How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?

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By Rachel Schneider

Average nurse practitioner (NP) salary figures vary depending on several factors, including certification, practice setting, and clinical focus. An NP works as a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who holds an advanced degree in nursing. These nurses usually work with specific patient populations, including mental health, pediatric health, and adult and geriatric health.

NPs and other APRNs remain in high demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 26% job growth rate from 2018-28. This rate is much faster than the average growth for occupations in the United States. This expansion likely comes from an increase in the demand for healthcare services and a steadily increasing emphasis on preventative care.

NPs also enjoy high salary potential, earning a median annual wage of $109,820 in May 2019. This guide breaks down NP salaries by experience, region, and focus.


Nurse Practitioner Salary by Experience

NPs and other APRNs can advance their careers in several ways. APRNs pursue managerial or administrative roles, along with careers in academia. Salary levels for NPs also vary by years of experience, according to a 2019 AANP survey completed by more than 5,700 NPs.

The table below demonstrates the annual base salary and total income amounts for NPs based on their amount of experience. The figures for total income include base salaries, along with bonuses and other extra earnings from employers.

Years of Experience Annual Base Salary Total Income
0-5 $104,000 $110,000
6-10 $110,000 $118,500
11-15 $118,000 $122,500
16-20 $118,000 $124,000
21 or more $120,000 $125,000

Source: AANP


Nurse Practitioner Salary by State

Some states provide higher compensation for NPs than others, although those areas might also have higher costs of living, which offset the true earning potential. The tables below detail the highest-paying states for the occupation.

In addition to states reporting varying median annual salaries, data for NP earnings further breaks down by metropolitan areas. In the following table, readers can review the highest-paying metro areas for NPs across the United States.

Highest-Paying States for NPs

  • California

    Median Annual Salary: $138,660

  • Washington

    Median Annual Salary: $126,920

  • Hawaii

    Median Annual Salary: $124,000

  • New Jersey

    Median Annual Salary: $123,810

  • Minnesota

    Median Annual Salary: $122,850

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Metro Areas for NPs
Metropolitan Area Median Annual Salary
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $175,060
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA $160,110
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $157,150
Longview, WA $150,520
Sumter, SC $147,210
Redding, CA $145,690
Salinas, CA $145,060
Rochester, MN $144,980
New Bedford, MA $144,450
Modesto, CA $143,530

Source: BLS


Nurse Practitioner Salary by Specialty

NPs can consider several specialty areas in the field, each with varying salary opportunities. These professionals focus on different patient populations to work in pediatrics, psychiatric/mental health, acute care, and other disciplines.

The tables below demonstrate the highest salaries by NP certification type and the highest salaries by work setting/industry.

NP Median Annual Salary by Certification Type

Psychiatric/Mental Health - Adult: $135,000

Emergency: $135,000

Psychiatric/Mental Health: $131,500

Neonatal: $130,500

Pediatrics - Primary Care Mental Health: $128,000

Acute Care: $127,500

Psychiatric/Mental Health - Family: $125,000

Source: AANP

NP Average Annual Salary by Work Setting/Industry

  • Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services: $139,140

  • Religious Organizations: $128,970

  • Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities: $123,900

  • Grantmaking and Giving Services: $123,760

  • Outpatient Care Centers: $119,920

Source: BLS


Nurse Practitioner Salary by Education Level

Education level can also affect NP income. Before they can practice as an NP, each candidate must earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). While some employers hire NPs with MSNs, many require NPs to possess DNPs. The following PayScale data was self-reported by nurses who hold either an MSN or DNP and does not exclusively refer to NPs.

MSN

Average Annual Salary: $94,000

DNP

Average Annual Salary: $102,000

Source: PayScale


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