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Salary information for Doctors of Nursing Practice

Who needs to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree? In October 2004, the members of the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) raised the required standards for nurse practitioners (NPs), changing the level of preparation necessary from a master's degree to the doctorate level. NPs will be required to have a DNP by 2015.

DNP salary variations

Happily, these changes in expectations are likely to come with pay increases. The 2005 Salary Survey Results report that the doctorate adds more than $10,000 to the average NP salary. The 2009 Salary Survey shows that the average salary increased by 55 percent in the prior decade and by 10 percent in the preceding two years. Fulltime annual salaries of NPs in 2009 averaged $89,579 (median $85,000). Part-time NPs reported average hourly wages of $45.85 (median $42.00).

Advanced practice nursing salaries range from below $15,000 to over $300,000. Location and setting account for these variations. Salaries vary by about $30,000 by state. The lowest average salaries are a little over $70,000. The following locations offered the highest annual salaries in 2009:

  • AK: $102,710 (median $103,000)
  • NV: $97,836 (median $100,000)
  • NJ: $98,896 (median $96,250)
  • AZ: $97,242 (median $91,000)
  • CA: $106,481 (median $104,000)

The employment setting accounts for the other variations. One newly graduated nurse reported making around $15,000 in private practice. Generally, however, private practices offer the highest salaries. Teaching in an academic setting often proves less lucrative. Average faculty wages are improving but rarely top $85,000, regardless of experience, years of teaching or education level. Unless you are looking to teach, your DNP salary could pay for the degree within a few years.

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