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How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make? - (Answered by a Nurse Practitioner Herself)


Written By: Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC

Finding a salary online for any job can be difficult. There are many competing factors and websites which make it difficult to know how accurate the information you are getting is. How much does a nurse practitioner make a year? A quick internet search will show you that this can be difficult to determine. Here we will talk about the different information out there, what to look for, and consider, and I will also go over my own experience with nurse practitioner salaries.


How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make in a Year?   (Based on Average NP Salaries from 7 Popular Salary Websites)


Even if you are having a hard time finding out exactly how much you will make as a nurse practitioner, one thing is clear: you will be living comfortably. Even on the low end of pay nurse practitioners make a competitive salary. Depending on what website you are looking at the salary amount may vary a bit. Based on salaries listed on 7 websites including the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average nurse practitioner salary per year is $109,595. Now, while this is a great income, many factors will affect what you make. These include the location (state, city, etc.,), experience, specialty, practice type (private or public), and other items that you can negotiate for in your hiring package. The nice thing about all these different sites is that with some of them you can search by location to get a more accurate estimate in your geographical area. In my personal experience, I have found that the averages listed per year are around $10,000 to $15,000 more than what you can expect to make if you have less than 3 years’ experience. Using these sites is a great starting point but understand that these numbers may reflect what you are more likely to make after having a few years of nurse practitioner experience under your belt. However, if you see a job posting on Indeed.com for example, and the job posting itself lists a salary, then this can be trusted as the employer is telling you upfront what they are offering for the position.

Website Average Per Year
Indeed.com $117,587
SalaryExpert.com $112,713
BLS.com $111,840
Glassdoor.com $110,076
Salary.com $109,628
ZipRecruiter.com $109,025
PayScale.com $96,296
Average $109,595


Which Website Can You Trust the Most?


The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the site that you can trust the most to get an accurate average nurse practitioner annual salary. This is because it is not biased and unlike other career sites people cannot just report their income online. They also break down salary averages by work setting.


Average NP Salary Per Year by Work Setting   (As Per BLS)


As mentioned, where you work can impact your income. Looking at their chart it makes sense that the higher paying settings are larger care centers or hospitals and that school settings are the lowest paying. This is in line with my experience and the experiences of other nurse practitioners I know. That being said, your salary, if you work for a school, may vary immensely. For example, I know college health nurse practitioners with years of experience who only made around $75,000 per year…but there was a tradeoff, they didn’t work during the summers and most school breaks! Work schedule and time off is one thing to take into consideration when looking at your income.

Type of Setting Average Per Year
Outpatient Care Centers $119,920
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $115,790
Offices of Physicians $108,930
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $108,660
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $105,310
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Average NP Salary Per Year by Specialty

BLS does not provide data for nurse practitioner salaries based on their specialty, so we looked into 3 popular websites which provide NP salaries by type of specialty- ZipRecruiter.com. PayScale.com, and Salary.com. Please note that the salary for each of the following specialties can be further affected by the location and clinical setting you work in, as well as the years of experience you have.


1. How Much Does an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Make?


Acute care nurse practitioners make competitive salaries. According to three salary websites, the average yearly salary for a nurse practitioner specialized in acute care is $105,297. As an acute care nurse practitioner, you need to be able to treat a variety of complex and cute conditions. It makes sense that your salary should compensate you for this skill. It is important to note that these websites do not take into account the work environment, location, or experience of the nurse practitioner.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $117,066
PayScale.com $101,746
Salary.com $97,079
Average $105,297


2. How Much Does an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Make?


Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners are in high demand with our aging population. In this specialty, you can expect to make on average $97,381 per year. This will fluctuate depending on where you work and how many years of experience you have. For example, if you work in a nursing home you will likely make less than if you work in a specialty clinic.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $107,029
PayScale.com $90,702
Salary.com $94,413
Average $97,381


3. How Much Does a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Make?


Again, like most specialties cardiology nurse practitioner salaries vary based on many factors. Looking at 3 websites the nurse practitioner annual salary in this field is $115,746 while ZipRecruiter.com lists a high salary of $136,846. Many factors can account for this discrepancy. The higher salary may reflect what you would make in a more acute environment like a cardiac ICU, or what you can expect to make after you have become an experienced cardiology nurse practitioner, or if you work in a metropolitan environment like Boston.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $107,029
PayScale.com $90,702
Salary.com $94,413
Average $97,381


4. How Much Does a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Make?


Depending on what site you look at, your salary as a dermatology nurse practitioner will vary. Looking at 3 sites, the higher end seems to be around $100,562 per year with the lower end being $94,742 per year. The average salary according to these websites is $98,303 per year. In reality, later in your career, you may make around $20,000 more than what ZipRecruiter.com lists. Conversely, when you are starting you might make less than $94,742, especially in certain states.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $100,562
PayScale.com $94,742
Salary.com $99,303
Average $98,202


5. How Much Does a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Make?


As a family nurse practitioner, your salary can vary a lot because this specialty is so versatile. While the average salary from 3 websites is $103,459 your work setting will more accurately determine what you will make. You will likely make more if you work in a specialty clinic and will likely make less if you are in a community health or university clinic.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $105,898
PayScale.com $94,848
Salary.com $109,630
Average $103,459


6. How Much Does a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Make?


Neonatal nurse practitioners earn competitive salaries commensurate with the intensity of the work they do caring for newborns. When looking at the 3 salaries depicted from these websites you can see that there is a lot of variability. Between these websites, your average salary as a neonatal nurse practitioner per year will be around $112,527. However, this would be high for a starting nurse practitioner.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $110,249
PayScale.com $102,353
Salary.com $124,978
Average $112,527


7. How Much Does an Oncology Nurse Practitioner Make?


As an oncology nurse practitioner, you will earn good money to compensate you for your expertise and hard work. The average oncology nurse practitioner income per year from 3 salary websites is $110,385. If you are just starting in this field you can expect to make less, but these numbers give you a good idea of your potential earnings once you have some experience.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $117,074
PayScale.com $101,280
Salary.com $112,801
Average $110,385


8. How Much Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Make?


Pediatric nurse practitioners tend to make a little less than some other specialties. That doesn’t mean that you cannot live comfortably though. On average according to some salary websites, you can expect to make $100,751 per year. Again, if you work in a hospital setting or an emergency room this number may increase.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $105,395
PayScale.com $90,159
Salary.com $106,700
Average $100,751


9. How Much Does a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Make?


PMHNPs are in high demand and given the risks associated with prescribing psychiatric medications they are well compensated. On average, according to 3 websites, PMHNPs will make $110,237 annually. Even if you start off making less than this as a new grad nurse practitioner you will still be earning a competitive salary.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $123,607
PayScale.com $99,238
Salary.com $107,866
Average $110,237


10. How Much Does a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) Make?


WHNP salaries vary by work location but on average according to some online salary sources they make $101,054 per year. Working in a specialty like an infertility clinic is likely to increase this number a lot, whereas working in community health will lower it. It all depends on what type of work you value.

Website Average Per Year
ZipRecruiter.com $106,244
PayScale.com$91,635
Salary.com $105,284
Average $101,054


Conclusion


So how much does a nurse practitioner make a year? That depends! It is not a straightforward answer. You are a uniquely skilled and experienced individual with different values from other people. You must consider these things when thinking about what you will earn. Take a look at online resources to get a general idea, and then ask around. People are not as shy about talking about their salaries as you might think, and other nurse practitioners will likely be more than happy to give you advice. Remember, that first offer is not set in stone, so negotiate!


Top Questions Answered by Our Expert

I will be answering the following questions based upon my own observations & experiences of working as a nurse practitioner.

1. How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Really Make in a Year?


The reality is you can spend hours searching nurse practitioner salaries online and get a broad range of information that leaves you feeling uncertain. The reason for this is that there is a range of reported salaries out there and many of these websites are just taking the information that people on the internet give them. Answering this question is not straightforward and it would be a disservice to you to give you only one answer. The best site for “an average” that you can trust is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who say that the average annual salary for a nurse practitioner is $111,840. Data on this website is collected in a regulated way and is the most accurate depiction of average nurse practitioner salaries out there. That being said, it is averaging salaries in all 50 states and among nurse practitioners of all specialties and experience levels. These are 3 factors that can greatly impact your salary.

2. What Factors Actually Play a Role in How Much Nurse Practitioners Make in a Year?


If you want to get an accurate picture of what you will earn as a nurse practitioner, my advice is to talk to nurse practitioners. Looking online can give you a very general idea and starting point but it is not accounting for your unique experiences and skills. Since location, experience, and specialty can all impact your salary, talk to nurse practitioners with similar experience levels in the city or town you are planning to work in. Keep in touch with your classmates from nurse practitioner school. They are a great resource for you to figure out what you can expect to make starting off and as you switch jobs. When I look at the average salary for a women’s health nurse practitioner from the 3 salary websites, it is clear that this is not an individualized picture. As a new women’s health nurse practitioner in a hospital affiliated community health clinic providing outpatient OBGYN care in Boston, I started out making $95,000 a year after working as a nurse in this clinic for a year. When you compare this to average nurse practitioner starting salaries for Massachusetts this is higher than the average. When looking at the 3 salary websites above, this is lower. Neither of these salary predictions is accounting for my unique experience level and location where I am working. If I had worked in an outpatient clinic as a family nurse practitioner like many of my friends I would have made more because in general, this specialty makes more than women’s health. Another factor that impacts your income is if you are working in a medically underserved area. There are perks to working in these centers that we will go over, but the salary is often less.

3. What Kind of Additional Benefits and Perks Can You Get as a Nurse Practitioner?


The nurse practitioner yearly salary is important, but it is not everything, and negotiating is an important part of accepting a job offer. If you think your offer is low, ask about other perks. This can include things like 401K matching, insurance, vacation time, sign-on bonuses, and more. Any of these are up for negotiation so don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. The worst that will happen is they say they cannot give you what you are asking for. Your personal career goals and values will also come into play. Do you value time off and traveling? If so, taking a job at a university where you get paid less but have summers off may be very appealing to you. Another thing to consider is if you have student debt, working in certain clinics can help you get your loans forgiven. The Nurse Corps Loan Forgiveness Program will help you pay 60% to 85% of your student debt if you work in a critical shortage area. Another option for loan forgiveness is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan.

If you are a new nurse practitioner there will be a handful of upfront expenses that you should ask for reimbursement for. This includes your license fees and your DEA registration which is over $700 for initial registration. My employer reimbursed me for all of these fees and that was a huge help when I came out of graduate school and was desperate to start earning money. Don’t feel guilty asking for these things! It is usually a drop in the bucket for your employer and again the worst thing that happens is they say no. They are not going to withdraw an offer because you advocate for yourself and negotiate. You should also look at your health insurance options and any other small benefits like gym memberships, commuter discounts, and more. These things can add up and change what you are making. For example, as a nurse practitioner, I was receiving 4% company matching with my 401K, Perkins loan forgiveness, 50% off of a subway pass, and my work hours were pretty regular at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I also knew what my nurse practitioner friends in the same city, specialty, and with similar experience were making. These were all factors I took into account when looking for nurse practitioner jobs.


Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
Lauren Jacobson is a registered nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about global health and gender-based violence prevention. She is Editor and an Advisory Board Member for the Global Nursing Caucus and volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical evaluator for asylum seekers.