How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 31, 2021 | Published March 12, 2020

Updated March 31, 2021

Published March 12, 2020

Nurse practitioners perform an essential function in today's medical field. These highly educated nurses offer patients and employers a variety of benefits. Nurse practitioners earn high salaries nationwide for their work. In this article, we will explain what a nurse practitioner is, why it's a great career choice and discuss the average nurse practitioner's salary.

Related: How To Become a Nurse Practitioner

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, or APRN, holding either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP). Nurse practitioners provide primary and specialty healthcare services to diverse populations.

Many nurse practitioners begin their careers as registered nurses, or RNs, and return to school after gaining workplace experience for either their MSN or DNP degree. Some nurse practitioners earn their MSN or DNP degree immediately after nursing school and start their career as a nurse practitioner rather than as an RN.

Nurse practitioners receive state-based licenses and must continue their education and maintain an active certification in order to practice. Some nurse practitioners choose to join professional organizations to grow their professional network and stay abreast of changes in the field.

Nurse practitioners have many of the same responsibilities as physicians. They help patients manage their health through proactive and reactive measures. In 20 states, they can practice independently without the oversight of a licensed physician. Many patients see nurse practitioners for their primary care needs rather than traditional doctors.

Duties and responsibilities

The specific duties and responsibilities for nurse practitioners depend on their specialty and workplace. Nurse practitioners can expect to perform some of these duties on the job:

  • Manage patient health: Nurse practitioners meet with patients for annual check-ups to prevent disease or illness proactively.

  • Diagnose disorders and diseases: Nurse practitioners have the necessary training to diagnose disorders, illnesses and diseases in patients.

  • Treat ill patients: Nurse practitioners can treat sick patients by writing prescriptions, connecting patients with specialists or providing at-home treatment plans.

  • Provide health education: Nurse practitioners often educate their patients on healthy lifestyle choices as a preventative healthcare measure and offer education on specific illnesses and diseases as needed.

  • Order testing: Nurse practitioners can order advanced or invasive tests necessary to help diagnose illness or disease.

  • Perform some tests: Nurse practitioners can complete non-invasive tests and procedures to establish illness or disease and a course of treatment.

Workplace

Nurse practitioners can work in a variety of environments, like:

  • Hospitals

  • Outpatient care centers

  • Private practice

  • Universities, colleges or professional schools

  • Governmental agencies

Specialties

Nurse practitioners can specialize in a wide range of medical fields. Here are a few of the most common nurse practitioner specialties:

  • Psychiatry

  • Neonatal health

  • Gerontology

  • Hospice and palliative care

  • Acute care

  • Oncology

  • Family health

  • Pediatrics

  • Women's health

  • Advanced diabetes management

  • Emergency room care

Related: How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Why work as a nurse practitioner?

Working as a nurse practitioner offers many benefits to those interested in caring for patients in the medical field. Here are some of the top reasons to work as a nurse practitioner:

  • Opportunity for growth: Nursing, particularly for APRNs, is a growing field. More hospitals, private practices and other healthcare workplaces are hiring nurse practitioners to handle routine patient care.

  • Excellent benefits: Most nurse practitioners receive great benefits like healthcare coverage and retirement options as part of their compensation package.

  • Autonomy: Nurse practitioners have a lot of freedom within their position to practice medicine in the manner that best suits them and their patients.

  • Geographical freedom: Nurse practitioners can work anywhere in the country, meaning it's easy to move to new a place for a job or to find a job in your ideal location.

  • In-demand position: Nursing shortages are in effect all over the country. Many healthcare organizations need nurse practitioners on their staff.

  • Many specialties: Nurse practitioners can specialize in the area of medicine most interesting to them.

  • Patient-focused: Nursing is often more patient-focused than other healthcare occupations. Nurse practitioners will spend much of their time working directly with patients to improve their health.

Related: 17 Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Average salary

Nurse practitioners are well-paid nationwide for their work. Even nurse practitioners coming right out of nursing school can expect to make a competitive starting salary. Salaries for nurse practitioners do vary depending on the following factors:

  • Experience: Nurse practitioners with extensive experience are more likely to make a higher salary than nurse practitioners at the start of their careers.

  • Location: Geography can impact a nurse practitioner's salary. Those working in high-cost, urban areas or densely populated states are more likely to make a higher salary than nurse practitioners working in rural areas.

  • Education: Nurse practitioners can earn MSN or DNP degrees. Generally, DNP degree holders are eligible for more prestigious, higher-paying positions than MSN degree holders.

  • Specialty: Some specialties pay more than others. For example, neonatal and gerontology nurse practitioners tend to earn a higher salary than women's health nurse practitioners.

  • Environment: A nurse practitioner's salary also depends on the workplace. For example, hospitals tend to pay their nurse practitioners more than colleges or universities.

The national average salary for a nurse practitioner is $114,334. Every state pays nurse practitioners a different average salary. Here is the list of average nurse practitioner salaries by state. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link above.

**- Alabama: $96,218

  • Alaska: $134,443

  • Arizona: $116,227

  • Arkansas: $118,042

  • California: $130,710

  • Colorado: $103,537

  • Connecticut: $123,966

  • Delaware: $112,465

  • Florida: $100,389

  • Georgia: $99,370

  • Hawaii: $126,505

  • Idaho: $95,380

  • Illinois: $105,657

  • Indiana: $111,101

  • Iowa: $66,466

  • Kansas: $102,922

  • Kentucky: $99,185

  • Louisiana: $95,874

  • Maine: $111,930

  • Maryland: $113,304

  • Massachusetts: $116,813

  • Michigan: $105,585

  • Minnesota: $116,996

  • Mississippi: $102,797

  • Missouri: $104,454

  • Montana: $63,214

  • Nebraska: $102,427

  • Nevada: $118,380

  • New Hampshire: $118,852

  • New Jersey: $116,153

  • New Mexico: $110,234

  • New York: $117,783

  • North Carolina: $106,138

  • North Dakota: $119,054

  • Ohio: $111,524

  • Oklahoma: $104,832

  • Oregon: $120,124

  • Pennsylvania: $113,559

  • Rhode Island: $115,350

  • South Carolina: $106,289

  • South Dakota: $113,528

  • Tennessee: $105,270

  • Texas: $108,893

  • Utah: $76,716

  • Vermont: $101,546

  • Virginia: $108,753

  • Washington: $117,795

  • West Virginia: $100,328

  • Wisconsin: $108,225

  • Wyoming: $109,956**

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