Best Paying DNP Jobs & Careers

by NurseJournal Staff
• 2 min read
Nursing in general is one of the most respected and highest paying jobs in the nation, and positions within the field frequently land on lists of the best careers in the country each year. But the nursing field is much more diverse than most people realize, and it holds a variety of different opportunities for those looking to enter the field and make their mark in it. Of these, earning Doctor of Nursing Practice is one of the best options for those who want to reach the pinnacle of their career and earn a higher salary than is normally possible. A DNP is needed to assume some of the highest level positions, and according to studies those with a DNP earn about $7,688 more than those in a similar position who hold only a master’s degree. Learn more about a DNP's salary. To earn a DNP, students must first already hold a master’s degree in the nursing field or must have a bachelor’s degree that qualifies them to enter a DNP program. The DNP is similar to the PhD, but it is a practice oriented doctorate. This means that those who earn the DNP will actually practice medicine instead of entering roles that are strictly research oriented. Generally, 5 semesters of training are needed to complete a DNP program, or 2 to 3 years depending on the situation. Students can enter a variety of positions with a DNP, and some pay more than others. Here are the top paying DNP jobs available today.

#1 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist helps assist in the process of administering anesthesia to patients before and during surgical procedures or other medical procedures. They’ll help set up the IVs, monitor the patient, and perform other necessary tasks as required. This is one of the highest paying jobs in the country, not just in the medical field, and the demand for it is steadily increasing as the population rises. It’s worth noting that only about 52% of DNP programs will award a CRNA certification, but it’s still the most common way to rise to the top of the profession.
  • Percentage of DNP Workforce: 3.1%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020: 26%
  • Average Salary: $135,000

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#2 Nurse Researcher

In most cases, a DNP degree is used to enter a practical position while a PhD is used to enter research roles. However, in some instances those with a DNP have found themselves taking on jobs as a Nurse Researcher for various reasons. A nurse researcher accumulates data and uses it to understand different health related issues. Then, they work to develop specific programs, initiatives, and activities that lead to increased public or private health.
  • Percentage of DNP Workforce:1.3%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020: 26%
  • Average Salary: $95,000

#3 Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

These nursing professionals work in the psychiatric field and work closely with psychiatrists to help diagnose and treat patients. They will help with a diagnosis and also assist in providing things like general advice and education to patients and their families. They may find work in private practices, hospitals, and mental health facilities.
  • Percentage of DNP Workforce: 2%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020:
  • Average Salary: $95,000

#4 Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nursing midwife works to provide care to pregnant mothers from the initial stages of pregnancy up to birth. They will deliver the baby, provide medical care throughout the pregnancy, run tests, and advise mothers on things like proper prenatal care and other issues. In many cases they will help mothers decide on the right kinds of childbirth for them and other aspects of a pregnancy. These professionals may work for larger health organizations, but in many states will operate their own midwife clinics. They often work closely with OBGYN physicians to provide the best level of care possible to patients.
  • Percentage of DNP Workforce:5.8%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020: 26%
  • Average Salary: $91,000

#5 Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse

A pediatric endocrinology nurse is a specialist who has taken the time to master two very specific fields of medicine. They focus on working with children up to the age of 18, but also have a very specialized focus on diseases and health issues related to the endocrine system such as diabetes. These nurses often work within hospital systems or for pediatric clinics, but their specialized training leads many to open their own private practices as well.
  • Percentage of DNP Workforce: 2.1%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020: 26%
  • Average Salary: $81,000
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