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If you are considering a nursing career in Nebraska, the benefits of working as a registered nurse (RN) in the state include higher earnings than in neighboring South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. Nebraska's cost of living is lower than the national average, as well, which adds value to an RN's paycheck.
This guide explores registered nurse salaries in Nebraska. We've compiled data on average pay, wages adjusted for cost of living, and the top-paying Nebraska cities.
- Average Nebraska RN Salary: $69,850 (Ranks 38th among all states)
- Hourly Nebraska RN Salary: $33.58
- Projected Nebraska RN Employment Growth (2018-2028): 11.1%
Source: BLS, Projections Central
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Average RN Salaries in Nebraska
Average RN salaries correlate with a state's cost of living and supply and demand. The average annual RN salary in Nebraska of $69,850 ranks 38th among U.S. states, consistent with its ranking of 30th for cost of living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state's range of RN earnings averages $55,040 for the lowest 10% to $84,910 for the top 10%. In addition, Nebraska has a great need for RNs.
Nebraska's projected employment growth rate for RNs totals 11.1% for 2018-2028, which reflects an expected shortage of 5,345 nurses by 2025, according to a Nebraska Hospital Association Nursing Shortage Workgroup Report. The report specifies that nine Nebraska counties are currently lacking RNs, and four counties employ only one RN.
|Percentile||Average Annual RN Salary||Average Hourly RN Salary|
Nebraska RN Salary, Adjusted for Cost of Living
Cost-of-living salary adjustments take into account metrics, such as regional costs of clothing, education, healthcare, housing, and transportation. Nebraska's 92.9 cost-of-living index is 7.1% lower than the U.S. average of 100. Therefore, the average RN salary in Nebraska, adjusted for cost of living, increases from $69,850 to $74,809.
According to Forbes' 2022 list of best places to retire, Lincoln, Nebraska, a college town and the state capital, boasts median home prices of $259,000, which fall 31% below the national median. Attracted by the affordability, an influx of retirees can mean job opportunities for RNs interested in caring for older adults. Lincoln ranks second among the highest-paying Nebraska cities for RNs, as detailed below.
- Average RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living: $74,809 (Ranks 39th among all states)
- Cost of Living Index (RPP): 92.9 (7.1% less than the U.S. average)
Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Nebraska
The table below highlights the three highest-paying cities for RNs in Nebraska, with average salaries ranging from $68,880 to $71,580 (not adjusted for cost of living).
The Omaha metropolitan area takes the top spot and includes Council Bluffs, Iowa, located on the Missouri River and state line. Home to nearly 1 million people, Omaha offers amenities like museums, restaurants, and a zoo and aquarium. Three of Omaha's hospitals — Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Nebraska Medical Center, and Nebraska Methodist — hold designation as Magnet hospitals recognized for nursing excellence.
Lincoln, as the second highest-paying city, is located just an hour southwest of Omaha. Lincoln hosts the University of Nebraska and Magnet-designated CHI Health St. Elizabeth hospital. Third place, Grand Island, also has a Magnet hospital, CHI Health St. Francis. Located near the Platte River, Grand Island features a water park and riverside nature trails.
Nebraska belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows RNs to practice in other NLC states under a multistate license.
|City||Average RN Salary|
|Omaha — Council Bluffs, NE — IA||$71,580|
|Grand Island, NE||$68,880|
Average Salaries for Other Nursing Roles in Nebraska
In addition to RNs, Nebraska offers opportunities for other types of nurses. Nursing assistants in Nebraska can average more than $32,000, and licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) make $48,000. Nebraska RNs who pursue master's or doctoral nursing degrees can earn significantly higher salaries as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. Nursing schools, including Omaha's Creighton University and Lincoln's Bryan College of Health Sciences, offer graduate nursing programs.
- Nursing Assistants: $32,380
- LPN/LVNs: $48,040
- Nurse Practitioners: $112,670
- Nurse Anesthetists: $232,230
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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