In addition to job security, nurses have the advantages of making a positive difference in people's lives and of combining science and technology with healing and counseling, explains the Georgia Nurses Association. Because of the continuing demand for nurses, these health care professionals also are able to choose their preferred location and schedule. Most registered nurses in Georgia make at least $51,000 per year.
An estimated 65,370 RNs were employed in Georgia in 2009 of the nearly 2.6 million RNs working nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Georgia Nurses Association estimates the number of Georgia RNs much higher, at 93,000 in 2011. The BLS does not include nurses who work on a contract basis or who hold licenses but are not currently employed. The bureau determined that the largest number of RNs in Georgia were in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, with about 32,910 working there in 2009. The next largest number were employed in Augusta and Richmond County, with about 5,110 RNs in 2009.
The average salary for Georgia RNs as of May 2009 was $29.30 per hour, equaling $60,940 per year, finds the BLS. The middle 50 percent of Georgia RNs were making $24.52 to $33.94 per hour, or $51,010 to $70,590 per year. The bottom 10 percent were earning $20.62 per hour and less, and the top 10 percent had salaries at or above $38.89 per hour, or $80,900 per year and higher.
Georgia RNs were earning the highest average pay in Savannah, at $31.28 per hour, or $65,060 per year. Other high-paying areas for RNs in Georgia were the greater Atlanta area, at $63,230 per year, the Augusta-Richmond County region at $63,090, Gainesville at $61,610 and Columbus at $60,260. The lowest-paying areas were Albany, at an average salary of $24.39 per hour, or $50,730 per year, the south non-metropolitan area of the state at $53,490 and Valdosta at $53,720. RNs in other parts of Georgia were earning about $54,000 to $59,000 annually on average.
Nationwide, the top-paying state for RNs in 2009 was California, where their average annual salary was $85,080. The lowest-paying state was Iowa, at $51,930 per year on average. States comparable to Georgia for RN average pay rates included Utah at $59,370 per year, Tennessee at $59,520, South Carolina at $59,680, Ohio at $59,740, Louisiana at $60,290, Idaho at $61,320, New Hampshire at $62,060 and Florida at $62,270.