Nurse Practitioners Career Outlook And Salary Expectations

Nurses

Nurse practitioners are health care workers who can prescribe medication and offer primary care under the supervision of a doctor.  Much like doctors, they can choose from any number of nurse practitioner specialties.  Nurse practitioner jobs are available in a number of different settings, including primary care physician offices, emergency facilities, and medical clinics.  A nurse practitioner salary is not as high as a doctor, but still lucrative enough to pay for schooling and afford a comfortable living.  Because of the increasing popularity and demand, nurse practitioner programs are growing in number in colleges and universities throughout the country. 

Becoming A Nurse Practitioner
The first step towards becoming a nurse practitioner is to complete one of the many nurse practitioner programs.  These programs start with an associates degree or bachelors degree in nursing.  Most states require nurse practitioners to go even further with their education, successfully completing masters level nurse practitioner programs.  These programs can be very expensive.  One way to make this more affordable is to find a staff nurses position first, and then take advantage of a tuition reimbursement program to fund your further education.

Once the educational requirements have been met, the next step is to pass the state advanced training program.  Successful completion qualifies the nurse to get a state nurse practitioners license.  To get licensed to be qualified for nurse practitioner jobs, a masters degree is usually necessary.  States have started raising their standards and requiring a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree for all nurse practitioners.

Nurse Practitioners Salaries
It is hard to get an accurate average for a nurse practitioner salary because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not separate NPs from other nurses in their statistics.  The average salary for all registered nurses is $67,000.  For a nurse practitioner, this number is likely to be greater depending on a number of factors including nurse practitioner specialties.  There is some information that suggests a nurse practitioner salary can average $90,000, top $100,000 in emergency room settings.  The states where the average salaries are the highest are California and Hawaii.

Salary considerations should be considered relative to the states cost of living.  The two states that currently offer the highest salaries also have the highest cost of living numbers as well.  The state of Texas has the fifth lowest cost of living in the country, with an average NP wage of just over $66,000.  The state with the lowest cost of living Kentucky Has an annual wage of $58,000.

Getting A Job As A Nurse Practitioner
Job prospects for nurse practitioners are above the national average.  There are many more nurse practitioner jobs now than there were just 5 years ago, and that number is steadily increasing.  Jobs are available in walk-in clinics, primary care offices, and emergency rooms.  The level of experience and education is very attractive to employers.  Some doctors who are building their own practice choose to have a nurse practitioner available to see patients with everyday complaints, saving them money over hiring a partner yet still allowing them to expand their business. 

Nurse practitioners are a growing trend, especially in the field of primary and urgent care.  More offices are employing a nurse practitioner to help with the patient load, while doctors have the unenviable task of dealing with mountains of governmental healthcare paperwork.  The number of students in nurse practitioner specialties attests to this growing trend, as does the number of available jobs awaiting those students.  As doctors offices try to lower costs to deal with these health care changes, hiring a nurse practitioner helps them to decrease their labor costs without diminishing the level of care the office provides.