Today in the chart

The Highest-Paying Certifications for Nurse Practitioners

For the first time, the AANP also released state-by-state rankings of nurse practitioner pay.

Photo Credit: Janey L. Hammons NP-C

Last week the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) released the results of its annual survey of NPs, which compiles info about the NP workforce, from common practice settings to certification and salary data.

Compared to 2018, NP pay improved slightly last year. The most recent report, featuring data from 2019, found that NPs earn an average of $60.94 hourly, regardless of how many hours they work. In last year’s report, this number was $60.02, and the average salary was $105,903. In 2019, median base compensation was $110,000; some 60% of NPs said they’d received an increase in their total income since the previous year.

Here are some interesting findings from the demographic breakdown of the survey:

  • The average practicing NP is 47 years old. About 91% of respondents were female, and 82% were white.
  • The most common degrees among NPs are a nursing master’s (81.3%) and a doctor’s of nursing practice (13.2%).
  • More than 6% of NPs are educated in another APRN role.
  • Almost half of NPs (41.1%) have been in practice for five years or fewer. This percentage has grown steadily in recent years.
  • The three most common certification areas for NPs are (respectively): family, adult, and adult-gerontology primary care. Almost 90% of NPs are certified in the area of primary care.
  • About 12% of NPs work in communities with populations smaller than 10,000—about one in eight NPs practice in large, urban areas, usually in hospital inpatient units.
  • Hospitals, both inpatient and outpatient settings, are the most common practice setting for NPs, followed by private group and physician practices.

Here are some interesting findings from the salary breakdown of the survey:

  • Roughly one-third of NPs reported receiving a bonus or incentive payment, usually based on patient outcomes/satisfaction, number of patient encounters, RVUs, and practice profit.
  • Of all NP certifications, adult psychiatric/mental health led to the highest average base salary at $125,000. The next highest-paid were: pediatrics-primary care mental health ($124,000), neonatal ($122,500), adult care $120,000), and psychiatric mental health in general ($120,000).
  • Emergency NPs had the highest hourly wage of all certifications at $70. The next highest was psychiatric-mental health and gerontology. The average base salary for NPs in the ER is $114,000.
  • The highest-paid clinical focus areas for NPs were: emergency, with a total average income of $135,000; psychiatric ($130,000); hospitalist ($120,500) and oncology ($120,000).
  • The most common clinical focus area was primary care, whose average annual income was $112,000.
  • NPs with administrative roles reported higher salaries than those with only clinical roles.
  • Full-time NPs working in communities with more than one million people had the highest average pay.
  • California and Hawaii are the highest-paying states for NPs. Alabama and Kentucky are the lowest.

To read the full report, you can purchase it at the AANP’s website.

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