6 FNP Skills Required to Earn Above $100K

Yeah, yeah, first year family nurse practitioners who have landed six-figure salary jobs immediately after graduation do exist. Barely. The majority of FNPs, however, earn less than the $100K mark. Salaries for nurse practitioners are on the rise, but extra effort is required for FNPs looking to cross the coveted six-figure salary echelon. If you are a family nurse practitioner, honing the following skills just might get you a significant salary bump. 

1. Experience

There's no substitute for hands-on clinical experience in the nurse practitioner career. NPs without nurse practitioner experience working in the primary care setting are unlikely to seal $100K deals. With five or more years experience, however, NPs working in primary care can earn in the six-figure range. 

2. Autonomy

Working solo in a practice, or, maintaining your own patient base, adds significant value in the eyes of an employer. So, salary often correlates to the extent the nurse practitioner is capable of practicing autonomously. Cultivating and managing your own set of patients as a nurse practitioner generates significant revenue and justifies a $100K paycheck

3. Efficiency

Workplace efficiency is difficult to master as a nurse practitioner. Keeping up with documentation, patient call backs, and appointments makes for a difficult balance. FNPs capable of managing practice pressures efficiently earn more. If you are a primary care NP aiming for the $100K mark, establish systems within which you go about your day to day to aid with time management. 

4. Business Mentality

Patient care is rightly the focus for family nurse practitioners. Treating patients, however, doesn't occur in a vacuum. Billing, coding, and reimbursement rates all come into play. Practices must generate revenue to stay afloat. Nurse practitioners with business savvy practice with an awareness of these principles and are more likely to pull their own weight. Compensation follows accordingly. 

5. Procedural Expertise

Procedures require time and training to master. Family nurse practitioners must be comfortable performing procedures commonly required in the primary care setting to earn top salaries. Reimbursement for these services is high making you a more valuable provider both from a clinical and financial perspective. The greater the scope of services you are able to offer your patients, the more you can expect to be paid

6. Location, Location, Location

Okay, location may not be a 'skill', but the ability to work in an area with higher average nurse practitioner salaries is a major plus for the NP reaching for the six-figure bar. Don't forget to take cost of living into your location decision. Planting yourself in Cali where the average nurse practitioner salary tops $115,000, won't leave as much in your savings account as living in Alaska where NP salaries are similar. 

Do you earn six-figures as a primary care nurse practitioner? What skills do you feel helped you reach the $100K mark?


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I am 58 years old and was an RN for 16 years before becoming an NP (have been NP now for over 20 years. I never felt I was too old and actually the more experience you have as an RN the better you will be as a new NP. Why don't you get your DNP?


You are never too old to follow your dreams. If you can move, learn, and have a passion for it, I say go for it!


Do you think I am too old at 62 to apply for an NP program?


Glad to read these comments. I am currently applying to the NP program and honestly scared that i arm having to take another board examination and all the other fees that come with it. However, hard work does pay off and i am very ready to move onto the new journey. Thanks to all of you who made great comments.

DVigil, BSN

Another location comment is a place with a high need: I made over $100K out of school in AZ where there is a large retirement population, and fewer doctors in family practice. I assume that FL is the same. Because of the FNP's innate listening and caring ability, NPs in AZ are a hit! It has gotten to the point where the retired population actual PREFERS NPs over the few MDs and DOs left in practice. When I left my first practice, my patients cried!


The ability to work in a speciality area will boost your salary. Working as an APN or PA in the ED, oncology, orthopedic surgery, NICU will net you a far bigger salary. I routinely receive calls from headhunters with positions in areas such as Radiation Oncology or BMT paying in the $120s and up.


I agree with all of the above. My first NP job was making $140K a year. However, I went into an emergency medicine training program for which I had done extra preparation for throughout my NP program. So when I graduated, I was in a position to excel both as a new NP and while learning the basics of emergency medicine. I will say that salary is an exception among exceptions.


Delegation and outsourcing in your nurse practitioner business is another leadership skill. Focus on what you do best and delegate the rest to a smart, caring team who is there to support you.

Dina Lynch Eisenberg