Reasons to Pursue a Family Nurse Practitioner Career

Nurses who pursue a family nurse practitioner (FNP) career today can expect to enjoy more autonomy and greater responsibility — all while making a difference in the lives of individuals and within the greater health care system. Possessing advanced education and training, nurse practitioners (NPs) can also benefit from a variety of career choices, such as specializing as an FNP, that align with their personal and professional goals. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 60.6 percent of NPs opt for certification as an FNP. Here, we examine NP salary by state and some of the NP career options that are available today, as well as the outlook of FNP jobs.

Nurse Practitioner Salary by State

The mean NP salary is $107,480 annually with a mean hourly rate of $51.68 across the country, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Practice location is one of many factors that can affect NP and FNP salaries. BLS data show that the mean salary for NP jobs is highest in California, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Connecticut — ranging from an average mean salary of $118,500 in Connecticut to $126,770 in California.

Heat map illustrating annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by state.

Go to a tabular version of annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by state.

Nurse Practitioner Job Outlook

U.S. News & World Report ranked nurse practitioner as No. 4 on its list of 100 Best Jobs of 2018. Additionally, the BLS projects that the NP field will grow by 36 percent between 2016 and 2026, and 56,100 new positions will be available.

Such anticipated growth may be due in part to the shortage of primary care physicians predicted for the years ahead. A 2016 analysis by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA; PDF, 302 KB) states the following: “Under current workforce utilization and care delivery patterns, the 2025 demand for primary care physicians is projected to exceed supply at the national level.”

Since NPs are uniquely equipped to provide primary care, the need for FNPs will expand to help fill the gap. As HRSA notes, “With delivery system changes and full utilization of NP and PA (physician assistant) services, the projected shortage … can be effectively mitigated.” In such an environment, those who embrace an NP career may be well positioned for an FNP job.

Family Nurse Practitioner Jobs

As advanced practice nurses, FNPs have a more extensive scope of practice than registered nurses who have not earned this designation. As such, they are qualified to deliver high-level health services, including the following:

Diagnosing and treating common health problems

Interpreting lab results and X-rays

Prescribing medications

Initiating and managing treatment plans

Providing patient education and counseling to promote wellness

Referring patients to other health professionals as needed

NP career options include a variety of opportunities. According to the BLS, physician offices offer the highest levels and concentration of NP employment. Other popular settings include general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, offices of other health care practitioners, and specialty hospitals. However, the BLS also reports that the mean annual NP salary is highest in unique industries such as these:

Bar chart illustrating annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by top paying industries.

Go to a tabular version of annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by top paying industries.

Since the demand for NPs is growing, you’ll likely find that you can work in the setting and role that best aligns with your personal and professional needs.

If you’re interested in a career where you can make a difference, get started on your journey to pursue an FNP career today.

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Citation for this content: Nursing@USC, the online FNP program from the University of Southern California

The following section contains tabular data from the graphics in this post.

Annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by state, May 2017

State Mean
California 126,770
Alaska 125,140
Hawaii 122,580
Massachusetts 120,140
Connecticut 118,500
New Jersey 117,630
New York 117,210
Minnesota 116,150
Washington 115,250
Wyoming 113,310
Oregon 112,870
New Hampshire 112,440
Texas 111,330
Colorado 110,440
Maryland 109,840
New Mexico 109,330
Rhode Island 108,630
District of Columbia 107,950
Mississippi 107,280
North Carolina 106,320
Nevada 105,520
Delaware 105,380
Arizona 104,970
Iowa 104,130
Vermont 103,920
Georgia 103,890
North Dakota 103,470
Idaho 102,760
Michigan 102,250
Virginia 102,240
Illinois 101,960
Wisconsin 101,930
Indiana 101,780
Ohio 101,710
Maine 100,100
South Dakota 100,030
Utah 99,960
Florida 99,930
Nebraska 99,930
Louisiana 98,780
Pennsylvania 98,260
Kansas 97,870
Montana 97,470
South Carolina 97,140
Missouri 96,490
Oklahoma 95,590
Kentucky 95,450
Arkansas 95,230
West Virginia 95,000
Alabama 94,880
Tennessee 93,970


Annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by top paying industries

Annual mean salaries of nurse practitioners, by top paying industries
Personal Care Services Management, scientific and technical consulting services Religious organizations Dentist offices Office administrative services
$139,460 $132,200 $117,720 $117,270 $115,960