How Much Does A Nurse Practitioner Make?

May 8, 2020   |   Healthcare Professional

Nurse practitioners are highly skilled providers who diagnose illnesses, design treatment plans, prescribe medication, and generally fulfill many of the duties that were once thought to only be conducted by a physician. Due to a high demand for this unique healthcare role, nurse practitioner salaries are on the rise. So how much does a nurse practitioner make in 2020?

As NP’s roles expand, their risk of being named in a malpractice suit increases. It is more important than ever that all nurse practitioners carry their own NP malpractice insurance for protection of their personal assets, as well as their license.

Geographic and Specialty Effects on Nurse Practitioner Salary

There’s no simple answer to this question, as variables such as clinical specialization and geographical location can have a significant impact on potential wages. has collected, aggregated, and published nurse practitioner salary data across the past two years. Let’s take a look at some of the high-level data.

From 2019 to 2020, the national average salary across all nurse practitioner specializations was $110,000 a year, or about $52.88 an hour, which represents a 10% increase since 2016. The state with the highest average wage was California at $169,666 per year, and Texas following behind at $107,000 per year.

A nurse practitioner’s chosen specialization is the biggest factor in determining earning potential. Specializations such as anesthesiology and psychiatric/mental health are top earners with averages of $179,000 and $120,000, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, nurse practitioners working in ophthalmology earned well below average at around $48,000 per year.

Locum Tenens & Temporary Assignments

When examining nurse practitioner salaries, we can’t ignore one of the most interesting (and lucrative) opportunities for NPs — temporary work placements, also known as locum tenens. Due to the shorter duration of these temporary assignments, they frequently offer higher compensation as an incentive. Compared to the normal average of $52.88 an hour, nurse practitioners on locum tenens assignments earned an average of $70.00 an hour, an increase of over 24%.

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Gender Pay Gap Affects Nurse Practitioners Too

The American Association of University Women has published their national 2019 gender pay research which reveals that women in the United States earn an average of $0.82 to every dollar earned by men. In southern and midwestern states, the disparity can grow to as much as $0.69 to every dollar earned by men.

The gender pay gap is a concern for all working women, and nurse practitioners are no exception. An article published by, indicates that female nurse practitioners are earning significantly less than male nurse practitioners with the same education and experience. Their data suggests that female nurse practitioners are compensated 11% less than their male counterparts. These findings mirror the gender pay gap seen among male and female physicians, registered nurses, and physician assistants.


The final determination for the salary of nurse practitioner is defined by a combination of medical specialization, geographic location, and (unfortunately) gender, with temporary locum tenens assignments being an excellent way to earn an additional 20% over the average wage. To learn more about nurse practitioner salary data, check out salary report.

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By Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP
Dr. Melissa DeCapua is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who graduated from Vanderbilt University. Her background is in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychosomatic medicine, and she currently works as a researcher Microsoft. She is a strong advocate for empowering nurses, and she fiercely believes that nurses should play a pivotal role in shaping modern healthcare. For more information, visit and follow her on Twitter @melissadecapua.


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