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Nurse Practitioner Salary

April 2, 2021 | Staff Writers

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If you are looking to become a nurse practitioner, then understanding the qualifications, professional benefits and salary may play into that decision. Nurse practitioners are some of the highest-paid nurses in the nursing career field. While you will already be a registered nurse, advanced education and specialty training increase the pay grade to higher levels. Variables such as certification, clinical specialties and where you will practice will also determine what a pay scale will be. There is also a difference in compensation for those in administrative roles and who have seniority. 

Nurse practitioners have an increased responsibility in their nursing specialty role as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). They are now delivering primary and specialty care in the healthcare field in numerous settings. They may be in private practices, hospitals, clinics, urgent care and various other medical placements. NP’s may work on their own or in conjunction with physicians as they assess patient health issues, conduct medical exams, order and assess diagnostic tests, create treatment plans and prescribe medication as required. 

There are demands for advanced education, aside from a Master of Science in nursing if there is a specialty focus. Specializing in pediatrics, cardiology, being a family nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist are all areas where extra education is required but there is also pay to compensate for that specialization. Not only is the healthcare career of a nurse practitioner rewarding but good career prospects and salaries are attractive as well. 

Average Starting Salary for Nurse Practitioners

Becoming a nurse practitioner takes time and money as you go through more advanced education beyond your Bachelor of Science in nursing. Once you have completed school, practicums, specialized training and registration you are on your way to finding employment. The average yearly pay as of February 2021 for an entry-level nurse practitioner in the USA is $90, 925. This breaks down to approximately $43.71 in hourly wage. 

As with any average salary, some variables come into play and can alter the amount. There is a range across the US that goes as high as $346,500 and drops to $22,000 for nurse practitioners. Most fall between $43, 000 and $100,000. This wide range of salaries says that there is a large swath of opportunities available that will have different options for advancement, pay base and location. The variables allow nurse practitioner applicants to find what is the best combination of variables for themselves. The average starting salary may vary but that means they can choose an area of practice, specialty, hours worked and setting to suit their lifestyle and needs. 

One of the main variables regarding an average starting salary is where a nurse practitioner wants to practice geographically. California tends to have higher starting salaries that are above the national average. However, that can mean that there is not as much potential for further wage advancement as a nurse practitioner gains both experience and institutional knowledge. In contrast, though, there are areas with a lower cost of living that can counteract the reduced wage advancement. These variables are all important to consider when choosing where to practice. 

Another variable that will affect entry-level nurse practitioner salary is the type of nurse practitioner the candidate has become. Specialization tends to offer a higher entry-level salary. If the candidate holds the credentials to be a Geriatric NP, Nurse Practitioner per Diem, Nurse anesthetist, pediatric nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or holds other specialist training their pay will be higher when entering the workforce. Salaries range from $172, 000 to $140,000 in the early days of practice. 

If you are flexible in not only your geographical location but in which setting you prefer to work, then your average annual salary will reflect that. Hospitals tend to offer higher base pay but may have a salary cap as you gain years of practice. There are also issues around shift work that can often be 12 hours at a time and high-pressure work as well. In contrast, private practice or other non-hospital settings may allow for significant wage increases and more flexibility around work hours and shifts. As with most jobs, salary alone should not be the only determining factor when it comes to deciding where you want to work. While nurse practitioners do get paid well, it is important to enjoy the work setting and those who work there too. 

An average salary for a nurse practitioner is higher than most other entry-level jobs but the variables are what will make it perfect for the new nurse practitioner as they start out on their new career path. Finding the right employer in an area that offers a good lifestyle along with a good wage is a great combination. 

Average Nurse Practitioner Salary by State

Salary is not the end-all and be-all when it comes to choosing where you want to be a nurse practitioner. However, if you can relocate or perhaps must relocate, then knowing what you can expect to be paid in that particular state can be helpful. Knowing where you can make the most income versus where you will make the least is helpful when determining how you want to approach your career path as well as how you approach salary negotiations. 

The 10 States That a Nurse Practitioner Can Earn the Most

The average entry-level salary for a nurse practitioner in the United States is $90,925. This does not consider geography, specialization or employment settings. These variables obviously play a role in the average wage so by assessing those variables choosing a place to practice is easier. While for many careers this may not be a significant factor, with nurse practitioner salary geography can affect wage in a big way. An average annual salary in one state could be $40 000 more than the national average for all jobs and grow to over $80,000 more for other states. 

The top 10 states with the highest nurse practitioner salary are as follows: 

  1. California – $133, 780
  2. Alaska – $122, 880
  3. Massachusetts – $122, 740
  4. New Jersey – $122, 100
  5. New York – $120, 570
  6. Hawaii – $120, 570
  7. Minnesota – $119, 160
  8. Connecticut – $118, 020
  9. Washington – $117, 650
  10. Wyoming – $116, 030

While these are the highest paying states when it comes to the average NP salary, they also reflect the fact that they are the states with the highest cost of living. When deciding where to settle and work, the cost of living may affect whether the higher pay grade is worth settling down or moving to another area of the country to balance out income with the cost of living. 

The 10 States That a Nurse Practitioner Will Earn the Least 

In contrast to the top 10 money-making states for nurse practitioners, here are the bottom 10. These states are generally located in the US South with a few in the Midwest and Northeast. It is important to note that even in these lower-paying states, the annual average wage for a basic nurse practitioner is $95,970 which is $14000 less than the annual national average, however, it is still almost $40,000 over what the U.S. average annual income is for all occupations. No matter where a nurse practitioner practices, they are still making a significant salary compared to other professions including being a registered nurse. Here are the 10 lowest-paying states for nurse practitioners: 

  1. Alabama – $95,970
  2. Tennessee – $95,990
  3. Pennsylvania – $98,250
  4. Kansas – $99,790
  5. Kentucky – $99,790
  6. South Carolina – $99,910
  7. South Dakota – $100,690
  8. West Virginia – $100,690
  9. Florida – $101,100
  10. Ohio $101,970

What Is the Average Nurse Practitioner Salary by State?

Basing an employment opportunity on salary alone is not recommended but it is a significant factor when it comes not only to choosing a job but also where the nurse practitioner may want to practice. Knowing an average salary of a particular state can help in negotiations when reaching the final stages of an employment opportunity but it can also be used as a gauge for total income. Knowing a salary in a state plus the cost of living can aid in the assessment of whether the overall cost and income level are well matched to the job offer or in a job search. Here is the average annual salary for nurse practitioners by state: 

  1. Alabama $  95, 010
  2. Alaska $120,100
  3. Arizona $111,780
  4. Arkansas $  99,740
  5. California $126,890
  6. Colorado $105,560
  7. Connecticut $115,370
  8. Delaware $105,390
  9. District of Columbia $110,420
  10. Florida $  97,270
  11. Georgia $104,360
  12. Hawaii $123,570
  13. Idaho $102,830
  14. Illinois $103,760
  15. Indiana $102,390
  16. Iowa $104,640
  17. Kansas $  97,310
  18. Kentucky $  96,180
  19. Louisiana $  99,510
  20. Maine $102,280
  21. Maryland $108,580
  22. Massachusetts $119,420
  23. Michigan $103,210
  24. Minnesota $115,550
  25. Mississippi $102,480
  26. Missouri $  98,430
  27. Montana $103,390
  28. Nebraska $102,210
  29. Nevada $112,090
  30. New Hampshire $108,750
  31. New Jersey $118,040
  32. New Mexico $109,970
  33. New York $118,550
  34. North Carolina $101,540
  35. North Dakota   $105,030
  36. Ohio $101,010
  37. Oklahoma $104,310
  38. Oregon $110,770
  39. Pennsylvania $  97,130
  40. Rhode Island $112,620
  41. South Carolina $  96,080
  42. South Dakota $100,440
  43. Tennessee $  96,440
  44. Texas $108,660
  45. Utah $105,160
  46. Vermont $101,660
  47. Virginia $102,480
  48. Washington $116,350
  49. West Virginia $  96,250
  50. Wisconsin $106,160
  51. Wyoming $114,000
  52. Puerto Rico $  19,450

Nurse Practitioners Salaries by Specialization

As mentioned earlier there are various factors that play into a nurse practitioner’s salary. Geography, seniority, experience, work venue along is just a few. One of the most influential factors on salary is if a nurse practitioner has a specialty. The demand is high for staff with a master’s degree but even more so if there is further advanced education in a particular field of nurse practitioner care. While most MSN programs allow students to pick a concentration of courses in an area they prefer, further education can enhance job opportunities. Post-master’s certification means the career options expand. Working to enhance the health care of particular groups of patients such as women, children or seniors means education must go further than the pre-nursing degree, bachelors or generalized master’s degrees. Valuable skills and knowledge are confirmed with further certification. 

Here are some of the specialties and their corresponding salaries. Be aware that as with general nurse practitioner salaries, variables such as location, experience and setting will also affect what is offered. 

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary 

Those nurses who get a further certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) are generally going to be found in hospitals and other settings where urgent care is required. This means while they will often be doing patient rounds and supporting physician’s procedures. They can assess and create treatment plans for those adult patients who are acutely ill and hospitalized. Work with both the chronically and critically ill patient is central to this nurse practitioner role. Their training has given them good critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills to focus on diagnosis, pathophysiology, diagnostics and plan of care. They will also have a good grasp of seeing the “red flags” that will show when intervention and consultation are required. 

The salary range for an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner has a range of $86,000-125,000 depending on where it is being practiced. The average median salary is $101,342 in the United States. 

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

The field of Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) has a clinical focus on the healthcare of patients who range in age from teen through to senior. While this is a broad range the focus of the care itself is specialized. Certification is done beyond the bachelors and Master of Science in nursing. The job of an AGNP is to assess and diagnose as well as set up healthcare plans for all adults. They may work in hospitals, long-term care or private practice. Their work includes obtaining medical histories, doing physical exams, ordering diagnostics and setting up treatment plans. An important part of this role is also managing transitions when there are changes in care settings. They offer education to the patient and caregiver and work to give care that considers the patients, environmental, occupational, social and economic backgrounds. 

The salary range for an AGNP ranges from $73,000 to $110,000 per year with the national average coming in at approximately $90,102. 

Emergency Nurse Practitioner 

This advanced practice nursing position is one that is focused on emergency medicine. Their education and training have been focused on patients who are acutely ill or injured. Patients can be of any age. The skill required for this role means being able to work in a fast-paced, often high-stress, environment such as an emergency room. They are able to treat patients who have various levels of illness and injury with an ability to triage and work quickly. The ability to work without physician supervision varies from state to state depending on regulations. The focus on diagnostic testing and administering emergency care is a central part of this role. 

The salary range for an Emergency Nurse Practitioner ranges from $77,000 to $126,000 per year with the average landing at $96,841. 

Family Nurse Practitioner Salary 

A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) has specialized training and education in the area of family practice. Their training includes specialized work with children and adults in a non-hospital setting. It could be a family practice or perhaps clinical. The goal is to offer patient care in the area of health maintenance and wellness over an extended period of time versus short-term care. The focus is usually on prevention rather than emergency care. Many FNPs work in populations and demographics that are underserved in the medical field. FNPs may be under physician supervision but many states are reducing this requirement due to the lack of doctors available in family practice. By allowing non-supervised care, there is an ability to expand care in underserved areas that struggle to find and keep family health care. 

The salary range for an FNP is large due to the various settings they could be working in. the range goes from $79,000 to $117,000 with the average being $94,232 across the US. For underserviced areas, this is actually a saving compared to the salary of a physician.  

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

These advanced care nurse practitioners provide care to children. This includes patients up to the age of 21. They can work in many different settings such as clinics, private practice and hospitals. Their goal is to prevent disease, promote health as well as offer support and education for the patient as well as their caregivers. They work to assess and create plans for medical care both short-term and long-term. Pediatric nurse practitioners will offer immunizations, do screening to check on child development, offer medication prescriptions as per the state they work in, do physicals, treat illness and support physicians in caring for children with both chronic and critical illnesses. They are usually part of a healthcare team. They can see children on their own without physician oversight in many states and can do home care visits as well. 

Salary options for a pediatric nurse practitioner range from $73,000 to $112,000 falling with an average range of $89,764.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) 

This specialization in women’s health focuses on clinical and hands-on experience with female patients. This position is not the same as those who work as midwives. A WHNP does not have an emphasis on childbearing but the entire span of a woman’s life. It is about lifetime health and prevention. This practice is often done in private practice rather than a hospital setting and treats both health and reproductive issues. They can screen for women-focused issues such as breast cancer as well as educate on women’s health matters and can also care for women who are pregnant. As they are not midwives, they can work as part of the natal care team from pre to post-natal. This keeps the stream of care current while adding in others as required. 

A WHNP salary range comes in between $72,000 and $113,000 per year. The average for the US is around $91, 270. 

Highest-paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties 

Selecting a specialty in a nurse practitioner program can be a significant change in a nurse practitioner career. Choosing a specialty is about more than money but if a nurse practitioner has a few specialties to choose from, knowing their salaries may help finalize the decision. The various types of nurses and the care they offer means there is lots of opportunity for choice. 

Nurse Practitioner Anesthetist

The highest paying specialty for a nurse practitioner is that of a nurse anesthetist. This specialty works closely with an anesthesiologist in administering anesthesia during medical procedures. They can work in hospitals, surgical settings and dental offices.  They make approximately $100,000 per year. This is the top-paying position for a nurse who has their MSN and is a registered nurse practitioner. 

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner 

This specialty is one that is high-stress but also extremely rewarding. A psychiatric nurse practitioner cares for patients who are having mental and psychiatric health problems. They also often work with patients who are dealing with substance abuse. These nurse practitioners will work in clinics that focus on mental health, hospitals, specialized facilities including ones focusing on substance abuse recovery. They often work in conjunction with psychiatrists who are treating patients both with therapy and medications. The average US salary for this specialty is $90-100,000 per year. 

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner 

Neonatal care takes a special touch and ability learned not only through advanced education but through personal skill as well. These specialized pediatric nurse practitioners offer support and care to infants, newborns and even the unborn. Their main focus is to give care to premature babies who need extra medical support and care. This specialty care is hospital-focused and usually based in special neonatal care units that take care of those babies who were born early and need extensive medical intervention. The salary range is large and can go from $70,000 per year up to $112,000. 

Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse Practitioner 

This specialty goes beyond a pediatric nurse practitioner. This specialty encompasses work with children who are diagnosed with endocrine system diseases such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Graves disease and more. This health care is targeted to support and help children who are suffering so they can deal with their illness, understand it and be cared for. The education and support extend to the patient’s family as well. The salary falls into the same range as other pediatric specialties with the range of $70,000 to $112,000 and will vary based on experience and work setting. 

Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner 

Orthopedics is an area of practice where the focus is placed on muscular and skeletal issues such as arthritis, diabetes, joint complications and replacements. This practice can apply to any age of the patient and spans all areas of the body. An orthopedic nurse practitioner offers support and education to patients and their family, provides basic orthopedic care along with creating a plan for patient self-care and medications. While this field applies to all ages, there is rapid growth in care of the older demographics. As the population ages, the care required is becoming more extensive and the demand for the specialty is growing. The salary range is $76,000 to $132,000, with the potential for an increase as demand grows. 

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner 

As the population ages, geriatrics is becoming a prominent need in the healthcare workplace. Gerontological nurse practitioners specialize in this area and focus on helping patients to manage and heal from conditions and illnesses that are affecting them as they age. Ageing citizens are at risk for certain long-term and incapacitating conditions and it is the nurse practitioner’s job to mitigate those risks, as well as help seniors, adapt to living with issues while reducing risk. These jobs are centred in family practice, specialized hospital units, long-term care homes and other centers that care for the older population. Salary ranges from $73,000 to $110,000, but may rise as demand on the system increases with our ageing population.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner 

While specialties such as geriatrics become more prominent, so is women’s health care. The need for female-focused care has been acknowledged more and more over the past few decades. While family practices have been the backbone of healthcare for decades, specialized care for women has become a larger part of these practices. This specialty focuses on female general health and reproductive issues along with strength in the area of breast and reproductive cancers. 

The nurse practitioner not only educates women in these areas of health care but can also provide support and medical care as they face these issues in their lives. While many of the women’s health nurse practitioners are based in private practice and support physicians, they also work in oncology and OB-GYN practices, they can also work for clinics and other women-based health support systems. The salary range for these positions ranges from $72,000 to $113,000 per year but will increase as demand moves up. There is a stronger focus on preventative care in the last decade that will include a focus on women’s personal health and well-being. 

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