Influential organizations like the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine called for a doubling of nurses who possess a doctorate by 2020. According to the Healthcare Workforce Data Center of the Virginia Department of Health Professions, 1% of the state’s RNs held a doctorate as of 2015.
Stakeholders recognize that a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) provides the highest level of practical training for nurses. Data from Virginia’s Licensed Nurse Practitioner Workforce: 2015 reported that 9% of Virginia’s nurse practitioners held a doctorate. Two-thirds of these NPs possessed a DNP while the other third had a PhD or other type of doctorate.
A DNP is currently the doctoral degree of choice for Virginia’s nurses according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). In 2015, there were 347 nurses enrolled in DNP programs in the state compared to 131 enrolled in PhD programs.
Earning a DNP provides an assurance of high salaries as employers increasingly recognize the value of this degree. In fact, the Advance Healthcare Network quantified the economic benefits of possessing a DNP in its 2014 national survey of nurse practitioners. The Network identified a 13% increase in salary on average for NPs who possessed a DNP compared to those who had earned an MSN as their highest degree.
Salaries for DNP Nurses in Virginia’s Major Cities
The Virginia Employment Commission provides salary information for DNP-educated advanced nursing professionals in the major cities of the state (2014):
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (VA part) – $206,352
- Richmond – $193,117
- Harrisonburg – $85,726
- Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Redford (VA part) – $78,735
Nurse Administrators and Executives:
- Roanoke – $135,946
- Charlottesville – $133,426
- Richmond – $122,169
- Lynchburg – $117,720
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (VA part) – $108,830
- Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Redford (VA part) – $108,657
- Harrisonburg – $88,430
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (VA part) – $125,420
- Charlottesville – $105,044
- Richmond – $99,064
- Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Redford (VA part) – $98,768
- Harrisonburg – $97,666
- Roanoke – $95,737
- Lynchburg – $94,502
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (VA part) – $71,902
- Richmond – $64,090
- Lynchburg – $54,568
Shown here is the average salary for experienced professionals for each role. This best represents the average earnings for DNP-educated nurses, giving consideration to the fact that DNPs earn more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.
An Overview of Salaries for Virginia’s DNP-Educated Nurses 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 Virginia’s nurses earning within the 75th and 90th percentiles to best represent earnings for DNP nurses (2014):
Medical and Health Services Managers
*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour and $187,199 per year. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.
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.