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Salaries for MSN-Educated Nurses in Clinical and Non-Clinical Roles

There are few professions that can go head to head with nursing in terms of professional opportunities and personal satisfaction, and even fewer that can offer the top salaries that today’s master’s-prepared nurses pull down.

From advanced practice clinicians to high-profile roles outside of direct patient care in administration, public health and policy, informatics, and education, the highest salaries are reserved for nurses who have achieved an MSN or higher.

For NPs and others at the bedside in advanced practice roles, educators preparing the next generation through clinical and classroom instruction, or those outside the clinical environment lending their talents behind-the-scenes in key leadership and technical roles, the MSN is the degree that has gotten them there.

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Salary Information For Your State

Salaries for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Nurse PractitionersCertified Nurse MidwivesCertified Registered Nurse AnesthetistsClinical Nurse Specialists

MSN Salaries for Nursing Professionals Outside of Direct Patient Care

Nurse EducatorsNurse Administrators



Salaries for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

There’s no other way around it: If you want to pursue a career as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you’ll need a master’s degree or higher to get you there. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the gateway to earning state licensure and national certification as an APRN and is your ticket to the strong salaries and outstanding job opportunities that accompany a career in an advanced practice nursing role.

A 2019 Medscape APRN report revealed an average, annual salary of $117,000 for APRNs as of 2018.

With about half of all states recognizing APRN as independent clinicians who can practice without physician oversight or without a collaborative physician agreement, growing numbers of these nursing professionals are taking their careers into their own hands and running their own practices. And, according to Medscape, this means more money in your bank account. As of 2018, APRN in independent roles took home an average of $128,000 – or about $11,000 more annually than the average for all other APRNs.

Settle into the field and get a few years of experience on your resume and you’ll quickly find that your skills aren’t the only thing that’ll improve:

  • 1-5 years’ experience: $109,000
  • 6-10 years: $113,000
  • 11-20 years: $120,000
  • 21+ years: $119,000

As expected, salaries for APRNs tend to vary based on where they work.

The Medscape report highlighted that the top-earning APRNs tend to live in areas of the country with higher costs of living:

  • Pacific (includes Alaska and Hawaii): $130,000
  • New England: $121,000
  • West South Central: $119,000
  • Mountain: $118,000
  • South Atlantic: $118,000
  • East North Central: $116,000
  • Mid-Atlantic: $115,000
  • East South Central: $115,000
  • West North Central: $112,000

Salaries for advanced practice nurses in the four recognized roles (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist) are shown below:


Nurse Practitioners:

Nurse practitioners make up the largest number of APRNs (200,000 and growing, as of 2019), and they also come with strong earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earned a median salary of $109,820 as of May 2019. The top earners in the profession, who are also likely the most experienced, earned more than $152,160 during this time.

A 2019 report by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) mirrored the BLS stats, revealing an average salary of $110,000 for NPs ($115,000 including bonuses).

The AANP report also revealed that NPs who take on leadership roles can and do earn more than their colleagues. According to the AANP, NPs who serve in an administrative role in addition to their clinical practice earned an average salary of $120,000 as of 2019.

The BLS also highlighted average salaries based on the industries in which NPs worked during this time:

  • Emergency/relief organizations: $139,140
  • Residential developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities: $123,900
  • Outpatient care centers: $119,920
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: $115,790
  • Physicians’ offices: $108,930

The BLS provides a breakdown of what nurse practitioners are earning in your state (50th – 90th percentile), as of May 2019:

  • Alabama: $96,470 – $129,270 (approximately 3,800 nurse practitioners)
  • Alaska: $116,480 – $165,680 (approximately 490 nurse practitioners)
  • Arizona: $113,840 – $155,340 (approximately 4,310 nurse practitioners)
  • Arkansas: $101,520 – $132,070
  • California: $129,960 – $189,950 (approximately 13,900 nurse practitioners)
  • Colorado: $106,950 – $140,990 (approximately 2,870 nurse practitioners)
  • Connecticut: $115,680 – $158,650 (approximately 2,670 nurse practitioners)
  • Delaware: $112,170 – $148,330 (approximately 820 nurse practitioners)
  • District of Columbia: $112,350 – $142,670 (approximately 900 nurse practitioners)
  • Florida: $99,980 – $131,680 (approximately 12,310 nurse practitioners)
  • Georgia: $104,110 – $140,620 (approximately 7,690 nurse practitioners)
  • Hawaii: $129,850 – $164,920 (approximately 420 nurse practitioners)
  • Idaho: $111,750 – $158,650 (approximately 820 nurse practitioners)
  • Illinois: $107,420 – $139,520 (approximately 6,750 nurse practitioners)
  • Indiana: $106,580 – $131,990 (approximately 5,330 nurse practitioners)
  • Iowa: $108,220 – $140,320 (approximately 2,000 nurse practitioners)
  • Kansas: $100,630 – $128,930 (approximately 2,790 nurse practitioners)
  • Kentucky: $96,640 – $133,610 (approximately 3,620 nurse practitioners)
  • Louisiana: $101,610 – $151,670 (approximately 3,170 nurse practitioners)
  • Maine: $106,060 – $131,730 (approximately 1,380 nurse practitioners)
  • Maryland: $110,980 – $152,490 (approximately 3,680 nurse practitioners)
  • Massachusetts: $119,730 – $164,430 (approximately 6,520 nurse practitioners)
  • Michigan: $105,310 – $133,440 (approximately 4,840 nurse practitioners)
  • Minnesota: $119,010 – $155,010 (approximately 3,970 nurse practitioners)
  • Mississippi: $104,360 – $154,250 (approximately 3,390 nurse practitioners)
  • Missouri: $101,860 – $132,570 (approximately 5,200 nurse practitioners)
  • Montana: $109,310 – $135,270 (approximately 620 nurse practitioners)
  • Nebraska: $104,830 – $132,030 (approximately 1,190 nurse practitioners)
  • Nevada: $115,530 – $152,860
  • New Hampshire: $111,120 – $142,760 (approximately 1,090 nurse practitioners)
  • New Jersey: $120,040 – $158,200 (approximately 6,460 nurse practitioners)
  • New Mexico: $111,720 – $147,410 (approximately 1,110 nurse practitioners)
  • New York: $119,490 – $162,460 (approximately 14,060 nurse practitioners)
  • North Carolina: $103,770 – $135,940 (approximately 5,540 nurse practitioners)
  • North Dakota: $110,180 – $142,190 (approximately 520 nurse practitioners)
  • Ohio: $103,480 – $133,680 (approximately 8,950 nurse practitioners)
  • Oklahoma: $111,410 – $152,760 (approximately 1,750 nurse practitioners)
  • Oregon: $114,140 – $152,960 (approximately 2,190 nurse practitioners)
  • Pennsylvania: $100,390 – $129,250 (approximately 7,820 nurse practitioners)
  • Rhode Island: $116,070 – $147,790 (approximately 700 nurse practitioners)
  • South Carolina: $97,100 – $127,530 (approximately 2,450 nurse practitioners)
  • South Dakota: $101,830 – $128,590 (approximately 550 nurse practitioners)
  • Tennessee: $97,200 – $128,460 (approximately 7,850 nurse practitioners)
  • Texas: $112,580 – $157,280 (approximately 13,620 nurse practitioners)
  • Utah: $102,190 – $143,340 (approximately 1,640 nurse practitioners)
  • Vermont: $101,920 – $142,860 (approximately 440 nurse practitioners)
  • Virginia: $107,440 – $140,670 (approximately 5,200 nurse practitioners)
  • Washington: $125,000 – $161,590 (approximately 3,870 nurse practitioners)
  • West Virginia: $97,680 – $133,060 (approximately 1,200 nurse practitioners)
  • Wisconsin: $113,040 – $134,050
  • Wyoming: $115,050 – $160,030 (approximately 310 nurse practitioners)


Certified Nurse Midwives:

The BLS reports that as of May 2019, certified nurse-midwives took home a median salary of $105,030, while the top earners in the field (top 10%) earned salaries that exceeded $158,990.

The BLS also found that CNMs in some settings earn far more than their colleagues in other settings. For example, CNMs working for local governmental agencies, which are likely community health clinics, earn nearly double than those working in offices of other healthcare practitioners, according to average salary:

  • Local government: $153,280
  • Outpatient care centers: $123,620
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: $110,180
  • Physicians’ offices: $106,760
  • Specialty hospitals: $84,500
  • Offices of other healthcare practitioners: $80,560

In many areas of the country, such as California, where women are often more receptive to natural birthing plans with limited medical interventions, average salaries for CNMs are often significantly higher:

  • California: $154,500
  • Minnesota: $121,980
  • New York: $120,380
  • Mississippi: $119,640
  • Maryland: 118,240

Learn more about how much nurse-midwives are earning in your state (50th-90th percentile):

  • Alaska: $78,450 – $137,360 (approximately 50 CNMs)
  • Arizona: $112,450 – $185,160 (approximately 110 CNMs)
  • California: $159,630 – $204,130 (approximately 690 CNMs)
  • Colorado: $104,900 – $138,120 (approximately 170 CNMs)
  • Connecticut: $114,230 – $137,600 (approximately 80 CNMs)
  • Delaware: $95,410 – $123,240 (approximately 60 CNMs)
  • District of Columbia: $87,630 – $140,060 (approximately 40 CNMs)
  • Florida: $90,840 – $118,780 (approximately 330 CNMs)
  • Georgia: $94,410 – $132,020 (approximately 520 CNMs)
  • Illinois: $102,680 – $134,030 (approximately 290 CNMs)
  • Indiana: $111,920 – $136,420 (approximately 80 CNMs)
  • Iowa: $97,470 – $161,590 (approximately 40 CNMs)
  • Kentucky: $102,040 – $141,720 (approximately 70 CNMs)
  • Maine: $114,450 – $133,820 (approximately 60 CNMs)
  • Maryland: $108,630 – $145,360 (approximately 170 CNMs)
  • Massachusetts: $113,580 – $174,060 (approximately 310 CNMs)
  • Michigan: $99,080 – $134,820 (approximately 280 CNMs)
  • Minnesota: $116,920 – $157,270 (approximately 220 CNMs)
  • Mississippi: $115,530 – $182,550 (approximately 40 CNMs)
  • Missouri: $112,900 – $153,730 (approximately 50 CNMs)
  • New Hampshire: $106,190 – $143,080 (approximately 70 CNMs)
  • New Jersey: $112,460 – $154,550 (approximately 170 CNMs)
  • New Mexico: $104,230 – $131,630 (approximately 90 CNMs)
  • New York: $116,040 – $161,820 (approximately 480 CNMs)
  • North Carolina: $100,410 – $128,080 (approximately 180 CNMs)
  • Ohio: $97,720 – $135,320 (approximately 330 CNMs)
  • Oregon: $116,640 – $159,030 (approximately 180 CNMs)
  • Pennsylvania: $98,890 – $127,920 (approximately 400 CNMs)
  • Rhode Island: $109,690 – $149,430 (approximately 50 CNMs)
  • South Carolina: $94,060 – $130,880 (approximately 30 CNMs)
  • Tennessee: $92,070 – $116,370 (approximately 40 CNMs)
  • Texas: $84,080 – $128,410 (approximately 540 CNMs)
  • Utah: $99,990 – $151,720 (approximately 60 CNMs)
  • Vermont: $94,520 – $129,180 (approximately 50 CNMs)
  • Virginia: $99,050 – $125,070 (approximately 180 CNMs)
  • Washington: $109,510 – $130,640 (approximately 110 CNMs)
  • Wisconsin: $112,240 – $163,520 (approximately 100 CNMs)


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists:

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are the biggest earners in the APRN field, by far, beating out their nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and certified nurse midwife colleagues by as much as $50,000 or more annually. The median salary for CRNAs was $174,790 as of May 2019, according to May 2019 BLS stats.

It’s quite common for CRNAs to work independently; in fact, in most rural areas of the country, they serve as the only anesthesia practitioners. Because of that, they command salaries that often exceed $200,000.

In fact, according to the BLS, most CRNAs earn salaries that flirt with or exceed the $200,000 mark. As expected, the largest number of CRNAs work in general medical and surgical hospitals (more than 14,000), where they earn an average salary of $193,380. Many also work in outpatient care centers, where they average $224,630.

Average salaries for CRNAs in other industries include:

  • Home healthcare: $192,300
  • Local governmental agencies: $188,680
  • Specialty hospitals: $184,200

The top-paying states for CRNAs as of May 2019 (according to average salary) align with those areas of the country with large, rural regions that depend solely on CRNAs to provide anesthesia care:

  • Wyoming: $242,310
  • Montana: $239,380
  • Oregon: $234,750
  • Wisconsin: $233,600
  • California: $227,290

The following table provides a closer look at what CRNAs are earning in your state (50th-90th percentile), as of May 2019:

  • Alabama: $156,680 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,200 nurse anesthetists)
  • Arizona: $153,730 – $191,310 (approximately 260 nurse anesthetists)
  • Arkansas: $157,000 – <$208,000 (approximately 360 nurse anesthetists)
  • California: <$208,000 (approximately 1,270 nurse anesthetists)
  • Colorado: $177,530 – <$208,000 (approximately 430 nurse anesthetists)
  • Connecticut: $190,290 – <$208,000
  • Florida: $151,620 – <$208,000
  • Georgia: $163,830 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,110 nurse anesthetists)
  • Hawaii: $193,160 – <$208,000 (approximately 90 nurse anesthetists)
  • Idaho: $150,630 – $180,270
  • Illinois: $192,250 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,660 nurse anesthetists)
  • Indiana: $153,140 – <$208,000
  • Iowa: $193,510 – <$208,000 (approximately 340 nurse anesthetists)
  • Kansas: $152,400 – $207,900
  • Kentucky: $158,100 – <$208,000
  • Louisiana: $157,610 – $201,790 (approximately 810 nurse anesthetists)
  • Maine: $187,450 – <$208,000 (approximately 350 nurse anesthetists)
  • Maryland: $189,440 – <$208,000 (approximately 440 nurse anesthetists)
  • Massachusetts: $192,250 – <$208,000 (approximately 690 nurse anesthetists)
  • Michigan: $193,210 – <$208,000 (approximately 2,330 nurse anesthetists)
  • Minnesota: $187,210 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,900 nurse anesthetists)
  • Mississippi: $175,590 – <$208,000 (approximately 260 nurse anesthetists)
  • Missouri: $158,480 – <$208,000 (approximately 890 nurse anesthetists)
  • Montana: <$208,000 (approximately 60 nurse anesthetists)
  • Nebraska: $186,100 – <$208,000 (approximately 380 nurse anesthetists)
  • Nevada: <$208,000 (approximately 60 nurse anesthetists)
  • New Hampshire: $184,640 – <$208,000 (approximately 170 nurse anesthetists)
  • New Jersey: $182,850 – <$208,000 (approximately 700 nurse anesthetists)
  • New Mexico: $165,650 – <$208,000 (approximately 170 nurse anesthetists)
  • New York: $185,580 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,900 nurse anesthetists)
  • North Carolina: $179,520 – <$208,000 (approximately 3,190 nurse anesthetists)
  • North Dakota: $190,190 – <$208,000 (approximately 130 nurse anesthetists)
  • Ohio: $168,070 – <$208,000 (approximately 2,450 nurse anesthetists)
  • Oklahoma: $178,970 – <$208,000 (approximately 360 nurse anesthetists)
  • Oregon: <$208,000 (approximately 270 nurse anesthetists)
  • Pennsylvania: $172,880 – <$208,000 (approximately 2,010 nurse anesthetists)
  • South Carolina: $168,320 – <$208,000 (approximately 1,020 nurse anesthetists)
  • South Dakota: $184,430 – <$208,000 (approximately 370 nurse anesthetists)
  • Tennessee: $157,920 – $200,480 (approximately 2,680 nurse anesthetists)
  • Texas: $167,490 -<$208,000 (approximately 4,300 nurse anesthetists)
  • Utah: $149,880 – $189,270
  • Virginia: $182,800 – <$208,000 (approximately 980 nurse anesthetists)
  • Washington: $189,100 – <$208,000 (approximately 620 nurse anesthetists)
  • West Virginia: $188,910 – <$208,000 (approximately 690 nurse anesthetists)
  • Wisconsin: <$208,000 (approximately 760 nurse anesthetists)
  • Wyoming: <$208,000 (approximately 50 nurse anesthetists)


Clinical Nurse Specialists:

According to the 2019 Medscape report, clinical nurse specialists (CNS) earned an average salary of $102,000, although those who were paid hourly earned more, at $106,000, largely due to overtime pay.

The highest-paid CNSs worked in suburban settings, earning an average, annual salary of $104,000, followed closely by those in urban settings, who earned $103,000.

MSN Salaries for Nursing Professionals Outside of Direct Patient Care

The value of MSN-prepared nurses extends far beyond the clinical environment and into areas like academia, administration, and public policy.


Nurse Educators:

The BLS reports that post-secondary nursing instructors and teachers earned a median salary of $74,600 as of May 2019. The highest earners (top 10%) earned more than $133,460 during this time.

As expected, average salaries for nursing instructors tend to vary according to the setting in which they work, with those in clinical settings out-earning their classroom instructor colleagues across the board:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals: $121,180
  • Psychiatric/substance abuse hospitals: $93,650
  • Colleges and universities: $83,240
  • Junior colleges: $75,430

According to the BLS, the top-paying states for nursing educators, according to average salary, include:

  • Washington D.C.: $157,560
  • Florida: $122,050
  • California: $101,930
  • New York: $97,750
  • Connecticut: $97,350


Nurse Administrators:

Nurse administrators, often an umbrella professional term used to describe nurses in executive leadership roles, are usually at the top of the pay scale among nursing professionals. Some of the esteemed titles they hold include nursing director, chief nursing officer (CNO), and chief nursing executive (CNE).

According to the American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s (AONL) 2019 Salary and Compensation Study for Nurse Leaders, the majority of nurse administrators and leaders (57%) earned between $90,000 and $169,999, while 33% reported earning $170,000 or more.

Other key stats from the study included:

  • Most nursing directors (71%) earned between $100,000 and $169,999.
  • The majority of nurse leaders (57%) earned between $90,000 and $169,999.
  • Most nursing managers (72%) earned between $80,000 and $129,999.
  • The majority of nurse administrators and leaders (61%) earned bonuses in 2018.
  • Most vice presidents/presidents (91%) and CNOs/CNEs (91%) earned more than $150,000 annually.

 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which nurse practitioners work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which nurse anesthetists work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which nurse-midwives work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which nursing instructors and teachers work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

All salary and employment data accessed October 2020.

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