Salary Estimates for DNP-Prepared APRNs, Administrators and More

According to the American Association for Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are enrolling more students than ever before. As of 2018, there were 348 DNP programs available nationwide and another 98 in development. And between 2017 and 2018, the number of nursing students enrolled in those programs increased by more than 3,500, from 29,093 to 32,678. DNP programs are now available in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

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Growth in the number of DNP programs and the significant increase in student enrollment comes as no surprise. This is because, now more than ever, 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.

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, something that contributes to some extent to the better salaries and increased job opportunities that come with holding a DNP.

The Advanced Healthcare Network’s 2018 ADVANCE Salary Survey for Nurses shows the differences in pay between DNP nurses and their master’s-prepared counterparts. The average salary for DNP nurses was $113,347, or nearly $8,000 more than the average salary for nurses with a master’s degree.

While these statistics reveal that nurses with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) earn 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 what DNP-prepared nurses earn by examining the top earners in various nursing roles.

Salaries for DNP-Prepared APRNs in Direct Patient Care: Nurse-Practitioners, Nurse-Midwives and Nurse-Anesthetists

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 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), DNP-prepared nurse practitioners earned an average annual salary of $125,440. Nurse practitioners in the following industries earned the highest salaries that year:

  • Personal care services
  • Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services
  • Religious Organizations
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities

The top-paying states for DNP-prepared nurse practitioners in 2018 were:

  • California
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Massachusetts

Shown here are average salaries for nurse practitioners that earned within the top 25% (75th percentile) and the top 10% (90th percentile) 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 (2018, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

 

Area Name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
52.95
110130
Alaska
69.74
145060
Arizona
61.97
128890
Arkansas
56.76
118070
California
74.89
155780
Colorado
59.51
123780
Connecticut
62.28
129530
Delaware
59.37
123480
District of Columbia
59.66
124090
Florida
55.43
115280
Georgia
58.27
121210
Hawaii
71.66
149050
Idaho
60.72
126290
Illinois
58.24
121140
Indiana
57.40
119390
Iowa
58.89
122500
Kansas
55.28
114990
Kentucky
52.37
108940
Louisiana
58.55
121790
Maine
57.48
119560
Maryland
61.94
128830
Massachusetts
66.14
137570
Michigan
57.61
119830
Minnesota
61.36
127630
Mississippi
59.89
124570
Missouri
55.68
115810
Montana
57.84
120310
Nebraska
57.49
119580
Nevada
60.46
125760
New Hampshire
60.06
124920
New Jersey
62.80
130630
New Mexico
60.40
125630
New York
66.00
137270
North Carolina
56.93
118420
North Dakota
58.08
120800
Ohio
56.89
118320
Oklahoma
59.52
123800
Oregon
60.95
126770
Pennsylvania
55.14
114700
Puerto Rico
11.48
23880
Rhode Island
60.35
125530
South Carolina
51.93
108010
South Dakota
55.81
116070
Tennessee
54.79
113960
Texas
60.96
126800
Utah
58.99
122700
Vermont
58.21
121080
Virginia
58.11
120870
Washington
64.01
133130
West Virginia
52.81
109840
Wisconsin
58.10
120840
Wyoming
65.15
135510

 

Certified Nurse-Midwife

The BLS reported that the highest earners among certified nurse-midwives, those with a DNP, earned an average annual salary of $124,240 as of May 2018.

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

  • Local government
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Outpatient care centers
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools

DNP-educated nurse-midwives in these states earned the highest salaries in the nation in 2018:

  • California
  • Arizona
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon

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 CNMs earn (2018, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

 

Area Name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alaska
52.33
108840
Arizona
62.05
129070
California
84.28
175310
Colorado
59.09
122910
Connecticut
59.97
124740
Delaware
53.64
111570
District of Columbia
52.17
108520
Florida
50.90
105880
Georgia
57.14
118850
Idaho
39.27
81670
Illinois
57.13
118830
Indiana
58.97
122650
Kentucky
55.44
115320
Maryland
58.98
122670
Massachusetts
65.79
136840
Michigan
56.49
117500
Minnesota
61.07
127020
New Hampshire
58.59
121860
New Jersey
60.66
126160
New Mexico
57.94
120520
New York
60.59
126030
North Carolina
57.42
119430
Ohio
57.90
120420
Oregon
62.16
129300
Pennsylvania
55.72
115900
Rhode Island
60.43
125690
South Carolina
48.71
101330
Tennessee
46.99
97740
Texas
47.96
99760
Utah
60.20
125210
Vermont
49.49
102950
Virginia
50.93
105930
Washington
56.63
117790
West Virginia
49.95
103890
Wisconsin
59.81
124400

*These values are equal to or greater than $100 an hour / $208,000 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.

 

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

According to the BLS, the top 25 percent of certified registered nurse anesthetists, those likely to hold doctorate degrees, earned a salary that was at or above $194,990, as of May 2018.

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

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

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

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Iowa

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 (2018, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

 

Area Name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
91.28
189870
Alaska
100*
208,000*
Arizona
77.90
162030
Arkansas
100*
208,000*
California
100*
208,000*
Colorado
95.22
198060
Connecticut
99.42
206790
Delaware
97.66
203130
Florida
100*
208,000*
Georgia
79.56
165480
Hawaii
98.45
204790
Idaho
77.76
161730
Illinois
99.97
207950
Indiana
86.49
179910
Iowa
100*
208,000*
Kansas
86.59
180100
Kentucky
92.49
192380
Louisiana
86.53
179980
Maine
90.56
188360
Maryland
100*
208,000*
Massachusetts
99.20
206340
Michigan
97.53
202860
Minnesota
98.21
204280
Mississippi
92.72
192870
Missouri
83.63
173960
Montana
100*
208,000*
Nebraska
100*
208,000*
Nevada
79.98
166360
New Hampshire
89.94
187080
New Jersey
97.95
203740
New York
100*
208,000*
North Carolina
95.44
198500
North Dakota
99.59
207150
Ohio
93.54
194570
Oklahoma
99.41
206780
Oregon
100*
-
Pennsylvania
92.64
192690
Puerto Rico
30.45
63340
South Carolina
93.39
194260
South Dakota
98.08
204000
Tennessee
80.16
166740
Texas
88.91
184930
Utah
83.08
172820
Virginia
98.82
205540
Washington
99.14
206210
West Virginia
96.42
200560
Wisconsin
100*
208,000*

*These values are equal to or greater than $100 an hour / $208,000 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than 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) in May 2018 earned a national average annual salary of $130,820, according to the 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
  • Scientific research and development
  • Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers
  • Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations

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

  • Washington D.C.
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut

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 (2018, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

 

Area Name
Hourly 75th percentile wage
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
57.57
119740
Alaska
62.66
130340
Arizona
63.02
131090
Arkansas
46.39
96490
California
73.91
153740
Colorado
66.36
138030
Connecticut
70.46
146560
Delaware
70.89
147450
District of Columbia
78.95
164210
Florida
60.69
126230
Georgia
60.82
126510
Guam
47.47
98740
Hawaii
70.43
146490
Idaho
54.20
112730
Illinois
65.80
136860
Indiana
56.59
117700
Iowa
46.92
97590
Kansas
51.63
107390
Kentucky
50.67
105400
Louisiana
53.49
111250
Maine
50.13
104280
Maryland
69.65
144880
Massachusetts
75.82
157710
Michigan
60.64
126130
Minnesota
60.80
126460
Mississippi
51.28
106670
Missouri
61.32
127540
Montana
52.90
110040
Nebraska
58.86
122430
Nevada
65.44
136120
New Hampshire
62.60
130210
New Jersey
62.38
129750
New Mexico
65.26
135730
New York
78.95
164210
North Carolina
62.42
129820
North Dakota
60.99
126860
Ohio
57.07
118700
Oklahoma
50.02
104050
Oregon
66.73
138800
Pennsylvania
55.11
114630
Puerto Rico
44.92
93440
Rhode Island
71.00
147680
South Carolina
54.93
114260
South Dakota
58.46
121590
Tennessee
56.80
118140
Texas
59.17
123070
Utah
59.18
123090
Vermont
56.07
116620
Virgin Islands
49.15
102220
Virginia
64.24
133610
Washington
65.07
135340
West Virginia
60.10
125010
Wisconsin
59.03
122790
Wyoming
55.51
115470

*These values are equal to or greater than $100 an hour / $208,000 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.

 

Clinical Education

The BLS reported that DNP-educated clinical nursing instructors earned an average salary of $97,390, as of May 2018. The top-paying industries for these nursing professionals during this time, many of which likely possess a DNP, included:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
  • State government
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • Junior colleges

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

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Arizona
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts

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 (2018, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics):

 

Area Name
Annual 75th percentile wage
Alabama
85210
Alaska
99080
Arizona
97880
Arkansas
64150
California
125520
Colorado
84400
Connecticut
139480
Delaware
208,000*
District of Columbia
187520
Georgia
92480
Hawaii
98380
Idaho
87600
Illinois
88660
Indiana
95710
Iowa
96360
Kansas
77850
Kentucky
84670
Louisiana
86130
Maine
72300
Maryland
106820
Massachusetts
98680
Michigan
100210
Minnesota
208,000*
Mississippi
80620
Missouri
89490
Montana
81450
Nebraska
80100
Nevada
87050
New Hampshire
95200
New Jersey
116180
New Mexico
74500
New York
114680
North Carolina
79430
North Dakota
84710
Ohio
87860
Oklahoma
70180
Oregon
90360
Pennsylvania
97730
Puerto Rico
54120
Rhode Island
93150
South Carolina
79550
South Dakota
79240
Tennessee
84430
Texas
88540
Utah
88390
Virginia
79950
Washington
97330
West Virginia
71160
Wisconsin
98300
Wyoming
78570

*These values are equal to or greater than $100 an hour / $208,000 a year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.

 

Nursing Informatics

According to a 2017 workforce survey published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 53 percent of informatics nurses who held a post-graduate degree earned more than $100,000 a year, while only 37% without a post-graduate degree earned more than $100,000 a year. The HIMSS recognizes that both education and certification have an impact on informatics nurse salaries.

Executive Leadership

According to a 2019 salary and compensation study published by the American Organization for Nurse Executives (AONE), the top 33 percent of nurse leaders (includes directors and managers, likely holding advanced degrees like the DNP) earned more than $170,000. The top 22 percent earned between $200,000 and $249,999 and the top 10 percent earned more than $250,000.

Eighty-one percent of CNOs/CNEs, 91 percent of system CNOs/CNEs, 53 percent of consultants, and 91 percent of presidents/vice-presidents all earn more than $150,000 annually. About 71 percent of all directors earn between $100,000 and $169,999.

 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 – (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_stru.htm). BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Individual job listings with educational requirements and salary information accessed directly from internet job boards and directly from the sites of employing agencies and do not constitute offers of employment.

All salary and job growth data accessed in December 2019.

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