Registered Nurse Salary Guide: Washington, DC

Although money isn’t the primary driver of job satisfaction, salary should be one of your first
considerations when looking for a new job. You must ensure the position offers a sufficient wage to meet your basic needs and represents fair compensation for the vital work you do as a registered nurse (RN). If you’re an RN searching for a career in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area, you’ve come to the right place.

RNs in the District of Columbia earn significantly more than the national average.

Average Registered Nurse Salary


The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Washington, DC is $40.08 per hour. This is 14% lower than the District of Columbia average of $45.59.

Estimate based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Registered Nurse salaries in Washington, DC compared to State and National Averages


Washington, DC

6% lower than the US average.


District of Columbia

7% higher than the US average.


United States

How Registered Nurse Salaries in Washington Compare to Other Cities


Alexandria, Virginia


This is 28% higher than the Washington average of $40.08.

Falls Church, Virginia


This is 28% higher than the Washington average of $40.08.

Fairfax, Virginia


This is 28% higher than the Washington average of $40.08.

What are the highest paying Agencies for Registered Nurse jobs in Washington?
Average Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
Core Medical-Perm$42$42

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

Was this page helpful?

Get alerts about new jobs and salary trends in Washington, DC

Be the first to know about new jobs for Registered Nurses with the salary that suits you.

Tips for Increasing Your Washington, D.C. RN Earnings

Obtain a Nursing Degree

If you went straight into nursing without obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), consider going back to school to increase your earnings. The New England Institute of Technology reported that BSN-prepared nurses earn more, citing Payscale’s average of $32.41 per hour for RNs with BSNs and $29.83 for those with only an associate degree. With a difference of $2.58 per hour, you potentially earn $5,366.40 more per year with your BSN, assuming you work 40 hours per week.

Earn a Specialty Certification

Earning a professional certification in a specialty area may help you qualify for higher-paying jobs. For example, nurses with the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) credential have a competitive edge when seeking jobs in ICUs, PICUs and NICUs. As previously noted, critical care roles typically pay more than general nursing roles. The demand for nurses with critical
care experience is high. As a result, you may increase your earnings just by obtaining the CCRN or similar professional certifications.

Try a Different Shift

Many healthcare employers in Washington, D.C., offer pay differentials to persuade RNs and other staff members to work unpopular shifts, such as nights from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. If one of your preferred employers offers these differentials, consider working the night shift, even if it’s only for a year or two. A shift differential of $1.50 per hour increases your earnings by $3,120 annually if you work 40 hours a week.

Get a Per Diem Job

If your current employer doesn’t offer shift differentials or other incentives, consider getting a per diem job with another healthcare organization. Many employers changed their policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, making per diem work more flexible. You can capitalize on that flexibility by getting a per diem job that may only require you to work one day per week.

Featured Blog Posts

Open article Employer Spotlight: George Washington University Hospital
George Washington University Hospital
Employer Spotlight: George Washington University Hospital
Explore the benefits, specialties and accolades that make this facility a great place to work.
Open article Employer Spotlight: Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Children's National Hospital
Employer Spotlight: Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Explore the professional perks and career opportunities at one of the nation’s top hospitals.
Open article Employer Spotlight: Inova Fairfax Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Employer Spotlight: Inova Fairfax Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Explore a supportive, diverse workplace created to ensure nurses thrive in their careers.
See more Blog Posts