Which States Have the Highest Demand for Nurse Practitioners?

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A nationwide increase in demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) lies at the nexus of an aging population, an increase in team-based primary care delivery, and an impending shortage of primary care physicians. The rising need for NPs will be so great that the United States Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that openings for nurse practitioners in the U.S. will increase 36 percent between 2016 and 2026, substantially faster than the average 7 percent growth anticipated across all occupations during that time.

Nurse practitioner demand rests on the fact that as Baby Boomers age, the need for chronic condition management will increase. What's more, the shift in many primary care facilities towards team-based, patient-centered care is creating even more demand for the advanced interpersonal skills of NPs. Finally, the National Center for Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) predicts a shortfall of more than 20,000 primary care physicians by 2025.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as many other organizations and associations, maintain that care managed by NPs is comparable to care managed by physicians in primary care settings. Because employing an NP is as effective and more cost-effective than employing a physician, many experts predict this shortfall will create an increased demand for NPs and other advanced practice providers.

While the overarching job outlook for NPs is promising, some U.S. states have greater job demand for NPs than others. Keep reading to learn which states and regions in the U.S. are projected to have the greatest need for NPs in the upcoming years.

The BLS predicts that between 2014 and 2024, every state in the U.S. will see an increase in jobs for NPs. Please note that the following figures come from the Projections Central tool, which relies on BLS data. (While national 2016-26 job growth projections are available from the BLS, state figures have not yet been updated, as of June 2018.)

Top States for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of jobs By percentage
  1. California – 4,200 jobs created
  2. Texas – 3,880
  3. Florida – 3,830
  4. New York – 3,660
  5. Georgia – 1,850
  6. Tennessee – 1,740
  7. Illinois – 1,560
  8. Massachusetts – 1,550
  9. Virginia – 1,530
  10. North Carolina – 1,370
  1. Georgia – 52.7 percent
  2. Nevada – 52.7
  3. Texas – 48
  4. Florida – 46.8
  5. Utah – 46
  6. Virginia – 43.2
  7. Kentucky – 43.1
  8. Colorado – 42.7
  9. Tennessee – 40.7
  10. North Dakota – 40

Read on to learn detailed information about anticipated job growth in some of the top states for NP occupation growth, including which regions in the state will have the highest demand for NPs in the upcoming years.

 

California

California is a promising state for nurse practitioners looking for employment. By 2024, California's Employment Development Department (EDD) predicts that the state will have 15,000 total NP jobs. By adding more than 4,000 jobs to the market since 2014, California is predicted to create 7 percent of all new NP jobs in the nation. After accounting for growth and net replacement, there will be a predicted average of 670 job openings in California for NPs each year through 2024.

Top Regions in California for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Los Angeles County – 880 jobs created
  2. Inland Empire Area – 420
  3. East Bay Area – 320
  4. San Benito and Santa Clara Counties – 260
  5. Sacramento Metro Area – 220
  6. San Francisco Bay Area – 160
  7. Fresno County – 130
  8. San Luis Obispo County – 50
  9. Solano County – 50
  10. Tulare County – 50
  1. Eastern Sierra Region – 100 percent
  2. Northern Counties Region – 66.7
  3. San Luis Obispo County – 62.5
  4. Imperial County – 57.1
  5. Inland Empire Area – 44.7
  6. Santa Cruz County – 42.9
  7. Sacramento Metro Area – 41.5
  8. San Benito and Santa Clara Counties – 40
  9. Monterey County – 40
  10. Tulare County – 38.5

 

Texas

At a predicted state growth rate of 48 percent (3,880 jobs added by 2024), the Labor Market & Career Information Department of the Texas Workforce Commission reports that the NP position will be the second fastest growing occupation in Texas. To reach the 11,790 total annual average jobs predicted by 2024, the LCMI anticipates that there will be 580 total annual average NP job openings in Texas due to growth and replacements.

Top Regions in Texas for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Gulf Coast – 850 jobs created
  2. Dallas County – 600
  3. Tarrant County – 470
  4. Alamo – 320
  5. North Central Texas – 280
  6. Capital Area – 270
  7. Rural Capital – 100
  8. East Texas – 90
  9. Lower Rio Grande Valley – 80
  10. Permian Basin – 70
  1. North Central Texas – 57.1 percent
  2. Tarrant County – 54.7
  3. Rural Capital – 50
  4. Lower Rio Grande Valley – 50
  5. Concho Valley – 50
  6. Texoma – 50
  7. Alamo – 49.2
  8. Gulf Coast – 48.6
  9. Dallas County – 48
  10. Capital Area – 47.

 

Florida

The NP position is predicted to be the fastest growing position in the state. At 35 percent of estimated growth between 2017 and 2027, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) predicts employment growth of 3,297 new jobs throughout that time period. The Florida DEO predicts there will be 943 job openings available per year to NPs in the state. Please note that occupation estimates by the Florida DEO are calculated utilizing a predictions method known as the separations method, a method different than all other states listed in this guide.

Top Regions in Florida for NP Job Growth (2017-2027)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Central Florida – 571 jobs created
  2. South Florida – 395
  3. Northeast Florida – 319
  4. Tampa Bay – 270
  5. Pinellas – 245
  6. Palm Beach County – 217
  7. Broward – 196
  8. South Central Florida – 132
  9. Escarosa – 121
  10. Suncoast – 115
  1. Central Florida – 42.68 percent
  2. Florida Crown – 41.57
  3. Northeast Florida – 40.23
  4. Citrus Levy Marion – 38.86
  5. Palm Beach County – 37.94
  6. South Central Florida – 37.5
  7. Pasco Hernando – 34.74
  8. Pinellas – 34.31
  9. Suncoast – 34.12
  10. Tampa Bay – 33.05

 

New York

In its long-term occupational employment projections, the New York State Department of Labor (NYDOL) predicts that the NP position will see occupational growth of 32 percent between 2014 and 2024. With an employment prospect rating of “very favorable,” NYDOL estimates a total of 15,080 NP jobs will be available by 2024, up 3,660 from 2014. On average, 640 new jobs will be available in New York state per year due to growth and replacements.

Top Regions in New York for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. New York City – 1,450 jobs created
  2. Long Island – 530
  3. Hudson Valley – 400
  4. Finger Lakes – 300
  5. Capital Region – 240
  6. Western New York – 210
  7. Central New York – 170
  8. Mohawk Valley – 110
  9. Southern Tier – 110
  10. North County – 50
  1. Hudson Valley – 38.8 percent
  2. Central New York – 35.4
  3. Long Island – 33.8
  4. New York City – 31.5
  5. Capital Region – 30.8
  6. Mohawk Valley – 30.6
  7. Southern Tier – 28.9
  8. Finger Lakes – 26.1
  9. North County – 25
  10. Western New York – 24.1

 

Georgia

The NP position is predicted to be the fastest growing occupation in Georgia between 2014 and 2024. At a 52.7 percent growth rate, the Georgia Department of Labor anticipates 1,850 new NP jobs in the state by 2024. With 260 new jobs opening annually due to growth and replacements, the Georgia DOL predicts that there will be 5,350 total NP jobs in Georgia by 2024.

Top Regions in Georgia for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. City of Atlanta/Fulton County – 280 jobs created
  2. Atlanta Regional – 210
  3. Cobb County – 170
  4. Northwest Georgia – 140
  5. Georgia Mountains – 130
  6. Coastal Georgia – 100
  7. Southwest Georgia – 80
  8. Southern Georgia – 70
  9. Macon-Bibb County – 70
  10. Lower Chattahoochee – 60
  1. Cobb County – 61.98 percent
  2. Georgia Mountains – 59.15
  3. Northeast Georgia – 56.25
  4. Macon-Bibb County – 51.16
  5. Southern Georgia – 50.76
  6. Atlanta Regional – 49.53
  7. City of Atlanta/Fulton County – 49.05
  8. West Central Georgia – 48.86
  9. Heart of Georgia Altamaha – 48.33
  10. Southwest Georgia – 45.88

 

Tennessee

In Tennessee, openings for NPs are predicted to grow 40.7 percent between 2014 and 2024. Adding 1,740 jobs over this time period, the Tennessee Government predicts there will be a total of 6,044 NP jobs by 2024. In addition, the occupation is anticipated to grow 3.5 percent per year.

Top Regions in Tennessee for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs
  1. Fayette and Shelby Counties – 830 jobs created
  2. Davidson, Rutherford, Trousdale, and Wilson Counties – 800
  3. Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Robertson, Stewart,Sumner, and Williamson Counties – 500
  4. Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie Counties – 490
  5. Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington, and Unicoi Counties – 440
  6. Knox County – 380
  7. Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Cumberland, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, and Scott Counties – 290
  8. Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Sevier, and Union Counties – 200
  9. Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Moore, and Warren Counties – 150

 

Illinois

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) predicts that between 2014 and 2024, positions for NPs will grow 25 percent. Adding a total of 1,561 jobs over the time period, Illinois will have a total of 7,921 NP jobs statewide by 2024. In addition, IDES predicts that, on average 306 job openings will be available to NPs each year.

Top Regions in Illinois for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Cook County – 647 jobs created
  2. DuPage County – 177
  3. Lake County – 86
  4. Fulton, McLean, Marshall, Mason, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties – 71
  5. De Kalb, Kane, and Kendall Counties – 68
  6. Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties – 66
  7. Will County – 62
  8. Boone, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties – 58
  9. Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Piatt Counties – 45
  10. Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, and Williamson Counties – 32
  1. Will County – 32.8 percent
  2. DuPage County – 29.4
  3. McHenry County – 29.27
  4. Lake County – 28.38
  5. Cass, Christian, Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties – 27.39
  6. Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island Counties – 26.53
  7. Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Piatt Counties – 26.47
  8. Boone, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties – 26.13
  9. Bond, and Madison Counties – 24.77
  10. Bureau, Carroll, Jo Daviess, La Salle, Lee, Ogle, Putnam, and Whiteside Counties – 23.93

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) predicts a 30 percent increase in NP jobs between 2014 and 2024. Adding 1,549 jobs to the NP market in that time period, the EOLWD projects that there will be a total of 6,799 NP in Massachusetts by 2024. On average, there will be 279 job openings in Massachusetts due to growth and replacements per year.

Top Regions in Massachusetts for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Boston – 578 jobs created
  2. North Shore – 89
  3. Central Mass – 73
  4. Bristol County – 63
  5. Hampden County – 47
  6. Greater New Bedford – 44
  7. Cape and Islands – 41
  1. Bristol County – 33.69 percent
  2. Greater New Bedford – 32.84
  3. Cape and Islands – 31.78
  4. North Shore – 30.90
  5. Boston – 29.36
  6. Central Massachusetts – 18.39
  7. Hampden County – 15.02

 

Virginia

In Virginia, NP jobs are predicted to see massive growth, with a 43.24 percent increase anticipated between 2014 and 2024. According to Virginia’s Labor Market Information site, there will be 1,523 jobs added to the market, creating 5,045 total NP jobs in the state. At an average annual growth rate of 3.66 percent per year, NPs can expect around 56 job openings in Virginia per year during this time period.

Top Regions in Virginia for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs
  1. Capital Region Workforce Partnership – 731 jobs created
  2. Hampton Roads – 707
  3. Piedmont Workforce Network – 267
  4. Shenandoah Valley – 210
  5. Greater Peninsula – 210
  6. Bay Consortium – 178
  7. Western Virginia – 175
  8. New River/Mt. Rogers – 155
  9. Region 2000/Central VA – 119
  10. South Central – 116

 

North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce (DOC) Labor & Economic Analysis, NPs can expect the occupation to grow by 37.26 percent between 2014 and 2024. With a total predicted job count of 4,782 by 2024, Virginia’s DOC predicts the NP job market will grow by 1,298 jobs over this time period. Due both to growth and replacement, there will be a total of 2,120 NP job openings available.

Top Regions in North Carolina for NP Job Growth (2014-2024)
By number of new jobs By percentage
  1. Raleigh-Durham – 344 jobs created
  2. Charlotte – 327
  3. Asheville – 82
  4. Greensboro – 71
  5. Fayetteville-Lumberton – 68
  6. Winston-Salem – 67
  7. Wilmington – 64
  8. Jacksonville-New Bern – 36
  9. Hickory – 30
  10. Goldsboro-Kinston – 22
  1. Charlotte – 45.04 percent
  2. Raleigh-Durham – 43.88
  3. Wilmington – 43.24
  4. Asheville – 37.96
  5. Jacksonville-New Bern – 36.36
  6. Fayetteville-Lumberton – 33.33
  7. Pinehurst-Rockingham – 29.03
  8. Goldsboro-Kinston – 26.19
  9. Winston-Salem – 23.43
  10. Hickory – 22.73