Wonder what a nurse practitioner salary could look like? Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual Nurse Practitioner Salary was $100,910 in May 2016. This means that nurse practitioners (NPs) paid on an hourly basis earned $48.52 an hour.i Of course, there is more to the equation than wages. Some employers of NPs might also offer perks such as flexible work schedules, childcare services and educational benefits.ii
Chances are, if you are like many nurse practitioners today, you hope to partner your patient-care interests and hard work with some useful data in your next interview or salary negotiation. Below are nurse practitioner salaries by state, work setting and more.
While the median annual nurse practitioner salary was $100,910 in May 2016i, the individual salary of a nurse practitioner may be influenced by a variety of factors.iv These could include, but may not be limited to, (1) location (state/city),vi (2) work environment v and (3) specialty.vi
Nurse practitioners (NP) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) that provide primary and specialty care. An NP's patient-care duties could include health assessment, diagnosis and the treatment of illnesses, both independently and as part of health care teams. They might also focus on health promotion and disease prevention. Sometimes, nurse practitioners order lab tests, prescribe medication and work independently. These factors depend on state regulations for licensure and certification. iii
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a nurse who has obtained a minimum education of a Masters Degree in Nursing (MSN). Further specializations within the APRN category include Nurse Practitioners, as well as Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Clinical Nurse Specialists. iii
Of the APRNs listed in the section right above, Nurse Anesthetists had the highest median annual wages in 2016 ($160,270), followed by Nurse Practitioners ($100,910) and Nurse Midwives ($99,770).ii
Nurse practitioners and other APRNS have put in the extra time and effort to earn either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Their graduate studies could lead to a more complex skill set as nurse practitioners are trained to perform many additional functions to those of RNs.viii
Below is a comparison between the median annual wages for NPs and RNs in 2016. The difference between NP and RN median salaries is $39,010 (annual) for this period.
You likely wonder, ‘how much could a nurse practitioner earn a year in my state?’ This brings us to another key determinant of a nurse practitioner salary – location. The BLS provides some great insight into employment trends and salary data for each state. You should note that they calculate annual wages by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a ‘year-round, full-time’ figure of 2080 hours. In other words, if you plan to work part-time (or over-time) you may arrive at different figures.x
Per the BLS, the five states that had the highest mean salaries for nurse practitioners in 2016 are: (1) California, (2) Alaska, (3) Massachusetts, (4) Hawaii, (5) New Jersey. So just how much could a nurse practitioner earn in California? Here are the breakdowns, based on data from May 2016, for both the hourly mean wage and annual mean wage in these five states.
If you continue to be curious, let’s say, because you want to know ‘how much could a nurse practitioner earn in Florida?’, Pennsylvania or Texas etc., you could find these answers on the BLS charts. However, they are less specific. For instance, the figures for nurse practitioner salary in Florida is between $95,260 and $99,680. For PA, NP salary runs between $51,980 and $94,930, and in Texas, NPs might earn between $108,170 and $124,330.
As a sidebar, the above states may have the highest mean salaries for NPs, but they are not necessary the ones with the highest employment. The states with the highest employment level of NPs tend to have relatively large populations overall. These are listed below, along with the annual mean wage in 2016.xi
Are you more concerned with where the NP jobs are than anything else? The states with the highest share of employment and associated mean salaries for NPs in 2016 are as follows. xi
Overall, the employment outlook for APRNs is favorable and projected to grow 31 percent to the year 2024.xii This is over 4x the national average for all positions (7%). Per the BLS, “APRNs will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.”xiii
Some metropolitan areas have a higher mean annual wages for nurse practitioners than others. The five cities with the highest salaries for NPs for 2016 are as follows.
The five non-metropolitan areas with the highest mean annual nurse practitioner salaries for 2016 are as follows.
Another determinant of an NP salary is where s/he is employed. Nurse practitioners could work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, schools and clinics. Some may also work independently, and may make house calls. In May 2016, the median annual wages for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows.
Nurse practitioner salaries also vary by industry. Below are the highest paying industries, as well as their annual mean wage for 2016.
As a general NP, you might choose to open an independent practice or pursue a career in a variety of primary care settings. However, typically, NPs choose a specialty area and focus on a specific group of patients, as state regulations often require them to pursue certification.
NP board certification is typically earned after the successful completion of a national certification exam. These certifications are available from several professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Some of the ANCC Nurse practitioner certifications include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Pediatric Primary Care NP, Psychiatric-Mental Health NP, and Emergency Care NP. Other specialty certifications include Forensic Nursing, Pain Management NP, Public Health Nursing and more. Contact individual certifying bodies and review state requirements to learn. xiii
Nurses who pursue a second practice focus may need to pursue additional licensure after their initial NP certification. xiv Other boards include the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, American Midwifery Certification Board, and National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
The median annual salary for nurse practitioners in 2016 was $48.52 hourly and $100,910.i For the purposes here, Nurse Practitioners include the group comprised by: (a) Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, (b) Adult Nurse Practitioner, (c) Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), (d) Family Nurse Practitioner, (e) Family Practice Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, (f) Gastroenterology Nurse Practitioner, (g) Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and (h) Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner).
First off, there is a difference between a neonatal nurse salary and a neonatal nurse practitioner salary. Neonatal nurses could care for healthy newborns, and are licensed RNs. xv
By comparison, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) are advanced practice nurses. They may use their greater expertise to provide care for premature and sick newborns. Many states also require a NNP to pursue certification. Two subspecialties for neonatal certification are electronic fetal monitoring and neonatal pediatric transport.xvi There is no specific data for a neonatal nurse practitioner salary, so we defer to the average nurse practitioner salary data of $100,910.i
Based on how O’Net groups nurse practitioners, a Family Nurse Practitioner salary mirrors data for all NPs, and therefore could be tied to where they work (location, employer) and any further certifications. i For instance, a pain management NP is often a FNP who has successfully achieved certification and licensure to be able to provide physical comfort and care to patients who may be critically ill. xvii
MD vs FNP Salary
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) could perform some of the same functions as primary care physicians, although they are not MDs. For instance, in most states, NPs prescribe medications, order medical tests and diagnose health problems. i Wages for physicians and surgeons are among the highest of all occupations and is reported as greater than $208,000. However, this is based on data from 2014, as it has not been further updated by the BLS.xviii
O’Net groups Acute Care Nurse Practitioners with other NPs. Therefore, an acute care nurse practitioner salary may be similar. An Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) is someone who provides advanced care to patients who may have severe illnesses. There are separate acute care board certifications that one might pursue. xix ACNPs might work in settings such as an emergency department, ambulatory care clinic or other short term stay facilities.
Based on O’Net, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner salary could fall under the same data as other NPs. A pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) is a type of clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and APRN. PNPs provide both primary and specialty health care for patients who range from infants to young adults. They might work alongside pediatricians, or maintain their own practices. Some PNPs might be further certified to provide acute care in areas like cardiology, rheumatology, or genetics. i
CNS vs NP Potential Median Salary
Clinical nurse specialists (CNS's), like NPs, are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). However, their roles remain distinct. A CNS could provide direct patient (e.g. psychiatric-mental health, pediatrics) or indirect care. For instance, CNS's could team with other nurses and healthcare personnel to improve the quality of care that patients receive. Consequently, clinical nurse specialists often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nurses. CNS's also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.xx
Some Clinical Nurse Specialists might pursue other education to meld their nursing experience with knowledge of health administration. The BLS does give some statistics for medical and health services managers, and O’Net includes ‘nursing directors’ in this group. xxi Based on BLS data, health services managers earned $96,540, based on the 2016 median annual wage.xxii
Whether a nurse practitioner is paid hourly or is salaried may depend on the employer. We do know from the BLS that annual wages are calculated based on hourly wages. They (BLS) arrive at figures for annual wages by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a "year-round, full-time" hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.” x
The wage estimates for NPs include hourly and annual figures.
Keep in mind that each state and region will have its own income tax rates and cost of living. vi
Nurse practitioner salary information continues to evolve as new statistics are provided and the market value of an NP position could therefore vary. Nonetheless, higher education in nursing to prepare for nurse practitioner positoins may pay off. Consider reviewing Nurse Practitioner Programs to find the NP degree program that might enhance your career.
* Salary figures are based on a national data and may vary by location. This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment.
[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1171.00 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/wage-differences.htm | [v] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Healthcare and social service | [vi] bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5 | bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Healthcare and social service | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-2 | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5 | [x] bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm#(2) | [xi] bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm#st | [xii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-1 | [xiii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-6 | [xiv] nursecredentialing.org/Certification | [xv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-2 | [xvi] nccwebsite.org/Certification/Exam-detail.aspx?eid=16 | [xvii] nursecredentialing.org/PainManagementNursing | [xviii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm | [xix] nursecredentialing.org/AdultGeroAcuteCareNP | [xx] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-4 | [xxi] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9111.00 | [xxii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6