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With top-tier nursing schools, such as the University of Alabama and Auburn University, and rich cultural history, Alabama is a great place for students to begin their education and careers as registered nurses (RNs). Alabama is also part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which makes it easier for nurses from other states to qualify for licensure with minimal paperwork.
Although Alabama RNs earn a lower-than-average annual salary, the state's low cost of living and demand for medical professionals make it an attractive choice. Readers can use this guide for an overview of the average RN salaries in Alabama, the effect of the area's low cost of living, and the highest-paying regions in the state.
- Average Alabama RN Salary: $61,920 (Ranks 50th among all states)
- Hourly Alabama RN Salary: $29.77
- Projected Alabama RN Employment Growth (2018-2028): 10.2%
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Average RN Salaries in Alabama
When working toward becoming an RN, being aware of the compensation within each state helps nurses determine the location that works best. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for RNs in Alabama is $61,920 ($29.77 per hour), compared to the national average of $82,750.
Average compensation in the state ranges from $47,390 in the bottom 10th percentile to $78,670 in the 90th percentile. Overall, Alabama RNs earn the lowest average salary of all 50 states.
Despite the below-average RN salary in Alabama, the state's cost of living is approximately 10% lower than the national average. The cost of living in a given area often affects the pay for any occupation, including nursing. Since it is cheaper to live in Alabama, RNs in the state can stretch their salaries further than professionals in more expensive states.
|Percentile||Average Annual RN Salary||Average Hourly RN Salary|
Alabama RN Salary, Adjusted for Cost of Living
The money needed to cover basic expenses, such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare, indicates a location's cost of living index. Industries in states with higher cost-of-living figures often need to provide their employees with salaries that cover these basic costs. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Alabama has the fourth-lowest cost of living in the country.
When adjusted for cost of living, the average registered nurse salary in Alabama reaches $68,545, which ranks 40th among all other states. Although RNs in Alabama may earn less than they would in other states — even adjusted for the cost of living — their compensation can still allow them to make a comfortable living.
- Average RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living: $68,545 (Ranks 50th among all states)
- Cost of Living Index (RPP): 89.3 (10.7% less than the U.S. average)
Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Alabama
Most of the highest-paying cities in Alabama are located in densely populated areas. Except for Mobile, centrally located cities such as Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery, offer some of the best compensation. Huntsville, which is located on the state's northern border near Tennessee, also features one of the highest average salaries for RNs in Alabama.
The top-paying city, Birmingham, is also home to the University of Alabama Hospital, which is a designated Magnet hospital. This designation is the highest recognition offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and highlights the hospital's excellence in nursing and patient outcomes.
These cities pride themselves on their rich history, beautiful gulf shoreline, passion for football, and deep-rooted culture. While not adding directly to an RN's paycheck, these elements often provide value beyond financial compensation.
|City||Average RN Salary|
|Birmingham — Hoover, AL||$63,610|
Average Salaries for Other Nursing Roles in Alabama
In comparison to RNs, the compensation for other nursing roles typically varies based on education and specialization. RNs looking to increase their salaries exponentially can pursue advanced academic degrees, such as a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
The salary increase for RNs with MSNs or DNPs who become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) varies depending upon their specialization. According to the BLS, nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners are the top advanced practice roles for median annual salaries.
In Alabama, nurses within these specialties earn similarly high incomes. Nurses with advanced education in Alabama fare better than those who only possess bachelor's degrees.
- Nursing Assistants: $26,590
- LPN/LVNs: $41,540
- Nurse Practitioners: $102,410
- Nurse Anesthetists: $188,840
Methodology and Sources
Registered nursing salary data by state is collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, released on March 31, 2022. Data reflects RN salaries as of May 2021. The highest-paying cities and states for RNs are ranked by average annual salary.
Cost-of-living data is collected from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis real personal income for states and metropolitan areas, released on December 14, 2021. RN salary adjusted for cost of living is calculated by multiplying each state's RN salary by its regional price parity (RPP). RPP measures differences in the cost of goods and services in a region compared to national prices.
Projected employment growth data by state is collected from Projections Central.
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