November 22, 2019

NPs in California are paid the highest average annual salary of NPs in any state, while NPs in Alabama are paid the lowest, according to a Forbes analysis.

Millennial nurses are a third of our workforce—here’s how to retain them

For the analysis, Forbes looked at recently updated Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

How much nurse practitioners are paid in your state

Overall, NPs are paid a relatively high salary compared to other occupations in the United States, according to Forbes.

BLS data shows that NPs on average are paid $110,030 per year, which is more than two times the U.S. average annual salary for all jobs of $51,960. Moreover, BLS' Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that an estimated 62,000 NP jobs will be added between 2018 and 2028, a 26% increase that outstrips the overall average for job growth.

Below is a breakdown of the average annual pay for NPs in each state in 2018:

The highest- and lowest- paying states for NPs

The five states with the highest average annual salary for nurse practitioners are:

  1. California, at $133,780;
  2. Alaska, at $122,880;
  3. Massachusetts, at $122,740;
  4. New Jersey, at $122,100; and
  5. New York, at $120,970.

The five states with the lowest average annual salary for nurse practitioners are:

  1. Alabama, at $95,970;
  2. Tennessee, at $95,990;
  3. Pennsylvania, at $98,250;
  4. Kansas, at $99,430; and
  5. Kentucky, at $99,790.

The list of highest-paying states for nurses is dominated by states in the West and Northeast regions, Forbes reports. By contrast, the lowest-paying states are concentrated in the South with some in the Midwest.

In Alabama, the lowest-paying state, the average salary for nurse practitioners is $14,000 less than the national average, but is still about $40,000 more than the national average for all occupations (DePietro, Forbes, 11/19).

How to attract nurses when salaries are stagnant

Beyond recruitment innovations, retaining nurses once hired is essential, and that goes far beyond maintaining a competitive salary structure.

Focusing on the key drivers of nurse engagement is essential; to learn more about how to engage nurses in their work, read our study on The National Prescription for Nurse Engagement.

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