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Top 5 Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Top 5 Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are more than 220,000 Nurse Practitioners in the United States today. This profession shares one of the highest job satisfaction ratings in healthcare and according to U.S. News and World Report, Nurse Practitioners are ranked #6 on the Best Jobs of 2016 list. While the profession enjoys a generous level of compensation some specialties pay better than others.

Here are the top 5 highest paying Nurse Practitioner specialties*:


(1) Neonatal Care (average pay ~ $112,893)

If you enjoy working with newborns in a rewarding, challenging and fast paced setting then working as a Neonatal Care NP may be a great fit for you. These NP's work in hospital nurseries and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) caring for healthy and critically ill newborns. Job satisfaction rates and happiness with levels of autonomy associated with this job are relatively high (1). Higher salaries in this specialty are well earned as these NP's often perform acute and technical levels of care while working under stressful conditions in the hospital. Learn more about Neonatal NP's.

(2) Adult Psychiatry/ Mental Health (average pay ~ $109,576)

Working as a Psychiatric NP may be a good option for you if you have a passion for helping those that suffer with mental illness or addiction. These NP's frequently work in private practice and Mental Health Facility settings. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners generally practice in 2 subspecialties: Family and Adult. NP's in this specialty also enjoy job flexibility that been enhanced with the birth of telemedicine and the ability to work remotely. Learn more about Psychiatric NP's

(3) Gerontology (average pay ~ $104,582)

A career in the field of Gerontology is a perfect fit for those that enjoy working with the elderly. Gerontology NP's work with elderly patients in clinics, Nursing Homes and Home Healthcare settings providing care for a wide array of conditions. Gerontology Nurse Practitioners generally practice in 2 subspecialties: Acute Care and Primary Care. Considerable demand for Gerontology NP's is expected to continue due to the aging of America and a shortage of available healthcare providers. Learn more about Gerontology NP's.

(4) Hospital/ Palliative Care (average pay ~ $102,385)

Hospital and Palliative Care NP's provide therapeutic support to relieve suffering in chronic, terminal and seriously ill patients. They frequently practice in Hospices, Hospitals and Nursing Home facilities handling the clinical and emotional needs of patients and their family members. Learn more about Palliative NP's.

(5) Oncology (average pay ~ $101,698)

With over 1 million new cases of cancer being diagnosed a year in America, practitioners in the field of Oncology are in demand (2). Oncology NP's care for cancer patients in clinics, hospitals, specialized centers and hospices. Practitioners in this specialty frequently require a higher degree of emotional resiliency due to the often challenging nature of this disease. Learn more about Oncology NP's.


(1) McDonald,K, Job Satisfaction of Neonatal Nurses. Advanced Neonatal Care. 2012 August: (12) 4.

(2) "Understanding Cancer". NIH Accessed 11/17/16

"2011 National NP Compensation Survey". American Association of Nurse Practitioners "How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?" NP Schools Accessed 11/17/16.

"2015 AANP National NP Compensation Survey". American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The 25 Best Jobs of 2016". U.S.News Accessed 11/17/16

"Staff Care Survey of Nurse Practitioners". StaffCare Bureau of Labor Statistics Accessed 11/18/16 "Nurse Practitioners." All Nursing Schools Accessed 11/17/16

* Average pay based on findings of the 2015 American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) National Compensation Survey. Averages are base salaries not including benefits

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