Nursing is, no doubt, a calling. People drawn to nursing have a sincere desire to help and care for people. But, it's equally important that nursing skills and abilities are adequately compensated. As more Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) enter the healthcare field (estimated by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners to be around 23,000 per year), salaries and compensation are keeping pace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates this healthcare career will grow at a stunning 31% over a ten-year period. As with nursing, there is a nationwide physician shortage being experienced and the role of certified Nurse Practitioners is increasing as they work with physicians to meet the needs of patients.
There are several Nurse Practitioner specialties and national salary estimates may vary depending on the concentration. Best Medical Degrees has reviewed salary estimates as provided by PayScale, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor, to provide salary projections for various Nurse Practitioner roles. PayScale relies on national employer surveys to determine an estimate, Glass Door utilizes salary estimates based on job listings and the Bureau of Labor Statistics establishes wages based on the average wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned.
What Influences Salary Expectations?
The higher level of education you have, the higher salary you generally can expect. Advance Practice Nurses require a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in a specific concentration. Some specialties are in greater demand and may have a higher salary to attract professionals. You may also want to consider the cost of advancing your education versus the average salary your career offers.
Location, Location, Location
Salaries will vary by state and, often, cities. While a high salary may be attractive, how far that salary may go will be dependent on where you practice. Cost of living factors, along with state and local tax rates, should be considered when looking at an overall salary and what it means in terms of your particular lifestyle.
Sign On Bonuses
Many healthcare systems, physician groups, etc. offer sign-on bonuses to attract qualified and certified Nurse Practitioners to help meet the growing patient population. Bonuses may range from $5,000-$20,000, depending on specialty, employer and location.
Benefits Are Key
Benefits and other employer compensation may make a slightly lower salary become more attractive. Paid time off, health insurance, retirement benefits (think 401-k), tuition assistance, child care, etc., should be considered as part of your overall salary package.
Specialty Area Salary
As more and more nurses receive Masters of Science in Nursing degrees and certify as Nurse Practitioners, more specialty areas are being recognized; and, salary ranges will vary according to the specialty.
For example, PayScale offers the following salaries for Nurse Practitioner specialties:
Family Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Best Medical Degrees has ranked several Nurse Practitioner, online programs, which may be helpful in your school search. To date, we've published, 20 Most Affordable Nurse Anesthesia Degree Programs, 10 Most Affordable Online Nurse Midwifery Certificates and Degrees and Best Value Online Masters in Nursing Degree Programs 2018. Best Medical Degrees will be reviewing additional Advanced Practice Nursing programs in the future.