Specialty Spotlights May 25, 2023

By Debra Wood, contributor

How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?

There are currently more than 355,000 nurse practitioners licensed to practice in the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). They provide a significant amount of patient care, and their ranks are growing rapidly.

Ranked as the Best Healthcare Job in 2023 by U.S. News & World Report, the average nurse practitioner (NP) compensation of six figures reflects the respect these advanced practice professionals have earned and the quality of care they deliver.

Join us in taking a look at some of the key factors affecting nurse practitioner salaries, as well as negotiating tips to increase your own earnings.

Nurse practitioner salary data

Different sources report different incomes for nurse practitioners, due to variances in the audience surveyed and timing and methodology of data collection.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual NP salary of $121,610, as of May 2022.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2022 AANP National Nurse Practitioner Workforce Survey reported a median base pay for full-time NPs of $113,000.

The 2022 Merritt Hawkins Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives found nurse practitioners were the placement firm’s most requested job search for the second consecutive year. That report indicated average starting salaries for nurse practitioners of $138,000. NP compensation packages included an average of $9,677 as a signing bonus.  

The Medscape 2022 APRN Compensation Report indicated total nurse practitioner compensation of $118,000, up from $111,000 in 2021. In addition, NP pay included $3,000 for productivity bonuses or incentives, a yearly $2,000 bonus, $1,000 in overtime pay, and $2,000 in other NP earnings. Just under half of the NPs surveyed, 48 percent, felt they were fairly compensated.

Nurse practitioners working temporary NP locum tenens assignments can earn from $57 an hour to $130 per hour, according to Staff Care. These assignments can be full-time or part-time, and NP pay rates can vary based on a specialty area, location, and other factors.

Key factors affecting nurse practitioner salaries

Various factors can influence your NP salary. Some, including advanced degrees, certification, and location are modifiable to increase earning potential.

Geographic location remains an important factor in NP earnings. According to the Merritt Hawkins report, NP starting salaries averaged $145,079 in the western United States, compared to $114,654 in the Southeast.

The Medscape survey reported similar results, with NP pay the highest in the Pacific region at $140,000 annually, and lowest in the South Central region with an average of $108,000 annually.

Workplace settings. The Medscape survey reported NPs working in the inpatient setting to earn the most, followed by hospital-based clinics or outpatient settings, with those in nonhospital-based clinics or offices earning the least.

Gender differences. Male NPs earn more than female NPs on average—$130,000 for men and $119,000 annually for women, according to the Medscape survey. The survey noted that men were more likely to work in inpatient units and practice in settings with high differential shifts.

Advanced degrees and certifications. The Medscape report found 80 percent of NPs hold a master’s degree and 19 percent a doctoral degree. Those with a doctoral degree earn about 4 percent more, $124,000 annually compared to $119,000 for NPs with a master’s degree.

Advanced practice certification based on specialty also plays a role in nurse practitioner pay. NPs with psychiatric mental health certification earn the most, $132,000 annually, according to Medscape, followed by adult gerontology acute care at $127,000. Family NPs with certification earn an average of $117,000. 

Years of experience also are a factor in nurse practitioner pay, but the differential begins to level off after 20 years. The Medscape survey found advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with 11 or longer years in practice earned $135,000 as compared to $123,000 for APRNs with six to 10 years of experience.

5 tips for negotiating your nurse practitioner salary

Several factors can come into play when negotiating nurse practitioner earnings. Remember knowledge is power, so take the time to do some research and consider what it is you really want from this negotiation.

  1. Research salary data and industry trends

“Being thoroughly informed about the going rate for your position will help you leverage a higher salary,” said Colin Palfrey, a personal finance expert with Crediful in Ireland. “If you can prove the market value of the position, you will have a firm foundation to work from.” 

“Know the market value for your experience and the role you're applying for,” added Lyudmyla Dobrynina, with Optimeal in Ukraine. “It's important to back up your claims with the data – know the low-end, average, and high-end salaries for similar roles in the same geographic location.”

You can start your research with the NP salary reports referenced in this article.

  1. Approach negotiations with the right attitude

If you are really interested in this NP job, you’ll want to show your excitement, balanced with confidence that both parties can find a mutually beneficial agreement.

“There is always a risk when making an effort to negotiate a higher salary as coming off as entitled or demanding, and that is why you should start off your request with gratitude,” said Ryan Rottman, co-founder, and CEO of OSDB Sports in Los Angeles.

  1. Highlight your experience, qualifications, and value

Share your experience and qualifications, success at other practices, and, perhaps, how you will drive patients to your new location.

AANP recommended determining an estimate of the NP’s net worth to the practice, figuring charges per visit and patient load. Don’t forget additional roles such as taking calls and conducting hospital rounds.

  1. Prepare to answer questions about other offers

“It is important to be prepared to answer questions about other offers, whether they are your top choice, or what will get you to accept their offer,” said Derek Flanzraich, CEO and founder of Ness in Austin, Texas. “By having answers ready rather than stumbling through a response, you will indicate that you have confidence and are able to negotiate a higher salary from a position of strength.”

  1. Be confident but flexible in your negotiations

“Knowing that their best offer will not be their first one, make sure your ‘ask’ is higher than what you believe you will eventually obtain,” recommended Cody Candee, founder, and CEO of Bounce in San Francisco. “By entering your negotiation with an ask that is higher than what you think is likely, it will lead to a counter that is better than their lowest, and you can settle on a number that satisfies you both.”

“If the employer gives some resistance or is firm about their budget, you can choose to walk away. But see what compromises can be made through benefits like health insurance, 401(K) matching, and paid time off,” Palfrey advised. “A lower salary with more robust benefits, and a clear path to promotions, could be a better financial decision in the long run.”

Find your next nurse practitioner job

Have a hankering to travel, see the country, and explore other workplace settings? Staff Care has dozens of nurse practitioner locum assignments across the country, with excellent NP pay.

Contact Staff Care today to get connected with a recruiter.

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