Finding the best cities for nurses to live and work in is essential in maximizing your career. Although nurses are essential in every city’s healthcare system, there are cities that are more ideal than others for specific reasons. For example, there are cities that provide better benefits and perks for nurses while others have better programs for specific nursing subspecialties.
If you are mapping out your nursing career and want to maximize available opportunities, take a look at the following list of the best nursing-friendly cities in the US. The list is created from evaluating job growth, cost of living, median salary and other relevant factors.
8. Denver, Colorado
Denver is home to major national and international banks known as the “Wall Street of the Rockies”. The city’s bustling financial district fuels the sector of air transportation, aerospace, manufacturing, and telecommunications. The growing economic development of the city places Denver as one of the top promising cities in the next years.
Average Salary for Nurses: $45,610
Cost of Living Rank: 21st out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 113th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Additional Info: Salary of nurses is best at the University of Colorado Hospital. Other large employers of nurses in Denver include Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, Swedish Medical Center, Hospital Authority, HCA, Inc. and Denver Health.
7. Rochester, New York
In the past decades, Rochester City has been home to Fortune 1000 companies like Eastman Kodak and Constellation Brands. There is low commute time for their public transportation system. Cost of living is proportionally fair to the median salary of nurses. Compared with Brooklyn City and New York City, Rochester has more affordable rent prices.
Average Salary: $40,660
Cost of Living Rank: 46th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 137th out of 372
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Additional Info: Rochester has four large healthcare facilities that offer nursing positions with a starting pay of $23.50 per hour. Prices of rent are fair at $500-$700 per month for a 600-700 square feet apartment.
Also Read: Top 10 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs
6. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is home to some of the biggest companies in the US like Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon and Nordstrom. The city’s economy is fueled by the healthcare, education and research sectors. Seattle is home to lots of biotech companies and medical schools so it also offers great opportunities for nurses to work in the field of research and development.
Average Salary: $49,890
Cost of Living Rank: 8th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 34th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Additional Info: Seattle offers flexible opportunities for the educational advancement of nurses. It’s best to take these opportunities to be trained in a specific nursing subspecialty. Washington universities are also well-known for their expertise in research and development especially in the field of oncology.
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Back in 2008’s recession period, Oklahoma City ranked as the most recession-proof American city according to Forbes magazine. Currently, the city is still known for their stable job growth especially in natural resources, mining, leisure and hospitality, and construction sector. Oklahoma City is also famous for their favorable working environment where there is an established public transportation system and low average commute time for workers.
Average Salary of Nurses: $35,970
Cost of Living Rank: 11th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 44th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Additional Info: Shift differentials for PM, night and weekend shifts are an additional $2-$3 per base pay. “PRN” positions for nurse where basic benefits are not included have a starting pay of $30 per hour.
Also Read: 10 Toughest Nursing Interview Questions (And Best Answers!)
4. Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah is expected to have an increased demand for the nursing workforce by the year 2020. Salt Lake City, which is Utah’s biggest city, has great employment conditions for nurses. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the US and the cost of living is fair. The city is home to the largest industrial banking center in the US and its job growth is expected to improve continuously for the next 10 years.
Average Salary of Nurses: $39,590
Cost of Living Rank: 34th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 36th out of 372 highest growth cities
Additional Info: Shift differentials for night and weekend shifts entitle nurses to additional $3 to $9 per hour. Scheduling in most hospitals is also flexible as you can arrange 12-hour shifts and enjoy 4 days off in a week.
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland has been a booming hub for high-tech industries in the past decades. Currently, more than 1,000 startup and large tech companies are centrally operating in Portland. Although the high-tech industry is supporting Portland’s economy, it also sustained growth in the education and healthcare services sectors. As their population grows, large healthcare facilities are being established in the city.
Average Salary of Nurses: $43,370
Cost of Living Rank: 19th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 55th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 10.7%
Additional Info: The healthcare industry is expected to grow in Portland along with the booming high-tech industries in the city. More healthcare facilities are expected to be established in the city until 2025.
2. San Antonio, Texas
Since the onset of recession last 2008, San Antonio has the lowest change in unemployment rate. Their economic stability is reflected in their fair salary-to-cost of living ratios. The city continued to thrive because of the growth of opportunities in their tourism and healthcare sectors.
Average Salary of Nurses: $34, 610
Cost of Living Rank: 49th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 20th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Additional Info: San Antonio offers great educational advancement opportunities for nurses with their state-supported nursing schools and universities. The city also has plenty of nursing organizations that support private and independent practice.
1. Austin, Texas
Austin currently has booming technical entrepreneurism which boosts their economy. Despite the continuous growth of their economy, the cost of living remains at median rate. It is one of the few cities in the United States with unemployment rate lower than the US in general. Along with the growth of their population, it is expected that the demand for nurses will grow as well.
Average Salary of Nurses: $41,330
Cost of Living Rank: 28th out of top 52 urban US cities
Job Growth Rank: 6th out of 372 highest growth cities
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Additional Info: Since the 2008 recession, Austin is one of the most stable cities in the US. Steady availability of jobs made the city top in terms of growing population, thus, more healthcare facilities are being established in the city.
Also Read: 8 Job Perks That Make You Love To Be A Nurse
If you have plans to relocate, considering the current best cities for nurses is an astute move. Just remember that the salary rate of a nurse in a particular city is not enough consideration for relocating. You need to consider other factors like potentials for job growth, cost of living, unemployment rate, and transportation system status.
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