Which U.S. States Have the Highest Demand for Nurse Practitioners?

With an aging population, a rise in chronic disease, impending primary care physician shortages, and shifts in the primary care system toward team-based care, the demand for advanced practice nurses (APNs) is going to be significant in the next decade —especially demand for nurse practitioners (NPs).

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reports that 90 percent of the 290,000 licensed NPs are certified in primary care, and 69 percent of NPs are already delivering primary care—a trend that will continue through the next decade. With 10 years of practice experience on average and at least a master’s-level education, NPs are highly experienced medical providers with extensive formalized training.

With NPs equipped with the skills needed for the current and impending needs in healthcare, the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS, 2020) predicted that between 2018 and 2028, the demand for NPs will swell 28 percent. An incredible 53,300 new NP jobs are predicted during this time period, with an overall nation-wide job availability of 242,400. In comparison to other APRNs, this growth rate is 11 percent higher than the growth rate for nurse anesthetists and 12 percent higher than the growth rate for nurse midwives. This predicted 28 percent growth rate is also nearly six times that of the average growth rate for all occupations during the same decade (5 percent).

With this positive outlook for NPs across the nation, here are the top ten states for absolute job growth and the top ten states for percentage growth between 2016 and 2026 according to Career One Stop, a project sponsored by the US Department of Labor (2020):

Absolute Growth – Projected Annual OpeningsPercentage Growth
New York – 1,450 jobs added per yearArizona – 58 percent
California – 1,200Utah – 51
Florida – 950Colorado – 46
Texas – 930Florida – 45
Illinois – 760Texas – 44
Ohio – 570Virginia – 44
Massachusetts – 520New York – 41
Tennessee – 520Tennessee – 40
Virginia – 480South Carolina – 39
New Jersey – 440Wyoming – 39

NPs occupy such a high-growth occupation that several U.S. states have already surpassed their projected employment of NPs for 2026. These higher-than-expected growth states include Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Keep reading to learn more about NP demand in the states offering the most absolute growth in the next decade, including the current NP job market, salary information, helpful local resources for NPs, and NP programs in the state available to RNs considering advancing their careers to the NP level.

New York Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicts that between 2016 and 2026, there will be 41.6 percent growth in the NP job market in New York. This translates to 6,070 new jobs added statewide, for a total of 20,670 NP jobs by 2026 in the state.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In New York Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesNew York
Employment200,60014,060
Average annual wages$111,840$122,550
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660New York, Newark, Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – $128.720
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsNew York, Newark, Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – 13,910 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$85,520
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$100,420
Annual median wage$109,820$119,490
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$140,500
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$162,460

When looking at NP salaries in New York compared to the rest of the nation, salaries are significantly higher. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020), New York is the fourth most expensive region in terms of cost of living, with particularly high costs associated with housing. As NP salaries in this state are higher, this may help with the relatively high cost of living in New York.

NPs interested in becoming a part of the larger network of NPs in the state can consider joining the Nurse Practitioners of New York (NPNY), a New York Metro Area Group of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Membership in this professional organization opens NPs to earning CEs, access to NP-focused periodicals, networking, lobbying experience, and more.

For RNs thinking of becoming NPs, New York has a vast amount of options to level up career skills. Utica College, based out of Utica, NY, offers a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)-accredited, 48-credit-hour online master of science in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization. This program only requires students to come to campus once for a three-day practicum, and can be completed in 20 months as a full time student, or in 32 months as a part-time student.

California Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted that the rate of employment for NPs in this state will rise to 17,700 between 2016 and 2026. At a growth rate of 35.1 percent, this equals 4,600 new NP jobs statewide over the course of the decade.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In California Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesCalifornia
Employment200,60013,900
Average annual wages$111,840$138,660
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $175,060
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsLos Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim – 4,090 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$104,890
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$114,750
Annual median wage$109,820$129,960
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$155,980
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$189,950

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), California is the third-most expensive region in terms of cost of living, with particularly high costs associated with housing and transportation. When looking at the comparison between California and national salary points, the higher-than average salaries may help NPs employed in the state with the high cost of living.

NPs interested in growing a career in California can become a part of the NP community there by joining the California Nurse Practitioners Association (CANP). Benefits of membership include education and networking opportunities, access to provider insurance, access to academic journals, political representation and more.

The University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, California, offers an online master of science in nursing (MSN) through the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing for those interested in becoming NPs. USC’s CCNE-accredited program is 49 credit-hours, 784 clinical hours, and can be completed in 21 to 33 months either full- or part-time. While most work in this program is 100 percent online, students will be expected to come to two on-campus intensives.

Florida Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted 44.7 percent growth in the NP job market in Florida between 2016 and 2026. There is an anticipated addition of 4,090 jobs for a total of 13,250 NPs in the state by 2026.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Florida Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesFlorida
Employment200,60012,310
Average annual wages$111,840$101,510
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville – $127,080
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsMiami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach – 3,540 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$62,250
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$85,630
Annual median wage$109,820$99,980
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$118,290
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$131,680

It is notable that annual salaries in Florida are lower than the national averages by large margins. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Florida is the 26th most affordable state in the U.S. with particular savings in housing, transportation, and healthcare. So while salaries in this state may be lower than national averages, the dollar also stretches further in Florida.

In order to connect with the demand for jobs in Florida, NPs in the state can consider membership in the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners (FLANP)—an organization working to improve access to healthcare in Florida. Membership in FLANP offers NPs access to the NP community in Florida, discounts on conference attendings, member discounts, and the possibility to become a part of FLANP leadership.

Florida is home to dozens of universities offering the possibility to become a nurse practitioner in a range of specialties. One such option is South University, with locations in West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Orlando. With both on-campus and online options, prospective NPs can earn a master of science online to become an FNP or enter into adult gerontology primary care. In the 56- to 62-credit-hour MSN programs, students will be expected to complete 780 clinical hours.

Texas Nurse Practitioners

In Texas, the CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted rate of growth for NP jobs is 43.8 percent between 2016 and 2026. With a starting employment of 9,060 in 2016, the total number of additional jobs was predicted to be 3,970 for a total of 13,030 by 2026. As of May 2019, the BLS reported that 13,620 NPs were employed in the state of Texas in 2019—already surpassing the prediction anticipated for 2026.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Texas Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesTexas
Employment200,60013,620
Average annual wages$111,840$115,440
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Abilene – $132,740
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsDallas, Fort Worth, Arlington – 4,210 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$84,830
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$95,800
Annual median wage$109,820$112,580
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$128,820
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$157,280

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Texas is the 15th most affordable state, boasting savings in groceries, housing, transportation and healthcare. With NP salaries in Texas higher than the national average, despite the lower cost of living, an NP’s salary may go much further in Texas than in other states.

NPs who want to engage fully in the professional community can consider membership in a professional NP organization like the North Texas Nurse Practitioners (NTNP). NTNP is an affiliate of American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and member benefits include access to local dinner meetings, discounts on conferences, access to members only content, and updates on changes to legislation and regulations affected NPs in texas.

For perspective, NPSs, Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas offers those looking to become NPs the opportunity to develop expertise in a mostly-online format that minimizes campus visits. Students enrolled in the 49-credit-hour CCNE-accredited program need an unencumbered RN license in Texas, and will be expected to complete clinical hours in Texas.

Illinois Nurse Practitioners

The rate of growth for NP jobs in Illinois was predicted to be 38.3 percent between 2016 and 2026. From a baseline of 7,910 jobs in 2016, CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted an annual growth rate of 760 NP jobs for a total addition of 3,030 new jobs over the decade. In 2026, the predicted number of NP jobs statewide is 10,940. Interestingly, with a reported 6,750 NPs employed in the state of Illinois in 2019 (BLS), it appears Illinois has actually employed less NPs since the CareerOneStop predictions were released.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Illinois Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesIllinois
Employment200,6006,750
Average annual wages$111,840$107,860
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Rockford – $119,450
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsChicago, Naperville, Elgin, IL-IN-WI – 4780 Jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$78,940
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$91,400
Annual median wage$109,820$107,420
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$123,680
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$139,520

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Illinois is the 20th most affordable state, with savings in housing and groceries. The lower-than-average annual cost of living means that the lower-than national average salaries in Illinois will go further than they might in more expensive states.

The Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN) is an organization that promotes and advocates for APRNs in the state of Illinois. With several different levels of membership, NPs in Illinois can experience benefits as individual practitioners or as an APRN business owner. Membership benefits include continuing education, access to a large professional network, opportunities for leadership development, and access to career development resources.

For current RNs who are interested in becoming NPs, Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois offers an online master of science in nursing FNP program with no campus residency requirements. The CCNE-accredited program is 65 credit-hours, requires the completion of 750 clinical hours, and takes 11 semesters to complete.

Ohio Nurse Practitioners

Ohio is another state on our list where the actual number of NPs employed in 2019 surpasses the CareerOneStop (June 2020) predictions for 2026. Between 2016 and 2026, it was projected that Ohio would experience a 29.7 percent rate of growth for NP jobs over the decade. Starting from a baseline rate of employment of 6,760, it was predicted that Ohio would add 2,010 jobs total to create a total of 8,770 NP jobs by 2026. As of 2019, Ohio already surpassed that number by a margin of 180 jobs.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Ohio Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesOhio
Employment200,6008,950
Average annual wages$111,840$103,780
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Akron – $114,030
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsCincinnati, OH-KY-IN – 1,870 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$80,780
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$90,360
Annual median wage$109,820$90,360
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$120,760
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$133,680

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Ohio boasts deep savings in housing and ranks as the 16th most affordable state in the U.S. Despite salaries lower than national averages, NPs interested in home ownership will see their salaries stretch further in Ohio than in many other states in the U.S.

Similar to Illinois, Ohio has a professional association that unifies the interests of CNPs, CRNAs, CNMs, and CNSs, known as the Ohio Association of Advanced Practices Nurses (OAAPN). For NPs hoping to practice in Ohio, membership in OAAPN provides benefits such as access to continuing education, timely news and legislative updates, and networking opportunities.

RNs interested in pursuing an NP education in Ohio can turn to Cedarville University located in Cedarville, Ohio. Cedarville offers two online MSN programs: one in family practice and the other in pediatric practice. The programs are 41 to 44 credit-hours, require 600 to 800 clinical hours, and as Cedarville is a Catholic University, some bible study is also required for graduation.

Massachusetts Nurse Practitioners

Starting from a baseline of 6,300 employees in 2016, CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted that the rate of growth for Massachusetts would be 27.5 percent in the subsequent decade. By 2026, there was expected to be 1,730 new jobs, for a total 8,030 NPs statewide.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Massachusetts Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesMassachusetts
Employment200,6006,520
Average annual wages$111,840$122,240
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660New Bedford, MA – $144,450
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsBoston, Cambridge, Nashua, MA-NH – 5,070 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$ 89,680
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$105,350
Annual median wage$109,820$119,730
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$138,360
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$163,430

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Massachusetts is the sixth-most expensive region in the U.S., particularly in the realm of housing. Salaries that are significantly higher than the national average may help NPs in the state to handle the high cost of living.

NPs in Massachusetts can connect to their local profesional community by becoming a part of the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP). Benefits for members of MCNP include legal advocacy, updates on regulatory issues, access to a members only section of their website, CE offersing, discounts on certifications, and more.

RNs looking for career advancement in Massachusetts have many options to choose from when it comes to NP programs. American International College (AIC) located in Springfield, MA offers a CCNE accredited, 100 percent online MSN where a student can choose a family NP concentration. AIC’s program is 46 credit-hours and can be completed in as few as 24 months.

Tennessee Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted that the state of Tennessee would experience NP job growth of 40.2 percent, adding 2,120 jobs between 2016 and 2026, starting at a baseline of 5,280. Although the projection for 2026 was 7,400 NP jobs nationwide, as of 2019, Tennessee already employed 7,850 NPs—surpassing the 2026 prediction by 450 jobs.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Tennessee Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesTennessee
Employment200,6007,850
Average Annual Wages$111,840$96,510
Highest Paying Region (Av. Annual Salary)California – $138,660Memphis – $104,680
Highest Employing RegionNew York – 14,060 jobsNashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Franklin – 2,310 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$61,900
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$83,850
Annual median wage$109,820$97,200
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$114,280
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$128,460

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Tennessee is the 7th most affordable state in the U.S, with particular savings in housing. Similarly to Ohio, Tennessee’s salaries are significantly lower than the national average, but because of the lower cost of living, lower salaries will stretch further in Tennessee than in other states.

NPs looking to connect to the professional community in Tennessee have the opportunity to join the Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association (TNNPA). In addition to the networking opportunities, membership benefits in TNNPA include members-only dinners, conference and CE discounts, legislative and regulatory updates, and access to employment opportunities.

Austin Peay State University, with locations in Clarksville and Springfield, offers a 100 percent online degree for those RNs who are looking to become NPs in the state of Tennessee. Austin Peay’s program requires students to complete 43 credit-hours and 600 clinical hours at a local site with a preceptor.

Virginia Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted demand for NPs would increase by 43.7 percent between 2016 and 2026, creating a total of 6,740 NPs in the state. In 2016, Virginia employed 4,690 NPs and was expected to add 2,050 during that decade.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In Virginia Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

United StatesVirginia
Employment200,6005,200
Average annual wages$111,840$109,110
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Winchester – $122,800
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsRichmond – 1,250 jobs
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$82,800
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$92,100
Annual median wage$109,820$107,440
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$123,810
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$140,670

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Virginia is the 30th most affordable state in the U.S. with particular savings in transportation. With NP salaries that are on par with the national averages, NPs may see these average salaries stretch further than they would in more expensive states.

NPs working in Virginia can connect to their local professional network by considering membership in the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners (VCNP). In addition to joining a professional network that numbers in the thousands, members get access to CE opportunities, scholarship opportunities, access to job postings, and the ability to participate in the annual state conference.

Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia offers a 100 percent online CCNE-accredited MSN-FNP program. RNs with two years of work experience or more can apply to this 45-credit-hour, 700-clinical-hour program either full- or part- time. Notably, this program boasts a 100 percent first time certification pass rate for national certifications offered by AANP and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

New Jersey Nurse Practitioners

CareerOneStop (June 2020) predicted that openings for NPs in NJ would grow by 30.7 percent between 2016 and 2026. Starting at a baseline of 5,120 NPs in 2016, this would lead to an addition of 1,570 new jobs, for a total of 6,690 new jobs in the state by 2026. In 2019, New Jersey employed 6,460 NPs, just 230 jobs less than the prediction for 2026.

NP Salaries, Job Market, and Most Promising Region In New Jersey Compared to U.S. Averages (BLS May 2019)

EmploymentEmployment
Employment200,6006,460
Average annual wages$111,840$123,810
Top-paying region (average annual salary)California – $138,660Atlantic City, Hammonton – $129,830
Top-employing regionNew York – 14,060 jobsTrenton – 230 jobs *
Annual 10th percentile wage$81,410$92,780
Annual 25th percentile wage$92,790$107,390
Annual median wage$109,820$120,040
Annual 75th percentile wage$127,030$133,220
Annual 90th percentile wage$152,160$158,200

* Technically, the top-employing region in New Jersey is Jersey City. The municipal region, which employs 13,910 NPs, is reported in conjunction with NPs employed in NYC and Newark, Pennsylvania. It has been omitted here because of its inclusion of other states’ NPs.

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), New Jersey is the 10th most expensive state in the U.S., largely due to high costs of housing. NP salaries in New Jersey are higher than the national average, helping NPs in the state to manage the relatively higher than average cost of living.

For those who love a good grassroots effort, the Advanced Practice Nurses of New Jersey (APN-NJ) are working together to remove scope of practice barriers to allow for APNs to become the solution to the healthcare access crisis. Membership in this association engages NPs in advocacy by signing them up to contact legislators, organize district efforts, or simply support the work of APN-NH through donations.

Seton Hall University offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-AGNP program. Seton Hall’s curriculum is delivered mostly online, although students will be expected to attend a minimum two of three immersion experiences on campus. Students enrolled in the 48-credit-hour program can choose a 600-hour primary track or a 675-clinical-hour acute track.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer

Writer

Becca Brewer is the co-founder of Limitless: A Worldwild Adventure to Heal our Earth. She and her adventure partner, Leandre Deryckere (@leandrolling), are traveling around the world on fully loaded bamboo touring bicycles, learning what seeds we need to plant now so that a more beautiful future world has the chance to flourish. The Limitless Project is built on a gift economy, living one’s authentic purpose, leading with love, leaving competition and domination behind, moving past a production mindset, and spending as much time as possible with nature (we also ride some crazy dirt roads in the mountains)! You can follow the adventure on Instagram at @LimitlessEcoAdventure, and join the project at Limitless.Eco.

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