Exploring RN Salaries in North Carolina [2023 Guide]

The average registered nurse (RN) salary in North Carolina is decent, considering the state’s cost of living and other benefits associated with the job.

Welcome to our comprehensive blog post, where we delve into the intriguing realm of registered nurse (RN) salaries in North Carolina. Whether you’re considering a career in nursing or are already an experienced RN looking to relocate to the beautiful Tar Heel State, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will provide you with valuable insights, up-to-date information, and a deep exploration of RN salaries in NC. 

By examining various factors that influence RN compensation, such as experience level, location, specialization, and education, we aim to equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your nursing career and financial future. Join us on this exciting journey as we navigate the intricacies of RN salaries in NC and empower you to achieve professional success and fulfillment. Let’s begin!


Earning an RN salary in North Carolina is like savoring a delicious slice of pie… It may not be the biggest slice, but it’s satisfying, comforting, and leaves you content. Just like each bite of pie brings a delightful combination of flavors, RN salaries in NC provide a satisfactory blend of financial stability, professional growth, and job fulfillment. So, take a bite out of the nursing opportunities in North Carolina and relish the sweetness of a fulfilling career.

Average RN Salaries in North Carolina

North Carolina offers a promising landscape for nurses, with salaries that provide a solid foundation for a fulfilling career. According to recent data, RNs in North Carolina earn a decent annual salary, with average figures hovering around $54,300. It is important to note that individual salary ranges vary based on factors such as years of experience, education, specialization, as well as geographic location within the state.

North Carolina RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living

To gain a more accurate understanding of the value of RN salaries in North Carolina, it is important to take into account the state’s cost of living index. While the national average cost of living index is 100, North Carolina’s index is slightly lower at 95.7.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the specific cost of living indexes in North Carolina, such as:

  • Grocery index: 97.7
  • Housing index: 90.0
  • Utility index: 95.3
  • Transportation index: 91.0
  • Health index: 109.1

Top-Paying Cities for RNs in North Carolina

CityAnnual Salary
West Canton$74,187
Wake Forest$74,015

If we look at recent data, it becomes clear that several cities in North Carolina offer registered nurses salaries that go beyond the state average. Leading the pack is Gastonia, closely followed by West Canton and Wake Forest, securing the second and third positions, respectively. Wake Forest shines particularly bright, surpassing the North Carolina average by an impressive 36.3%, while Gastonia sets an even higher benchmark with an additional $21,542 (39.7%) above the average salary of $54,300.

The data is clear: these cities offer RNs salaries that exceed the state average. This highlights the potential for significant economic advancement when registered nurses change locations within North Carolina.

Comparing North Carolina Salaries to Other States

In comparison to other states, North Carolina’s RN salaries fall in the lower range. States like Hawaii, Nevada, Connecticut, and Massachusetts tend to offer higher average RN salaries, with figures ranging from $84,570 to $86,423 annually. On the other hand, states such as Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana have similar average RN salaries to North Carolina, ranging from $54,300 to $55,677 annually.

It is worth noting that the cost of living in North Carolina generally falls below the national average, which can contribute to the relatively lower RN salaries compared to some higher-cost states. However, it is important to consider the overall compensation package, including benefits, opportunities for career growth, and the quality of life offered in each state.

When evaluating North Carolina’s RN salaries, it’s also crucial to consider the state’s robust healthcare industry, which provides a range of employment opportunities for nurses. North Carolina has numerous hospitals, medical centers, and healthcare facilities that employ RNs, and the demand for qualified nursing professionals remains steady.

Comparing North Carolina Salaries to Other Nursing Roles 

When comparing the salaries of various nursing roles in North Carolina, it becomes evident that there is a considerable disparity in earning potential. RNs earn an average annual salary of $54,300, notably lower than other advanced nursing positions. Nurse practitioners lead the pack with an average salary of $120,512, followed by nurse midwives earning $102,208 and nurse anesthetists earning an average of $101,170.

In contrast, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nursing assistants have significantly lower average salaries, earning $41,782 and $40,581, respectively. These figures highlight the significant difference in compensation across different nursing roles in North Carolina, with advanced practice nurses commanding higher salaries due to their specialized skills and expanded responsibilities. It is essential to consider these variations when exploring career options within the nursing profession in the state.

Factors That Affect North Carolina Salaries

Several key factors influence salaries in North Carolina, making it essential to consider a range of variables when assessing compensation levels. 

  1. Experience: Seasoned professionals with years of expertise in their respective fields often command higher salaries.
  2. City: The city in which you work can impact salaries, with certain urban areas offering higher average wages due to factors such as cost of living and market demand.
  3. Employer size and reputation: The size, reputation, and financial resources of the employer can influence salary levels. Larger and more prestigious organizations may offer more competitive compensation packages.
  4. Role: The specific role and responsibilities within the workplace can affect salaries. Positions that require specialized skills or carry greater responsibilities often command higher remuneration.

By considering these factors holistically, individuals can better assess their earning potential, make informed decisions regarding career paths, and explore opportunities for salary growth within the North Carolina job market.

Tips for Maximizing Your RN Salary in North Carolina

If you’re looking to maximize your RN salary in North Carolina, here are some tips to consider:

  • Pursue advanced education: Consider advancing your nursing education by obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Higher levels of education often lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries in the nursing field.
  • Gain experience and expertise: As you progress in your nursing career, seek opportunities to specialize in a specific area of nursing. Acquiring specialized certifications and skills can make you more valuable to employers, potentially leading to higher salaries.
  • Stay updated on industry trends: Stay informed of the latest developments and trends in nursing. Knowledge of emerging healthcare technologies, evidence-based practices, and advancements in patient care can enhance your value as an RN and potentially result in higher salary offers.
  • Consider relocating: Explore opportunities in regions or cities within North Carolina where the demand for RNs may increase. Urban areas or regions with a shortage of nurses may offer more competitive salaries and benefits.
  • Negotiate your salary: When starting a new job or during performance reviews, don’t hesitate to negotiate your salary. Research salary ranges for RNs in your area and highlight your qualifications and experience to justify your request for a higher salary.
  • Explore different healthcare settings: While hospitals are the primary employers of RNs, consider other healthcare settings such as outpatient clinics, home healthcare agencies, or research institutions. These settings offer unique benefits and compensation structures that could increase your salary.
  • Seek additional certifications: Pursue additional certifications related to your field of expertise as they can demonstrate your specialized knowledge and dedication, making you more attractive to employers and potentially resulting in higher salary offers.
  • Stay connected with professional networks: Engage with professional nursing organizations and networks within North Carolina. These connections can provide valuable resources, job leads, and insights into salary trends and negotiation strategies.

Remember, maximizing your RN salary is a gradual process involving continuous learning, professional growth, and leveraging opportunities in your chosen nursing field.

Benefits and Perks of Being an RN in North Carolina

Being a registered nurse in North Carolina, like in many other states, offers a range of benefits and perks. Here are some of them:

  • Job Availability: The demand for RNs is increasing across the United States, and North Carolina is no exception. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% growth rate for nursing jobs, so RNs in North Carolina are likely to find numerous job opportunities.
  • Diverse Work Settings: As an RN in North Carolina, you can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, corporations, home health care services, and even in roles for health insurance companies or government agencies. This allows you to choose a work setting that best fits your lifestyle and career goals.
  • Educational Opportunities: North Carolina has numerous universities and colleges with excellent nursing programs for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. This provides an opportunity for RNs to continue their education and advance their careers while working.
  • Professional Networking: North Carolina has active professional associations for nurses, like the North Carolina Nurses Association. These organizations offer opportunities for networking, professional development, and staying updated on the latest nursing practices and research.
  • Lifestyle Benefits: North Carolina is known for its favorable climate, rich history, and cultural diversity. From the mountains to the coast, there are numerous outdoor and recreational activities. The cost of living in many parts of the state is also generally lower than the national average.
  • Supportive Work Environment: Many healthcare institutions in North Carolina focus on creating supportive work environments that value team collaboration, respect, and wellness. This can lead to higher job satisfaction.
  • Scope of Practice: North Carolina is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, which means that if you’re licensed as an RN in another NLC state, you can practice in North Carolina without needing an additional license.
  • Continuing Education: Some healthcare facilities in North Carolina may offer benefits such as tuition reimbursement or continuing education opportunities, allowing you to keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date.

Please note that the benefits can vary widely depending on the specific employer, so it is important to ask about these benefits and perks when considering a job opportunity.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, while registered nurse salaries in North Carolina might be lower than the national average, the state’s lower cost of living and competitive benefits offer a decent and balanced compensation package. Besides financial aspects, it’s worth considering the enriching professional environment and the intrinsic rewards of the profession. The value of nursing in North Carolina goes beyond mere earnings, encompassing personal growth, job satisfaction, and the chance to make a genuine impact on community health.

For those considering a career as a registered nurse in NC, don’t let the raw numbers deter you. North Carolina offers a rewarding and sustainable platform for those committed to healthcare. Take the next step and explore the opportunities that this dynamic profession has to offer in the state of North Carolina.

Get The Latest Nursing News In Your Inbox

Stay on top of the latest word that affects your career.

More To Explore

It's time For the next step

Whether it's a new a job, or continuing your education, BetterNurse.org is your career partner.