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Which States Have the Most Job Openings for Masters in Nursing Grads?

As a nurse, your career could take you to almost any part of the United States. Most states are experiencing a nursing shortage, and advanced nurse practitioners with master’s degrees are in high demand. Although it might be hard to find a job in some rural areas, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting interviews and job offers in most areas of the country.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no job competition at all. By getting your MSN, you’ve certainly made yourself more marketable, but even if your resume is at the top of the pile, you’ll still probably be in competition with a few others for the top positions. Since you have an MSN degree, you qualify for positions with higher salaries and more responsibilities, and these are harder to get than just typical RN and LPN positions, which you can find almost anywhere. So, if you’re worried about finding a job, you might want to start you job hunt somewhere where there’s a huge need for nurses with MSN degrees.

In general, registered nurses (including those with just a bachelor’s degree, as well at those with an MSN or doctorate) make $62,450 per year on average. That number will only increase as more and more hospitals and other care facilities see an increase in the number of vacant nursing positions. As of 2008, the states that hired the most registered nurses, in relation to their total population, were as follows, according to the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • South Dakota: 10,010 nurses (2.5 percent of the population)
  • Massachusetts: 79,670 nurses (2.5 percent of the population)
  • Mississippi: 27,350 nurses (2.4 percent of the population)
  • Rhode Island: 11,360 nurses (2.4 percent of the population)
  • West Virginia: 16,910 (2.35 percent of the population)

In all of these states, average annual salary ranges from $52,000 to $80,000, with the highest salaries in Massachusetts. If that’s more important to you than moving to a state with a high percentage of jobs available to nurses, the top states in terms of salary are as follows:

  • California: $83,040
  • Massachusetts: $79,390
  • Hawaii: $77,950
  • Maryland: $74,370
  • New York: $73,160

It is important to keep in mind that your specific career path makes a difference in terms of where you should go to find the most job openings. With an MSN degree, there are four general specialties you can pursue – clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, or nurse educators. From there, you can specialize further to work with a certain group of people, such as the elderly, or to work with a certain part of the body, such as reproductive health. Further specialization is especially important for clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners.

Lastly, the type of facility where you want to work can also change the number of jobs open in certain areas. For example, in a state like Florida, there’s a higher need for nurses in extended care facilities, home healthcare organizations, and nursing homes, while in a state like New York, there’s more of a demand for emergency room nurses or nurses who want to work at family practices.

Featured Schools With Online Master's in Nursing Degrees


Southern New Hampshire University provides healthcare professionals with the unique opportunity to further advance their careers through Clinical Nurse Leader degree program. Southern New Hampshire is an accredited online university furthering the academic advancement of thousands of individuals nationwide.

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The Master of Science in Nursing program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of registered nurses with baccalaureate-degree preparation.

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Earn your M.S. in Nursing with a specialty in nurse administration or nurse education with an online degree from Kaplan University. The Master of Science in Nursing is also a foundation for future doctoral studies. And because these programs are completed online, it is easy to continue your current job.

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The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of registered nurses with baccalaureate-degree preparation. Coursework covers advanced nursing content and process, as well as leadership skills, teaching experience and the ability to manage health care systems. Areas of specialty within their MSN program include health education, informatics, health administration, and healthcare management.

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Earn your dual master's degree in business and nursing, along with specialties in clinical care, education, family nurse practitioner, or nursing leadership at Grand Canyon University's college of nursing and health sciences. Each course can provide you with the skills and techniques you need to become the best in your field.

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At Walden, we believe that knowledge is most valuable when put to use in organizations, communities, and families. We offer over 75 online degree programs with more than 345 specializations and concentrations, all designed to help professionals gain the knowledge they need to have a real impact in their lives and the lives of others.

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