Top 10 Highest Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties


Despite having the title "nurse practitioner" in common, NP's in different specialties have very different incomes.  Who makes the most money?

1. Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner ($103, 722)  Emergency department nurse practitioners work in the fast-paced setting of the ER treating patients of all ages.  These NP's deal with varying levels of acuity and therefore often require experience before landing a job in this specialty. 

2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner ($99,810)  NNP's care for both full-term and pre-term infants and newborns who are critically ill.  As an NNP, one must be able to work in high stress situations managing both the patient and family.  Most neonatal nurse practitioner programs require at least two years of RN experience before applying.

3. Retail Health Nurse Practitioner ($96,800) Retail health is an expanding business and nurse practitioners in this field are paid accordingly.  Retail health nurse practitioners treat minor illnesses and injuries.  Many retail clinics are considering offering chronic health management in the near future.  NP's in this field must be able to work independently as they usually practice solo at their clinic sites.

4. Hospital Based Nurse Practitioner ($96,124) Hospitals are employing nurse practitioners in increasing numbers to manage admitted patients.  Nurse practitioners in the hospital setting diagnose, manage and create treatment plans for patients throughout their hospital stay.

5. Gerontology Nurse Practitioner ($94,485) Gerontology nurse practitioners assess, manage and treat both acute and chronic medical conditions in the older adult.  Most nurse practitioners in this field are employed by nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide care for their residents.

6. House Call Nurse Practitioner ($93,785)  As a result of new Medicare legislation, hospitals and independent healthcare companies are currently hiring nurse practitioners in massive numbers to make house calls.  These visits are primarily for homebound patients or patients recently released from the hospital.  NP's seek to make sure patients are compliant with their treatment regimen and address concerns or complications that may develop to prevent patients from being re-admitted to the hospital.

7. Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner ($92,396) Psychiatric NP's provide acute and chronic care to individuals and families affected by mental illness.  NP's in this field are able to manage mental illness with pharmacotherapy and methods such as case management and crisis intervention.

8. Surgical Nurse Practitioner ($91,023) Surgical nurse practitioners assist physicians in surgical procedures.  For example, following a surgery, the nurse practitioner may be asked to suture a surgical wound.  NP's may also see surgical patients at post-op visits and round on them during their hospital stay addressing any complications.

9. Oncology Nurse Practitioner ($90,862) Oncology nurse practitioners are responsible for managing treatment of various cancers in collaboration with a physician as well as addressing survivorship and wellness issues.  This career can be very emotionally taxing.

10. Cardiology Nurse Practitioner ($90,370)  Cardiology NP's diagnose, manage and treat heart conditions such as CHF and arrhythmias.  These NP's help patients make necessary lifestyle changes, prescribe medications and manage recovery after cardiac surgery.

It is important to remember that these salaries are averages.  Nurse practitioner salaries can vary greatly depending on the state in which you practice and if you practice in a rural or urban setting.  These rankings also are not divided by nurse practitioner program specialty.  For example, either a family nurse practitioner or an acute care nurse practitioner would be able to practice in a cardiology clinic. 

Should you choose your specialty based on income?  Income is worth taking into consideration, however these top 10 salaries only vary by about $13,000/ year.  It may not be worth sacrificing practicing in a specialty you enjoy for some extra cash.

Note: This data is based on survey results published by Advance for NP's and PA's.


Whats the malpractice rates on average for NPs? Such as ER? Also, doesn't the dermatology NP make the most from what I've read online?

- Shawn FNP

Hi Shawn,

I am actually not sure about malpractice rates.  Malpractice insurance is typically paid by the employer and therefore will not be taken out of the NP's salary.  Good pick up on missing the Derm NP!  This information was taken from a survey on Advance for NP's and PA's.  I have done some research and it looks like the average NP working in dermatology/ skin care/ aesthetics makes an average of $102,547/ year...right up there with ER.

- Erin Tolbert

Can NP practice pain management using injection therapy such as trigger point and facet blocks

- joseph fricano

Yes, NP's can work in pain management and do trigger point injections.  I'm not sure if they midlevel providers can do facet blocks- it may depend on the state where they practice. 

- Erin Tolbert

Did I miss NP in women's health?

- Dawn

Looks like average Women's Health NP salary is $91,000

- Erin Tolbert

In New Hampshire, CRNA's hold an APRN license and we'd respectfully like to be included in the mix.

- Mark

Of course!  The average CRNA salary is about $158,500.

- Erin Tolbert

How knows about the unitedhealth group house call nurse practitioner job, as they have many postings

- james

What is the average on call pay rate for hospital nurse practitioners?

- Joanne

I'm not sure!  I have a friend working for a cardiology practice that gets paid $1,000 per weekend she is on call.  Anyone know the answer or have experience as an on call hospital NP?

- Erin Tolbert

Any idea on the average salary of a NP in a pulmonology practice?

- Cara

Hi Cara,

I don't have any exact numbers on pulmonology.  I would guess it would be similar to cardiology which pays an average of $90,370

- Erin Tolbert

Are GI NPs fairly new to the specialty mix? On average what pay can they expect

- Jeff

Hi Jeff,

GI NP's aren't necessarily new but I do think specialists are hiring nurse practitioners in larger numbers so they are becoming more prevalent.  I was unable to find exact data on the salary for GI NP's, but would expect it to be other specialties like cardiology and pulmonology at around $90,000/ year.

- Erin Tolbert

does anyone know salary for Nephrology NP?

- mila

This is really a great site! Very Impressed with your work.

- Santa

So I looking into NP school and I am confused at this point. How do you go with these specialities? I only see FNP, women's health, peds. So do they have FNP degrees and then get hired somewhere and specialize?

- Heather

Hi Heather,

GREAT question!  NP's who work in specialized practices typically get a general degree, ex. FNP or Acute Care. Then, they simply choose to apply for jobs in specialized practices ex. Cardiology or ENT.  The employer trains you further to work in a more specialized setting.

- Erin Tolbert

Actually Derm FNPs make more than MD Family Physicians, around 154000 - 195000 after few years of experience.

- DermFNP

Do you have any information on the salaries of Nurse Midwifery?

- Rice

Nurse Midwives earn about $92,000/ year. 

- Erin Tolbert

Hello, Great blog! I am looking into the ADN-MSN/FNP track. I live in Kansas City. I have worked as an RN for 15 years. I have searched the web for schools that offer the FNP track and are not coming up with many. I find Graceland, kind of pricey and a bit slow. Frontier Nursing, interesting website, program comes off as being touchy feely and "simplistic". Lastly a Med Tech school in Massachusettes MSCHPS, having a hard time understanding their tuition. I want the perfect "affordable, fast and quality." Any ideas? I am open to hybrid school in my area or all-online. Thank you so much!!

- Amy

Hi Amy!

If you have a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing in addition to your RN, check out Allen College and Drexel University.  Both programs are offered online.  If you do not have a bachelor's degree in addition to your RN, look into the Wheeling Jesuit University and Concordia University programs.  Both are online but make sure they accept students in your state as some schools have regulations for out-of-state students.

Good luck!

- Erin Tolbert

What a great blog! Can you describe the different roles, duties, and responsibilities of CRNA versus DNP/ARNP (any specialty),a s well as their limitations. For example, as far as I know, a CRNA usually cannot work in maternity because they are not allowed to do epidurals.

- Stephanie

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the idea!  I will work on putting something together.

- Erin Tolbert

Any idea of how much an NP in Neurology makes? I'm interested in working with neuromuscular diseased patients. Also what about neurosurgery salary?

- Eric

Hi Eric,

Neurosurgery NP's can expect to make about 100K, maybe a bit more depending on their location.  Neurology NP's can expect to make a bit less, usually around 90K, maybe a little more depending on where they live. 

- Erin Tolbert

Hi any idea on the salary for pain management NP working with an Anesthestiologist?

- Niche

Hi Niche,

Looks like pain management NPs make anywhere from $100,000 to $120,000.

- Erin Tolbert

Can you explain the difference between a doctor and a nurse practitioner? I just switched my major from Pre-Med to nursing but it sounds to me like they have pretty much the same responsibilities, not to mention around the same amount of schooling.

- Jessica

Hi Jessica,

MD's actually have quite a bit more schooling than NPs.  Medical school is longer than nursing school.  Following medical school, MD's complete a residency which is a few years of hands-on training.  This means that MD's can do more.  For example, you might see a nurse practitioner assist in a surgery but they won't be the one doing the surgery.  Medical school is usually more specialty focused ex. cardiology, dermatology while NP programs are typically more general ex. acute care.

In some real world settings there isn't a big difference between what MD's and NPs do.  For example in primary care clinics, there isn't much difference.  But, as a whole, MD's complete more schooling and are therefore able to perform more procedures, become more specialized in school and treat sicker patients.  With experience, NPs can certainly become more specialized and treat higher acuity patients but we don't learn all of these skills in our nurse practitioner programs. 

- Erin Tolbert

This is a great blog! I am quite impressed with what I have read here so far. Your facts and numbers are very reliable which is remarkable for an online website.
Keep it up! Are you an NP?

- Julie

What is the average rate for primary care nps?

- Sara response to Stephanie...
In most states, CRNAs DO work in OB and DO insert, manage, and control labor analgesia such as epidurals and continuous spinal infusions and intermittent injections. We are educated to be total providers of anesthesia care with or without an anesthesiologist. Some statutes vary from state to state, but there is no law in ANY state that requires a CRNA to work with an anesthesiologist. I own my own private practice group in Ohio and employ 3 other CRNAs. We provide full service anesthesia to our hospital and are the only providers of anesthesia care...there are no anesthesiologists. We work in collaboration with surgeons, obstetricians, podiatrists, dentists. We preoperatively evaluate our patients, choose our anesthesia techniques (including OB epidurals, emergency cesarean sections, and newborn stabilization), implement the anesthetics, manage post operative recovery, and are often called on to manage airways and hemodynamics in arrest or emergency situations in the ER or other areas of the facility. We are members of our facility's medical staff and sit on medical staff committee. Just a little overview of what we do as CRNAs. We are APRNs in Ohio too.


Hi Sara,

The average salary for a primary care nurse practitioner is between $90,600 and $94,000.

- Erin Tolbert

Mark, the title of this article is 'Top 10 Highest Paid NP Specialties' not APRN salaries. Get over yourself..

- Lauren

Can you please give me some advice on how to break into Dermatology as a Nurse Practitioner? I am still in school for my LVN and will be continuing my education. How do I get surgical experience if I am a new graduate? (I heard dermatologists want someone who has surgery experience, which I am nervous about)

- vechhany21@mail...


Check out the post How to Become a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner for more information on getting into dermatology.  I haven't heard that dermatologists want someone who has surgical experience, but having experience with procedures such as suturing is certainly a benefit.  

- Erin Tolbert

What are the most reputable online dual FNP/ACNP programs?

- Beckie

Hi Beckie,

I know Vanderbilt has a highly reputable dual degree program.  If there is a certain school you want to attend you can also choose either an ACNP or FNP program then add on a second specialty.

- Erin Tolbert

Hello! I am very interested in pursuing a career as a NP. I see a lot of blogs posted by NPs here and I was wondering If anyone could "dumb it down" for me and provide me with insight
On what kind of basic college courses I need to expect to take and how many years it will take me to earn a Masters in Nursing? I'm just interested in any information anyone is willing to provide me with.

- Chandra

Such a great blog. So very appreciated
I am a RN in Canada looking to study in the States. In Canada, schools offer either MSN(Master of Science in Nursing), Nurse Practitioner certification or concurrently.

What schools in US with concurrent programs would you recommend ?

Also, what are the main differences between Acute and Family NP ?

- Nina

Plastic & Recon surgery NPs can make 140 starting in northern CA

- J

JUST started FNP School. How possible it is to own a Derm clinic in Dallas?

- Nick


Hi Nick,

Currently, Texas law requires that nurse practitioners work under physician supervision.  You may still be able to open your own clinic but would have to have a formal arrangement with a physician to act as your supervising MD.  

- Erin Tolbert

I want to get into derm. Is there a difference with Np or PA? Is one better for the field?

- bunny

Hi Bunny,

Both NPs and PAs can be successful in dermatology and most clinics will hire either. Usually, a preference for an NP over a PA or vice versa is a result of state laws regulating the professions differently or the culture/tradition of a certain clinic or hospital system.

Look at websites for dermatology clinics in the area where you anticipate practicing. Do most employ NPs or PAs? Or, are they equal? This will tell you which profession might serve you best in your area.

- Erin Tolbert

A great informative site. I am doing my rn and have a bachelor in chem. I am having difficulty choosing np speciality. Also I heard you have to work for few years before getting to np programs. Do you know any schools that don't? Than you

- ben

Hi Ben,

There are many schools that don't require experience. Often, this also depends on which specialty you choose, even within a school. For example, acute care NP programs are more likely to require experience than family nurse practitioner programs. Which states are you looking at as far as NP programs? Let me know and I can recommend some specific programs.

- Erin Tolbert

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