Ph.D. in Nursing Salary – 2021
Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree (Ph.D. in nursing) is a terminal degree chiefly pursued by nurses who are interested either in teaching or in participating in evidence-based research that advances the practice of nursing. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary is $99,000 a year. Until relatively recently, the Ph.D. in nursing was the only option for nurses interested in doctoral-level studies. In 2006, however, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) issued established parameters for an additional terminal nursing degree called the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). A useful way of distinguishing between the nursing profession’s two terminal degrees is that Ph.Ds. discover the evidence while DNPs translate that evidence into clinical practice.
Fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s 3.8 million registered nurses hold a doctoral degree, and DNPs far outnumber PhDs. in nursing. How much do Ph.D. in nursing graduates make? This article will present you with a comprehensive analysis of the salary for Ph.D. nursing graduates in 2021.
Is There A High Demand For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates?
While the demand for nurses educated at the doctoral level is increasing, for many prospective employers, it may not matter whether a nurse has a Ph.D. in nursing or a DNP. In fact, in nursing education—a traditional bastion for nursing Ph.Ds.—there may even be a preference for DNPs: In 2018, the AACN conducted a nationwide survey of 872 nursing schools
with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs. Of the more than 1,700 faculty vacancies reported by these schools, more than 90 percent were positions requiring or preferring a DNP.
Nursing Ph.Ds. do have a clear edge over DNPs when it comes to nursing research, though. The Affordable Care Act directed more funding toward comparative effectiveness research
, which aims to identify the specific clinical and public health interventions that work best for improving health. Many of these comparative effectiveness research projects are funded through universities or the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2021, NINR funded 489 active nursing research projects
in which individuals with Ph.Ds. in nursing played key investigative roles.
What Career Opportunities Exist For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates?
Individuals with Ph.Ds. in nursing have career opportunities open to them in a number of different fields:
Standardizing nursing education is a challenging task because student nurses are an enormously diverse population. While many prospective nurses enter the profession through a fairly traditional track, earning a Bachelor of Nursing Science (BSN) degree as part of their college or university curriculum, just as many are nontraditional students who are older and choosing nursing as a mid-course career correction. For many of these nontraditional students, English may be a second language.
The educational needs of such students as they strive to become safe and knowledgeable practitioners in an increasingly technological healthcare environment must be balanced against the rigorous accreditation demands placed upon nursing programs. Professors with Ph.Ds. in nursing have expertise in the kinds of educational best practices that are necessary to cope with these challenges.
• Research facilities:
Individuals with Ph.Ds. in nursing play an important role on the investigative teams that create the clinical treatment methods used by registered nurses and advanced practice nurses on a daily basis to improve patient outcomes. Such research and development projects are carried out in laboratories associated with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as at universities, nursing schools, and medical schools. Nursing Ph.Ds. may also write the grant proposals that fund such research.
Nursing Ph.Ds. often lead quality assurance programs in hospital settings. By analyzing patient data, they can determine whether best practices are being adhered to. They may also collaborate with nursing Ph.Ds. working at other medical centers to identify trends that can lead to improved care practices in hospitals across the country.
• Government agencies:
Ph.D.-educated nurses are a valuable resource for lawmakers who are contemplating policy changes that will affect the delivery of healthcare at the community, state, and federal levels.
Hourly Salary For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates
In general, Ph.D.-educated nurses are salaried employees rather than hourly employees. What’s the difference? Under the stipulations set out by the Fair Labor Standards Act
, salaried employees are employees who perform duties that require discretion and independent judgment at least half the time and who are therefore exempt from overtime requirements. Comparing the average hourly pay of Ph.D.-educated nurses with the average hourly pay of similarly educated healthcare professionals, however, provides a useful tool for understanding how the average Ph.D. in nursing salary is determined.
What is the average Ph.D. in nursing salary per hour in 2021? The average Ph.D. in nursing salary per hour in 2021 was $47.60 an hour. Ph.D.-educated nurses typically meet this milestone by the time they’ve accumulated ten years of experience. They start out earning 28 percent less than the average salary ($34.48 an hour), but if they continue to work for 20 years or more, they can expect to earn 36 percent more than the average salary ($64.91 an hour.)
Hourly pay rates are primarily influenced by industry, geographic location, and market pay rates for individuals doing similar work in similar industries. This may be hard to pin down for individuals with Ph.Ds. in nursing since the breadth of their employment opportunities are so extensive, and scant data has been aggregated about their employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists whose entry-level qualifications include a doctoral or professional degree average just under $44 an hour
, which is 8 percent less than what an individual with a nursing Ph.D. can expect to make. Possibly, however, the closest analog to Ph.D.-educated nurses may be individuals who’ve earned Ph.Ds. in public health. Ph.D.-educated public health professionals typically average $85,000 a year
, which works out to $43.59 an hour; nursing Ph.D.-educated individuals average 9 percent more than that amount.
| Level of Experience|| Earnings|
| Entry-Level|| $34.48|
| 1-4 Years of Experience|| $39.44|
| 5-9 Years of Experience|| $46.42|
| 10-19 Years of Experience|| $54.13|
| 20 Years or More Experience|| $64.91|
| Average Earnings|| $47.60|
Starting Salary For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates
What is the starting salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in 2021? The average starting Ph.D. in nursing salary in 2021 is $71,720 annually, which breaks down to $5,980 a month or $34.48 an hour. This is more than twice as much as the average entry-level salary for all occupations in the U.S,, which is $32,592 annually
Entry-level positions that require advanced education degrees typically command higher salaries than positions with less stringent requirements. However, even if you are a Ph.D.-educated nurse who has the necessary education to work within a particular field, your starting salary is likely to be significantly less at the beginning of your career than it will be after you’ve gained a few years of experience. Why? If you’ve been hired into a management position, as many Ph.Ds. in nursing are, it will take you time to develop your leadership skills, and you will probably require additional oversight and teaching while you are developing them. Additionally, the skills you’ve been taught in school haven’t become second nature yet, so it will probably take you longer to complete the professional tasks you’re responsible for completing. This puts a strain on existing staff, which is reflected in the operational budget of the facility that employs you. That facility will keep your salary low in an effort to keep its operating costs down.
Entry-level salaries also depend upon how competitive an industry job market is, and this varies from year to year. In 2021, the COVID pandemic appears to have recalibrated the power dynamic between employers and employees across the board in favor of employees. Employees have become more proactive about leaving jobs that don’t meet their needs: Turnover has increased to the point where the median job tenure is now just 4.1 years—and just 2.8 years for individuals between the ages of 25 and 34
. Employers are responding to this by offering higher starting salaries and perks like signing bonuses. The starting salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in 2021 is likely to increase. If you’re a nursing Ph.D. fresh out of school embarking upon your first job, even after adjustments for inflation, you’ll probably be offered more when you sign on than your colleague who graduated three years earlier was offered.
Average Salary For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates
What is the average Ph.D. in nursing salary in 2021? The average Ph.D. in nursing salary is $99,000 annually, which comes out to $8,250 a month or $47.60 an hour. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary is 76 percent higher than the average salary across all occupations in the U.S. ($56,310
.). Ph.Ds. in nursing command such handsome salaries because the skills they’ve been taught focus upon optimizing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of nurses in the workplace at a time when nurses are in increasingly short supply.
Average salaries tend to be heavily influenced by the cost of living within a particular state or region. California is the state that pays the highest-paid Ph.D. in nursing salaries on average. Ph.D. in nursing graduates in California average $126,200, which is 27 percent higher than the average salary for Ph.D. in nursing across all parts of the U.S. In contrast, the Ph.D. in nursing salary in Tennessee, the lowest-paid Ph.D. in nursing state, is $85,910, which is 32 percent less than California. But the cost of living in California is nearly 50 percent higher than the cost of living in the U.S. as a whole
, while the cost of living in Tennessee is 12 percent less
. Since the average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates is only 13 percent less than the average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates across all states, this essentially means that Ph.D.-educated nurses in the Volunteer State may have the same amount of purchasing power that nursing Ph.Ds. who earn the average salary for all parts of the nation have. Ph.D.-educated nurses in California, on the other hand, even with their higher salaries, may not be compensated highly enough to offset the high cost of living in the Golden State.
Within states, there are local differences that reflect regional variations in the cost of living. The San Francisco Bay Area is the most expensive place to live in the U.S.
, so it’s not surprising that San Francisco and Oakland are the two cities that pay Ph.D.-educated nurses the highest salaries: The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in these two cities is $153,720. In the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Region, Ph.D.-educated nurses average $123,430, which is 20 percent less than their Bay Area counterparts. But the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is 39 percent more than the cost of living in the Los Angeles area
, so in terms of purchasing power, Ph.D.-educated nurses in the City of Angels may actually come out ahead.
Salary For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates By Level Of Experience
The more professional experience you accumulate after you graduate with a Ph.D. in nursing, the higher the salary you will earn. Additional increments of salary are generous and consistent. Ph.D.-educated nurses with one to four years of experience earn $39.44 an hour, which multiplies out to $6,840 a month or $82,040 annually; this is 14 percent more than Ph.D.-educated nurses who are just starting out. Nurses with five to nine years of experience earn $46.42 an hour, which comes to $8,050 a month or $96,550 annually; this is 18 percent more than their colleagues with one to four years of experience earn. With 10 to 19 years of experience, your annual salary will go up another 17 percent. Ph.D.-educated nurses with 20 or more years of experience earn salaries that are 88 percent higher than those who are just starting out.
In every occupation, professionals with experience earn more, but the increases Ph.D.-educated nurses can look forward to are more substantial than most. Part of the reason for this may be that many nursing Ph.D. graduates go on to become tenured professors at nursing colleges or in nursing departments associated with universities, and tenured professors typically get raises every year. Moreover, even before they achieve full tenure, tenure-track professors may be able to increase their earnings by teaching summer school classes.
Another reason employers may pay Ph.D.-educated nurses with many years of experience so highly is to may be keep them in the workforce. Ph.D.-educated nurses have the option of becoming freelance nurse consultants, and nurse consultants are in high demand. For a high fee, such consultants loan their analytical skills and support to healthcare leaders charged with finding solutions to challenges like clinical practice standards and operational issues in administration, finances, and human resources. Paying a high Ph.D. in nursing salary, thus, may be an employer’s way of retaining that nurse’s services strictly for its own use.
| Level of Experience|| Hourly|| Monthly|| Annual|
| Entry-Level|| $34.48|| $5,980|| $71,720|
| 1-4 Years of Experience|| $39.44|| $6,840|| $82,040|
| 5-9 Years of Experience|| $46.42|| $8,050|| $96,550|
| 10-19 Years of Experience|| $54.13|| $9,380|| $112,600|
| 20 Years or More Experience|| $64.91|| $11,250|| $135,010|
Average Annual Compensation For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates
Salary is only part of the compensation that Ph.Ds. in nursing earn. Like all employees, Ph.D.-educated nurses are eligible for benefits, which are indirect, non-cash payments structured as part of a compensation package. Employers typically offer benefits as a means of securing high-quality employees; employees like benefits because they represent income that is non-taxable.
Among the benefits Ph.D.-educated nurses can look forward to receiving are medical insurance, paid leave, retirement contributions, professional liability insurance and reimbursements or allowances for licensure, certification, and continuing education classes.
Benefits can have a significant effect on the total compensation a Ph.D.-educated nurse receives. A Ph.D.-educated nurse working for an employer in the private sector receives annual benefits valued at $41,863; this amounts to 42 percent of his or her total annual salary, bringing their total compensation package to $140,953 a year. A Ph.D.-educated nurse working for a state or local government may do even better. On average, he or she receives annual benefits valued at $60,301, which amounts to 62 percent of their total annual salary, bringing their total compensation package to $158,271 a year. Thus, even though a Ph.D.-educated nurse in the public sector makes a lower average Ph.D. in nursing salary than a counterpart in the private sector, he or she is actually earning 12 percent more.
| Component|| Private Industry|| State and Local Government|
| Paid Leave|| $10,431|| $12,029|
| Supplemental Pay|| $4,933|| $1,583|
| Insurance|| $10,994|| $18,518|
| Retirement and Savings|| $4,792|| $19,626|
| Legally Required|| $10,712|| $8,705|
| Total Benefits|| $41,863 || $60,301 |
| Average Annual Salary|| $99,090|| $97,970|
| Total Average Compensation|| $140,953 || $158,271 |
How Does Ph.D. in Nursing Salary Compare To Other Nursing Degrees?
While Ph.D.-educated nurses are compensated highly, on average, they earn 6 percent less than nurses who’ve pursued a DNP degree. Both degrees are terminal nursing degrees, but the DNP has a clinical focus while the Ph.D. in Nursing has a research-oriented focus, and in the U.S., clinicians are traditionally paid more than research scientists.
Ph.D.-educated nurses earn 14 percent more than nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees and 39 percent more than nurses who hold an Associate Nursing degrees (ADN.). But they only make 3 percent more than nurses with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees even though the Ph.D. can take one to three years longer to earn. This leads to one unavoidable conclusion: If salary is your primary consideration, you may be better off pursuing the research opportunities that are open to you as an MSN than pursuing a Ph.D. in Nursing and accruing additional educational costs.
| Rank|| Type Of Degree|| Average Salary Per Year|| Comparison|
| Number || %|
| 1|| Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree|| $105,000|| -6,000|| -5.71%|
| 2|| Doctorate (PhD), Nursing Degree|| $99,000 || 0|| 0.00%|
| 3|| Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree|| $96,000|| +3,000|| +3.13%|
| 4|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree|| $87,000|| +12,000|| +13.79%|
| 5|| Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Degree|| $71,000|| +28,000|| +39.44%|
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PH.D. IN NURSING SALARY BY STATE?
(Listed in alphabetical order, below you will find the average salary for Ph.D. in Nursing graduates in every state for 2021.)
1. Alabama: The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Alabama is $41.48 an hour, which multiplies out to $86,270 a year. In 2018, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), in collaboration with the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (UAT), launched an innovative Nursing Science Ph.D. program specifically focusing on research methods designed to improve health outcomes among rural communities and other medically underserved populations.
| Hourly|| $41.48|
| Annual|| $86,270|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Alaska average $95,330 a year, which breaks down to $45.83 an hour. Though Ph.D.-educated nurses have been lead investigators on a number of projects looking into the health status of Native Alaskan women
, there are no Ph.D. in nursing programs in the Last Frontier State.
| Hourly|| $45.83|
| Annual|| $95,330|
The Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University and the College of Nursing at University of Arizona both offer nursing Ph.D. in nursing degrees. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Arizona is $48.83 an hour or $101,570 a year, which is 3 percent more than the average Ph.D. in nursing salary across all states.
| Hourly|| $48.83|
| Annual|| $101,570|
Arkansas is one of the states where Ph.D.-educated nurses earn the lowest salaries. This is part of a state-wide trend toward low compensation rates for Arizona healthcare professionals overall. On average, the Ph.D. in nursing salary in the Grand Canyon State is $91,820 an hour or $91,820 a year.
| Hourly|| $44.14|
| Annual|| $91,820|
California is the state that offers the highest-paid Ph.D. in nursing compensation: The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in California is $60.67 an hour, which comes to $126,200 a year. There are six Ph.D. in Nursing programs in California: Four of them are offered at University of California campuses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Davis, and San Diego, while the other two are offered at Azusa Pacific University and Loma Linda University.
| Hourly|| $60.67|
| Annual|| $126,200|
Both the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado in Denver and the School of Nursing at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley host Ph.D. nursing programs. Ph.D.-educated nurses have been tapped for high-level administrative jobs at the Centennial State’s many accredited nursing programs as well as at the state’s many nationally-funded healthcare research centers. Ph.D.-educated nurses have spearheaded the movement to provide nurse-sensitive patient outcome data across Colorado healthcare facilities
. The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Colorado is $94,890 a year or $45.62 annually.
| Hourly|| $45.62|
| Annual|| $94,890|
Ph.D. in nursing compensation in Connecticut falls in the middle range of nationwide compensation, with salaries topping the $100,000 mark. Ph.D.-educated nurses earn $48.54 an hour or $100,960 a year. Two Ph.D. in nursing programs are offered within the state: the School of Nursing at Yale University focuses on clinical, policy, and healthcare research while the School of Nursing at the University of Connecticut is more specifically focused upon clinical nursing science.
| Hourly|| $48.54|
| Annual|| $100,960|
The University of Delaware offers a Ph.D.in nursing through its School of Nursing, which is associated with its College of Health Sciences. Nurses with Ph.Ds. in nursing may find employment in companies like AstraZeneca whose American headquarters are in Wilmington. Ph-D.-educated nurses in the First State earn $97,030 annually or $46.65 an hour.
| Hourly|| $46.65|
| Annual|| $97,030|
The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Florida is $42 an hour, which multiplies out to $87,370 a year. Florida pays Ph.D.-educated nurses the third-lowest salary of any state. Despite this, eight academic institutions in the Sunshine State offer Ph.Ds. in Nursing: Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida International University in University Park, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, the University of Central Florida in Orange County, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the University of Miami in Coral Gables and the University of South Florida in Tampa.
| Hourly|| $42.00|
| Annual|| $87,370|
As the headquarters for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta offers many employment opportunities for Ph.D.-educated nurses. Still, the Peach State is one of the lowest-paying so far as Ph.D. in nursing salaries are concerned: The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Georgia is $44.15 an hour or $91,830 a year. Emory University and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia Regents University in Augusta, and Mercer University in Macon all offer nursing Ph.D. programs.
| Hourly|| $44.15|
| Annual|| $91,830|
The cost of living in Hawaii is one of the highest in the nation, so it’s not surprising that Ph.D.-educated nurses earn high salaries in the Aloha State. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Hawaii is $49.37 an hour or $102,690 a year. The state’s only Ph.D. in nursing program is offered by the School of Nursing at the University of Hawaii in the Manoa district of Honolulu.
| Hourly|| $49.37|
| Annual|| $102,690|
Idaho’s PH.D.-educated nurses average $47.34 an hour, which works out to $98,460 a year, 1 percent less than the average salary for Ph.D.-educated nurses across all parts of the U.S. Idaho State University in Pocatello offers the Gem State’s sole Ph.D. in nursing program.
| Hourly|| $47.34|
| Annual|| $98,460|
Four academic institutions in Illinois offer Ph.D. in nursing programs: Illinois State University in Normal through its Mennonite College of Nursing, Rush University in Chicago through its Department of Nursing, the University of Illinois at Chicago through its College of Nursing, and Loyola University in Chicago through its Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Illinois is $46.58 an hour or $96,880 a year.
| Hourly|| $46.58|
| Annual|| $96,880|
The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Indiana is $45.70 an hour or $95,050 a year, which is 4 percent less than the average salary for all Ph.D.-educated nurses nationwide. The Hoosier State’s only Nursing Ph.D. program is offered as part of the healthcare-focused collaboration between Indiana University and Purdue University. Since its inception, the program has developed a national reputation for nursing research
and received multiple grants from NINR.
| Hourly|| $45.70|
| Annual|| $95,050|
Nurses with a passion for research can enroll in a Ph.D. in nursing through the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The University’s College of Nursing has received nearly $2-milliion-worth of nursing research grants from NINR
. Ph.D. in nursing degree holders average $44.85 an hour or $93,290 a year in the Hawkeye State.
| Hourly|| $44.85|
| Annual|| $93,290|
Kansas is one of the lowest-paying states so far as salaries for Ph.D.-educated nurses go: The average salary for PH.D. in nursing graduates is $43.45 an hour or $90,370 a year. No academic institutions in the Sunflower State offer nursing Ph.D. programs.
| Hourly|| $43.45|
| Annual|| $90,370|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Kentucky can expect to earn $42.59 an hour or $88,580 a year on average. The College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky in Lexington focuses on preparing graduates to do clinical research while the School of Nursing at the University of Louisville is oriented more toward health policy research.
| Hourly|| $42.59|
| Annual|| $88,580|
Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Louisiana can anticipate earning $46.50 an hour, which multiplies out to $96,730 a year, on average. Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center in New Orleans offers a Ph.D. in nursing degree as does Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge. Among other topics, PH.D.-educated nurses in the Bayou State have studied the efficacy of nursing home evacuations during Hurricane Katrina
| Hourly|| $46.50|
| Annual|| $96,730|
Maine-based nurses interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing will have to look out of state to pursue their academic ambitions. Ph.D. in nursing graduates average $46.38 an hour or $96,470 a year in the Pine Tree State, which is 3 percent less than the average Ph.D. in nursing salary earned throughout all parts of the nation.
| Hourly|| $46.38|
| Annual|| $96,470|
The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Maryland is $99,630 annually or $47.90 an hour. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s Ph.D. in Nursing program, based in Baltimore, is internationally renowned for the research it carries out into disease prevention and risk reduction, women’s health, care at end of life, community-based health promotion, and health care for diverse populations. The University of Maryland in College Park and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda offer Ph.D. in nursing degrees as well.
| Hourly|| $47.90|
| Annual|| $99,630|
Five schools in Massachusetts offer nursing Ph.D. programs: the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, the Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Boston University, all in Boston and the Amherst and Dartmouth campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Massachusetts is $52,39 an hour or $108,980 a year, 10 percent more than the average Ph.D. in nursing salary across all parts of the U.S.
| Hourly|| $52.39|
| Annual|| $108,980|
Three academic institutions in Michigan offer the Ph.D. in nursing degree: the College of Nursing at Michigan State University in East Lansing, the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the College of Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Michigan is $45.37 an hour or $94,370 a year but Ph.D. salaries in the Detroit area are 2 percent higher.
23. Minnesota: The Mayo Clinic in Rochester employs many Ph.D.-educated nurses to conduct research focused on improving patient outcomes
| Hourly|| $45.37|
| Annual|| $94,370|
The School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul offers an onsite nursing Ph.D. program while Capella University, headquartered in Minneapolis, offers a nursing Ph.D. program conducted completely online. The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Minnesota is $49.42 an hour or $102,800 a year.
| Hourly|| $49.42|
| Annual|| $102,800|
On average, Ph.D. educated nurses in Mississippi earn 4 percent less than Ph.D.-educated nurses earn throughout all parts of the U.S. Nurses with Ph.Ds. in nursing in the Magnolia State average $45.53 an hour, which works out to $94,710 a year. The University of Mississippi’s Medical Center in Jackson and the College of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg both offer Ph.D. in nursing studies.
| Hourly|| $45.53|
| Annual|| $94,710|
The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Missouri is $44.42 an hour or $92,390 a year, but Ph.D.-educated nurses in Kansas City, straddling the Kansas border, make 4 percent more than that. Nurses in the Show-Me State who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in their profession have five options: the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in St. Louis, the School of Nursing at Saint Louis University, the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and the College of Nursing at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.
| Hourly|| $44.42|
| Annual|| $92,390|
Montana is a sparsely populated state with very little in the way of research science, so it’s not surprising that there are no Ph.D. in nursing programs in the Big Sky State, preparing graduates for a role in research. Ph.D.-educated nurses in Montana can anticipate averaging $47.54 an hour or $98,880 annually.
| Hourly|| $47.54|
| Annual|| $98,880|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Nebraska earn $44.61 an hour or $92,790 a year on average, which is 6 percent less than the average salary for Ph.D.-educated nurses nationwide. The only school in the Cornhusker State with a Ph.D. nursing program is located at the College of Nursing associated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
| Hourly|| $44.61|
| Annual|| $92,790|
The School of Nursing at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas offers a three-track nursing Ph.D. program with emphases in education, clinical health research, and sustainable health. Ph.D.-educated nurses in the Silver State average $49.83 an hour or $109,650 annually.
29. New Hampshire:
| Hourly|| $49.83|
| Annual|| $103,650|
New Hampshire-based nurses who are interested in furthering their educations with a Ph.D. will have to look outside the Granite State for a program. In New Hampshire, Ph.D. in nursing graduates can expect to earn $46.75 an hour or $97,230 a year, which is 2 percent beneath the national average.
30. New Jersey:
| Hourly|| $46.75|
| Annual|| $97,230|
New Jersey is one of the highest-paid Ph.D. in nursing states. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in New Jersey is $54.40 an hour or $113,160 a year. Nurses in the Garden State who want to earn a Ph.D. in their professional field have two options: The College of Nursing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in South Orange.
31. New Mexico:
| Hourly|| $54.40|
| Annual|| $113,160|
Though New Mexico is one of the 10 poorest states in the nation
, Ph.D. in nursing salaries here average 2 percent more than the national average. Ph.D.-educated nurses earn $101,200 a year on average, which breaks down to $48.65 an hour. The School of Nursing at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque both offer Ph.D. in nursing degrees.
32. New York:
| Hourly|| $48.65|
| Annual|| $101,200|
New York offers eight choices to nurses who are looking to advance their professional careers by earning a Ph.D. in nursing: the College of Nursing and Public Health at Adelphi University in Garden City; the Schools of Nursing at Columbia University and New York University in New York City; the School of Health Sciences at the Sage Colleges in Troy and Albany; Malloy College in Rockville Centre; and the Buffalo, Binghamton, and Rochester campuses of the State University of New York. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in New York is $52.55 an hour or $109,310 annually.
33. North Carolina:
| Hourly|| $52.55|
| Annual|| $109,310|
The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in North Carolina is $45.04 an hour or $93,690 a year, but Ph.D.-educated nurses in the Greater Metropolitan Raleigh Area earn 3 percent more than that. The School of Nursing at Duke University in Durham, the College of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, and the Greensboro and Chapel Hill campuses of the University of North Carolina all offer Ph.D. in nursing degree programs.
34. North Dakota:
| Hourly|| $45.04|
| Annual|| $93,690|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in North Dakota can expect to earn salaries averaging $46.17 an hour or $96.030 a year. North Dakota’s only Ph.D. in nursing degree program is offered by the Department of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
| Hourly|| $46.17|
| Annual|| $96,030|
The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Ohio is $43.90 an hour or $91,320 annually, but Ph.D.-educated nurses working in Columbus can expect to earn 2 percent less than that. There are four Ph.D. in nursing degree programs in the Buckeye State, offered by the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the College of Nursing at the University of Akron, the College of Nursing at Ohio State University in Columbus, and jointly by Kent State University and the University of Akron in Kent.
| Hourly|| $43.90|
| Annual|| $91,320|
Oklahoma PH.D. in nursing graduates average $46.87 an hour or $97,480 a year, but in Oklahoma City, they average $98,150 a year while in Tulsa, they average $99,330 a year, which is more than the national average. Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Norman both offer nursing Ph.D. programs.
| Hourly|| $46.87|
| Annual|| $97,480|
The School of Nursing at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland offers a Ph.D. in nursing degree that focuses on teaching qualitative and quantitative research methods. Nursing Ph.Ds. average $49.30 a year or $102,540 annually in the Beaver State, which is 4 percent more than the national average.
| Hourly|| $49.30|
| Annual|| $102,540|
The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Pennsylvania is $46.37 an hour or $96,450 annually, but Ph.D. in nursing salaries in Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, are 7 percent higher. The Keystone State is home to 10 nursing Ph.D. degree programs: the College of Nursing at Villanova University in Villanova, the School of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the Department of Nursing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana County, the School of Nursing at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and the Erie-Behrend, Fayette-Eberly, Hershey, Mont Alto, and Scranton campuses of Pennsylvania State University.
39. Rhode Island:
| Hourly|| $46.37|
| Annual|| $96,450|
Rhode Island Ph.D. in nursing graduates can expect to make $48.75 an hour or $101,410 annually on average. The College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston makes a Ph.D. in nursing degree program available for Ocean State nurses who want to earn this terminal degree.
40. South Carolina:
| Hourly|| $48.75|
| Annual|| $101,410|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in South Carolina earn $42.06 an hour or $87,480 a year, making it the fourth-lowest state in the nation when it comes to Ph.D. in nursing salaries. Three schools in South Carolina offer nursing Ph.D. degree programs: the School of Nursing at Clemson University in Clemson, the College of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and the College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
41. South Dakota:
| Hourly|| $42.06|
| Annual|| $87,480|
The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University in Brookings offers the Mount Rushmore State’s sole Ph.D. in nursing degree program. Graduates of nursing Ph.D. programs in South Dakota can expect to average $42.85 an hour or $89,120 a year, which is 10 percent lower than the national average for Ph.D. in nursing salaries.
| Hourly|| $42.85|
| Annual|| $89,120|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Tennessee are the lowest-paid Ph.D. in nursing professionals in the nation. The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Tennessee is $41.30 an hour or $85,910 a year, which is 13 percent lower than the average Ph.D. in nursing salary throughout all parts of the U.S. Three academic institutions in the Volunteer State offer Ph.D. in nursing degree programs: the College of Nursing at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
| Hourly|| $41.30|
| Annual|| $85,910|
Though the average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Texas is $48.50 an hour or $100,890 annually, there is considerable regional variation. In Houston, Ph.D.-educated nurses make 8 percent more than the average state salary while in El Paso, they make 3 percent less. The Lone Star State’s eight Ph.D. in nursing degree programs are available through the College of Nursing at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, the Houston and San Antonio campuses of the University of Texas Health Science Center, and the Arlington, Austin, El Paso, and Tyler campuses of the University of Texas.
| Hourly|| $48.50|
| Annual|| $100,890|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Utah average $47.20 an hour or $98,170 a year. The University of Utah in Salt Lake City offers the Beehive State’s only Ph.D. in nursing degree program through its School of Nursing.
| Hourly|| $47.20|
| Annual|| $98,170|
Ph.D.-educated nurses in Vermont can anticipate averaging $45 an hour or $93,610 a year. Nurses interested in pursuing this terminal professional degree will have to investigate schools outside the Green Mountain State.
| Hourly|| $45.00|
| Annual|| $93,610|
The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Virginia is $45.58 an hour or $94,810 annually. Nurses interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in their professional field have four-degree programs within their home state: the College of Health and Human Sciences at George Mason University in Fairfax County, the School of Nursing at Hampton University in Hampton, the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
| Hourly|| $45.58|
| Annual|| $94,810|
Washington offers the second-highest-paid Ph.D. in nursing salaries in the U.S. The average Ph.D. in nursing salary in Washington is $52.57 an hour or $109,350 a year. The School of Nursing at the University of Washington in Seattle and the College of Nursing at Washington State University in Pullman both offer Ph.D. in nursing degree programs.
48. West Virginia:
| Hourly|| $52.57|
| Annual|| $109,350|
The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University in Morgantown offers the Mountain State’s only Ph.D. in nursing degree program. Ph.D.-educated nurses in West Virginia average $43.74 an hour or $90,970 a year.
| Hourly|| $43.74|
| Annual|| $90,970|
The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in Wisconsin is $46.98 an hour or $97,720 a year, but Ph.D.-educated nurses in Milwaukee average 1 percent less than that. If you want to attend a nursing Ph.D. program in the Badger State, you have three choices: the College of Nursing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, or the Milwaukee and Madison campuses of the University of Wisconsin.
| Hourly|| $46.98|
| Annual|| $97,720|
There are no opportunities for Wyoming-based nurses seeking to earn a Ph.D. in nursing in their own state. Ph.D.-educated nurses in the Cowboy State can anticipate earning $49.38 a year or $102,720 annually, which is 4 percent higher than the national average.
| Hourly|| $49.38|
| Annual|| $102,720|
What Are The 10 Highest And Lowest Paying States For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates?
As noted above, there is considerable variation in the average Ph.D. in nursing salary from state to state, and this is primarily keyed to differences in the cost of living indices. Hawaii, California, New York, and Massachusetts are four of the states in which the cost of living is highest. On average, the Ph.D. in nursing salary in these states is 26 percent higher than it is in Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas and Tennessee, four of the states in which the cost of living is lowest.
Another factor influencing average Ph.D. in nursing salary may be the difficulty of attracting qualified employees to a particular state. In sparsely populated states like Wyoming, for example, high salaries may be offered as a substitute for lifestyle amenities the state lacks.
| Rank|| Highest Paying States || Lowest Paying States |
| State|| Salary|| State|| Salary|
| 1|| California|| $126,200|| Tennessee|| $85,910|
| 2|| New Jersey|| $113,160|| Alabama|| $86,270|
| 3|| Washington|| $109,350|| Florida|| $87,370|
| 4|| New York|| $109,310|| South Carolina|| $87,480|
| 5|| Massachusetts|| $108,980|| Kentucky|| $88,580|
| 6|| Nevada|| $103,650|| South Dakota|| $89,120|
| 7|| Minnesota|| $102,800|| Kansas|| $90,370|
| 8|| Wyoming|| $102,720|| West Virginia|| $90,970|
| 9|| Hawaii|| $102,690|| Ohio|| $91,320|
| 10|| Oregon|| $102,540|| Arkansas|| $91,820|
Average Ph.D. in Nursing Salary By City For 2021
Considerable variation in the average salary for Ph.D. in nursing may also exist from city to city in the same state. Ph.D.-educated nurses in Nashville, Tennessee, for example, earn the lowest salaries among any of this professional cohort in the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. In Memphis, however, a little more than 200 miles to the west, Ph.D. educated nurses earn salaries that are 11 percent higher than their Nashville colleagues.
Cost of living doesn’t seem to factor into this particular differential since the cost of living in Nashville
is actually 25 percent higher than the cost of living in Memphis
. The key determinant here may be competitive marketplace pressures: The Greater Metropolitan Nashville Area is a healthcare hub with more than 400 healthcare providers offering 250,000-plus jobs
. Healthcare professionals, thus, gravitate to Nashville, so employers don’t have to offer monetary incentives to fill positions. Memphis probably doesn’t experience the same influx of healthcare professionals looking for employment, so they need to offer more monetary incentives to fill the positions they have.
Nashville is also the capital of the for-profit healthcare industry in the U.S. Nursing professionals in for-profit medical centers typically earn less than nursing professionals in nonprofit medical centers
| City|| Hourly|| Annual|
| Albuquerque, NM|| $45.30|| $94,230|
| Arlington, TX|| $48.52|| $100,930|
| Atlanta, GA|| $44.51|| $92,590|
| Austin, TX|| $46.38|| $96,470|
| Baltimore, MD|| $48.44|| $100,760|
| Boston, MA|| $52.76|| $109,740|
| Charlotte, NC|| $45.00|| $93,610|
| Chicago, IL|| $46.56|| $96,840|
| Colorado Springs, CO|| $42.31|| $88,000|
| Columbus, OH|| $43.13|| $89,700|
| Dallas, TX|| $48.52|| $100,930|
| Denver, CO|| $46.80|| $97,340|
| Detroit, MI|| $46.33|| $96,360|
| El Paso, TX|| $46.87|| $97,490|
| Fort Worth, TX|| $48.52|| $100,930|
| Fresno, CA|| $57.13|| $118,820|
| Houston, TX|| $52.29|| $108,770|
| Indianapolis, IN|| $45.74|| $95,140|
| Jacksonville, FL|| $42.74|| $88,890|
| Kansas City, MO|| $45.99|| $95,660|
| Las Vegas, NV|| $48.01|| $99,870|
| Long Beach, CA|| $59.34|| $123,430|
| Los Angeles, CA|| $59.34|| $123,430|
| Louisville, KY|| $43.99|| $91,500|
| Memphis, TN|| $45.49|| $94,620|
| Mesa, AZ|| $48.35|| $100,570|
| Miami, FL|| $40.33|| $83,890|
| Milwaukee, WI|| $46.51|| $96,750|
| Minneapolis, MN|| $49.88|| $103,750|
| Nashville, TN|| $40.98|| $85,240|
| New Orleans, LA|| $46.95|| $97,650|
| New York, NY|| $55.44|| $115,310|
| Oakland, CA|| $73.90|| $153,720|
| Oklahoma City, OK|| $47.19|| $98,150|
| Omaha, NE|| $45.19|| $94,000|
| Philadelphia, PA|| $49.40|| $102,760|
| Phoenix, AZ|| $48.35|| $100,570|
| Portland, OR|| $49.18|| $102,300|
| Raleigh, NC|| $46.25|| $96,190|
| Sacramento, CA|| $61.58|| $128,080|
| San Antonio, TX|| $45.96|| $95,590|
| San Diego, CA|| $52.42|| $109,040|
| San Francisco, CA|| $73.90|| $153,720|
| San Jose, CA|| $63.69|| $132,480|
| Seattle, WA|| $53.60|| $111,490|
| Tampa, FL|| $41.04|| $85,370|
| Tucson, AZ|| $50.19|| $104,400|
| Tulsa, OK|| $47.75|| $99,330|
| Virginia Beach, VA|| $43.11|| $89,660|
| Washington, DC|| $49.43|| $102,810|
What Is Salary Outlook For Ph.D. in Nursing Graduates?
Demand for the services of DNP-educated nurses is high so the salary outlook for this cohort is bright. The healthcare news aggregator Medscape notes that in the two years between 2016 and 2018, DNP salaries rose by 12 percent
. There’s every indication they will continue to rise.
It’s not clear, however, that this demand carries over to registered nurses who’ve earned the profession’s other terminal degree, the Ph.D. in nursing. Their expertise in research is duplicated to some extent by Ph.D.-educated public health professionals as well as by DNP-educated registered nurses who’ve been educated to do much the same type of interdisciplinary healthcare investigations as Ph.D.-educated nurses. It’s likely—though not certain—that the average salary for Ph.D. in nursing will continue to rise as the average DNP salary rises, however.
3 Ways To Boost Your Ph.D. in Nursing Salary
Ph-D.-educated nurses who are interested in boosting their salaries have a number of options available to them. Here are three:
Nurse consultants with a Ph.D. degree leverage specialized knowledge to assist clients in solving clinical, operational, and logistic challenges. Such clients range from hospitals and nursing homes to laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. The most in-demand nurse consultants are those who specialize in niche areas. Before you market your consulting expertise, however, check with your employer: Some employers will not allow employees to offer consulting services on the side.
As a nurse with a Ph.D., you may be able to augment your salary by becoming an adjunct professor at a nearby nursing program or with an online nursing program. Many employers consider these types of educational experiences prestigious, so teaching may actually help you boost your reputation for excellence at your full-time workplace.
As you’ve seen from the discussion above, salaries for Ph-D.-educated nurses vary widely from state to state and sometimes from city to city within the same state. If you live in an area where average salaries for Ph.D.-educated nurses are low, moving to an area where average salaries are higher may help you improve your earning potential.
Summing It Up
How much do Ph.D. in nursing graduates make? The average salary for Ph.D. in nursing graduates in 2021 throughout all parts of the U.S. is $99,000, but this varies considerably from state to state.
If your primary criterion in earning a terminal nursing degree is salary, the Ph.D. in nursing may not be for you. On average, PH.D.-educated nurses earn less than DNP-educated nurses. A Ph.D. in nursing also takes significantly more time to earn than a DNP, which means you’ll be accruing considerably higher educational expenses. If, however, you’re interested in pursuing research that’s dedicated to advancing the science of nursing, a Ph.D. in nursing will open the door to an exciting and fulfilling career.
We have used the following sources to compile the salary data on this page.
1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
3. NP Editorial Assessment
4. AACN Nursing