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These are the Highest-Paying Certifications for Nurse Practitioners

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, and some 60 percent 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 percent of respondents were female, and 82 percent were white.
  • The most common degrees among NPs are a nursing master’s (81.3 percent) and a doctor’s of nursing practice (13.2 percent).
  • More than 6 percent of NPs are educated in another APRN role.
  • Almost half of NPs (41.1 percent) 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 percent of NPs are certified in an area of primary care.
  • About 12 percent of NPs work in communities with populations smaller than 10,000. About 1 in 8 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).
  • Of all certifications, emergency NPs had the highest hourly wage at $70. The next highest were 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, total, 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 1 million people had the highest, average pay.
  • California and Hawaii are highest-paying states for NPs. Alabama and Kentucky are the lowest.

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


The State of the Nurse Practitioner Profession 2019, American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

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