By Diane Turner
Nurse practitioners are a type of registered nurse that holds an advanced position at a medical facility. The salary of a nurse practitioner will vary based on the type of position this professional holds and the amount of responsibility they are expected to take on throughout the average work day. Some nurse practitioners will be asked to focus their skills on treating more advanced medical conditions while others may be asked to work in a supervisory role within the hospital.
While there are a number of tasks that nurse practitioners will be expected to take on depending on the facility where they work, there are a few skills that they will be expected to take on. this may include writing schedules for subordinate nurses and seeing that all members of the nursing staff are performing their duties properly, noting the functionality of the medical establishment, maintaining reports, scheduling other nurses, assisting doctors in treating medical conditions, managing patients in the ICU, teaching staff how to perform medical tasks or assisting in medical research.
Most nurse practitioners are employed in hospitals or large health care facilities, but they may be hired to work in private practice facilities or nursing homes. Those working in ICU departments or specialized divisions of their medical establishments will typically make more than those that work in general areas. Those taking on these advanced positions can make over $95,000 per year depending on their duties. Nurse practitioners are typically scheduled for eight hour shifts, but these shifts can occur around the clock. Those willing to work late hours will often be compensated with overtime pay.
Much of the difference in the salary for a nurse practitionerrelies on the type of work that they will do. Different medical facilities will expect nurse practitioners to take on different tasks, typically based on their experience and training. While you can work as a nurse practitioner with a basic degree, professionals are strongly encouraged to receive a more advanced degree if they would like to increase their earning potential in the workplace.
Nurse Practitioner Average Salary
The average nurse practitioner salaryis around $90,583 annually. There are several factors that play a role in determining the nurse practitioner average salary. These might include the type of facility where the nurse practitioner works, the type of specialization the professional takes on and the level of education the nurse practitioner earns before moving into the field.
Nurse Practitioner Salary Factors and Influences
One of the main factors that has an impact on the salary of a nurse practitioner is the level of education the individual has before they begin work. All nurse practitioners will need to earn a graduate degree in a medical field such as women’s health, pediatric, geriatric, public health, mental health or others. However, 90 percent of nurse practitioners have only earned a master’s degree while 7 percent have earned a doctoral degree. Those that have been working in the field for a significant amount of time in the field may be working as a nursing practitioner with only a bachelor’s degree. The average nurse practitioner salary for these educational levels include:
Average Salary for Nurse Practitioners with a Bachelor’s Degree: $84,000-85,000
Average Salary for Nurse Practitioners with a Master’s Degree: $90,250
Average Salary for Nurse Practitioners with a Doctoral Degree: $97,481
Educational levels will affect the type of facilities where nurse practitioners will be able to work. Many medical facilities require nurse practitioners to earn a specialization in a specific medical field to earn employment at these facilities. The salary for a nurse practitioner at a specialized medical facility may vary as follows:
Emergency Departments: Average Salary $103,772
Neonatal Care Facilities: Average Salary $99,810
General Hospitals: Average Salary $96,124
Family Practice Offices: Average Salary $89,317
Those working at schools or in medical facilities housed within educational facilities earn the least competitive wages in the field. Comparatively, employees working in these fields see a division of wages as follows:
Elementary and Secondary School Facilities: Average Salary $69,945
University Health Facilities: Average Salary $60,684
Much of the reason why these facilities provide nurse practitioners with a lower wage than other facilities is because medical facilities hosed by an educational facility are only open for nine months of the year. These facilities also tend to limit their hours, eliminating the need for around the clock emergency nurse practitioners.
Much of the salary variation here revolves around the amount of responsibility the nurse practitioner will be expected to take on while on the job. Nurse practitioners that will be expected to take on life-saving or complex medical procedures will earn a higher wage than those that are simply performing follow-up work for a physician working in the field. Those that will be expected to work with little to no supervision from other medical professionals will also be able to earn a higher wage than those that will need to answer to others in the medical facility.
In general, those that worked in an urban setting were able to earn a higher wage than those that work in rural settings. The average nurse practitioner working in a rural area only made $88,165 annually compared to those working at medical facilities in suburban areas who earned an average of $92,294 per year.
Those that are willing to work full time or take on shifts during late hours will also earn more than those that work shorter shifts throughout standard working hours. These nurse practitioners were also able to earn higher benefits and additional vacation time because they were more likely to need to take on additional responsibilities while the doctor was out of the office.
Unfortunately, the average salary of a nurse practitionercan be negatively impacted by gender roles in the workplace. Male nurse practitioners tend to earn around $97,329 annually while women working in this field earn an average of $89,933 annually.
Nurse Practitioner Salary Compared To Related Fields
The salary of a nurse practitioner is somewhat higher than most comparative careers in the medical field.
Average salary for a nurse practitioner: $90,583
Average salary for a licensed practical or vocational nurse: $40,380
Average salary for a physician’s assistant: $86,410
Average salary for an EMT or paramedic: $30,360
Average salary for a dental hygienist: $68,250
As you can see, the average salary for nurse practitioners is significantly larger than other fields that have similar responsibilities. Much of this difference is due to the level of education that is required to work as a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners will not typically make a high salary unless they have a master’s degree, while those working as a dental hygienist, for example, can earn a competitive salary in the field with only an associate’s degree.
Nurse Practitioner Salary by State
There is a slight difference in the level of nurse practitioner salary by state, though the highest earning states remain relatively steady. Note the top paying states for nurse practitioners listed below.
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Alaska: $109,676
Nurse Practitioner Salary in California: $108,230
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Texas: $107,526
Nurse Practitioner Salary in District of Columbia: $105,376
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Hawaii: $102,236
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Utah: $101,690
The lowest nurse practitioner salary by state include:
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Vermont: $81,422
Nurse Practitioner Salary in Idaho: $79,600
The difference here revolves mainly on the type of population in the given state. States that have a smaller population will not need as many health care workers to address the needs of their population. States like Alaska and Hawaii make more of a point of offering high wages to nurse practitioners because they have a high demand for people willing to work in this field, but unfortunately lack recruiting resources that could bring in more nursing practitioners. Therefore they must rely more heavily on the competent staff they have.
Nurse Practitioner Types of Salaries
General Nurse Practitioner: Average Salary: $91,790
Basic nurse practitioners will be expected to work with other health care professionals to treat patients.This might includediagnosing an illness, overseeing treatment, injury care and recovery management. These individuals will need to have a master’s degree and be certified as a Registered Nurse Practitioner with their state before they may be able to take on these responsibilities.
Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner: Average Salary: $96,367
These nurse practitioners will work with physicians in the emergency room to provide immediate care to patients as necessary. This might include ordering tests or medications, interpreting instructions form the physicians and recording results from examinations. These nurses will be allowed to prescribe medications or therapeutic treatments as necessary. You will need to be registered as a nurse practitioner with the authority to work in an advanced practice to take on this position.
Nursing Home Nurse Practitioner: Average Salary: $74,064
Nurse practitioners working in a nursing home setting will be called on to treat individual patients in their facility in collaboration with their doctors and other medical professionals on staff. This might include diagnosing illnesses, prescribing treatment or recovery options, and addressing illness or injury prevention within the facility. You must earn a certification to work as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner with a specialization to take on advanced practice from your state to apply.
Specialty Care Nurse Practitioner: Average Salary: $94,270
Specialized nurse practitioners will work in a specific type of office such as an oncology, psychiatric or obstetrics facility. They will work directly with the physician here to administer treatment specific to the type of practice where they work. They may prescribe medication, therapeutic treatment or make recommendations about additional tests or care as necessary. You must have earned an RN licensure and earned authority from the state to work in an advanced practice as well as earning a specialization in the type of medical treatment offered at the given facility to apply.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Average Salary: $103,718
These nurse practitioners will work specifically with newborns alongside their regular physicians. This will typically include providing clinical tests and reports to physicians for children in a neonatal setting. You may be given the authority to prescribe treatment or medication for the infant. In order to work as a neonatal nurse practitioner you will need to become a Certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with a specialization in a type of RN licensure that allows you to practice in your state. You will also need 2-4 years of experience in the given area before you may earn the authority to treat neonatal patients.
History of Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners first appeared in medical settings in the 1940s as physicians increased their need for nurses with a stronger level of clinical experience. These nurses received additional training so they could provide care to patients without constant supervision from the physician. This allowed nurse practitioners to treat very sick or injured patients more quickly so they did not need to wait for potentially life-saving treatment.
The first training programs for nurse practitioners were developed in 1965 at the University of Colorado. Nurses that underwent this course could earn a specialization in health promotion, disease prevention or family medicine. Today the number of specializations nurse practitioners can earn has grown substantially, as have the requirements to work in this field. Nurses must become certified by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to take on these responsibilities, allowing those who are willing to take on these responsibilities earn a higher nurse practitioner average salary.
Nurse Practitioner Salary Outlook – Conclusion
The average salary of a nurse practitioneris expected to continue to rise in the coming years. Underserved populations such as inner-cities and rural communities will see an especially high demand for these positions, though they may not have the funding available to provide a higher salary to nurse practitioners than existing markets. Today, 39 percent of nurse practitioners work in hospital settings and 20 percent work in rural areas, offering those willing to work in these environments a significant increase in job opportunities.
While specific growth statistics for nurse practitioners is not available, the demand for registered nurses is expected to rise by 22 percent by 2018 which is slightly higher than normal. Most job markets grow around 14 percent in a ten year period.
Nurse practitioners will be able to earn a more competitive salary if they are willing to take on more responsibilities. The average salary for a nursepractitioner with a specialization can be as high as $10,000 more annually than those that work in a general field. These professionals will be able to take on more responsibilities, allowing them to earn overtime or additional benefits that will increase the worth of their position.