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RN Pay in Washington State: How Much Do Nurses Make?

This resource guide is for three types of people: registered nurses (RNs) already living and working in Washington, RNs outside The Evergreen State considering a move, and prospective RNs. Here, we’ve done a deep dive into the topic of RN income in Washington. We’ll cover important corresponding topics, such as how to become a Washington registered nurse, what the average RN wage in Washington is as a whole and in specific areas of the state, how that pay compares to the local cost of living, how to find RN jobs in Washington and more. 

This resource provides publicly available information about average RN salaries in Washington. While Nursa currently offers independent contractor RNs in Washington the opportunity to access per diem jobs that pay on an hourly basis rather than access to salaried or wage-based employment opportunities, this information may be a helpful frame of reference for you as you assess the market landscape both in regard to per diem jobs and employment opportunities. 

RNs can take in the breathtaking beauty of Washington State on their days off work.

How Can I Become an RN in Washington?

To become an RN in Washington, you must first successfully graduate from an accredited RN program. Upon graduation, you’ll “apply by exam.” Follow the instructions provided by the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON) to ensure you meet all the requirements and submit the appropriate documents and information to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) as some exceptions do apply. Prospective nurses educated outside the US will find specific directions for licensure on the WABON website.

For licensed RNs outside the state, it’s important to note that Washington has joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The state’s implementation process to join the NLC is divided into two phases. With certain exceptions, as of July 24, 2023, RNs who already have a multistate license (MSL) can practice in Washington—this is the first phase. The second phase, which will allow already licensed Washington RNs to apply for their MSL, is still under development. 

For licensed RNs who are not holders of a multistate license but are looking to move to Washington, application for a Washington license via endorsement should be explored by contacting WABON.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Washington?

The pay for nurses nationwide depends on multiple factors. How much you can earn is directly impacted by the following:

What's the Average RN Pay in the State of Washington?

Knowing how much you can earn in Washington may help you choose the best option when considering independent contractor work or applying for salaried or wage-based employment.

The average registered nurse pay in Washington is among the top ten best RN wages in the country. For example, earning $101,670 per year or $48.88 per hour, a single parent of two could potentially support their family on this average RN wage. That’s not your household situation? No problem. For your reference, this table shows the living wage estimates per working adult. 

Single Adult Single Income/Two Adults Dual Income
No children $19.58 $29.86 $14.93
One child $38.68 $36.89 $21.44
Two children $49.71 $41.88 $26.93

Data source: Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Most recent information as of August 2023)

How Much Do RNs Earn in Washington State?

Here, we show statewide information for both annual and hourly RN earnings for each wage percentile to give you a broader perspective of your potential income. This information can provide you with an excellent idea of the range an RN career in this state has and help you set reasonable goals for your earnings.

Percentile Mean National Hourly Wage Mean Washington Hourly Wage Mean National Annual Wage Mean Washington Annual Wage
10% $29.45 $37.24 $61,250 $77,460
25% $32.06 $39.83 $66,680 $82,840
Median (50%) $39.05 $48.67 $81,220 $101,230
75% $48.60 $57.04 $101,100 $118,640
90% $62.21 $63.09 $129,400 $131,230

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (Most recent information as of August 2023) 

What Do the RN Wage Percentiles Mean?

Keep in mind that the median data point is not the same as the average (mean). An average is influenced by both the highest and lowest earners for that occupation. The median captures the wage that is directly in the middle of all wages. In this case, the median means that half of Washington RNs earn more than $101,230, and half earn less.

RN Pay in Spokane, Washington

RN wages in Spokane Valley—which encompasses all of Spokane County, Pend Oreille County, and Stevens County—are the third highest in the state. Annual wages average $98,090, placing the hourly rate at $47.16.

RN Pay in Seattle, Washington

RN wages for the Seattle metropolitan area (Tacoma and Bellevue included) come in as the second highest for the state. Average annual income hits triple digits at $105,540, with the hourly rate at $50.74. This pay data applies to all of King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County.

RN Pay in Vancouver, Washington

The top spot for the highest average RN pay in the state is Vancouver and its metropolitan surroundings, which include Clark and Skamania Counties. Annual wages for RNs here average $111,610, and hourly wages average $53.66.

RN Pay in Washington State

The previous three high-earning areas in Washington aren’t the only reason the state’s in the top ten for high RN income. Among the many other cities and nonmetropolitan areas of the state, average wages are above the national average (with only one exception). How does your home base compare?

Location Mean Annual Wage Mean Monthly Wage Mean Weekly Wage Mean Hourly Wage
Olympia-Tumwater $97,540 $8,130.83 $1,871.20 $46.89
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area $97,150 $8,095.83 $1,863.15 $46.71
Bremerton-Silverdale $97,110 $8,092.50 $1,862.38 $46.69
Longview $96,260 $8,021.67 $1,846.08 $46.28
Mount Vernon-Anacortes $95,410 $7,950.83 $1,829.78 $45.87
Wenatchee $93,680 $7,806.67 $1,796.60 $45.04
Bellingham $93,660 $7,805 $1,796.21 $45.03
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area $93,450 $7,787.50 $1,792.19 $44.93
Yakima $89,400 $7,450 $1,714.52 $42.98
Kennewick-Richland $89,370 $7,447.50 $1,713.94 42.96
Lewiston (ID-WA) $79,470 $6,622.50 $1,524.08 $38.21
Walla-Walla Data unavailable

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (Most recent information as of August 2023) 

Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Washington

To summarize, the average hourly wages for RNs in cities across Washington are almost all above the national RN average. The top ten cities for RNs are as follows:

  • Vancouver
  • Battle Ground
  • Seattle
  • Tacoma
  • Bellevue
  • Gig Harbor
  • Snohomish
  • Spokane
  • Olympia
  • Tumwater

How Can I Find RN Jobs near Me in Washington?

Today, there are over 64,000 actively employed licensed RNs in the State of Washington, which may sound like a lot but actually isn’t enough. The demand for RNs is high as healthcare facilities continue to struggle with staffing shortages. The location quotient is 0.92, which means the concentration of RNs in Washington is lower than the national average. Unfortunately, the growth of registered nursing jobs in Washington is projected to continue outpacing the supply of nurses. 

As facility and hospital administrators and schedulers endeavor to reduce burnout and lower turnover rates within their workplaces, they increasingly rely on short-term strategies to address the day-to-day staffing challenges. One of the most successful of those short-term strategies is utilizing Nursa to connect nursing professionals like you to open shifts right away.

Find RN Independent Contractor Jobs in Washington with Nursa

Nursa is an open healthcare marketplace with per diem RN jobs in Vancouver, Seattle, Spokane, and other cities and towns across the state. When you use Nursa, you gain access to nursing opportunities that you didn’t realize were within your grasp. Working per diem shifts is a quick path to maximizing your income potential as well as growing your connections, your work experience, and your adaptability.

How Can I Earn More as an RN in Washington?

RNs unlock the secret to earning more money with Nursa.

Per diem shifts are usually offered at higher hourly pay rates than regular staff positions. This higher pay is possible because facilities are motivated to find willing contract nurses to fill their shifts and because it’s for contract work, meaning they don’t have the overhead costs of the hiring process, retirement benefits, health insurance, and paid time off. 

Picking up these higher-paying shifts is great for your finances, but it comes with other benefits as well. You can pick up shifts on the side of another job, working them into your schedule as it allows and therefore boosting your earnings. You can also work per diem shifts full-time, selecting the shifts that you want, when and where you want them. 

How Nursa Works

Nursa created a platform that seeks to solve staffing challenges by connecting talented registered nurses, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing professionals (CNAs) with hospitals and healthcare facilities that need them. Schedulers post shifts that they need coverage for, and RNs look for shifts that fit within their work availability. Nursa is free for RNs to use, and there is no limit to how few or how many shifts they apply for. This flexibility allows RNs to work when and where they want. Register with Nursa today, verify your RN license, and find per diem shifts near you.

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