Data from a May 2007 survey, published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics report states that there were 80,090 registered nurses working in North Carolina nursing jobs at that time, and that the average annual wage for those nurses was $55,920, or $26.89 per hour. This is somewhat lower than the national average annual wage for nurses at that time, which was $62,480 ($30.04 per hour), but the cost of living is also lower in many areas of North Carolina and registered nurses in North Carolina made significantly more than the annual average wage for workers across industries in North Carolina, which was $36,900 ($17.74 per hour) at that time.
The nursing industry is currently experiencing a massive growth in employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition, it is projected that there will be 587,000 new positions for registered nurses across the nation by the year 2016. This would be a 23% increase occurring between 2006 (the start date of the projections) and 2016. This expected growth is due largely to the nation’s growing and aging population, as well as the number of registered nurses expected to retire from the field and the increased interest in nurses performing more direct patient care in order to keep health care costs down. North Carolina nursing careers can be expected to expand at a similar rate to this national projection.
Because of this, this is an exciting time for students entering North Carolina nursing programs and planning on taking advantage of the expanding North Carolina nursing jobs industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that nurses holding a bachelor’s degree or higher will have the best job prospects as the nursing industry grows, which means that prospective nurses may want to consider bachelor-level nursing programs.