that ridiculous GRE which is the poorest measurement of applied intelligence ever created. They are shooting themselves in the foot this way , and the shortage of qualified faculty will continue.

  8. In albuquerque new mexico we are making over 30 per hour. I can’t believe those salaries are real

  9. Those salaries are just silly. As a new grad I started at $6.00/hr more than California’s rate. Plus I didn’t have to live in California (Wisconsin).

  10. As an Associates RN with 15 yrs. experience at a Banner hospital in Arizona, my base rate is $40.oo/hr. (night diff. not included)

  11. Agree, California has insane taxes, not to mention poor working conditions. Primary care, now means, you are the CNA, janitor, RN, and the social worker. Unfortunately you will not be compensated for your multiple jobs. San Diego does not have a shortage of nurses, as a matter of fact one of the hospitals had an article about how they received 1000 applications for each job they had posted. California also imports the most foreign nurses to keep wages low.

  12. In New Mexico there are more than a hundred of Foreign Medical Professionals, including more than 40 MDs and Nurses which have their foreign credentials evaluated, a lot of experience in the medical field and are bilinguals, fluent in English and Spanish. All are legal residents of the State and they just want to enter into Nursing practice in this State with nursing shortage. Some of them have been applying to Nursing Schools with their credits but they need those credits they earned to be accepted for schools as a fast track for this workforce already trained to get into the school and help with the providers shortage in the State. If some school is interested in work with them please contact iskander.garcia@gmail.com.

  13. I am in Socal, starting my first job as an RN at $28.78 plus $4.00 night differential, and $2.00 for weekends. Aldo I will finish my BSN in december so
    I ‘ll get $1.00 more per hour. I hope that helps.

  14. I own 2 nurse staffing agencies in Az. Average pay rate is $38-40 depending on facility. We will be looking for experienced nurses to work in all areas at the VA hospital in Phoenix and in Tucson. As well we’ll also be hiring travelers to work VA hospitals across the country. I myself have worked as an RN for over 23 years, having worked in a variety of settings. We are great to work for and go above and beyond to assist our staff. If you have 2 years nursing experience and are interested in working in a VA hospital, please contact us via email.

  15. Hi, I am just finishing my LPN in Ohio. I want to move to Nevada and continue pursuing my RN. I wanted to know if working in a long term facility as an LPN will count towards experience when I receive my RN. Eventually as a Navy veteran I want to end up at a VA Hospital or VA nursing home.

  16. Dear Michaela, and anyone else with advice. I am a 14 year health care cna and will finish the rn program in 9 months. I need to leave this area and make a new safer home for my girls, but im by no means unable to handle myself,
    away to someplace my ex will not find us. Have never lived anywhere but the holler I grew up in. I would like to know more about New Mexico or any place other nurses have been. Relocating is new for me, any advice would be appreciated

  17. I am a ad trained travel rn with 10 yrs as a army medic, 4 yrs as a lpn and 25 yrs as a rn . I have worked in at least 20 locations. I can do this job.
    The problem with nursing now is the pay sucks for what you are put through.
    It’s the only field I know where there is actually a career field ( vendor management ) who’s only function is to drive down the rn pay scale. Look it up , in 5 years there will be no travel nurses available for fac. To get when the really need them. Only ex. Possibly new grads. I am glad I only wasted 2 yrs of paid schooling on this field. Pay rate in 1989 33 hr, current rate 30 hr.

  18. I don’t believe there are to many RN jobs in Illinois. I just moved from that state to Texas. I can tell you if you are trying to find a RN job in any hospital in suburbs of Chicago it is very difficult. I have been a nurse for almost 30 years and I worked in a particular hospital in northwest suburbs of Chicago and my floor was closed and I and the rest of the nurses were laid off. I found another job but it was difficult and took me awhile to find one.

  19. Whoa those salaries! In Ohio over 30 starting. In AZ sign on bonus and close to 40 day shift. Over 40 night shift.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *