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Family Nurse Practitioner Salaries

What is the average salary of a family nurse practitioner?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wages for nurse practitioners (NPs) in the U.S. were $97,990 as of May 2014 data. This is much higher than the mean annual wages of $47,600 for all occupations combined in the U.S., according to May 2014 BLS data. Pay does vary based on a number of factors including time on the job, variety of experiences and even location of employment. In fact, the BLS reports that the following five states had the highest mean annual wages for nurse practitioners in the U.S. as of May 2014:

  • Hawaii: $115,870
  • Alaska: $115,670
  • California: $115,460
  • Oregon: $111,160
  • Massachusetts: $107,230

Is there room for advancement in the field?

The BLS shows that the best job opportunities for nurse practitioners could be available to those willing to work in underserved or rural areas. While opportunities for advancement will naturally occur as a result of other NPs retiring from the job, NPs also could find advanced job opportunities by seeking certification, such as in adult or family care. Certification can be sought through organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and shows that NPs have gone through a rigorous testing process and met specific qualifications to reach the certified level.

NPs also can specialize in a wide range of health care fields, varying from pediatric to adult-gerontology care. The specific fields are diverse, and nurses usually specialize at the master's degree level. The most recent salary information from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) shows, however, that out of the various fields, NPs specializing in acute care are among the highest paid. This may suggest that this could be the best NP field as far as potential for salary advancement.

Are family nurse practitioners in high demand?

Job opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to grow by 34 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. This much-faster-than-average-growth could lead to 37,100 new positions becoming available during this time. Driving demand should be an aging elderly population that is striving to stay healthier longer and will be in need of more health care services. Also, federal law has expanded health care coverage, meaning that more people will seek access to services ranging from preventative care to actual treatment of conditions. States are also changing laws regarding the services that nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses can provide, meaning that they may become a good source for providing primary care in the country, particularly given the reported U.S. doctor shortage.

Do family nurse practitioners bill insurance companies?

Yes. Unlike the services provided by a licensed vocational nurse or registered nurse, the services of a family nurse practitioner are considered direct care, and Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance companies reimburse them directly.

In larger hospitals, services are bundled together and family nurse practitioners may or may not bill their services independently. However, those holding family nurse practitioner jobs in clinics of physician practices will find their services can be billed just like a doctor's can. This also means that in states where a supervisory or collaborative relationship with a doctor is not required, family nurse practitioners could establish private practices where they bill their care directly to insurance companies.

Sources:

  1. May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
  2. Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm
  3. Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
  4. 2011 AANP National NP Compensation Survey, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 2012. http://www.aanp.org/images/documents/research/2011AANPNationalNPCompensationSurveyPreliminary.pdf

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