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10 Nurse Practitioner Specialties That Make $100K or More

Here are 10 specialties that can help nurse practitioners make the most money while bringing them the most job fulfillment.

Image of a neonatal nurse practitioner with a newborn baby Image via Unsplash.com/Wang Dongxu

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earned an average annual salary of $107,480, or about $51.68 per hour, in 2016. That said, NPs who choose to specialize may make much, much more.

We’ve crunched the numbers and found 10 of the highest-paying nurse practitioner specialties that could help you earn more than $100,000 a year.

10 of the Highest Nurse Practitioner Salaries by Specialty

Below, we’ve provided a ranked table of 10 nurse practitioner specialties that earn more than $100,000 per year. To keep things relatively simple, we pulled all income data from Salary.com. The information was last updated in late December 2018.

Keep in mind that nurses in any specialty may make more (or less), depending on factors like facility type, experience, geographic location, and tenure.

Here are 10 of the highest-paying NP specialties, in order of highest to lowest average salary.

10 of the Highest NP Salaries by Specialty

The 411 on the 10 Highest-Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties

You’re probably thinking: “Well, it’s great to know how much money I could make… but how do I get there? This specialty sounds interesting, but how do I know if it’s right for me?”

These are all great questions and ones we’re determined to help you answer. We researched each specialty and collected information on the points we thought would be most helpful to you. They are:

  • Estimated average salary
  • Typical salary range
  • Relevant national associations to know about
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • National certification(s) available

For each specialty, we also provided a link to Indeed.com so you can see real-life job postings. In any kind of job hunt, reading through listings often can give you the best idea of whether a particular job or specialty is the right fit for you. Through this “recon” work, you’ll be able to see the specific skills, certifications, and educational backgrounds that prospective employers are looking for. And, ultimately, you’ll be able to decide whether it sounds like the right fit for you or if you need to keep looking.

Good luck and happy job-hunting!

1) Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $120,680/year Typical Salary Range: $110,924 - $130,479 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP) should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a NNP can include:

  • Collaborating with physicians and nursing staff to provide continuous care for premature, sick, or critically ill newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Assessing patients and providing diagnoses
  • Educating patients’ families on how to provide the proper care for their newborn
  • Prescribing and administering medications
  • Ordering and performing diagnostic tests
  • Performing various medical procedures (e.g., intubation, starting/maintaining IVs)
  • Monitoring and managing equipment (e.g., incubators, ventilators)

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that this is the most common certification that NNPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a NNP.

2) Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $110,222/year Typical Salary Range: $102,441 - $122,640 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important organizations that aspiring emergency nurse practitioners (ENP) should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of an ENP can include:

  • Assessing and admitting patients across the lifespan
  • Triaging and prioritizing patients based on acuity level
  • Discharging patients from the emergency room
  • Diagnosing acute conditions
  • Prescribing medications, as well as non-pharmacological therapies
  • Transferring patients’ care and referring to specialists as needed
  • Ordering diagnostic scans, X-rays, and tests, and interpreting their results
  • Performing a variety of bedside procedures (e.g., intubations)

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that ENPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as an ENP.

3) Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $108,900/year Typical Salary Range: $101,700 - $115,800 Relevant National Association(s): The following are two important associations that aspiring orthopedic NPs should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of an orthopedic NP can include:

  • Providing recovery care (e.g., replacing dressings, emptying drains)
  • Setting broken bones, applying casts
  • Some may be able to assist with surgeries
  • Performing physical exams
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, scans (e.g., X-rays), and treatments
  • Prescribing medication to help with patients’ pain management
  • Caring for patients with musculoskeletal conditions across the lifespan
  • Prepping for surgery
  • Informing and educating patients and their families regarding their rehabilitation journey and on how to care for patients once they’ve left hospital

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that this is the most common certification that orthopedic NPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as an orthopedic NP.

4) Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $108,654/year Typical Salary Range: $102,330 - $112,647 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring oncology NPs should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of an oncology NP can include:

  • Caring for cancer patients at all stages of their treatment journey, including end-of-life care
  • Performing cancer risk assessments and screenings, as well as oncology-specific procedures (e.g., bone marrow biopsies, thoracentesis)
  • Educating individuals on cancer prevention strategies
  • Ordering and/or supervising chemotherapy administration
  • Helping patients with symptom and pain management
  • Providing patients and their families with the support they need, whether it’s in the form of emotional support or information about their loved ones’ conditions

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that this is the most common certification that oncology NPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as an oncology NP.

5) Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $106,385/year Typical Salary Range: $100,325 - $114,029 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AG-ACNP) should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of an AG-ACNP can include:

  • Providing advanced care for adult patients (i.e., individuals 13 years of age or older) with acute or chronic conditions that tend to be life-threatening
  • Admitting and discharging patients
  • Performing procedures to keep patients stabilized (e.g., intubation)
  • Developing complex treatment plans to address various conditions
  • Working in a variety of settings, such as ERs, ICUs, and trauma units. They can also work on medical evacuation and transport units.

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that AG-ACNPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as an AG-ACNP.

6) Family Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $105,760/year Typical Salary Range: $98,140 - $114,890 Relevant National Association(s): Although we weren’t able to find any associations specifically devoted to family nurse practitioners (FNP) in our research, the following is a list of some important general NP associations to know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a FNP can include:

  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients across the entire lifespan – which includes pregnancy/OB care
  • Performing routine checkups and physicals
  • Tracking patients’ health histories
  • Educating patients and their families on strategies for supporting and maintaining good health and wellness, as well as giving them preventative strategies
  • Designing and implementing treatment plans
  • Ordering and interpreting various diagnostic tests, scans, and lab results

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that FNPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a FNP.

7) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $103,200/year Typical Salary Range: $92,250 - $113,180 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMH-NP) should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a PMH-NP can include:

  • Assessing and diagnosing psychiatric disorders
  • Developing and implementing treatment plans to address the patients’ mental health issues, which can involve therapeutic and medicinal interventions
  • Running counseling sessions in either a group, family, or one-on-one setting
  • Providing patients and their families with information about mental health issues, as well as guidance on how to support patients through their care journey

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that this is the most common certification that PMH-NPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a PMH-NP.

8) Surgical Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $103,000/year Typical Salary Range: $91,900 - $111,000 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring surgical NPs should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a surgical NP can include:

  • Discussing patients’ options for surgery
  • Managing the patients’ pre- and post-operative care (e.g., answering questions regarding the procedures, assessing patients’ healing)
  • Assisting the surgical team with various tasks during an operation, based on the surgeon’s needs (e.g., suturing wounds, operating surgical cameras)
  • Monitoring patients during surgery and alerting surgeons to any signs of complications
  • Helping patients with their pain management post-op

National Certification(s) Available: Our research wasn’t able to uncover any advanced practice nursing certifications for this specialty. However, we did find that aspiring surgical NPs have the option to pursue the following certification:

Additionally, those NPs who are interested in getting more involved in surgeries can consider pursuing a path as an RN first assistant (RNFA). In this role, the NP would enjoy a more expanded role in the perioperative setting and act as the “first assistant at surgery.” Our research found that these are the most common RNFA certifications that NPs can pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a surgical NP.

9) Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $102,752/year Typical Salary Range: $95,975 - $107,843 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a PNP can include:

  • Providing primary care for children from birth up to 21 years of age
  • Administering immunizations and medications
  • Performing regular developmental screenings, school physicals, and well-child exams
  • Diagnosing and treating common illnesses
  • Prescribing and interpreting various diagnostic tests
  • Discussing patients’ care plans with their families and providing emotional support as needed

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that PNPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a PNP.

10) Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary Estimate: $101,535/year Typical Salary Range: $95,354 - $108,907 Relevant National Association(s): The following is a list of some important associations that aspiring women’s health NPs should know about:

Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of a women’s health NP can include:

  • Conducting regular well-woman exams
  • Educating women regarding their reproductive health options, as well as how to maintain good sexual health
  • Prescribing and inserting contraception devices (e.g., IUDs)
  • Providing information and support regarding a whole host of concerns, including unexpected pregnancies and infertility
  • Diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases, including STDs
  • Screening for signs of domestic violence and substance abuse

National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that women’s health NPs tend to pursue:

Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a women’s health NP.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cinch™ or Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. This article (subject to change without notice) is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute professional advice. Click here to read our full disclaimer

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