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Nurse Practitioner Salary Factors: Are You Making as Much as Your Colleagues?

Compensation is a sensitive topic that is often not discussed amongst colleagues. This silence can perpetuate inequalities in pay and feelings of resentment if not addressed. To avoid finding yourself in a situation where you aren't being fairly compensated, it is essential to know what you should be making for the services you provide. Whether you are an Nurse Practitioner renegotiating your annual compensation or signing a new contract, keep these factors in mind when agreeing to your next salary.

Nurse Practitioner Base Salaries by Focus Area *

Nurse Practitioner Salary Factors: Are You Making as Much as Your Colleagues


When it comes to medical specialties, Psychiatry has some of the highest compensation levels. NPs practicing in this focus area make around $106,000 a year. This specialty is a "high need" area of Medicine and the increased demand for qualified Clinicians drives up salaries for those interested in providing these services.


Nurse Practitioners working in Cardiology frequently provide an intensive level of care due to the complexity of the patient populations they serve. Due to increased demands and higher reimbursements, NPs practicing in Cardiology enjoy a higher level of compensation than do most at around $101,000 a year.


NPs working in Oncology support patients and their families through intensive levels of care while providing much needed psychological support. Nurse Practitioners working in Oncology should expect to make about $98,000 a year practicing in this challenging yet rewarding area of Medicine.

Pain Medicine

Pain Medicine is a complex medical specialty that has been recently brought to the nation's attention by the War on Opiate Addiction. Due to the specialty's prescription of narcotics as part of many pain management programs, NPs practicing in this field face many challenges. Salary expectations for NPs in this specialty are about $97,000 a year.


Obstetrics and Gynecology NPs practice in a medical specialty notable for litigation and higher malpractice insurance rates. You might assume that practicing in a more litigious specialty would come with a compensatory increase in salary. This is not the case though when comparing this specialty to others. The expected base salary for OBGYN Nurse Practitioners is around $88,000 a year.


When evaluating salaries it is important to also take into consideration a Practitioner's experience level. So how does experience change an NPs salary expectations? According to the 2015 American Association of Nurse Practitioner Survey, there is about a 2 dollar an hour mean increase in pay for every 5 years' experience an NP has. Although this number may seem small, over a year this difference can add up to more than $4,100.


Geography can also influence NP salaries with the Northeast, California, Texas, Alaska and Hawaii having some of the top paying salary levels around(2). Salaries in these regions can be from $11-20,000 an year higher than the mean annual NP national salary(2).


When comparing your earnings to those of your colleagues it is important to take added employer provided benefits into consideration. Although health insurance, gym memberships, cell phone and CME allotments don't show up in your monthly earnings, they all add to the overall compensation package an employer is providing and can make a difference.


(*) How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make? NP Accessed 4/21/17

(2) Occupational and Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages 2016, Nurse Practitioners. Accessed 4/21/17.

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