What the salary potential is for a nurse practitioner is often the first concern for individuals interested in pursuing this career. There may be annual average salaries for nurse practitioners, but many factors can go into determining what wage an aspiring nurse practitioner can expect. The potential wages is one of several reasons why a person might choose this as a career. Nurse practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who organize patient care and provide specialized and primary healthcare to patients. Here is an overview of the nurse practitioner and their salary potentials.
What Factors Affect Wage Potential
Wage potential for nurse practitioners varies by many factors. These may include experience, training, areas of specialization, and geographic location. Often, individuals find that they would have a better earning potential if they lived in another city or another state because wages can vary a lot from one geographic location to another. A nurse practitioner who is certified in a couple of areas of nursing will also see better career options. A nurse practitioner who advances education and earns a doctoral degree is also in a position to earn higher wages than one with a master’s degree and little experience.
Wage Potential for Nurse Practitioners
There may also be variances in wages depending on which agency is reporting the wages. Salary.com reports that nurse practitioners earned an average annual wage of 103,995 with wages overall ranging from $89,668 to $121,148. According to a May 2017 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners earned an average yearly salary of $107,480 with wages ranging from $74,840 to $145,630. The BLS reported the average hourly rate for nurse practitioners to be $51.68.
Geographic Locations Affect Salaries
Many people don’t realize what a big factor geographic location can play in determining wages. Below are the five top-paying states for nurse practitioners followed by the five lowest-paying states. As you can see, the wage difference between the highest and the lowest state is a substantial amount.
- California – $126,770
- Alaska – $125,140
- Hawaii – $122, 580
- Massachusetts – $120,140
- Connecticut – $118,500
- Kentucky – $93,850
- Alabama – $93,040
- West Virginia – $93, 040
- Louisiana – $94,430
- Tennessee – $94,720
How to Become a Nurse Practitioner
A nurse practitioner must have a master’s degree from an accredited school. The candidate must already possess a registered nursing license before entering into a nurse practitioner program. In most cases, the applicants already have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, so the RN should be able to complete the nurse practitioner program in two to three years. If the RN earned the nursing degree from a diploma or associate’s degree, he or she could enroll in a bridge program, which allows completion in less time than if the student just enrolled in a master’s degree in the nursing program.
These programs include a mixed curriculum of medical courses, laboratory studies, and clinical education. Nurse practitioners are required to be licensed in most of the states. To work as a licensed nurse practitioner, the candidate must be a licensed RN, pass a national certification exam and obtain licensure as an APRN.
Working as a nurse practitioner can be a challenging but extremely rewarding career. An individual can play an important part in treating and helping patients to feel better. The fact that there is a great salary potential for a nurse practitioner is an added bonus.