Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is the important part of any healthcare setting and by 2024 demand of NP's will rise. Know why? Read here the nurse practitioner job description, responsibilities and salary and understand their role.

$74,206 - $122,152
AVG    Annual    SALARY
$6,183 – $10,179
AVG    Monthly    SALARY
$37.54 - $63.41
AVG    Hourly    SALARY

Nurse Practitioner Salary And Job Description

What Is A Nurse Practitioner?

Certified nurse practitioners are licensed health care providers. They approach a holistic method of care for the treatment of the patients. They lend their services based on a strong foundation of nursing theory and adopt comprehensive patient care plans. They have very different educational requirements as compared to other nurses. While most categories of nurses such as registered nurses are not required to have a bachelor’s degree, it is a must for the licensed practical nurses to hold a graduate-level certification. Some nurse practitioners go even further ahead for a master’s or a doctorate degree. In addition to that, they are also qualified as per the national certification requirements and this allows them to diagnose and treat the patients for a large number of health issues.

What Does A NP Do?

Due to their high qualification, nurse practitioners are entitled to offer a large number of healthcare services. They may provide primary as well as acute medical attention to the patients. Depending on the regulations of the state, they can either take up their roles independently or in partnership with other professionals specializing in the required field of health care. Their major role is to take responsibility for the overall care of the patients. Their roles in the care plan include giving the prescription for medicines and treatment, conducting diagnostic tests and making interpretations of the reports obtained.

Since the nurse practitioners possess the Skills to perform X-ray scans, lab work, and EKGs, they can easily handle the diagnostic tasks with much ease. Other nurse practitioners job duties include the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions such as infections, injuries, high blood pressure and diabetes. They may perform invasive procedures and provide the patients and their friends or families with the necessary counseling. The job responsibilities of a nurse practitioner also include educating the patients on healthier lifestyle choices and prevention of illness, injury, and diseases.

On regular days, the APRN Job Description would include fixing up appointments with the patients, develop a diagnosis, document the medical history, record the physical as well as physical findings and prescribe treatments and medications to the patients. However, depending on the healthcare industry, they may also take up other roles such as researchers, consultants and the patient’s advocate in communicating with families, individuals or various communities and groups. Due to their advanced Skills in the field of medicine, an Advanced nurse practitioner can easily act as a filling in case of a shortage of physicians.

Since the demand for healthcare services is at an all-time high due to the rapidly growing population, baby booms and a large number of people reaching old age due to better living conditions. This has led to a rapid expansion in the healthcare industry, thereby leading to a large number of vacancies for the nurse practitioners. As of now, the employment outlook for a nurse practitioner is highly positive. They are also ideal for healthcare solutions centered on the patient instead of primary clinics run by physicians and heir assistants. The figures taken from 2016 show that almost 80% of the total nurse practitioners were trained for primary care programs while only 14.5 of the total number of physicians opted for primary care residency.

Nurse Practitioner Job Description

It can also vary considerably depending on their area of specialization which includes neon natal health, pediatrics, acute care, adult health, family health, women’s health, psychiatry, oncology, and gerontology. There are also other subspecialties such as dermatology, cardiology, endocrinology, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, neurology, immunology, orthopedics, pulmonology, urology, sports medicine and occupational health. Given below is the list of the nurse practitioner position description for different fields of specialization for the nurse practitioners.

1. Primary Care Nurse Practitioners – They are generalists working in hospitals and family health clinics. Their main task includes providing general health care, preventive cares, treating illnesses, conducting checkups, ordering lab tests and prescribing medicines to the patients.

2. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners – They often work in children’s ward together with the doctors. While some pediatric nurses specialize exclusively in neonates, others may provide health care for children up to 18 years of age. Although pediatric nurses work in consultation with physicians, some of them also work independently, maintaining their own patients and deciding upon the treatments.

3. Geriatric Nurse Practitioner – The duties of a geriatric nurse include providing care and treatment to the elderly patients while also providing their families with counseling and explaining the current medical conditions and the necessary care required for a smooth and rapid recovery. They may work in partnership with the doctors for diagnosis and decide the treatment plans. Geriatric nurses also design effective exercise plans for the patients and ensure an effective implementation of the same.

4. Oncology Nurse Practitioner – Oncology nurse practitioners specialize in the care and treatment of cancer patients. They may not have active participation in the diagnosis or the decision for treatment plans. However, it is their job to advise the patients about the treatment regimen and frequent participation in clinical trials. Their main responsibilities in this area include monitoring the follow-up treatments and maintaining a detailed and accurate record of the treatments taken by the patient. Their participation may also be entered in the research conclusions prior to publishing.

5. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners – The psychiatric nurse practitioners are required to be highly qualified and often hold a Ph.D. in their field. They work as therapists and are authorized to independently prescribe the required medications. However, they are not allowed to undertake psychological testing all by themselves. They are required to work closely with the psychiatrists and psychologists and have active participation in the reviewing of test results and determining the appropriate course of action.

Hence, the job description of a nurse practitioner can vary widely depending on the healthcare specialties they decide to choose. The job and career prospects for nurse practitioners are expected to grow even more in the coming years.

Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements

The education required for nurse practitioner may vary depending on the specialty chosen. However, a master’s degree is a must. The options for specialization can include geriatric, pediatric or adult care, neonatal and women’s care, occupational and acute health care among the others. It may take 2 to 3 years to complete the master’s education program. During this period, the candidates are provided with the Skills required for entering their chosen field of a healthcare setting. The most common courses taken up the nurse practitioners include pathophysiology, pharmacology, health promotion and nursing theories.

Although it is enough to hold a master’s degree in order to get started with professional practice, the interested students can also continue their education and opt for a doctoral degree which can further enhance their expertise and expand the career opportunities in the future. These programs are mainly geared towards teaching advanced practices so that the nurse practitioners are able to meet the needs of the patients in a highly efficient manner. The candidates also have the option of qualifying graduates and become teachers in their respective fields.


Licensure is crucial for the all the nurse practitioners to start practicing. This is acquired by appearing for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurses or the NCLEX-RN. Actually, this is a prerequisite to becoming a registered nurse which in turn is the prerequisite to becoming a nurse practitioner. Passing this exam guarantees that the nurses possess the required Skills for providing their services in different healthcare settings.


The nurse practitioners are eligible to hold a professional certification only upon the completion of their master’s degree program. Most often, the candidates focus only on a single area of specialization and after the graduation, they opt for a certification in the same field. The certifications for nursing are provided by the two credentialing bodies, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. It is mandatory to have the certifications renewed after every five years so as to ensure development in the concerned profession.

Nurse Practitioner Salary

The salary of nurse practitioners can be discussed on several bases. Breaking down the pay scales into average salaries, median salaries, hourly, weekly and monthly Wages can offer a better understanding. Furthermore, the figures tend to vary considerably depending on the state of employment, size of the healthcare facility, expertise, qualification, local economy, education and more. Given below are assessments made on the most recent data collected from different employment sectors for Nurse Practitioners. These details concerning the Nurse Practitioner salary can serve as a reliable guide for anyone looking to take up nurse practitioner as a career.

How Much Do Nurse Practitioner Make On Average?

According to the statistics released by the BLS, the average Nurse Practitioner salary was $107,480 as of May 2017. As per the collected information, half of the employed nurse practitioners were working in doctor’s offices and more than one fourth were working in hospitals, which is also the second largest employing body for nurse practitioners. According to the reports, the nurse practitioners employed in hospitals had an average salary of $111,080 whereas those working under the doctors had an average pay of $104,150. There is also a certain section of the nurse practitioners functioning as midwives and anesthetists. The former was found to have an average salary of $92,510 while the latter had an average salary of $157,140.

Percentile Wage Estimates
Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $34.82 $41.81 $48.52 $57.91 $67.76
Annual Wage $72,420 $86,970 $100,910 $120,450 $140,930

It should be noted that these are the figures taken on average, therefore, one of the total nurse practitioners in employment have salaries higher than the average while the other half have salaries smaller than the average. The reports also suggested that the bottom 10% of the nurse practitioners with lowest salaries had an average salary of $72,420 while the top 10% with the highest salaries earned an average of $140,930. This is sufficient to indicate the gaping difference in the pay scale between the highest and the lowest paid nurses.

Average Nurse Practitioner Annual Salary in the US

According to the latest figures, the annual salary for nurse practitioners working in the United States was found to be in the range of $91, 450 to $98,190. This would roughly convert to $43.97 Nurse Practitioner salary hourly, $1,758 for a week and $7,620 for a month.

Highest Paying States
STATE Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
California $59.78 $10,361 $124,330
Alaska $58.29 $10,104 $121,250
Massachusetts $56.66 $9,822 $117,860
Hawaii $56.34 $9,765 $117,180
New Jersey $55.40 $9,603 $115,230
Lowest Paying States
STATE Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $44.29 $7,678 $92,130
Montana $44.29 $7,677 $92,120
Arkansas $43.00 $7,453 $89,440
Oklahoma $41.31 $7,160 $85,920
Guam $24.99 $4,332 $51,980
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(PA) Altoona $86.79 $15,043 $180,520
(CA) San Francisco-Redwood City $75.99 $13,171 $158,050
(MA) Peabody-Salem-Beverly $74.67 $12,943 $155,320
(CA) San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $69.94 $12,123 $145,480
(CA) Vallejo-Fairfield $68.37 $11,851 $142,210
Lowest Paying Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(AL) Auburn-Opelika $36.36 $6,302 $75,620
(AR) Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers $35.46 $6,146 $73,750
(AL) Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville $33.79 $5,857 $70,280
(ID) Pocatello $32.46 $5,626 $67,510
(GA) Warner Robins $31.50 $5,460 $65,520
Top Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Border Region of (TX) $77.81 $13,487 $161,840
Northern (NH) $66.07 $11,453 $137,430
North & West Central (NM) $65.45 $11,344 $136,130
Southeast (AK) $64.60 $11,198 $134,370
Balance of (AK) $63.50 $11,007 $132,080
Lowest Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Central (MT) $39.18 $6,791 $81,490
Northern (PA) $38.47 $6,668 $80,020
Southwest (MO) $38.07 $6,600 $79,200
Northeast (OK) $37.67 $6,529 $78,350
Northern (IN) $34.92 $6,053 $72,630

The different dynamics of supply and demand for nurse practitioners leads to a substantial variation in the salaries across different states. Then there are other additional expenses such as the cost of living that tend to have an influence on the overall salary. For example, it is natural for nurse practitioners working in states with higher costs of living to get paid higher average Wages. This would also hold true for all the other careers related to nursing.

Currently, the highest paying states are Alaska, Oregon, and Hawaii. These states also tend to have a higher Nurse Practitioner starting salary. On the other hand, the lowest paid states include Illinois, West Virginia and the District of Columbia with an annual earning of $80,550, $78,590 and $69,440 respectively. However, it should be noted that the lowest paying states often compensate for the low salaries by offering bonuses, childcare, flexible schedules, reimbursements for education programs and more. On the contrary, the highest paying states keep their staff on a tight schedule where they may even be required to work longer than the regular working hours, during evenings and even weekends and holidays.

It has been estimated that the job opportunities for the nurse practitioners are set to grow by about 31% by 2026 (BLS). This is due to the newest legislation that has led to an increase in the insurance coverage, increasing emphasis on the general and preventive health care and the large population from the baby boom generation nearing old age.

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