Nurse Practitioner NP salary and job outlook – If you want the diagnostic possibilities of a doctor without the strenuous years of medical school, then you might want to look into becoming a nurse practitioner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, nurse practitioners assess and diagnose patients, prescribe medicines, encourage health promotion strategies for patients and order laboratory tests. They consult with physicians at times, though often work independently.

To become a nurse practitioner, according to the BLS, requires at least a master’s degree, passing a national certification exam and becoming a licensed registered nurse in the process. A bachelor’s degree in nursing is often preferred, and the following qualities can be crucial as well:

  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Resourcefulness
  • Attention to detail

Nurse Practitioner schools can help prepare you for this fulfilling field, which pays well above average and is growing faster than most fields, according to career data.

Nurse practitioner NP salary

According to the BLS, as of May 2013, nurse practitioners in the U.S. earned a mean annual wage of $95,070, with the lowest-paid 10 percent nationally earning an annual wage of $66,960 or less, and the highest-paid 10 percent nationally earning an annual wage of $126,250 or less.

Nurse practitioner NP salary and job outlook

Nurse practitioner NP salary and job outlook. Image: Thenest

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Education Requirements for Nurse Practitioners

However, those numbers vary by industry. As of May 2013, the top-paying industries in America for nurse practitioners, according to the BLS, were:

  • Personal care services: $117,300 annual mean wage
  • Specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals: $109,850 annual mean wage
  • Grantmaking and giving services: $107,350 annual mean wage

The pay for nurse practitioners also varies among states. The top-paying states in America for nurse practitioners, per BLS data from May 2013, were:

  • Alaska: $111,800 annual mean wage
  • California: $110,590 annual mean wage
  • Oregon: $107,560 annual mean wage

The specific city or metro region you live in also affects pay for nurse practitioners. The BLS reports, as of May 2013, that the top-paying American metropolitan areas for nurse practitioners were:

  • Columbus, IN: $146,920 annual mean wage
  • Texarkana-Texarkana, TX-AR: $137,880 annual mean wage
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $133,930 annual mean wage

Job outlook for nurse practitioners

Things are looking up for nurse practitioners.

According to the BLS, employment of nurse practitioners in the U.S. is expected to grow by 34 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the 11 percent average nationally for all occupations. That comes out to 37,100 new jobs. High demand will be particularly present in “medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.”.

Many possible explanations exist for the growth. The BLS states, “Growth will occur because of an increase in the demand for healthcare services. Several factors, including healthcare legislation and the resulting newly insured, an increased emphasis on preventative care, and the large, aging baby-boom population will contribute to this demand.”

While it’s difficult to project where specifically job growth of nurse practitioner positions will grow the most, we may be able to get a good idea by looking at where it happened before. According to the BLS, the American states with the highest employment level of nurse practitioners as of May 2013 were:

  • New York
  • California
  • Texas

Keep in mind that these aren’t the states with the highest concentration of nurse practitioners — that list is topped by Maine, Tennessee and Mississippi — but simply the largest number of NPs employed.

The American metropolitan areas with the highest employment numbers for nurse practitioners, as of May 2013, according to the BLS, were:

  • New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
  • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division

With a projected job growth much faster than the average occupation, a nice paycheck, and the ability to diagnose and treat patients without spending years in med school, a nurse practitioner career is a potentially great gig if you like helping people and enjoy stability.


Occupational Employment and Wages: Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013,

Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners, “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

Nurse Practitioner exam practice tests

To prepare for your Nurse Practitioner exam, you can try out there are seven following career practice tests:


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