Among Nurses, NPs and Those in the West Earn the Most

Jennifer Garcia

May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012 — Nurse practitioners are the top earners among nurses, according to the Physicians Practice 2012 Staff Salary Survey . The survey reports salary averages from 1268 respondents, including nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and nurse managers. Salary information from other staff members such as physician assistants, medical records clerks, medical assistants, front desk staff, billing managers, and medical billers was also included in the survey.

Physicians Practice collected data during the fourth quarter of 2011, and stratified respondents by years of experience: 0 to 2 years, 3 to 5 years, 6 to 10 years, 11 to 20 years, and more than 20 years.

Experience Counts

Overall, nurse practitioners with 3 to 5 years of experience top the list for staff members at that level, with an average annual salary of $80,903.30. Those with 20 or more years of experience earn an average of $90,794.77 annually. Approximately 35% of nurse practitioners reported being on staff.

In the overall analysis, registered nurses with 3 to 5 years of experience earn an average of $50,964.64 a year, with 48.2% reporting being on staff. Annual income in general appeared to rise commensurate with experience, with registered nurses with from 11 to 20 years of experience earning an average of $59,945.73 and those with 20 or more years of experience earning $65,046.15 annually.

Nurses in managerial positions fare slightly better, with those who have from 11 to 20 years of experience earning an average of $67,280.55. Only 21.6% of these respondents were on staff.

Geography Matters

When broken down by region, nurses in the West (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) earn the most money. Among nurse practitioners in this region, across all years of experience, the average income was $91,827.43, with 26% on staff, whereas registered nurses across all years of experience earned an average of $61,283.23, with 36% on staff. Among those with 20 or more years of experience, nurse practitioners earn an average $105,900.00 a year, nurse managers earn $88,000.00, and registered nurses earn $71,513.64 annually.

Registered nurses in the Mid-Atlantic region (North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland) earned the least, with an annual income of $51,154.32 when averaged for all experience levels. Nurse practitioners in the Southeast region (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi), in contrast, had the lowest levels of compensation across the nation, at $78,091.03, averaged across all levels of experience.

Physicians Practice 2012 Staff Salary Survey .


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