Salary Estimates for DNP-Prepared APRNs, Administrators and More

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Recent statements made by the American Association for Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reveal that Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are seeing sizable and competitive student enrollment. At the same time, employers are recognizing the value of DNP-prepared nurses in the practice arena and exploring the many ways these nursing professionals can make a difference in the field: delivering patient-centered care while emphasizing evidence-based practice, informatics, and quality improvement.

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For many nurses, a DNP lays the foundation for new opportunities for innovation and collaboration in nursing practice that would allow them to effect change and transform healthcare for the better.

The responsibilities and opportunities for DNP-prepared nurses continue to grow, both in scope and complexity, resulting in steadily increasing salaries and job opportunities. Advance Healthcare Network, found that nurse practitioners who held a DNP earned nearly $5,000 more than their master’s prepared counterparts.

Nationally, DNPs earn an average annual salary of $97,452 (Advance 2013 salary survey).

A Medscape nurse salary report in 2015 also revealed a significant salary differential between master’s and doctoral-prepared nurses. According to their report, nurses with a master’s degree earned an average annual salary of $87,000, while doctoral-prepared nurses earned an average salary of $96,000.

Though the above statistics reveal that nurses who hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) make more than their colleagues with an MSN, specific salary statistics for DNP nursing roles are not always clear.

It is possible, however, to glean insight into the salaries of DNP nurses by examining the top earners in various nursing roles.

DNP Salaries for Direct Patient Care Nurses: Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (APRNs)

Of courses, nurses looking to continue their work in direct patient care would enroll in a DNP program that aligns with their APRN role:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse-midwife

DNP-prepared APRNs are consistently recognized as the top earners in their field. Salary data for advanced practice registered nurses with earnings that fall within the top salary brackets are most likely to align with what DNP-prepared nurses earn:

Nurse Practitioner

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), DNP-prepared nurse practitioners earned an average, annual salary of $135,830, as of May 2015. Nurse practitioners in the following industries earned the highest salaries that year:

  • Personal care services
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Dentist offices
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations

The top-paying states for DNP-prepared nurse practitioners that year were:

  • California
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon

Shown here are average salaries for nurse practitioners that earned within the top 25% (75th percentile bracket) and the top 10% (90th percentile bracket) of their field. Since the DNP is associated with the highest salary potential for nurse practitioners, these figures most closely align with what DNP-prepared NPs earn (2015, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
50.80
105670
Alaska
66.64
138600
Arizona
58.29
121250
Arkansas
56.12
116730
California
68.67
142840
Colorado
57.74
120110
Connecticut
56.76
118050
Delaware
56.06
116600
District of Columbia
55.89
116260
Florida
51.14
106370
Georgia
51.30
106690
Hawaii
62.46
129910
Idaho
50.52
105090
Illinois
52.73
109680
Indiana
49.96
103920
Iowa
49.05
102020
Kansas
50.01
104010
Kentucky
49.52
103000
Louisiana
54.32
112990
Maine
51.10
106280
Maryland
55.00
114390
Massachusetts
62.60
130200
Michigan
51.39
106900
Minnesota
57.43
119440
Mississippi
53.90
112100
Missouri
49.27
102480
Montana
50.55
105150
Nebraska
49.86
103710
Nevada
55.48
115410
New Hampshire
56.44
117390
New Jersey
59.83
124440
New Mexico
59.99
124790
New York
59
122730
North Carolina
54.92
114240
North Dakota
50.68
105410
Ohio
51.58
107300
Oklahoma
50.70
105460
Oregon
60.89
126640
Pennsylvania
51.50
107120
Puerto Rico
11.85
24650
Rhode Island
59.88
124540
South Carolina
48.25
100360
South Dakota
52.61
109430
Tennessee
50.58
105210
Texas
58.43
121540
Utah
53.63
111540
Vermont
Estimate Not Released
Estimate Not Released
Virginia
53.32
110900
Washington
57.28
119140
West Virginia
47.66
99130
Wisconsin
50.55
105140
Wyoming
56.61
117750

*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour / $187,200 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data beyond these values.

Certified Nurse-Midwife

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the highest earners among certified nurse-midwives, those with a DNP, made an average annual salary of $132,270 as of May 2015.

The BLS also revealed that certified nurse-midwives working in the following industries earned the highest salaries:

  • Local government
  • Physician offices
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • Specialty hospitals

DNP-educated nurse-midwives in these states earned the highest salaries in the nation as of May 2015:

  • California
  • Iowa
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey
  • Minnesota

Shown here are average salaries for nurse midwives with earnings that fell within the top 25% (75th percentile bracket) and the top 10% (90th percentile bracket) of their field. Since the DNP is associated with the highest salary potential for nurse practitioners, these figures most closely align with what DNP-prepared NPs earn (2015, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alaska
57.31
119210
Arizona
47.19
98160
California
82.36
171310
Colorado
48.97
101850
Connecticut
55.37
115170
Delaware
48.16
100180
Florida
48.80
101510
Georgia
50.68
105420
Illinois
51.54
107210
Indiana
54.37
113100
Iowa
62.64
130290
Kentucky
52.20
108570
Maine
51.74
107610
Maryland
55.59
115630
Massachusetts
65.28
135790
Michigan
52.08
108320
Minnesota
59.89
124570
Mississippi
47.87
99570
Nebraska
43.57
90630
New Hampshire
54.34
113020
New Jersey
58.93
122570
New Mexico
53.25
110770
New York
54.71
113800
North Carolina
51.00
106080
Ohio
52.54
109290
Oregon
69.76
145100
Pennsylvania
53.91
112130
South Carolina
49.89
103780
Tennessee
39.32
81790
Texas
56.06
116610
Utah
47.42
98630
Vermont
51.16
106420
Washington
51.07
106220
West Virginia
56.43
117380
Wisconsin
44.95
93500

*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour / $187,200 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data beyond these values.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top 10 percent of certified registered nurse anesthetists, those likely to hold doctorate degrees, earned a salary that was at or above $187,200, as of May 2015.

The top paying industries for these DNP nurses at this time were:

  • Specialty hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Federal executive branch
  • Physician offices

The top-paying states for DNP-prepared certified registered nurse anesthetists included:

  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • California

Shown here are average salaries for certified registered nurse anesthetists that earned within the top 25% (75th percentile bracket) and the top 10% (90th percentile bracket) of their field. Since the DNP is associated with the highest salary potential for nurse anesthetists, these figures most closely align with what DNP-prepared CRNAs earn (2015, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
86.73
180400
Alaska
89.78
186750
Arizona
85.19
177200
Arkansas
88.88
184870
California
90.00*
187200*
Colorado
87.70
182410
Connecticut
90.00*
187200*
District of Columbia
87.01
180980
Florida
79.32
165000
Georgia
78.22
162700
Hawaii
90.00*
187200*
Idaho
90.00*
187200*
Illinois
83.16
172970
Indiana
90.00*
187200*
Iowa
90.00*
187200*
Kansas
83.82
174350
Kentucky
88.82
184750
Louisiana
77.55
161300
Maine
90.00*
187200*
Maryland
90.00*
187200*
Massachusetts
90.00*
187200*
Michigan
90.00*
187200*
Minnesota
90.00*
187200*
Mississippi
90.00*
187200*
Missouri
87.50
182010
Montana
90.00*
187200*
Nebraska
90.00*
187200*
New Hampshire
90.00*
187200*
New Jersey
90.00*
187200*
New Mexico
90.00*
187200*
New York
85.53
177900
North Carolina
87.86
182740
North Dakota
90.00*
187200*
Ohio
78.71
163710
Oklahoma
90.00*
187200*
Oregon
90.00*
187200*
Pennsylvania
79.86
166120
Puerto Rico
29.27
60880
South Carolina
88.22
183500
South Dakota
90.00*
187200*
Tennessee
80.16
166720
Texas
87.21
181390
Utah
89.32
185790
Vermont
79.52
165400
Virginia
90.00*
187200*
Washington
90.00*
187200*
West Virginia
90.00*
187200*
Wisconsin
90.00*
187200*
Wyoming
90.00*
187200*

*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour / $187,200 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data beyond these values.

Salaries for DNP-Prepared Nurse Administrators, Informaticists, Executive Leaders and Clinical Educators

The DNP is becoming ever more common among nurses working outside of direct patient care in roles with an aggregate/systems/organizational focus, such as:

  • Nursing administration
  • Executive leadership
  • Nursing informatics
  • Clinical education

Nursing Administration

The top earning nurse administrators (medical and health services managers) earned a national average annual salary of $165,380 in May 2015, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

During this period, the top-paying industries for these nursing professionals were:

  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
  • Navigational, measuring, electro-medical, and control instruments manufacturing
  • Electronic shopping and mail order houses
  • Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers
  • Insurance carriers

The top-paying states for nurse administrators at this time were:

  • Washington D.C.
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • California
  • Alaska

Shown here are average salaries for nurse administrators (classified as medical and health services managers) that earned within the top 25% (75th percentile bracket) and the top 10% (90th percentile bracket) of their field. Since the DNP is associated with the highest salary potential for nurse administrators, these figures most closely align with what those with a DNP can expect to earn (2015, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
56.47
117450
Alaska
64.08
133290
Arizona
59.01
122750
Arkansas
46.82
97380
California
73.52
152920
Colorado
63.56
132210
Connecticut
67.73
140870
Delaware
60.92
126720
District of Columbia
76.29
158680
Florida
60.93
126730
Georgia
57.32
119220
Hawaii
63.96
133050
Idaho
46.93
97600
Illinois
57.45
119500
Indiana
48.30
100470
Iowa
45.26
94140
Kansas
45.76
95190
Kentucky
51.61
107350
Louisiana
47.93
99700
Maine
50.10
104210
Maryland
60.93
126730
Massachusetts
63.24
131530
Michigan
55.02
114430
Minnesota
56.91
118370
Mississippi
46.33
96370
Missouri
56.56
117640
Montana
48.64
101170
Nebraska
52.32
108830
Nevada
60.52
125870
New Hampshire
57.12
118810
New Jersey
62.39
129760
New Mexico
54.27
112880
New York
71.56
148850
North Carolina
58.23
121120
North Dakota
48.18
100210
Ohio
52.64
109500
Oklahoma
46.63
96990
Oregon
61.77
128490
Pennsylvania
54.09
112510
Puerto Rico
44.05
91630
Rhode Island
61.59
128110
South Carolina
51.77
107690
South Dakota
56.24
116980
Tennessee
50.16
104340
Texas
56.36
117240
Utah
57.74
120090
Vermont
53.34
110950
Virgin Islands
36.38
75680
Virginia
58.52
121720
Washington
64.59
134340
West Virginia
56.73
118010
Wisconsin
49.75
103480
Wyoming
52.17
108510

*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour / $187,200 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data beyond these values.

Clinical Education

As of May 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that DNP-educated clinical nursing instructors earned an average salary of $112,680. The top-paying industries for these nursing professionals during this time, many of which likely possess a DNP, included:

  • Specialty hospitals
  • State government
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Technical and trade schools

According to the BLS, the top-paying states for clinical nurse educators during this time included:

  • California
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Delaware

Shown here are average salaries for clinical nurse educators that earned within the top 25% (75th percentile bracket) and the top 10% (90th percentile bracket) of their field. Since the DNP is associated with the highest salary potential for clinical nurse educators, these figures most closely align with what those with a DNP can expect to earn (2015, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
72690
Alaska
97900
Arizona
87660
Arkansas
74480
California
114330
Colorado
84090
Connecticut
94880
Delaware
96950
District of Columbia
93440
Florida
84530
Georgia
76540
Hawaii
92310
Idaho
63690
Illinois
88730
Indiana
80200
Iowa
77020
Kansas
61540
Kentucky
83680
Louisiana
71050
Maine
79400
Maryland
84720
Massachusetts
105970
Michigan
87090
Minnesota
90330
Mississippi
80030
Missouri
88550
Montana
69050
Nebraska
79790
Nevada
96340
New Hampshire
85310
New Jersey
106140
New Mexico
76640
New York
117490
North Carolina
74440
North Dakota
94100
Ohio
80280
Oklahoma
70090
Oregon
100310
Pennsylvania
84910
Puerto Rico
50320
South Carolina
79200
South Dakota
72370
Tennessee
75280
Texas
75080
Utah
85800
Virginia
74390
Washington
81300
West Virginia
72630
Wisconsin
79990
Wyoming
73630

Nursing Informatics

According to a 2014 workforce survey published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), informatics nurses with supervisory responsibilities (likely held by those with DNP degrees or extensive experience) earned $142,733 on average, compared with $92,174 for those who did not.

The HIMSS survey also found that informatics nurses who held a post-graduate degree earned an average salary of $107,215, compared with $90,801 for those without a post-graduate degree. The HIMSS recognizes that both education and training have an impact on informatics nurse salaries.

Executive Leadership

According to a 2016 salary and compensation study published by the American Organization for Nurse Executives (AONE), the top 38 percent of nurse leaders (includes directors and managers, likely holding advanced degrees like the DNP) earned more than $150,000. Non-system CNOs in the top 17 percent earned more than $250,000 on average, while CEOs, COOs, and CFOs in the top 25 percent also earned an average of more than $250,000.

Nurse executives earned the highest salary in Region 9 (includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington), where 62 percent of all survey respondents earned $150,000 or more.

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