Salary of a Nurse Practitioner: How to Become a Highly Paid Specialist

January 30, 2023 · 3 min read

The salary of a nurse practitioner (NP) can vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience, and area of specialty. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nurse practitioners in the United States was $115,800 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $94,040, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $142,210.


Salaries can also vary significantly based on location, with NPs in some states earning more than those in others. For example, according to the BLS, the states with the highest median annual salaries for nurse practitioners in 2020 were:

  • California: $139,040
  • Massachusetts: $139,020
  • Hawaii: $137,810
  • Oregon: $136,870
  • Alaska: $136,680

Additionally, nurse practitioners working in certain specialties or settings may earn more or less than the median salary. For example, NPs who work in primary care settings may earn less than those who work in specialized settings such as oncology or psychiatry. The area of specialty also affects the salary, for example, NPs who work in the field of psychiatry can earn on average around $130,000 per year, while those working in the field of pediatrics can earn around $115,000 annually.

In addition, many employers offer benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which can add significantly to the total compensation package for nurse practitioners.

Here are some steps that may help you become a highly-paid nurse practitioner (NP):

  1. Specialise in a high-demand area: Some specialties, such as psychiatry, anesthesia, and oncology, tend to pay higher salaries than others. By specializing in a high-demand area, you may be able to command a higher salary.
  2. Pursue additional certifications: Many nurse practitioners choose to pursue additional certifications in their area of specialty. This can help demonstrate expertise and can make you more marketable to employers, potentially leading to higher pay.
  3. Get experience: Gaining experience in your field can help you become more proficient in your skills, allowing you to command a higher salary.
  4. Negotiate your salary: When accepting a job offer, don't be afraid to negotiate your salary. Research industry standards and be prepared to make a case for why you're worth more.
  5. Consider working in a high-paying location: Some states or cities tend to pay nurse practitioners more than others. For example, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Oregon, and Alaska are known to have higher median annual salaries for nurse practitioners.
  6. Be flexible: Be open to working in different settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, or research centers. Each of these settings may have different pay scales.
  7. Stay current: Keeping abreast of the latest developments in your field and staying current with your continuing education will increase your market value and help you command a higher salary.

Of course, becoming a highly-paid nurse practitioner will likely require a combination of the above-mentioned factors, and it might not be easy. It will require education, experience, and hard work, but with a plan, dedication, and persistence, you can achieve your goal.

by Olena Kukhtyk

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