The best and worst states to be a psychiatric nurse in 2012


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As a psychiatric nurse, you could work in an acute care hospital, a psychiatric hospital or a community mental health center. You could be employed by either the public sector or the private sector. You could even go into private practice.
We don’t have enough space here to cover every combination and permutation of where you work, who you work for and how many years of experience you have, but the following, which focuses on staff psychiatric nurses in hospitals, will give you an idea of where the money is, where the jobs are and where the living is good for psychiatric nurses.

Where the highest salaries are
PayScale, an online market research company that specializes in salary analysis, reports that the highest-earning psychiatric nurses are located in the states of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) and Illinois (Chicago), but in terms of average salaries, here are the states that rank at the top, plus the average hourly pay range for psychiatric nurses in each one:

  • New York — $22.03 to $54.25 per hour
  • California — $24.36 to $45.62 per hour
  • Ohio — $14.70 to $43.07 per hour
  • Virginia — $20.13 to $40.11 per hour
  • Pennsylvania — $19.73 to $39.56 per hour
  • Florida — $22.82 to $39.50 per hour

Next: Where the lowest salaries are →

Cynthia Dusseault
Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, and many more. She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.

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