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Nurse Practitioner Salaries on the Rise

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   August 08, 2018

Salaries are growing, and sign-on bonuses are becoming more common, finds a survey of NPs. 

Over the past decade, both the number of and need for nurse practitioners have grown.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners' NP Fact Sheet, reports there are more than 248,000 licensed NPs in the United States, and the Health Resources & Services Administration projects the supply of primary care NPs to increase to 110,540 FTEs, up from 57,330 in 2013.

And, it appears NP salaries are growing as well, according to a new survey by PracticeMatch, which provides healthcare employers and jobseekers with career- and employment-related resources.

Most NPs Satisfied with Income Level

The survey of nearly 1,100 NPs and physician assistants was conducted in March of 2018. Among its findings:

  • NPs reported an average salary of $113,900, an increase of 6.6% over last year's average reported salary of $106,000.
  • 5% of NPs reported earning more than $150,000 in 2017.
  • 12% of respondents reported receiving a sign-on bonus for their current role, up from 11% in the previous year's survey.
  • 15% PAs and NPs with less than 10 years of experience were paid a sign-on bonus, compared to 8% of PAs and NPs with more than 20 years of experience.
  • The average sign-on bonus was $7,200
  • 86% of PAs and NPs reported being satisfied, to some degree, with their income level.

In addition to salary and income information, the survey also found that:

  • 7% percent of all respondents had a doctoral degree.
  • Survey respondents have worked as an NP or PA for an average of 13 years.
  • On average, survey respondents had been in their current role for seven years.
  • Just 5% of respondents described themselves as unsatisfied in their careers as PAs and NPs, compared to 6% in last year's survey.

Physician Salaries Also Grow

While NP salaries are on the rise, so too are physicians', according to Medscape's Physician Compensation Report 2018, which found:

  • The average overall physician salary is $299,000.
  • Primary care physicians earned $223,000 in 2018 compared to $217,000 in 2017.
  • Physician specialists earned $329,000 in 2018 compared to $316,000 in 2017.
  • Plastic surgeons were the top earning specialty at $501,000.
  • Public Health & Preventive Medicine was the lowest earning specialty at $199,000.

Salary is just one piece of the healthcare provider hiring puzzle, however. Healthcare executives need to consider which type of practitioner, or practitioner mix, will best meet patient needs, clinical and financial outcomes, and strategic goals.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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