Registered Nurse Salary Guide: Chicago, IL

Home to Wrigley Field, Millennium Park and the Magnificent Mile, living in Chicago has plenty to offer. For registered nurses (RNs), the prospect of increased earnings makes the city even more attractive than all its famous attractions. RNs tend to earn more in the Windy City than in nearby markets, and you could bump your earning potential even further if you have experience in an in-demand specialty. This guide provides in-depth RN salary data for Chicago and several other markets, making it easier to determine how your RN salary in Chicago stacks up against wages in other areas.

Average Registered Nurse Salary


The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Chicago, IL is $41.07 per hour. This is 1% lower than the Illinois average of $41.37.

Last updated on June 23, 2024. Based on active jobs on

Registered Nurse salaries in Chicago, IL compared to State and National Averages


Chicago, IL

3% lower than the US average.



2% lower than the US average.


United States

How Registered Nurse Salaries in Chicago Compare to Other Cities


Joliet, Illinois


This is 20% lower than the Chicago average of $41.07.

Rockford, Illinois


This is 28% lower than the Chicago average of $41.07.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


This is 9% higher than the Chicago average of $41.07.

What are the highest paying Agencies for Registered Nurse jobs in Chicago?
Average Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
ScionHealth - Kindred Cornerstone & Solara Hospitals$45$45
Advocate Aurora Health$41$54

Last updated on June 23, 2024. Information based on active jobs on and pay data from BLS and around the web.

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Tips for Increasing Your Pay

Specialty Credentials

As noted previously, certain specialties offer higher salaries than others. Obtaining specialty credentials may help you qualify for higher-paying jobs. For example, the American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (CV-BC), letting nurses demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills to provide high-quality cardiovascular care. With the CV-BC, you can advance your nursing career by moving from general OR nursing to CVOR nursing, one of the highest-paying RN jobs in Chicago.

Additional Education

In 2020, the Journal of Nursing Regulation released its National Nursing Workforce Survey results. Nearly 30,000 nursing professionals answered questions about their salaries, their highest level of education completed and related topics. The results indicate that advancing your education may help you increase your earnings and advance your nursing career. Respondents with bachelor’s degrees had a median annual salary that was $4,000 higher than nurses with associate degrees. Reported salaries don’t include sign-on bonuses, but they do include merit-based bonuses and overtime pay.

Per-Diem Employment

Per-diem nursing jobs are a great way to make more money without committing to loads of
overtime or taking on a second job outside the healthcare field. Instead of working a set schedule, a per-diem nurse picks up shifts as needed. This type of scheduling makes it easier for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to adjust staffing levels based on demand.

Because per-diem nurses often pick up shifts at the last minute, these jobs typically pay more than staff nursing jobs. You also have the freedom to set your own schedule. Some nurses accept multiple shifts per week, but it’s possible to work just a few times per month, increasing your annual earnings without forcing you to work a crazy number of hours.

High-Paying Nursing Specialties in Chicago

One way to increase your RN salary in Chicago is to look for jobs in high-paying nursing specialties. Based on Vivian Health’s data for the week ending March 11, 2023, intensive care and operating room (OR) nursing offered some of the highest salaries for RNs interested in staff roles. Both specialties paid $30 to $50 per hour, depending on your experience and qualifications. Permanent positions in home health hospice paid between $38 and $49 per hour.

For travel roles, nurses with OR experience had the highest hourly wages during this period, particularly those with experience in cardiovascular OR (CVOR) nursing. Travel CVOR nurses earned up to $4,424 per week, while travel OR nurses earned up to $4,382 weekly. Contracts in the pediatric intensive care unit and pediatric postanesthesia care unit also had higher-than-average salaries. These travel roles paid between $4,010 and $4,054 per week.

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