5 Cities Where Nursing Graduates are in High Demand

nursing locationsA career in the health care industry is one that is just about always in demand. There will always be employment for nurses and other health care workers, especially due to the aging baby boomer population. However, as there have been issues with the economy, it can be difficult for new graduates in any field to find a job. Relocating to a different city might bring with it the opportunity to not only find a job but perhaps one that is higher paying than would be in your current city.

For the best quality of life, the key is not just to find any city with the highest salary. There are many things to take into account, such as the cost of living and amenities. There are 15 cities that are consistently considered the best places where nurses are in high demand. The reason that these cities make the list is that there is a demand for nurses, good salaries and a decent cost of living that allows for a high quality of life with the average salaries.

#1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has an unemployment rate that is lower than most other large cities and that has remained consistent. It has always been a center for health care companies, such as pharmaceutical companies. There has been a boom recently as the economy in the city is now centered around the health care industry. With that comes the increased need for nurses.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a fairly low cost of living. It hovers around average in comparison to the rest of the country. Home prices are modest and the median cost for homes is right around $105,000. That makes it an easy place to find an affordable rental or purchase a home.


Philadelphia is a city filled with historic attractions. In addition, the exciting array of restaurants, diverse population and plethora or green spaces makes Philadelphia a city for nursing graduates to consider.

#2. Portland, OR


Portland, Oregon has seen a very consistent growth in various industries, especially the health care sector. Healthcare in general is a priority in this state and there is a focus on wellness. In addition, there has been recent job growth in all sectors which is good for the overall economy.

Cost of Living

With a population of approximately 550,000, this is a medium-sized city with a moderate cost of living. The average salary for nurses in Portland is $43,000* and average home prices are $222,000. Rents are fairly affordable, especially out in the suburbs.


Portland, Oregon offers a temperate year-round climate with plenty of rain. This is a city of artists, musicians, and creative types in general. They are well known for a city filled with independent bookstores, food trucks and a variety of culinary delights, more parks than most other cities in the country and an overall liberal atmosphere. In addition, Portland has an expansive transportation system that is among the best in the United States, as well as having more bike paths and trails than almost any other city of its size.

#3. Austin, Texas


Austin, Texas certainly has plenty of demand for nurses. In general, the larger cities in Texas have experienced decent job growth in most industries, particularly health care. Austin in particular has experienced a steady economy, even with the lagging economy.

Cost of Living

The salary and cost of living makes Austin an excellent and cost-effective option for new nurses. The cost of living is three percent higher than the average across the United States. The median cost of homes is approximately $187,000. The average salary for nurses in Austin, Texas is $41,000*.


There is a reason that Austin often shows up on the best city lists. This is a liberal bastion in the heart of Texas. While summers can be extremely hot, much of the year is fairly mild weather-wise. Austin is filled with music. It is filled with live shows, delicious Mexican restaurants, and all kinds of bar. There aren’t many other cities that offer this much vibrancy and culture while also being affordable with many job opportunities.

#4. Cincinnati, Ohio


Cincinnati, Ohio has seen extensive job growth in the past number of years. This is due to a growth of Fortune 100 companies and health care facilities in the area. It is projected that there will be continued job growth, especially for nurses.

Cost of Living

The cost of living and low home prices in Cincinnati make it perfect for new nursing graduates just starting their career. Cincinnati, Ohio has a population of approximately 332,000 people. With an average salary of $40,500* and home prices with a median cost of $86,000, it is much easier to get ahead in Cincinnati in comparison to other cities.


Rated number 9 by Forbes as being the best city for raising a family in 2012, it is ideal for just starting out with little disposable cash, as well as for settling down and raising a family. There are a variety of cultural events and festivals, including the largest Oktoberfest in the entire country.

#5. Seattle, WA


Seattle, Washington is always on the list for the healthiest cities in the United States. This is clearly a boon for new nursing graduates. Due to the focus on healthcare and overall wellness, the employment for nurses remains steady. The economy has been more stable than other parts of the country and there has been job growth in industries such as technology and health care.

Cost of Living

It’s true that the cost of living is on the higher side in comparison to some of the other cities. The median home price in Seattle, Washington is approximately $350,000 and the salary is close to $50,000*. Utilities tend to be cheaper as there is no need for air conditioning during the summer months.


The Emerald city is filled with art, culture, education, mountains, islands, museums and much more. The transportation system includes a comprehensive bus system and trains. They boast a large number of trails, outdoor spaces, and it’s typically known as an area that is ideal for those that love the outdoors. The weather is moderate and rainy throughout much of the year.

* Salary data used in this article was sourced from Bls.gov (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The Highest Paying Jobs for Nursing School Graduates

nursing jobRegardless of the economy, good medical practitioners will always be needed and wanted. Being a clinician is not only a noble profession, it can be a prosperous one.

The nurse is an invaluable part of the medical process. They evaluate patients and plans. They’re responsible for implementing and documenting patient care, as well assisting physicians. They perform tests and administer medication. They are very important to the mental, not just physical, well being of the patient as they promote independence, aiding patients and families in understanding self-care and conditions.

Becoming a nurse requires an Associate’s Degree and certification in the state of practice. It’s an extremely promising field. The median compensation package for a staff nurse in the United States is $66,178*. There are many areas of study that can lead to exceptional positions. It’s all a matter of specialized education and training that can be done after finishing nursing school. A Master’s Degree in Nursing, let alone a specialized study, can increase an average nurse’s salary immensely.

Here are 10 highly regarded nursing positions that promise with the right education and experience to have the best compensation packages. 

#1. Head of Nursing

Also called Chief Nursing Executive or Chief Nursing Officer. This is essentially an executive position and pretty much the highest business level that a nurse can achieve in any medical environment. It will require not just experience as a clinician, but a strong understanding of management, overseeing personnel and setting policy, all with a firm handle on how these decisions can affect a medical environment. That’s why the position will require well over 10 years of experience and a Master’s. An MBA would be even more impressive. Any hospital or large medical facility with a nursing staff is likely going to need a Head of Nursing. The median salary for this position will be in the $179,000* vicinity.

#2. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

These clinicians work with anesthesiologists, surgeons, podiatrists and dentists. It requires an extensive amount of education and training. Outside of a four year science or nursing degree and a Master’s, there will be at least one year of experience as a licensed registered nurse in an acute care setting. There will also be an additional two years of study in an anesthesia program, followed by a certification exam. Of course, the administering of anesthesia is an all important and critical aspect of medicine and requires the strictest of standards. These nurses are utilized wherever anesthesia is used: hospital, dental offices, surgical suites or plastic surgery centers. The average salary is in the range of $135,000* and $147,000* annually. The position of Chief Nurse Anesthetist can bump that up anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000.

#3. Nursing Director

A Nursing Director is responsible for any and all aspects of the medical department’s nursing staff. They oversee budgets and schedules and set policy. It will not require only nursing experience. The Nursing Director will have to demonstrate exceptional skills with project management, people skills and leadership. They also serve as the strongest liaison between hospital administrators and staff. A specialized, advanced degree in Nursing is definitely a plus. Again, any facility that has a nursing staff could have a Nursing Director. Once achieved, look for this position to pay around $110,000* a year.

#4. Nurse Researcher

Nursing Researchers are actually scientists. It’s a structured, independent, behind the scenes position where research is conducted towards improvements in the field of nursing. They work private, government and individually funded projects. They write grants and manage databases. They compile, analyze and design scientific information, reporting the results accordingly. These results can have a dramatic and direct impact on the medical profession and its patients. The position will require a Master’s of Science in Nursing. A PhD in the Philosophy in Nursing may be needed for specified areas of research. A Nurse Researcher is looking at a roughly $95,000* salary.

#5. Certified Nurse Midwife

This will need a Master’s and a qualified certification depending on the region. A registered nurse program followed by a midwifery program will be required. In a given year, certified nurse midwives will attend somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 births. The setting can range anywhere from a hospital to private residences. These midwives also offer a wide array of medical services. This includes gynecological exams, family-planning education and pre- and post-natal care. If on hospital staff, Certified Nurse Midwives will work closely with OB/GYNs. These nurses can earn an annual salary upwards of $90,000*.

#6. Clinical Nurse Specialist

The responsibilities of a Clinical Nurse Specialist falls into three primary categories: system and network organization, patient and family planning, and nursing personnel and practice processes. While these clinicians may still be responsible for diagnosing and treating patients, as well as other nursing duties, they will also have scholarly responsibilities: number crunching and the evaluation of information, helping to assess procedures and personnel. The national average for this position is $90,000*.

#7. Head Nurse

If any medical facility has at least two nurses, it’s likely there’s a Head Nurse. Not to be confused with Head of Nursing, this position requires a completely different set of criteria and experience. This registered nursing spot asks for only a minimum of five years direct experience in a medical environment like obstetrics, ICU, OR, ER or CCU. While nurses may be responsible for their patient records, the Head Nurse will oversee all records and nurse performances. The Head Nurse will take charge of inventory levels and any daily duties for the nursing department. In return, they will receive upwards of $87,000*.

#8. Nurse Practitioner

This specialized profession requires a Master’s degree and certification in a specialized area. The majority of states stipulate that nurse practitioners operate in collaboration with physicians. A number of other states require Nurse Practitioners to operate under the supervision of a physician. On the other hand, there are at least a dozen states that allow these specialized nurses to open their own clinics. Varying state to state, they can diagnose and treat injuries, acute illnesses and infections. They are allowed to provide a range of medical services. The salary can start at $83,000*. It can go up in specific environments, such as ER and pediatrics.

#9. Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse

Endocrine diseases include diabetes, thyroid cancer and osteoporosis, to name a few. A Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse works with children suffering from these ailments. They work with pediatricians to develop treatment plans and care for infants to teens suffering from delayed growth and development, and adrenal and pituitary problems, among others. While an Associate’s and Bachelor’s will be needed, courses in endocrinology and pediatrics are a must, as well as experience in pediatrics, diabetes and internal medicine. These positions can start at $81,000*.

#10. Orthopedic Nurse

This is a multifaceted and well defined nursing position. An Orthopedic Nurse works with patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders and diseases. This can include arthritis, joint replacements, fractures, genetic malformations, broken bones and osteoporosis. They can be involved in both surgery and recovery. They also educate patients and families about musculoskeletal prevention, symptoms and treatments. This position will need at least two years registered nursing experience, as well as Associate and Bachelor’s degrees, the passing of both a licensure examination and orthopedic nursing certification exam. At the end of the line, these medical professionals can look forward to earning an annual salary of $81,000*.

* Salary data used in this article was sourced from Bls.gov (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)