Nursing is already an in-demand career field, and the need for nurses is projected to increase further in the coming years. The U.S. Department of Health predicts 400,000 new nurses will be needed by 2015 just to cover the void left by retirees. That number jumps to more than 700,000 nurses needed by 2020 .
This projected growth makes nursing one of the career paths with the most expansive job opportunities. The 2010-2020 Employment Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts registered nursing will have a higher number of new jobs than any other industry with a 26% growth expected.
The BLS is a great place to start when looking for long-term career outlook. As of May 2011, the states with the highest number of registered nurses were California (250,230), Texas (184,890), New York (176,180), Florida (164,800) and Pennsylvania (130,740).
When it comes to pay, the BLS reported that as of May 2011, the highest annual mean wages per hour for registered nurses were California ($43.68), Massachusetts ($41.74), Hawaii ($40.36), Alaska ($39.46) and Nevada ($37.42).
Nursing opportunities are growing, so do the research to help determine the best place to launch or nourish a nursing career.