The best and worst states to be an RN in 2012

Here are our three top picks for states where RNs can enjoy a great quality of living:

  • Texas: You really can’t beat Texas. It offers a balance of exciting large cities like Houston and Dallas, and delightful smaller ones like San Antonio and Austin. House prices are relatively low, there are great colleges and universities for your children, and there’s the beautiful Gulf Coast to escape to for some rest and relaxation when you need it. Salaries are high, with Houston ranking as the 18th highest-paying city in the U.S. for RNs, with an hourly rate ranging from $22.12 to $38.59, according to PayScale, an online market research company that specializes in salary analysis.
  • Florida: The salary is good, the weather is generally good—except during hurricane season, which you just have to learn to deal with and prepare for—and there are plenty of perks to living here, because Florida is fun. It’s full of attractions and great vacation spots. You can be outdoors year-round. Sure, the cost of food and housing in the tourist areas may be a tad high, but you don’t have to catch a plane to go to a vacation destination; you already live in one. And the state taxes are very low compared to other states. So it can be a bit of a balancing act to live here—be sure to find a home outside of the tourist zones and cities—but one that adds up to a great way of life.
  • Pennsylvania: The cost of living is 3.8 percent below the national average and RN wages are relatively high. Cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Allentown have plenty to offer everyone, but you can also enjoy small-city or small-town life in this state, which has a low crime rate, a low unemployment rate and a government that focuses on providing excellent healthcare and a wide range of programs and services to make life easy, enjoyable and affordable.

Where are you working as an RN? Are you planning to relocate?

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