What’s the Average Starting Salary for Nurse Practitioners?

With very little to no nurse practitioner experience, it’s natural to assume you won’t earn a top salary as a new grad. The same principle holds true for most professions. But, just how much can you expect to earn once you complete your nurse practitioner program?

There are a variety of sources to look to when it comes to determining nurse practitioner salaries, some more authoritative than others. Generally, these sources can be categorized into the official U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and surveys conducted by professional organizations and companies. Since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t post information regarding nurse practitioner salaries based on level of experience, we’ll turn to surveys for our assessment. 

Here’s how new grad(ish) nurse practitioner salaries compare to those of experienced colleagues:

2016 Clinical Advisor NP Salary Survey 

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< 5 Years Experience $98,071

6-10 Years Experience $104,950


2011 AANP Nurse Practitioner Compensation Survey 

< 5 Years Experience $84,850 (Base Salary), $91,060 (Total Income) 

> 6 Years Experience $91,310 (Base Salary), $98,760 (Total Income)


PayScale Nurse Practitioner Compensation Data

< 5 Years Experience $90,000

> 5 Years Experience $97,000


Averaging the findings of these data sources, nurse practitioners with less than five years of experience can expect incomes of just over $93,000. New grads will typically see their pay lower than this mark as they fall at the bottom of the experience spectrum. Nurse practitioners with 6 or more years experience, on the other hand, can expect average incomes of about $100,000.
Geographic location, practice setting and the job market in your area also play a role in determining the salary you can expect to receive. Nurse practitioners working in locations with saturated job markets are generally paid less. Those employed in areas with greater need for healthcare providers earn more. 
How does your salary as a new grad NP stack up to these metrics?

9 thoughts on “What’s the Average Starting Salary for Nurse Practitioners?”

  1. New Grads Southern and Central California 120k a year…….. San Diego Speciality practice Neurology 135K…. A

  2. Is it advisable for a new grad NP to ask for RVU pay within the first year of employment? When would it be beneficial?

  3. Hi Jen, 

    The setting as well as the base pay offered by the employer will dictate whether an hourly/salaried arrangement or RVU pay is more favorable for you. If the practice where you work is busy, for example, you may earn more with RVUs. If it is slower, you may not earn as much with RVUs. The amount you earn will also, of course be dependent on how much your employer pays per RVU. 

    Generally, new grads are slower so productivity-based pay like the RVU model can be stressful and not as favorable. But, again this is dependent on a lot of factors…

  4. Regarding CA salaries.
    One needs to compare the cost of living (COL) to the salary. Find a convenient ratio, for example the number of years of your salary required to pay for the average price of a 3 bedroom home. In Tennessee the home may cost $200,000/$85,000 TN salary = 2.35 years. In CA the same home may well cost $850,000/the higher CA salary of $135,000 = 6.3 years.
    Again, COL must be considered along with salary!

  5. I am currently pursuing my FNP (1/2 way completed so far). There is an issue in Central Florida where nurses do not make good money anyway out of school (approximately $21 hour). One has to be a pool nurse or a agency/contract nurse in order to get paid at least $35 hour. Unfortunately, many nurses in this area think that a MSN is not worth it because new grad NPs are accepting low-ball offers like $65K. This drives the competitive salary down and makes it a terrible place to seek work in the future.

  6. What are the benefits of being a Nurse Practitioner, when there are RNs making some of the above salaries mention in the article?

  7. The reason I am studying to become a Nurse Practitioner is that I am done with bedside nursing and I do not desire a management position. Nursing has changed in the 22 years I have worked as one. Floor nurses are doing more with less and I am done with it.

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