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What Is the Average Salary With a DNP Degree?

NurseJournal Staff
Updated November 18, 2022
This guide provides information on DNP salaries, including projection figures and geographic data.
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The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is the highest degree in advanced practice nursing. DNPs remain in demand for many healthcare roles, including teachers, administrators, and clinicians. Above-average salaries and high demand provide strong incentives to earn a DNP.

According to Payscale, the average annual doctor of nursing salary is $107,000 as of May 2022. Specialty areas deliver different salaries. For example, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) earn the highest DNP salaries, with family nurse practitioners (NPs) typically earning less. Experience and geographic location also affect how much a DNP makes.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Much a DNP Earns

How many years does it take to become a DNP?

It typically takes 6-8 years of college to become a DNP, four years for a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and another two years each for the master of science in nursing (MSN) and DNP degrees. Nurses with ADNs but not BSNs can often qualify for bridge programs that take 6-7 years.

Do DNPs make more money than NPs?

DNP salaries are generally higher than NP salaries, reflecting their additional training. However, nurse anesthetists, even those with MSNs, often earn more than family practice DNPs. Individual salaries depend on specialty, location, experience, and many other factors.

Which is better: MSN or DNP?

This answer depends on your career goals and how much time you would prefer to spend in school. MSNs take less time and cost less, but many academic medical centers prefer to hire DNPs, especially for higher-ranking or supervisory roles. Also, DNP salaries are generally higher than MSN salaries.

What is the highest-paid NP specialty?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse anesthetists, including master’s and doctoral level, earn the highest DNP salary with a median annual income of $195,610. Nurse midwives earn a median annual salary of $112,830 — still considerably higher than the median U.S. annual salary of $45,760.

DNP Nurse Salaries in Common Industries

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with DNPs have the potential to earn the highest salaries in state, local, and private hospitals. Outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, other health practitioner offices, and state, local, and private educational services also offer comparable salaries.

APRN Nurse Salaries in Common IndustriesAverage Salary
Hospitals (state, local, and private)$128,190
Outpatient care centers$128,190
Offices of physicians$121,280
Offices of other health practitioners$104,790
Educational services (state, local, and private)$102,680
Source: BLS
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Top-Paying States for DNP Nurse Salary

How much does a DNP make in different states? While BLS does not distinguish between DNP and master’s level practitioners, BLS data shows the state with the highest NP average salary is California, totaling $151,830. California also employs the second most NPs of any state with nurse practitioner being one of the most common advanced practice specialties.

Please note that this data includes all NPs and CRNAs, including those who do not have a DNP.

Top-Paying States for Nurse Practitioners

StateAverage Salary
New Jersey$137,010
New York$133,940
Source: BLS

Top-Paying States for Nurse Anesthetists

StateAverage Salary
Alaska*Greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year
New Jersey$263,850
West Virginia$247,650
Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurses With DNPs

The metropolitan areas with the highest NP salaries are all in California, near Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay areas. In these regions, the average doctor of nursing practice salary is at least $159,260, and the average salary rises even higher in the Vallejo — Fairfield area. However, these areas carry a high cost of living.

The metro areas with the most NPs are more geographically dispersed, including the Midwest, East, South, and the West. Similar to how DNP average salaries increase with high cost of living, areas with higher populations also employ more NPs.

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Practitioners

Metropolitan AreaAverage Salary
San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara, CA$197,870
Napa, CA$184,700
Vallejo — Fairfield, CA$180,380
San Francisco — Oakland — Hayward, CA177,160
Yuba City, CA$159,260
Source: BLS

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Anesthetists

Metropolitan AreaAverage Salary
Fairbanks, AK*Greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year
Green Bay, WI*Greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year
Madison, WI*Greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year
Wausau, WI*Greater than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year
Springfield, IL$298,890
Riverside — San Bernardino — Ontario, CA$283,550
Source: BLS

Salary and Job Growth for Nurses With DNPs

BLS projections indicate that employment for nurses with DNPs and other advanced practice nurses will grow by 45% from 2020-2030, much faster than the overall job growth rate.

Factors driving this figure include the growing need for healthcare workers as the United States population ages, a shortage of physicians, and employers hiring more advanced practice nurses to perform physicians’ responsibilities. This demand helps to keep DNP salaries high.

How to Earn a DNP

DNP programs take 6-8 years of education, including four for a BSN, two for an MSN, and another 1-2 for the DNP. Most MSN and DNP programs require at least 1-3 years of clinical nursing experience.Prospective DNP students should also have at least a 3.0 GPA (more competitive programs may set a 3.25 or higher minimum), a current and unencumbered nursing license, and professional references. Administrative-track DNP programs may not look for clinical experience, a BSN, or an MSN, instead requiring a degree and experience in healthcare administration. Clinical DNP programs may require APRN certification and clinical experience.
Decide which type of DNP program is best for you.

Decide which type of DNP program is best for you.

When choosing a DNP program, consider your preferred specialty and career, the school

Apply to DNP programs.

Give yourself plenty of time to review your application and collect recommendations or alert your references. If the school offers it, schedule time with admissions staff.

Secure funding for DNP programs.

Most schools offer nursing grants, loans, or both. Some healthcare employers offer conditional financial aid. Professional associations, foundations, and corporations also provide scholarships.

Choose a specialization.

Consider your career goals and DNP salary expectations, demand in the regions where you would like to live, and the kind of nursing work that gives you the most satisfaction.

Graduate with a DNP and find a nursing job.

Clinical jobs and some administrative jobs require APRN certification. Use your school and personal network to identify DNP job opportunities in the field.

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