Registered Nurse Salary in North Carolina + Job Outlook – 2024


Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org


Working as a registered nurse in NC is a rewarding choice that pays well and offers outstanding job security. The average annual registered nurse salary in North Carolina is $77,420, which is significantly lower than the national average, but you can enjoy an excellent occupational outlook with growth anticipated to top 5% over the course of the next five years. Below, you can learn more about this specific career choice and the factors that may influence your salary and job outlook.


How Many Registered Nurses are Currently Employed in NC?


104,300


What is the Salary of an RN in North Carolina?


Starting Salary


The average starting RN pay in North Carolina is $59,580 a year, or roughly $28.64 an hour, and while this is much lower than the state’s average, it represents entry-level income for RNs who have only recently obtained their licensure.

TypeAverage Salary
Hourly$28.64
Monthly$4,970
Annual $59,580


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Average Salary


The average registered nurse income in NC overall is $77,420, or about $37.22 an hour for RNs working full time. This is the average salary among all RNs in the state regardless of their experience.

Type Average Salary
Hourly $37.22
Monthly $6,450
Annual $77,420
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Estimated Total Annual Compensation (Salary + Benefits)


The RN salary in North Carolina is not the only compensation you can expect to receive; you will also receive benefits such as paid leave, insurance, and retirement and savings plans, among others. These are valued at an average of $32,387, bringing total annual compensation for NC’s registered nurses to roughly $109,787.

Component Amount
Paid Leave$8,234
Supplemental Pay$4,062
Insurance$8,124
Retirement and Savings$3,733
Legally Required$8,234
Total Benefits$32,387
Average Annual Salary$77,400
Total Compensation$109,787
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Percentile Wage Estimates of all RN Workers in NC & Factors That Play a Role


Half the RNs in NC earn anywhere from $64,760 to $84,230, which is a huge salary range. For the most part, these salaries are affected by factors like your experience, the city in which you work, your employer, and even the role you play in your workplace. About 10% of all RNs in the state earn less than $59,580, and this figure represents those who have very little experience and who work in poorer, more rural parts of the state. Another 10% of the RNs in NC earn more than $100,430 a year, which is a testament to their experience and roles – likely managers and shift leaders.

Percent of RN's Number of RN's Annual Salary
10%10,430Under $59,580
15%15,645$59,580 - $64,760
25%26,075$64,760 - $76,430
25%26,075$76,430 - $84,230
15%15,645$84,230 - $100,430
10%10,430Above $100,430
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Salary Trend (2018-2022)


Between the years of 2018 and 2022, the RN average salary in NC grew by 23.75% overall from $64,850 a year to $77,420 a year. This salary growth can be attributed to North Carolina’s push to hire better qualified and more highly educated RNs and their efforts to offer more competitive salaries to attract them.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $64,850 $2,290 3.66%
2019 $66,440 $1,590 2.45%
2020 $68,950 $2,510 3.78%
2021 $71,200 $2,250 3.26%
2022 $77,420 $6,220 8.74%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years $14,860 23.75%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Salary Projection (2023-2027)


The same factors that drove salary growth in the previous five years will continue to push salaries forward between 2023 and 2027. Within the next five years, you can expect an average 19.71% salary growth, starting with $73,210 a year in 2022 and topping out at $92,680 by 2027. RNs are also seeking baccalaureate education at a higher rate, due in part to the Institute of Medicine’s push to have 80% of all RNs educated at the BSN level by 2020, and higher degrees command higher salaries.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2023 $79,690 $2,270 2.93%
2024 $82,260 $2,570 3.22%
2025 $85,360 $3,100 3.77%
2026 $88,900 $3,540 4.15%
2027 $92,680 $3,780 4.25%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years $15,260 19.71%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


North Carolina BSN Degree Holders vs ADN Degree Holders – Who Earns More?


A BSN provides more knowledge and skills, which means you can take on more responsibility and receive fair compensation. On average, you can earn $12,560 more with a BSN than with an ADN

ADN BSN How Much More Does an RN with BSN Earn
$66,260$78,820$12,560
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


North Carolina RN vs National RN


The national average salary for RNs is $89,010, which is much higher than North Carolina’s annual average of $77,420. When compared to many other states, North Carolina is not as affluent, and this means patients pay less for the services they receive. This translates directly into lower salaries for healthcare professionals across the board.

Type North Carolina United States Difference
Number %

Average Hourly Wage

$37.22$42.80-$5.58-13.04%

Average Annual Salary

$77,420$89,010-$11,590-13.02%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


RN Salary vs All Occupations in NC


Type North Carolina North Carolina
All Occupations
Difference
Number %

Average Hourly Wage

$37.2227.88$9.3433.50%

Average Annual Salary

$77,420$58,000$19,42033.48%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


RN Salary vs All Nursing Occupations in NC


$0 $50,000 $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 $250,000 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Nursing Asstant Licensed Practical Nurse Nursing Instructor Registered Nurse Nurse Midwive Nurse Practitioner Nurse Anesthetist $31,780 $53,010 $71,700 $77,420 $113,890 $114,450 $214,740


RN Salary vs Similar Healthcare Occupations in NC


$0 $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Emergency Medical Technicia Medical Assistant Cardiovascular Technologist Social Worker Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Registered Nurse Dental Hygienist Occupational Therapist Physician Assistant $37,280 $38,230 $60,300 $63,770 $75,610 $77,420 $78,470 $86,270 $119,830


RN Employment & Pay in Different Healthcare Facilities of NC


If you choose to work as a registered nurse in North Carolina, you will have the best opportunities to find employment in one of the states 120 or more hospitals. There are currently 58,540 RNs working in hospitals across the state earning $78,800 a year. You can earn a comparative salary if you choose to work in an Outpatient Care Centers like 5,160 other RNs in NC, but your employment opportunities will be far more limited.

Industry Employment Hourly Salary Annual Salary
Hospitals 58,540 $37.88 $78,800
Physician's Offices 7,090 $33.37 $69,420
Home Health Care 5,890 $34.67 $72,120
Outpatient Care Centers 5,160 $40.64 $84,540
Nursing Care Facilities 4,230 $32.27 $67,140
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Registered Nurse Salary in 10 Major Cities of North Carolina


1) Charlotte


Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the state’s most highly populated cities. It is home to just over $79,530 people who are being served by many of the area’s best hospitals. RNs in Charlotte earn $64,170 on average, and the vast majority are employed by hospitals. Some of the biggest employers in the city include Carolinas Medical Center – Mercy, WakeMed Children’s Hospital, and Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital. Many RNs work for large clinics and outpatient facilities such as the Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, and still others work in nursing homes across the city.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $64,170 $1,780 2.85%
2019 $65,960 $1,790 2.79%
2020 $70,420 $4,460 6.76%
2021 $73,260 $2,840 4.03%
2022 $79,530 $6,270 8.56%


2) Raleigh


There are 1.21 million people living in the Raleigh metro area, and because of the dense population here, numerous hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes exist to provide them with healthcare. RNs in Raleigh earn $78,670 a year, and most of them work in large hospitals like Duke Raleigh Hospital, UNC REX Hospital, and the WakeMed Raleigh Campus. Some RNs work at the Raleigh Hill Clinic.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $64,860 $830 1.30%
2019 $67,770 $2,910 4.49%
2020 $70,110 $2,340 3.45%
2021 $72,280 $2,170 3.10%
2022 $78,670 $6,390 8.84%


3) Greensboro


RNs in the city of Greensboro, NC serve a population of 290,222 people. They earn an average of $80,260, and the majority work in the city’s hospitals. These include Kindred Hospital, the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, and Cone Health Wesley Long Hospital, among others. Some RNs work in nursing homes like Morningview at Irving Park, Starmount Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Greenhaven Health and Rehab, as well.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $66,710 $1,720 2.65%
2019 $68,300 $1,590 2.38%
2020 $70,200 $1,900 2.78%
2021 $72,370 $2,170 3.09%
2022 $80,260 $7,890 10.90%


4) Durham


Durham is the third highest-paying city for RNs across the state of North Carolina with an average annual salary of $79,370 a year. This is due in part to Duke University and its corresponding medical center, which is at the very heart of the area and involved in cutting-edge research and technology. RNs work in places like Duke University Hospital, Select Specialty Hospital, and Duke Regional Hospital, among others. Some work in the local VA Health Care System and at Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital, as well.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $67,030 -$330 -0.49%
2019 $68,540 $1,510 2.25%
2020 $70,790 $2,250 3.28%
2021 $73,000 $2,210 3.12%
2022 $79,370 $6,370 8.73%


5) Winston-Salem


Winston-Salem boasts a population of just under 245,000 people and offers several high-rated hospitals, outpatient clinics, and long-term nursing care facilities to its residents. RNs here earn about $80,230 a year, and they work in places like Novant Health Medical Park Hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Select Specialty Hospitals. Some RNs work at clinics like Cedar Creek Family Medicine, and still others work in nursing and rehabilitation centers such as Oak Forest or the Brookridge Retirement Community.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $69,070 $6,680 10.71%
2019 $68,640 -$430 -0.62%
2020 $70,640 $2,000 2.91%
2021 $73,030 $2,390 3.38%
2022 $80,230 $7,200 9.86%


6) Fayetteville


Fayetteville, North Carolina has a population of just under 210,000 people and employs a large-number-of RNs in hospitals such as Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital, and Health Pavilion North Express. Some RNs in Fayetteville work in large clinics like the Fayetteville VA Medical Center and in urgent care centers like Cape Fear Valley Express Care. If you choose to work in Fayetteville, you will earn an average salary of $79,670 – the highest in the state.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $69,990 $4,170 6.34%
2019 $71,790 $1,800 2.57%
2020 $75,530 $3,740 5.21%
2021 $74,650 -$880 -1.17%
2022 $79,670 $5,020 6.72%


7) Wilmington


RNs who work in Wilmington, NC earn an average annual salary of $75,440. Most work in one of the city’s hospitals, which include New Hanover Regional Medical Center and NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital, among others. The city’s population of a little over 119,000 calls for several outpatient clinics, too, and places like the Nunnelee Pediatric Specialty Clinic the Downtown Med Center offer RNs plenty of employment, as well.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $61,600 $1,590 2.65%
2019 $61,260 -$340 -0.55%
2020 $62,490 $1,230 2.01%
2021 $68,440 $5,950 9.52%
2022 $75,440 $7,000 10.23%


8) High Point


High Point, North Carolina has a population of a little over 111,000 and offers its residents several local hospitals and medical centers for their care. These facilities employ most of the city’s registered nurses, and they include High Point Regional Hospital and Cornerstone Health Care, among others. As an RN working in High Point, you can earn an average annual salary of $80,260.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $66,710 $1,720 2.65%
2019 $68,300 $1,590 2.38%
2020 $70,200 $1,900 2.78%
2021 $72,370 $2,170 3.09%
2022 $80,260 $7,890 10.90%


9) Greenville


Greenville is a small but popular North Carolina city thanks to its short distance to Virginia Beach, and despite a population of just 92,000, some of the state’s best hospitals can be found here. RNs earn $75,640 a year and the majority work in hospitals like Vidant Medical Center and Greenville Hospital, but many also work for local clinics, which include the ECU Physicians Family Medical Center.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $64,380 $3,320 5.44%
2019 $66,680 $2,300 3.57%
2020 $68,390 $1,710 2.56%
2021 $70,630 $2,240 3.28%
2022 $75,640 $5,010 7.09%


10) Concord


Concord, North Carolina is about the same size as Greenville with a population of roughly 92,000 people, and it also provides care through two main local hospitals – NorthEast Hospital and Children’s Hospital – which employ most of the city’s RNs. There are several highly rated nursing and rehabilitation centers in Concord, which also employ many RNs locally. These include Carepoint, Five Oaks Manor, and Brookdale Concord Parkway, among others. If you work in Concord, you will earn an average annual salary of $79,530.

Year Annual Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $64,170 $1,780 2.85%
2019 $65,960 $1,790 2.79%
2020 $70,420 $4,460 6.76%
2021 $73,260 $2,840 4.03%
2022 $79,530 $6,270 8.56%


Which North Carolina Cities are Paying Registered Nurses the Most?


Durham, North Carolina is home to some of the state’s best and most prestigious hospitals thanks to Duke University Medical Center, and for this reason, it is a very lucrative city for RNs. In order for employers in this area to ensure they attract the best and most talented nurses, they pay an average salary in the state at $79,370 a year. Cities Fayetteville also pay salaries higher than the state average; this is due in part to their affluent neighborhoods and top-notch hospitals and care facilities.

It is important to note, however, that smaller and more rural towns will pay you far less as an RN. Places like Morgantown, Lenoir, and Hickory – much smaller and less affluent than Durham and Chapel Hill – will pay an average annual salary of only $70,390.

Rank City Hourly Annual
Range Average Range Average
1 Greensboro-High Point $29.14 - $46.67 $38.59 $60,620 - $97,070 $80,260
2 Winston-Salem $31.05 - $48.47 $38.57 $64,580 - $100,810 $80,230
3 Fayetteville $26.45 - $49.52 $38.30 $55,020 - $103,000 $79,670
4 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia $29.02 - $48.58 $38.24 $60,370 - $101,050 $79,530
5 Durham-Chapel Hill $28.18 - $53.53 $38.16 $58,610 - $111,340 $79,370
6 Asheville $25.78 - $49.57 $37.98 $53,620 - $103,110 $78,990
7 Raleigh $29.33 - $47.22 $37.82 $61,000 - $98,220 $78,670
8 Greenville $29.88 - $48.29 $36.37 $62,150 - $100,430 $75,640
9 Wilmington $28.84 - $45.28 $36.27 $59,990 - $94,180 $75,440
10 Burlington $24.79 - $44.71 $36.08 $51,570 - $92,990 $75,040
11 Rocky Mount $26.50 - $39.09 $35.01 $55,120 - $81,300 $72,810
12 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton $25.21 - $39.84 $33.84 $52,440 - $82,870 $70,390
13 Jacksonville $27.46 - $41.16 $33.82 $57,120 - $85,610 $70,350
14 Goldsboro $26.44 - $40.30 $33.78 $54,980 - $83,820 $70,250
15 New Bern $24.89 - $39.20 $32.80 $51,770 - $81,540 $68,210
(Source: In House Research Team & U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Employment Trend (2018-2022)


Year Employment Growth
Number %
2018102,5003,2903.32%
201999,960-2,540-2.48%
202099,110-850-0.85%
2021104,8105,7005.75%
2022104,300-510-0.49%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years5,0905.13%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


RN Job Outlook in North Carolina (2023-2027)


The employment of registered nurses in North Carolina is expected to grow significantly between 2023 and 2027. Growth of anywhere from 1.13% to 1.63% a year will result in total growth during this timeframe of 7.18%. This is significantly higher than the expected job growth across all industries at the national level, which is between 6% and 7%.

Several factors will drive the growth of the RN occupation across NC, but of these, expanded access to affordable healthcare is the most important. As more people seek treatment for their illnesses and injuries, RNs will play a crucial role in providing and managing that care in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and various other healthcare settings, as well.

Year Employment Growth
Number %
2023 105,477 1,177 1.13%
2024 106,780 1,303 1.24%
2025 108,310 1,530 1.43%
2026 110,000 1,690 1.56%
2027 111,790 1,790 1.63%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years 7,490 7.18%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Projected Annual RN Job Openings (New + Replacement) in North Carolina


Year New Jobs Replacement Jobs Annual Job Openings
(New + Replacement)
2023 1,177 5,603 6,780
2024 1,303 5,729 7,032
2025 1,530 5,956 7,486
2026 1,690 6,116 7,806
2027 1,790 6,216 8,006
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Which North Carolina Metro Areas are Hiring the Highest Number of RNs?


When you decide to look for a job as an RN in NC, you will have far better luck – and more opportunities – if you choose to start your search in the state’s most populated metros. In fact, 24,570 RNs work in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro area alone, followed by another 11,820 in the Raleigh area. Areas with larger and denser populations in NC must be able to provide adequate local healthcare, so wherever there are more people, there will also be more hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other facilities. Another important consideration is Duke University, which is located in Durham and employs a vast majority of the area’s RNs to help support the doctors and staff caring for patients at Duke Medical Center. Medical schools are some of the biggest employers of RNs regionally.

Rank Metro Area # Employed
1 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia 24,570
2 Raleigh 11,820
3 Winston-Salem 8,660
4 Greensboro-High Point 5,860
5 Asheville 5,480
6 Greenville 3,450
7 Wilmington 3,290
8 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton 3,030
9 Fayetteville 2,980
10 Burlington 1,110
11 Rocky Mount 1,080
12 Goldsboro 1,010
13 New Bern 930
14 Jacksonville 800
(Source: In-House Research)


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