A person who is planning to earn a master’s degree in nursing may want to know the salary potential of a nurse practitioner. This is important for deciding which type of master’s degree in nursing to choose and which specialty of nursing practice to focus on during the degree. Upon graduation, a person may also want to know about the salary potential by different types of employers and geographic areas.

Current Salary Range for Nurse Practitioners

As of May 2018, the median annual salary for a nurse practitioner is $107,030. Half of all nurse practitioners earn less than this amount, and the other half earns more. The lowest-paid 10 percent of nurse practitioners earned $80,670 per year. The highest-paid 10 percent of nurse practitioners earned $182,750 per year. Nurse practitioners who work evenings and weekends may earn a shift premium. Emergency nurse practitioners who work in hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers are the highest-paid specialty of all types of nurse practitioners, earning an average annual salary of $138,493 per year.

States and Cities With the Highest Pay for Nurse Practitioners

The salary of a nurse practitioner varies significantly based on their geographic location of employment. The five states with the highest annual mean wage as of 2018 include California, with a wage of $133,780; Alaska, with $122,880; Massachusetts, with $122,740; New Jersey, with $122,100; and New York, with $120,970. The five cities or metropolitan areas with the highest annual mean wage for nurse practitioners as of 2018 include New Bedford, Massachusetts; San Fransisco/Oakland/Hayward, California; Spokane/Spokane Valley, Washington; Sumter, South Carolina; and Vallejo/Fairfield, California.

Highest-paying Places of Employment for Nurse Practitioners

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitals are the highest-paying place of employment for nurse practitioners. The nurse practitioners employed by public or private hospitals earned an average of $120,540 per year. The next-highest paying industry of employment for nurse practitioners is outpatient care centers, followed by doctor’s offices and educational settings, such as public elementary and high schools and public and private universities.

Expected Growth in the Salary of Nurse Practitioners

The demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow by about 31 percent between 2016 and 2026. In 2016, there were about 155,000 nurse practitioners in the United States. By 2026, there will be an estimated 211,000 nurse practitioners. This fast rate of growth in job openings will also fuel a faster than average rate of growth in salary. Because nurse practitioners can perform a lot of the same services as a doctor, more hospitals and physician practices will add them to their teams of healthcare providers. The salary growth of a nurse practitioner is estimated to be 11 to 18 percent between 2016 and 2026, depending on the geographic location and specialty of practice.

Related Resource: 50 Affordable Accelerated MSN Online Programs

Knowing about the current and future growth for nurse practitioner salaries allows a person to make an informed decision about their area of practice, type of employer to choose and where to live and work. It is also a good idea for a candidate with a job offer to compare the salary to the area’s cost of living. Understanding the salary potential of a nurse practitioner is an essential part of career planning for a graduate student in nursing.