What Are the Job and Salary Prospects for Nurse Practitioners?

Along with the satisfaction of knowing they have an increased ability to help patients achieve total wellness, nurse practitioners also have the satisfaction of knowing they have a job that is in demand and solid salary prospects that only get better as they progress in their careers.

Salary Prospects

The salary earned by a nurse practitioner will vary greatly depending on a person’s years of experience, skill/specialty and geographic location. For instance, entry-level nurse practitioners with less than 1 year of experience can take home between $59,287 and $74,899 a year, but nurse practitioners with 20 or more years of experience take home between $71,565 and $91,900 a year, according to Payscale.com, an online compensation information resource.

Another thing to take into consideration when looking at nurse practitioner salaries is specialization. Those nurse practitioners who work in acute care, case management or the ICU (intensive care unit) will earn higher salaries than those in other specializations, perhaps because of an ability to keep a level head in high-stress situations, Payscale.com asserts.

The average annual salary of registered nurses (RNs) was $62,450 as of May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS groups nurse practitioners in with all other registered nurses (RNs) when it determines average salaries, so it is likely that the number of nurses who are not qualified for advanced practice could drag the salary figure down. Even so, it is a helpful figure for those who want an idea of what their salary could be if they choose a career as a nurse practitioner.

Job Prospects

Employment of RNs, which include advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, is supposed to be excellent, growing 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, the BLS projects. Those RNs who go on into advanced practice to become clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists are expected to the most in-demand jobs within the field of nursing, according to the BLS. So not only are you choosing a hot career by entering nursing in general, you are choosing one of the hottest careers within that field by choosing to be a nurse practitioner.

Why the demand for nurse practitioners? Compared to doctors, nurse practitioners can be accessed more easily and at a lower cost. This means demand for nurse practitioners will be particularly great in inner city or rural areas that have the greatest lack of access to health care.