Are Your Nurse Practitioner Salary Expectations Reasonable?

Compensation may not be the most important thing to you in your job search but it certainly enters the equation. You’re likely approaching your career transition with a salary expectation in mind. What’s your number?

I talk to nurse practitioners from across the country on a daily basis. These conversations assessing job opportunities for the NP inevitably involve salary expectations. I have been surprised at the range of salary requirements among NPs. Some new grad nurse practitioners with very little or no nursing experience may expect a six-figure salary plus loan repayment and a sign-on bonus. Experienced NPs may prioritize practice environment over pay. 

Compensation for nurse practitioners, of course depends on the job market in the location where you plan to practice. Other factors such as state scope of practice laws and specialty come into play as well. But, the following gives a ballpark estimate of the salary range you should expect as a nurse practitioner in relation to your job search parameters and qualifications. Is your expectation realistic?

Above $150K

Nurse practitioners may earn over the $150K mark, but this is certainly not the norm. NPs bringing home top NP pay typically have one, or likely more than one, of the following qualities:

  • Experience, at least 2-3 years, practicing in a specialized setting.
  • Able to practice independently with little need for collaboration with other providers, manages own patient load.
  • Excels in a demanding clinical environment. This may include keeping up with high patient volume and/or treating high acuity patients. 
  • Specialized procedural training or skills. 
  • Live in or willingness to relocate to a medically underserved area.
  • State scope of practice laws allow nurse practitioners to practice without or with little physician oversight.
  • Flexibility to work an unconventional schedule.

$120K - $150K

  • Experience, at least 2-3 years, practicing in a specialty position.
  • Able to practice independently with little need for collaboration with other providers, manages own patient load.
  • Excels in a demanding clinical environment. This may include keeping up with high patient volume and/or treating high acuity patients. 
  • Specialized procedural training or skills 
  • Live in or willingness to relocate to an area with a high demand for nurse practitioners, includes medically underserved areas.
  • State scope of practice laws allow nurse practitioners to practice without or with little physician oversight.
  • Flexibility to work an unconventional schedule.

$100K - $120K

  • Employed in a specialized setting with a high demand for NPs (ex. psychiatry, pain management) without significant relevant work experience.
  • Experience, at least 2-3 years, in a practice area that traditionally pays on the low end of the NP salary range, for example primary care. 
  • Little need for collaboration with other providers, unless an expectation otherwise is outlined in the job interview process.
  • Responsible for treating a moderate to high patient volume.
  • Works in an city or state with a moderate to high demand for nurse practitioners
  • State scope of practice laws allow nurse practitioners to practice without or with little physician oversight.

$85K - $100K

  • Employed in the primary care setting with or without experience. 
  • Employed in a specialty practice with limited experience.
  • May require some collaboration with other providers as experience grows. 
  • Responsible for an average patient volume. 
  • Practices in a location with low to moderate demand for nurse practitioners.
  • State scope of practice laws require nurse practitioners to practice with physician oversight.

Below $85K

  • Employed in the primary care setting without or with limited experience.
  • Requires more involved collaboration with other providers as experience grows. 
  • Employed in a practice seeing a low to moderate patient volume. 
  • Lacks procedural knowledge that may be required by the practice setting. 
  • Practices in a location with relatively low demand for nurse practitioners or a competitive job market.
  • State scope of practice laws are among the most restrictive in the country and may restrict prescribing abilities in addition to requiring physician oversight.

How does your salary compare with these observations?

 

You Might Also Like: Do States With Independent Practice Have Higher Nurse Practitioner Salaries?

 

Comments

Excellent information, and spot on aligned with my current nationwide job search.

Kathy

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