How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Make? A Comprehensive Guide (2020)

Formally trained at the master’s degree level or higher, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reports that nurse practitioners provide care focused on families, adults, geriatric populations, women, children, mental health, and care for the dying. Ninety-six percent of all NPs can prescribe medication and are doing a solid job, boasting a relatively low rate of dissatisfaction among patients. In fact, according to the 2018 AANP national NP sample survey, only 1.1 percent of defendants in medical malpractice suits were NPs.

A looming primary care provider shortage and increases in demand for healthcare services are two reasons why nurse practitioners are in high demand. The Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) reported that the demand for NPs will swell 28 percent nationally between 2018 and 2028—more than five times the rate of predicted growth for all occupations (5 percent). This will increase the total number of NP jobs in the US from 189,100 to 242,400, a numeric growth of 53,300 new NP jobs over the decade.

As per how much earning potential there may be for nurse practitioners, the range is vast. According to the BLS (May 2019), the lowest reported 10th percentile salary for NPs was $45,750 (Idaho), and the highest reported 90th percentile salary for NPs was $189,950 (California).

The average NP salary across the nation varies by source. According to the BLS (May 2019), NPs made an average annual wage of $111,840. The 2019 AANP National Workforce Survey corroborated this, finding that NPs made $110,000 on average. And according to the 4,093 NPs who self-reported salaries on Payscale.com (2020), the average NP salary came in at $96,034.

In general, the BLS (May 2019) found these national percentiles for all NPs employed nationwide:

  • 10th percentile: $81,410
  • 25th percentile: $92,790
  • 50th percentile (median): $109,820
  • 75th percentile: $127,030
  • 90th percentile: $152,160

This comprehensive guide to NP salaries examines how factors such as work experience, speciality, and region impact NP salaries in the United States, including a state-by-state breakdown of average salaries across the country.

Top Average Nurse Practitioner Salaries in the United States

As most of this comprehensive guide analyzes salaries based on region, cost of living by region can be helpful in putting salaries into their greater economic context. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) provides an analysis of cost of living based on economic considerations like groceries, housing, transportation, utilities, and health. Top and bottom salaries may be determined in part by how expensive or inexpensive it is to live in that state or region.

Here are the top-paying states and municipal regions in the US, according to the BLS (May 2019). Employment levels are provided to give context to the level of opportunity in the region:

Highest Average Annual Salaries for Nurse Practitioners by State

StateNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
California13,900$138,660
Washington3,870$126,920
Hawaii420$124,000
New Jersey6,460$123,810
Minnesota3,970$122,850
New York14,060$122,550
Massachusetts6,520$122,240
Wyoming310$118,110
NevadaNot reported$115,970
Alaska490$115,890

Highest Average Annual Salaries for Nurse Practitioners by City

RegionNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA150$175,060
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA390$160,110
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1,930$157,150
Longview, WA30$150,520
Sumter, SC50$147,210
Redding, CA70$145,690
Salinas, CA100$145,060
Rochester, MNNot reported$144,980
New Bedford, MA100$144,450
Modesto, CA200$143,530

Lowest Average Nurse Practitioner Salaries by State and City

The following sections demonstrate which states and regions offer the least amount in average compensation to nurse practitioners in the United States. To give these numbers perspective, the average annual salary across the 146,875,480 jobs surveyed by the BLS (2019) in the U.S. is $53,490. The average annual salary for all 5,685,500 healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners in 2019 was $102,470.

Lowest Average Annual Salaries for Nurse Practitioners by State

StateNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Guam50$72,970
Tennessee7,850$96,510
Kentucky3,620$99,560
Alabama3,800$99,570
Kansas2,790$100,550
South Carolina2,450$100,680
Florida12,310$101,510
Pennsylvania7,820$101,950
South Dakota550$102,230
West Virginia1,200$103,170

Lowest Average Annual Salaries for Nurse Practitioners by City or Region

RegionNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas, PRNot reported$22,590
Brunswick, GA40$76,550
Cleveland, TN150$81,020
Auburn-Opelika, AL60$81,330
Monroe, LA220$82,620
Punta Gorda, FL100$83,310
West Tennessee nonmetropolitan area350$84,020
Johnstown, PA80$86,650
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA80$87,980
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC80$88,470

Nurse Practitioner Salaries in Top-Employing States and Cities

While top paying states and regions may offer high salaries, there isn’t always an equally large amount of opportunity for employment. This section will detail the intersection where job opportunity and earning potential meet at their highest apex across the U.S.(BLS, 2019)

Average Annual NP Salaries in States With Greatest Levels of Employment

StateNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
New York14,060$122,550
California13,900$138,660
Texas13,620$115,440
Florida12,310$101,510
Ohio8,950$103,780
Tennessee7,850$96,510
Pennsylvania7,820$101,950
Georgia7,690$105,670
Illinois6,750$107,860
Massachusetts6,520$122,240

Average Annual NP Salaries in Cities With Greatest Levels of Employment

RegionNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA13,910$128,720
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH5,070$123,690
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI4,780$106,800
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD4,590$107,250
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA4,290$106,360
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX4,210$115,190
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA4,090$138,340
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL3,540$103,960
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX3,190$124,960
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ3,020$108,610

Top Salaries for Entry-Level NPs (10th Percentile NP Salaries)

Those fresh out of nurse practitioner programs may be interested to know where the earning potential is the highest for entry-level NPs. According to Payscale, the average entry-level salary for NPs nationwide is $90,140, earning 6 percent less than the average.

The following section gives a snapshot of states and regions in the United States where salaries on the low end of the spectrum are highest. (BLS May 2019)

Highest 10th Percentile Nurse Practitioner Salaries by State

StateNumber of NPs Employed10th Percentile Salary
California13,900$104,890
New Jersey6,460$92,780
Minnesota3,970$91,870
Massachusetts6,520$89,680
Rhode Island700$88,970
WisconsinNot reported$88,460
District of Columbia900$87,270
Washington3,870$86,620
NevadaNot reported$86,480
New York14,060$85,520

Highest 10th Percentile Nurse Practitioner Salaries By City

RegionNumber of NPs Employed10th Percentile Salary
Longview, WA30$116,740
Redding, CA70$112,310
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA4,090$107,880
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA1,540$107,590
Chico, CA60$107,440
Carson City, NV50$107,050
Fresno, CA580$107,040
Merced, CA50$107,030
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA950$106,700
Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ90$106,580

Top Salaries for Highly Experienced NPs (90th Percentile NP Salaries)

For Nurse Practitioners with eyes on the long game, this section details the states and regions where earning potential is greatest for seasoned professionals. (BLS, 2019)

90th Percentile Nurse Practitioner Salaries by State

StateNumber of NPs Employed90th Percentile Salary
California13,900$189,950
Alaska490$165,680
Hawaii420$164,920
Massachusetts6,520$163,430
New York14,060$162,460
Washington3870$161,590
Wyoming310$160,030
Connecticut2,670$158,650
Idaho820$158,650
New Jersey6,460$158,200

90th Percentile Nurse Practitioner Salaries by City

RegionNumber of NPs Employed90th Percentile Salary
Salinas, CA100$205,340
Middle Georgia nonmetropolitan areaNot reported$199,120
Coastal Plains Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area130$198,140
Connecticut nonmetropolitan area40$197,780
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA950$197,510
Ogden-Clearfield, UT170$197,040
Longview, WA30$196,930
Modesto, CA200$196,200
Redding, CA70$195,930
Prescott, AZ100$189,280

Average Salaries for NPs Based on Specialty

The speciality that an NP chooses will have an impact on salary. Based on all available self-reported NP salary data from Payscale.com (2020), the following illustrates the earning potential for NPs based on chosen speciality. Nurse Anesthetist and Nurse-Midwife specializations are included for reference, as they too require at least a graduate degree in nursing and are classified as APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) specializations.

SpecialityNumber of NPs Reporting (2020)Average Annual Salary
Nurse Anesthetist1,587$152,945
Psychiatric2,036$107,309
Surgery99$103,820
Acute Care1,455$101,696
Geriatrics341$100,436
Oncology202$98,953
Internal Medicine504$98,524
Cardiology247$97,843
ER170$96,841
Nurse-Midwife98$96,547
Family8,412$94,740
Pediatrics152$94,243
Gynecology146$87,841

NP Salaries Compared to Other Healthcare Professions

Because of their unique training, nurse practitioners can occupy many different roles within the world of healthcare. Like registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners can serve in a support role to an MD or group of MDs. Like physician assistants (PAs), NPs can provide care in cooperation with a physician, balancing independent practice with reliance on the training of board-certified MD for certain job functions such as prescribing controlled substances.

This section elucidates the differences between the salaries of healthcare professionals, according to BLS (May 2019).

NP Salaries vs. Registered Nurse (RN) Salaries

Nurse PractitionersRegistered Nurses
Employment200,6002,982,280
Annual Average Salary$111,840$77,460
10th Percentile $81,410$52,080
25th Percentile $92,790$60,110
50th Percentile (Median) $109,820$73,300
75th Percentile $127,030$90,760
90th Percentile$152,160$111,220

NP Salaries vs. Physician Assistant (PA) Salaries

Nurse PractitionersPhysician Assistants
Employment200,600120,090
Annual Average Salary$111,840$112,410
10th Percentile $81,410$72,720
25th Percentile $92,790$92,800
50th Percentile (Median) $109,820$112,260
75th Percentile $127,030$130,530
90th Percentile $152,160$157,120

NP Salaries vs. Family Medicine Physician Salaries

Nurse PractitionersFamily MDs
Employment200,600109,370
Annual Average Salary$111,840$213,270
10th Percentile $81,410$85,590
25th Percentile $92,790$147,030
50th Percentile (Median) $109,820$205,590
75th Percentile $127,030Not Reported
90th Percentile $152,160Not Reported

Average NP Salary By US State

The following figures are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019).

StateNumber of NPs EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Alabama3,800$101,830
Alaska490$116,480
Arizona4,310$113,840
ArkansasNot reported$101,520
California13,900$129,960
Colorado2,870$106,950
Connecticut2,670$115,680
Delaware820$112,170
District of Columbia900$112,350
Florida12,310$97,100
Georgia7,690$104,110
Guam50$68,700
Hawaii420$129,850
Idaho820$111,750
Illinois6,750$107,420
Indiana5,330$106,580
Iowa2,000$108,220
Kansas2,790$100,390
Kentucky3,620$97,680
Louisiana3,170$101,610
Maine1,380$106,060
Maryland3,680$110,980
Massachusetts6,520$119,730
Michigan4,840$105,310
Minnesota3,970$119,010
Mississippi3,390$104,360
Missouri5,200$101,860
Montana620$109,310
Nebraska1,190$104,830
NevadaNot reported$115,530
New Hampshire1,090$111,120
New Jersey6,460$120,040
New Mexico1,110$111,720
New York14,060$119,490
North Carolina5,540$103,770
North Dakota520$110,180
Ohio8,950$97,200
Oklahoma1,750$111,410
Oregon2,190$114,140
Pennsylvania7,820$100,630
Rhode Island700$116,070
South Carolina2,450$99,980
South Dakota550$96,470
Tennessee7,850$103,480
Texas13,620$112,580
Utah1,640$102,190
Vermont440$101,920
Virginia5,200$107,440
Washington3,870$125,000
West Virginia1,200$96,640
WisconsinNot reported$113,040
Wyoming310$115,050
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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