12 Ways Nurse Practitioners Can Make ($200K) OR More

Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN

As a nurse practitioner, you can expect to be paid well for your expertise. As the 2nd fastest-growing occupation in the nation, that translates to fantastic opportunity for NPs.

However, you may be interested in finding ways to make even better money as an NP. Most nurse practitioners are obviously curious about which NP jobs pay the best. But how can nurse practitioners make $200k or more? Is this goal even reasonably realistic? Well, yes, it is possible.

Read on to find 12 ways nurse practitioners can make $200k or more and see if you are a good fit for one of these lucrative opportunities to boost your career to the next financial level.

What is the Average Income of a Nurse Practitioner in the Nation?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics informs us that the average annual income of an NP in the US is $124,860. This wage will vary according to locale and specialty.

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Can Nurse Practitioners Make $200k or More?

Although the average NP compensation is low to mid $100,000, nurse practitioners can make $200k or more. However, you must be willing to look outside the typical PCP office jobs where most NPs are employed. Below, I will detail how to break out of the mold as an NP to reach a higher financial goal.

How Can Nurse Practitioners Make $200k or More?

(Below are 12 ways nurse practitioners can earn an annual income of $200,000 or more.)

WAY #1: Choose Your Specialty Wisely

About the Way:

For those deciding which specialty to choose, you may want to consider which area has the most lucrative future.

You may want to avoid the lowest-paying NP specialties, such as pediatrics and family health. If making top dollar as an NP is your career goal, your best chance at reaching the 200K mark is to choose a career in cardiology, psychiatry, or neonatology.

Your specialty should be a jump-off point for your projected income. That does not mean that you are stuck at a particular pay. There are many ways to boost your earning potential. However, your certification and expertise can increase your chance for higher wages.

How Much Can You Make:

The highest-paying NP jobs typically start in the mid-100,000s on average. However, seasoned nurse practitioners specializing in well-paid fields and working in high-income locales can expect to increase their wages (including bonuses) to close to $200,000 over time.

WAY #2: Be Willing to Move

About the Way:

Certain states and cities pay much better than others. If you desire top income as an NP, move to California. California NP compensation consistently ranks #1, having 9 out of 10 US top cities for pay. So, if you are willing to “follow the money” and move to a higher-paying state or city, your chances of closing in on a $200,000 salary are likely.

How Much Can You Make:

In San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, the average NP salary is $199,630. Gain a little experience or wait a few months for the cost of living to rise, and you are bound to hit the 200K salary goal. However, you may want to consider the cost of living in high-paying cities and states, which may make the excellent wage not so enticing.

WAY #3: Management Jobs

About the Way:

It is realistic to say that the average nurse practitioner's pay does not reach $200,000. However, you can move up the ladder to achieve better financial compensation. Hospital and corporate management jobs typically pay their execs a healthy salary that is well over NP wages. It is exciting to see advanced practice nurses making the headlines as they break the barrier into the upper echelon of hospital management.

How Much Can You Make:

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) lists the average hospital CEO salary as $246,440. Private corporation execs typically are paid even higher wages.

Hospital and corporate business positions tend to pay more than those in the nursing/medical pool. Your pay should increase substantially once you cross over into a hospital's business/management realm.

WAY #4: Go Back to School

About the Way:

If you are already a nurse practitioner and want to break the 200K salary mark, you may want to consider going back to school. Nurse anesthetists and those working in business or high-power leadership roles are 2 options to consider where nurse practitioners can make $200k or more. Nurse anesthetists are the best-paid advanced practice nurses in the US.

If you are thinking of transferring to the business side of the career ladder, your chance of success depends on picking up a business administration or other leadership degree. An MBA or dual DNP/MBA degree will open many doors to higher pay.

How Much Can You Make:

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) informs us that a nurse anesthetist averages $205,770 annually. Top execs in healthcare consistently earn over $200,000.

WAY #5: Work in Hard-to-Place Locales

About the Way:

According to the law of supply and demand, NP jobs that are hard to fill drive up the compensation. The BLS lists 29,200 job openings for NPs, nurse anesthetists, and midwives. Most of these openings tend to be in locales with a high turnover or an ongoing need for NPs. Due to an increased demand with a bleak outlook to fill these openings, employers are willing to pay top dollar to draw in NPs.

These less-than-desirable locations tend to occur in remotely rural, inner-city areas or Indian reservations. Nurse practitioners are commonly utilized in these areas of need to fill gaps in healthcare.

How Much Can You Make:

The Indian Health Services website lists various nurse practitioner jobs, with some paying over $275,000 annually. You may have to scour the job sites for this type of pay, but knowing that nurse practitioners can make $200k or more in these areas of need is worth the extra legwork.

Recent job postings in some areas of NYC show urgent hiring needs for NPs, with salaries starting at $200,000.

WAY #6: Be a Traveler

About the Way:

We learned during the pandemic that traveling NPs can make a lot of money. Although travel pay has come down somewhat, you can still expect to earn top revenue in your profession if you are willing to work as a traveler.

How Much Can You Make:

One of the beautiful benefits of travel NP jobs is that you have a wide variety to pick from. Travel nurse practitioners in CA, certain cities, and hard-to-place areas make over $100 per hour. Most travelers in this capacity can expect to earn well over $200,000 annually if they choose top-dollar assignments and work full-time. Your total compensation package for a traveler can boost your overall income even higher as you will save money on living expenses with housing, travel, and food allowances.

WAY #7: Hang Your Own Shingle

About the Way:

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there currently are 30 US states and territories that have approved full practice authority for NPs. Full practice authority opens many doors for us, including operating solo as a practitioner.

Working as an independent provider can be a lucrative alternative to corporate medicine. If you are interested in this career path, nurse practitioners can make $200k or more in states that grant full practice authority.

Just be aware that certain specialty areas reap a better wage than others. For example, as an FNP providing primary care, you may never reach the $200K mark, even as an independent PCP. The reimbursement for your services may just not be enough to make top dollar.

However, owning a specialty clinic, such as one for dermatology, can reap higher dividends for an independent NP.

How Much Can You Make:

For NPs who have the green light to hang out their shingle, you can earn between $200,000 and $250,000 annually. If you are hoping for a significant return on your business, remember my tip to pick a niche that pays off in the end.

WAY #8: Work in Pharmaceuticals

About the Way:

Nurse practitioners are ideally suited to work in pharmaceuticals. NPs who work in this arena can be found in research, sales, customer support, and education positions. Big pharma is one of the most lucrative industries in the US. Top contenders such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) net over 20 billion dollars annually.

Your role would undoubtedly look different from traditional NP jobs and may have titles such as health representative and medical scientific liaison. Your transferrable skills, medical knowledge, and advanced degree will help to get your foot in the door for one of these big-time players. A business degree may also be necessary for some roles.

How Much Can You Make:

Pharmaceutical organizations offer a vast variety of positions and salaries. One example is a job at J & J as an associate director in the medical writing department that offers a salary between $150.3k-259.2k. As an NP, you would have the basic knowledge for this type of position, although it is a unique role for most NPs.

WAY #9: Medical Tech Companies

About the Way:

NP jobs in medical technology and device corporations can be in sales or education. Although nurse practitioners can make excellent pay as sales reps, our real bread and butter is in education. Your medical expertise will be utilized to train doctors, nurses, patients, and other health personnel on the device that you represent. Working for a profitable medical device company is one opportunity where nurse practitioners can make $200k or more.

Products can be as complex as surgical implants or more familiar, such as hospital equipment. Typically, the more expensive or complex the product, the higher the pay for the clinical educator or territory manager.

How Much Can You Make:

I have a colleague who works for Medtronic, one of the more prominent medical device companies. With her bonus pay, she is making well over $200,000 annually. She also has a very generous travel allowance and other amenities that add to her overall compensation package.

WAY #10: Work Side Niches

About the Way:

As a nurse practitioner, your base salary is quite comfortable. However, most do not reach the 200K goal by just working your typical 9-5 NP job.

Fortunately, your earnings can be augmented in many ways if you are willing to work on your off hours and explore some creative part-time ideas. Thus, you can work side hustles to grow your income. Working a side hustle is a solid idea where nurse practitioners can make $200k or more when you combine your regular and side job income.

Side jobs may be:

• Telemed work on evenings and weekends
• Remote nursing instructor
• Mentoring nursing students and nurses
• Writing
• Creating nursing CEUs and coursework
• Create YouTube videos and tutorials for nurses

The sky’s the limit in this category. You don’t have to stick to strictly nursing side hustles, either. NPs are savvy and can be creative, so you may want to choose a hobby or something new to make a few extra bucks.

How Much Can You Make:

There is no one answer as to how much you can make working side niches. Let’s just say that you can make enough to break the 200K barrier if you want. It all depends on your choice of part-time work and how many hours you devote to your endeavor.

I want to add that a side hustle often proves to be so enjoyable and profitable that many NPs transition the hustle to a full-time job.

WAY #11: Develop an App

About the Way:

Have you ever been forced to use an EMR you hated because it did not make sense and was time-consuming? I know that I have!

At one hospital, there were 3-4 different EMR systems that we had to use for different situations. Each had a different 13-digit password that clicked off after a few seconds. It was maddening! Franticly moving between the systems during an emergency made for unsafe conditions due to its cumbersome qualities. This bulky system frayed my nerves.

NPs know what kind of EMRs and medical and healthcare apps are helpful and user-friendly. If you are a techie, you may have the savvy to develop a medical app. NPs with a background in health informatics are exceptionally situated to take advantage of this profitable opportunity.

You will likely use medical diagnosis, reference, interaction, and medication (prescribing) apps as a provider. In addition, apps for education, health teaching, and language interpretation are always in the making.

How Much Can You Make:

Some of the biggest profits are in the tech and app industry. I have a friend who developed one app that set him up for success for the rest of his life. He made a bundle on his app that he sold to Microsoft and then invested his money in real estate. He now owns several large wineries and smaller entities, making him a rich man.

Not every app reaps such significant returns, but this example illustrates the money that can be made in this arena. However, don’t quit your NP job just yet. Just be aware that this avenue may be a one-time opportunity where nurse practitioners can make $200k or more.

WAY #12: Own a Business

About the Way:

More and more NPs are becoming business owners. This is one of the more popular endeavors where nurse practitioners can make $200k or more. But aside from opening a medical practice, what other business can an NP start to make good money?

The list is long and continually expanding. NP business ideas can include educational, product (retail), or consulting opportunities such as:

• Medical Marijuana Dispensary
• Medical Information Website
• Healthcare Staffing
• Travel Nurse Agency
• Specialty clinical niches include IV infusion centers, women’s hormone treatment, and hair loss.
• Health spa
• Supplement and natural cosmetic sales

How Much Can You Make:

With business savvy and hard work, you can make $200,000 as a business owner. Some NPs combine multiple business ideas to supplement their income and grow their business. It is recommended that you first keep your day job and gradually add to your business. As it grows, your day job can become part-time. This same process is best as you incorporate new business on the side.

My Final Thoughts

So how can nurse practitioners make $200k or more? With some pre-planning, hard work, and perhaps an entrepreneurial spirit, a nurse practitioner can break the 200K mark.

As you know now from reading “12 ways nurse practitioners can make $200k or more”, the path to this goal is not your typical office NP job. You must be willing to go the extra mile to make top dollar in your career. But if you intend to grow your income, you can rest assured that other NPs have gone before you and successfully breached the $200,000 income. With the knowledge gleaned from this article, you are now better positioned to make an informed choice if you want to move your career in this lucrative direction.

Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Donna Reese is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing.