Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who earn some of the highest salaries in the nursing profession. Some nurse practitioners are referred to as ARNP (advanced registered nurse practitioner) or APRN (advanced practice registered nurse).
Nurse practitioners work directly alongside physicians, and those who work in full-practice states can open their independent practices. Others work in hospitals and clinics with physicians, diagnosing and treating patients independently.
On average, nurse practitioners earn a base salary of $122,360, or $90.90 an hour (Indeed, July 2022).
Recommended Reading - What is a Nurse Practitioner in the USA?
Nurse practitioner salaries in the USA
According to our research, nurse practitioner salaries in the US range from $79,818 to $129,477. In addition, the average hourly pay for nurse practitioners is between $38.37 to $62.25. These figures are pulled from the latest data on Zippia.
How much does a nurse practitioner make a year?
On average, a nurse practitioner can earn around $95,140.59 per year. However, the average varies by state, and current figures suggest that an average salary can start at $122,360 in the US.
How much does a nurse practitioner make an hour?
The average hourly pay for a nurse practitioner is $45.74. Some NPs earn slightly below this, while others earn nearly double that amount. Your exact salary will vary based on location and experience.
Can you start working as an NP with no experience?
Some students want to complete all of their educational credentials before stepping into the workforce. However, you can begin your master’s-level studies as soon as you graduate without becoming a Registered Nurse.
However, you must complete clinicals in your undergraduate and master’s programs. So, you will be working in healthcare environments as part of your coursework, even if you aren’t being paid for it yet.
Some states, like New York, require you to hold a valid RN license before earning your NP license. Many employers also seek NPs with at least three to five years of nursing experience.
If you want to focus solely on education and skills training to become an NP, you can look for consecutive BSN to nurse practitioner programs. You will still get plenty of practical nursing experience through clinicals, but you won’t need to work as an RN to earn your master’s and pass an NP certification exam.
Make sure you research your state’s NP requirements and apply for all the appropriate licenses. As long as you have completed your programs and clinicals in full, you can earn an RN and NP license simultaneously and begin applying for jobs.
Nurse practitioner salaries by state
Here is a table that breaks down how much nurse practitioners earn by state, including their average annual salary and hourly wage. We pulled the data in June 2022.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors that affect how much a nurse practitioner makes
As with any nursing profession, several factors influence how much you can earn as a nurse practitioner. Keep these in mind while applying for jobs and planning your next career move.
Location is one of the most significant factors affecting nurses' incomes in America. Two nurses with identical educations and experience levels could be offered drastically different salaries depending on their state.
Because population impacts patient demand, states with higher needs tend to pay more for qualified NPs. However, there are also cases in rural states where a nurse practitioner can be offered a higher starting salary than usual because fewer qualified professionals are in their area.
Generally, it's best to look at each state's average and compare job listings. Then, ensure that the jobs you apply for are close to the state average.
In California, for example, the average salary for a nurse practitioner is $129,477, while in Florida, it's $87,641.
2) Education level
Nurse practitioners must hold a master's or doctorate to practice. A Ph.D. in nursing can qualify you for higher pay sometimes, though not always. Employers may pay even more to NPs who have additional skills certifications, such as family nurse practitioner certification (FNP) or emergency nurse practitioner (ENP).
With experience comes more excellent pay, and nurse practitioners who have worked for 5-10 years will qualify for a higher salary than someone just beginning their career.
Nurse practitioners can choose to specialize in a medical discipline like obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, or emergency care. However, all NPs must decide to work with a specific population, whether adults and seniors, women, or children in pediatrics.
A particular specialization qualifies you to treat more selective patients, which can also qualify you for a higher salary. You can often earn these specializations while working as a nurse practitioner.
How quickly can you become a nurse practitioner and start earning?
Nurse practitioners start their careers like every other nurse. After earning your high school diploma or GED, you can complete nursing school and earn an ADN or BSN. You will need to hold a bachelor's degree before moving on to your graduate studies, where you'll pursue a master's degree to take your nurse practitioner exam.
Nurse practitioners can earn certification through The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
Each exam offers different certifications for acute and primary care. Depending on your specialty area, your requirements may differ.
Recommended Reading - How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in The USA?
Overall, expect to spend at least six years getting the educational requirements to become a nurse practitioner. Additional clinical hours will take around two years. It takes someone eight years to become a fully licensed NP.
How much nurse practitioners make vs. other nursing jobs
Average nurse practitioner salary – $95,140.59 per year
Registered Nurse – $76,944.90 per year
CRNA – $140,357.71 per year
Nurse Administrator – $76,104.25 per year
Charge Nurse – $73,298.27 per year
Travel Nurse – $87,958.51 per year
Nurse practitioner salary FAQs
Am I being paid fairly as a nurse practitioner?
To answer this question, consider the national average salary and the average nurse practitioner salary in your state. If your pay is significantly less than either, it is a good idea to talk with your employer.
Remember that new NPs are usually offered a lower salary than more experienced peers. However, because you have advanced educational credentials and likely have several years of experience working as a nurse, you should earn at least $80,000 a year as a new nurse practitioner.
Are nurse practitioners paid mostly hourly or annually?
Most nurse practitioners receive an annual salary, especially those who work more regular hours in a clinical healthcare setting. In addition, you may be given an hourly wage if you work overtime on top of your base salary.
Do nurse practitioners get paid overtime?
Yes, NPs are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over the federal standard of 40 hours per week. It's also common to receive higher pay when working nights, weekends, or holidays.
Do nurse practitioners get paid more privately or in hospitals?
Nurse practitioners are more likely to get paid a higher salary in private healthcare practice, as this is where most of their patients tend to be. However, an emergency nurse practitioner (ENP) will earn more in a hospital setting thanks to their advanced acute care skills.
In addition, NPs who choose to work on crash teams in the ER may also qualify for higher compensation. These medical specialists are the ones who are called when a patient flatlines. Their job is to perform life-saving resuscitation to stabilize the patient until the right care team takes over.
What state pays nurse practitioners the most per hour?
California has the highest nurse practitioner salary, with an average pay of $62.25 per hour.
Can you live off a nurse practitioner's salary in the USA?
Nurse practitioners earn good salaries, but your comfort level will depend on your lifestyle. For example, NPs living in metropolitan areas will have higher living costs, so their wages may not provide as much as they would like compared to suburban or rural areas.
It would help if you also considered debts, like student loans and mortgages, as you consider whether an NP's salary is enough for you.
In most cases, if you budget responsibility, you can live off a nurse practitioner's salary in most states. However, this will depend on your lifestyle choices, where you live, and monthly expenses.
The cost of living index can also help you understand how comfortably you could live off a mental health nurse’s salary in your state. Metropolitan areas have higher living costs overall, but they also tend to present greater job opportunities.
Is being an NP harder than being an RN?
Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat patients without a physician's supervision. They take on more complex cases and manage patient care at a higher level than an RN. That being said, the two jobs still have a lot in common.
RNs and NPs focus on preventative healthcare, but the NP has greater authority than the RN regarding what treatments they can offer. NPs, for example, can assess and diagnose patients, while an RN can only administer treatments and medications prescribed by an NP or physician.
Many NPs prefer working in laid-back clinical settings compared to hospital floors, where most RNs work. Ultimately, each job has challenges, and some may find the rigors of RN work harder than NPs’ clinical care focus.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.