Nurse Practitioner Trends: How is the Average NP Changing?

Earlier this week, we published a post on the blog showing trends among physician assistants and the PA profession. The post gave a quick look at what the average PA looks like, as well as showed how physician assistant salaries have changed over the past few years. One reader asked that we do the same for nurse practitioners. As requested, here's a peek at similar stats for NPs. 

Using data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners we compiled data from 2004, 2010, 2011, and 2014 to see how the nurse practitioner profession has changed. While the number of practicing nurse practitioners has grown significantly, the demographic profile for the average NP has largely remained the same. The average nurse practitioner is just under 50 years old, is female, and has been practicing for about 10 years. 

When is comes to specialty distribution, there has been some shift among nurse practitioners over the past ten years. As of 2014, a larger percentage of nurse practitioners were certified in the family specialty than in 2004, showing a gradual trend toward NPs becoming certified FNPs. Fewer nurse practitioners, however, are selecting the women's health and pediatric specialties. This trend may be related to the career flexibility that an FNP certification provides, compared with a more specialized path. 

Nurse practitioner salaries are on the rise. The average annual income for NPs has steadily increased since 2004, growing from an average of $73,630 in 2004, to an average salary of $102,526 in 2014. 

Nurse practitioners have enjoyed positive momentum in recent years. With the number of NPs on the rise, the profession has captured increasing attention to the care nurse practitioners provide. Salaries are increasing, making the NP career path even more attractive. Given the current challenges healthcare in our nation faces, we can expect these trends to continue for nurse practitioners. 

What trends have you noticed during your nurse practitioner career?

 

Comments

How about acute care adult gerontology nurse practitioner job avaiability. Is it on the rise or are hospitals highering the primary adult gerontology np to fill hospital work?

Luci

Hi JC, 

Demand is very high for psych NPs in all markets and will continue to grow. I would say it is the most in-demand NP specialty. Generally, psych NPs do not have difficulty finding jobs. 

Erin Tolbert

What has the demand for psych-NP been like and is this forcasted to continue over the long run? Is demand for pNP in full scope of practice states allowing them to succesfully open their own practices?

JC

Hi Reena, 

Adult-gero NPs typically cannot work in urgent care because they cannot treat children. Urgent care clinics require the flexibility to treat patients of all ages. 

Adult-gero NPs are well positioned to work in specialties like endocrinology or nephrology. 

Erin Tolbert

How are the opportunities for adult gerontology nurse practitioner growing.can they work in clinics and urgent care or speciality clinic like nephrology or in endocrinology

Reena Pathak

Hi Sara, 

Currently, there is a shortage of primary care providers in the U.S. There are also an increasing number of Americans with health insurance as a result of healthcare reform. While the number of NPs has increased, demand for healthcare services has risen as well. So, in that sense, the growing supply of NPs seems appropriate. 

There are certainly some job markets that are oversaturated with NPs. Others, on the other hand, are in need of healthcare providers. Overall, I have not seen salaries and job opportunities decrease, except in a few areas. These areas tend to be very desirable places to live, locations with restrictive scope of practice laws for NPs, or locations with a large number of NP programs releasing new grads into the local job market each year. 

Erin Tolbert

There is a big increase in the number, more than double, of licensed NP over the ten year period. I know more schools are offering NP programs. Do you believe the increase of NP will cause an oversupply of NP, and cause a decrease in salary and job opportunities? Will nurses with experience, be more sought after than someone just entering the field?

Sara