The DC.gov Department of Employment Services ranked nurse practitioners as the 8th fastest growing occupation between 2014 and 2024. Their predictions indicate that other advanced nursing positions will also show a high level of growth compared to other occupations during this period:
- Nurse Educators – 3.3 times the average
- Nurse Administrators and Executives – 1.8 times the average
The District had one of the highest numbers of nurses per capita in the country in 2013 according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). However, the HRSA cautions that part of the reason for this is the presence of several academic medical centers. These include medical centers associated with George Washington and Howard Universities.
Between medical practices, academic institutions, and the large number of pharmaceutical and biotech companies, the DC area offers a number of opportunities for highly educated nurses such as those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). This degree is rapidly becoming the preferred credential for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and other advanced nursing professions.
APRNs are in particular demand in areas that lack adequate primary care physicians, and DC had nine designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) as of 2012 according to the District’s Department of Health. The primary care HPSAs in DC are shown below:
- Brentwood—Low Income
- Columbia Heights/Ft. Totten/Takoma—Low Income
- Downtown Washington—Homeless
- East Capitol Southeast
- South Capitol
In addition to practicing as an APRN, the District offers high-level nurse administrative and executive options because of nursing institutions that are headquartered there:
- American Association of College of Nursing
- American Nurses Association
- Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
With the DC area offering numerous opportunities for DNP-educated nurses, a number of the District’s nurses are seeking this educational option. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that 222 nurses in DC had enrolled in DNP programs as of the fall of 2015. More than five times as many nurses sought a DNP rather than a PhD, thus reinforcing the value of this practice-based doctorate in the workplace.
Obtaining a DNP offers an assurance of high salaries as shown by the Advance Healthcare Network which surveyed nurse practitioners throughout the county in 2014. This survey identified a 13% increase in the average salary of NPs with a DNP compared to those who had an MSN as their highest degree.
Salaries for DNP Nurses in the District of Columbia
As predicted by the DC.gov Department of Employment Services, there is no shortage of nurse practitioner positions available in the District. For instance, the Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia listed five positions for NPs on its website as of June 11, 2016.
The job location website Indeed.com aggregates the salaries for positions advertised over the course of a year and provides an average of these salaries for that period in time. As of mid-June 2016, the average salary for APRNs in the DC area is shown below. Nurses who possess a DNP are likely to earn even more than these values:
- Nurse Anesthetist – $174,000
- Nurse Practitioner – $120,000
- Nurse-Midwife – $98,000
Specific positions in the DC metropolitan area that advertised for DNP-educated nurses included:
Vice President, Magnet Recognition and Pathway to Excellence Programs – Silver Spring
- Graduate degree required
- DNP or PhD strongly preferred
- Posted on the American Nurses Association website on June 11, 2016
Indeed.com reported that the average salary for this type of position in Silver Spring over the course of the year preceding June 2016 was $251,000.
Director of Global Safety – Aeras in Rockville
- DNP, MD, PharmD or equivalent degree required
- At least four years of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or vaccine safety experience required
- Posted on net website as of June 11, 2016
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for the position of Director of Global Safety in Rockville over the course of the year preceding June 2015 was $122,000.
An Overview of Salaries for DNP-Educated Nurses in DC as Published by the US Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an overview of the annual and hourly salaries for nurses in DC earning within the 75th and 90th percentiles to best represent earnings for DNP nurses (2014):
Medical and Health Services Managers
*Values are equal to or greater than $90/hour or $187,199. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report values this high.
This page includes salaries that fall within the 75th and 90th percentiles for each nursing role to account for the fact that DNP-educated nurses are recognized as earning more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.