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.


I am a FNP but have no or experience, contemplating getting my surgical first assist, any data or input on the difference in salary between a NP working with a surgical team and a non surgical NP , currently I am a hospitalist NP in NY and want to make sure its worth it financially to put the time and money into pursuing this change



I am interested in pursuing a career as Primary Care Pediatric NP. Does anyone know how the hours are and what the salary would be? Are there jobs out there available for primary care in pediatrics? I'm living in Philadelphia currently, but will be moving to a surrounding suburb soon.

Mary Kate

Hello, Acute Care NP's that work as hospitalists on call in southern California can expect salary of about $115,000 to $130,000 depending on compensation agreement, bonus, hospital setting, and experience. I know of those with experience who are paid much much more than that. Hope that helps provide a general idea.


I work in long term care and make $200k between salary and visit reimbursement. Everyone is worried about salary and not total comp, not to be confused with benefits, talking money being aid. All of my FT colleagues that are NPs make between 130-260/yr depending on how they run their days with the avg around 150. We also have some of the best patient outcomes out there for all of the nay sayers so you an make money and give great patient care.

Adam S.

I am in Florida and looking for a FNP program online that is affordable and also reputable that will also allow me to specialize in Pain Management or Dermatology? not sure if this exists...I havent seen them in my research at least...thanks for the guidance


Hi Sara, 

Either specialty will work. If you are certain you want to work in the hospitalist setting with adult patients, acute care will be the best suited to prepare you for work as a hospitalist nurse practitioner. 

Erin Tolbert


To become a hospitalist, which specialty is better, FNP or Acute NP?


Hi, does anyone know the average salary of an NP working in Infectious Diseases?



Any information on palliative/hospice NP?


Hi Jill, 

Employers do take RN experience into account, however not to the same extent as NP experience. 

Erin Tolbert