What Is The Salary Of Nurses Worldwide – Highest To Lowest


Are you a registered nurse looking for a better-paying palace to work? If yes, then you might want to consider looking beyond your current country of residence. In this article, we will be sharing with you the average salary of nurses around the world. Hopefully, that helps you make the decision of where next to find that dream nursing job.

Salary of Nurses Around The World

Perhaps you are a young nurse or even old Registered Nurse who doesn’t have many family responsibilities, working abroad offers many opportunities to learn about other people and cultures while doing the work you love.

The fact is, many countries are currently experiencing a shortage of nurses, and in most cases, this shortage is projected to worsen due to an ageing population, nursing retirements and high demand, so there are plenty of choices.

Facts About The Salary Of Nurses Globally

Information about salaries and job opportunities for Registered Nurses globally is available from different sources.

It is important to understand that you may not be able to easily get up-to-date information and the information you have maybe five or more years old.

While the U.S. and other more developed countries tend to collect and publish detailed salary data, the same may not be true for smaller, less developed countries.

The information for the highest-paying countries is likely to be the most up-to-date.

Look for multiple sources of information to help you make your decision.

The same goes for political and social issues, as well as security, information on job opportunities, housing conditions, and living expenses.

If you can afford it, consider a quick study trip to one or two countries on your list or talk to someone who has worked there recently.

Embassies and consulates may also have information.

Salary of Nurses – Lowest Paying Countries

When considering the salary of Nurses across the world, it is pertinent to identify countries with the lowest salaries for Nurses. These countries tend to have the greatest shortage of nurses, as qualified nurses who can emigrate for higher wages often do so.

For example, in the Philippines, wages are low but nursing jobs are scarce; the Philippines is a net exporter of nurses, as is India.

Many of those nurses travel to the UK and US.

In 2016, 13 percent of nurses in the U.K. were Filipino and 28 percent Indian, according to an article in TechTimes.

According to PayWizard.org, hourly wages in U.S. dollars (USD) in the following countries in 2012 were as follows: Russia at $1.97, Indonesia at $1.99, Belarus at $2.62, Hungary at $5.39 and Colombia at $5.96.

PayWizard data are obtained by aggregating information from various employment sites.

Although there was no information on mandatory deductions, the annual wages at these hourly rates (based on a work year of 2,080 hours) were as follows: Russia – $4,098, Indonesia – $439, Belarus – $5,450, Hungary – $11,211 and Colombia – $12,397.

According to TopRNtoBSN.com, Colombia and Indonesia are ranked 19th and 30th out of the top 30 countries in need of nurses.

Internal conflicts and political instability have created many problems for Colombia, but life expectancy was 79 years in 2012, a remarkable achievement in a country with 5.5 nurses per 100,000 people.

The high quality of health care does attract medical tourism to Colombia, which is one reason for the high need for nurses.

Densely populated by hundreds of millions of people, Indonesia offers a wide range of health services, but the ratio of all health workers (including nurses) to the population is far below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended minimum of 9/10,000.

According to an article in the Moscow Times, extremely low wages in Russia mean that bribery is common in health care, despite ethical restrictions on taking bribes.

WorldSalaries.org obtains gross wage income data for nurses from the International Labor Organization.

The site also reports mandatory deductions, which include supplemental insurance, income tax, health or similar state insurance programs, municipal tax, provincial or state income tax, and social security and/or pension plans.

This data applies to a single employee of either sex who is married but has no children.

Unfortunately, wage data is not current; this information was obtained in 2005.

All figures are calculated based on US dollars.


In the Philippines, the average monthly salary was $144.

That works out to $1.80 per hour based on an 80-hour workweek.

In the Philippines, the average compulsory deduction was 10 percent.

In terms of annual salaries and with an estimated work year of 2,080 hours, Filipino nurses earned $3,744.


In China, the monthly salary was $187 and the hourly wage $2.34 with 8 percent compulsory deductions.

Chinese nurses earned $4,867 annually based on a 2080-hour work year.


In Lithuania, nurses earned $203 a month, for an average hourly wage of $2.54 with 27 percent compulsory deductions.

Lithuanian nurses earned $5,280 annually.


Romania offered an average monthly salary of $268 and an average hourly wage of $3.35.

Compulsory deductions in Romania averaged 30 percent.

Nurses in Romania earned $6,968 annually.


Latvia nurses earned an average of $397 a month, which is an average hourly wage of $4.96.

The average compulsory deduction in Latvia was 29 percent in 2005. RNs in Latvia earned $10,317 on an annual basis.

Salary of Nurses – Highest Paying Countries

According to 2012 data from PayWizard.org, the top five highest paying countries for nurses (in U.S. dollars) were Belgium at $16.97 per hour, Sweden at $17.27 per hour, Germany at $19.17 per hour, Spain at $21.97 per hour and the Netherlands, which topped the list at $22.08 per hour.

The U.S. at $16.44 an hour was not in the top five.

An article in Euspert, which used data from sources such as Insider Monkey and various surveys of nurses, named the following countries in the top five for 2016: Denmark, Australia, Ireland, the United States and Luxembourg.

The average annual salary in these countries, according to Euspert, was $54,000, $56,000, $64,000, $70,000 and $82,000, respectively.

The average wage per hour, based on a 2,080-hour work year, was $25.96 for Denmark, $26.92 for Australia, $30.77 for Ireland, $33.65 for the United States and $39.42 for Luxembourg.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of May 2015, the average annual wage in rupees was 71,000 rupees.

Interestingly, the Euspert article notes that none of the countries with the highest wages are among the countries with the highest job satisfaction scores.

These awards went to Poland, Finland, Sweden/Belgium (tie), Switzerland/Norway (tie) and the Netherlands. Euspert notes that factors such as experience can affect wages.

In Norway, for example, experienced nurses can earn as much as $100,000 in US dollars each year.

A country’s size is not necessarily an indicator of salaries.

Luxembourg is a very small country that offers top salaries – up to $125,000 a year for experienced nurses, according to Euspert – but there are very few vacancies because the health care system and the country are very small.


Salaries for staff nurses may vary according to the specialty in which the RN works.

Salaries for advanced practice nurses are considerably high than those for the average RN.

WorkAbroad.ph, a website that provided information for Filipino nurses who want to work in other countries, reported salary data by specialty and position for 2008.

A critical care nurse in Bahrain earned an average of $500 a month in US dollars while a pediatrics nurse earned $750.

Private duty nurses in Qatar earned an average of $415 a month (USD), while staff nurses earned an average of $1,400 a month.

In the United Arab Emirates, the average monthly salary was $450 (USD) for a CCU nurse and $800 for an operating room nurse.

In-Country Variations

You should remember that salary information may not be entirely accurate or up to date, depending on the source.

It’s also wise to consider that even within a country, salaries can vary widely according to factors such as a demand and whether the institution is located in a metropolitan or rural area.

Generally speaking, metropolitan areas pay more than rural areas.

In the US alone, the state of California offered both the top-paying metropolitan and rural RN salaries.

In the Mother Lode region, the average hourly wage was $48.84.

In the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area, the average hourly wage was $64.26 – the highest in the nation for a base salary.

Annual salaries in the two regions were $101,580 and $133,650 respectively, according to to the BLS.

In Northwest Kansas, however, the average hourly wage was $26.19 and the average annual salary $54,480.

According to PayScale, an RN in Manchester, England, in the far north of the country, could expect a salary of £23,194 (about $29,106 in USD) in January of 2017.

However, PayScale notes an RN in London earned an average of £25,236 (about $31,687 in USD).

As of January 2017, the minimum wage for a nurse in West Germany (including Berlin) was 10.40 euros and in East Germany it was 9.50 euros, according to WageIndicator.org.

In USD, those wages would be $10.16 and $11.13, respectively. (Note: these are minimum wages, not average wages).


Countries and organizations offer a wide range of benefits to nurses and other workers.

These benefits are often not considered in calculating wages, but may offer significant financial advantages.

For example, benefits might include pensions with a generous employer contribution, fully paid health and dental care, free or discounted child care, paid sabbatical leave, extended vacation periods, free food while working or sign-on bonuses.

In the US, for example, benefits typically add 31 percent to whatever the annual salary cost is for a worker.

However, in Russia, pension plans are rare, according to The School of Russian and Asian Studies.

In some counties, such as Saudi Arabia, salaries may not be subject to US income tax, which can make them comparable to countries in which the salary is $10,000 a year or more higher.

Countries Where the Need for Nurses is Highest

Some countries desperately need nurses, but cannot offer high salaries.

Haiti, for example, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

In the town of Jacmel, in southern Haiti, Haitian business notes earn 775 rupees a month, far more than the $60 a month many Haitians make.

The monthly income of a Haitian business writer is $60 a month. Political instability, frequent natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, high population density, and few local industries combine to increase the need for health care, but money for infrastructure and wages is scarce.

Paraguay, Bolivia, Ethiopia, and the Dominican Republic are also among the five countries in great need of nurses.

Most countries in this category are small and poor, but there are exceptions.

Brazil is one of the few large countries on this list; the number of nurses in the country is about a quarter of the WHO recommended minimum ratio.

The other two large countries on the list are Argentina and Peru, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Most, however, are small countries such as Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Costa Rica.

Before You Go

If you plan to keep your citizenship in the United States (rather than emigrate permanently), you will need a work visa in almost all other countries.

Most countries also require that you be licensed in that country; you may have to take a licensing exam and pay licensing fees.

Of course, you’ll need a valid passport, and you’ll need to make any necessary medical preparations, such as updating your vaccinations before you leave.

You may also want to brush up on hospitalization in the United States for conditions you would not normally encounter, such as yellow fever or trachoma.

Although English is spoken in many countries, a basic knowledge of the most common languages and customs will certainly help you.

You should also learn about taxes and mandatory payroll deductions, which can vary greatly from country to country.

The state department or local embassy or consulate can help you get information about the countries you are considering.

Beyond the Salary – Other Factors To Consider

Living conditions overseas may be considerably different from what you are used to.

In some areas, a very high cost of living can negate any salary advantages.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to live as the average citizen does, you may be able to keep more money in your pocket and also immerse yourself in a new culture.

Another major consideration may be your personal safety; some countries – such as those in areas of the Middle East or South America – may not be very stable.

Consider also whether cultural expectations may be a problem.

In some countries, for example, wearing pants is not considered acceptable for a woman. In other countries, nursing is not considered an acceptable career for a male.

Wages may also differ (sometimes significantly) depending on gender.

Options for Working Overseas

If you decide you want to work overseas, you have essentially three options.

The first is to go it alone, researching job opportunities and requirements for working in different countries.

The second is to work for a US-based company that supplies traveling nurses to organizations outside of the US.

The third is to contract directly with a company overseas that supplies groups of healthcare professionals to organizations in a given country.

The primary disadvantage of going it alone is lack of knowledge, which you may or may not be able to rectify through your research.

You will also need to perform your own salary negotiations.

If you choose to work as a traveling nurse, your salary may be closer to US wages, but your assignment options may be limited.

In this case, you work for the traveler’s agency rather than the hospital or healthcare organization in which you are assigned.

If you choose the third option, you will typically go for an extended tour of several months to two years or longer.

Saudi Arabia, for example, often hires nurses in this way.

One advantage of working through an agency is that the agency is knowledgeable about and will handle such issues as visa, health preparation, taxes and salary negotiations.

Being a nurse offers unparalleled opportunities to explore the world.

Whether you want to roam from one country to another or spend an extended period in a particular place, you have many options.

Of course, you might also decide to emigrate permanently.

No matter what you choose to do, it’s always helpful to have salary information, whether it’s for the highest paying or the lowest paying countries.




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