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February 5, 2021

Types of Nurse Practitioners & Highest Paying NP Specialties

Types of Nurse Practitioners & Highest Paying NP Specialties
Dawn Papandrea By: Dawn Papandrea

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner is a great way to take your nursing career to new heights. Beyond deciding that you want to go into an advanced nursing route, you can also choose an NP specialty certification that will allow you to begin practicing in a specific area of nursing.

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Just as it is with Registered Nurses, NPs can choose a more general path of practice, or one that serves a particular patient population or offers a specific type of care. As for typical salaries amongst NP specialties, what they all have in common is strong earning power.

Whether you’re an RN seeking to advance your career or an NP who is thinking about changing specialties, there are several options to consider. They all require enrolling in an accredited nurse practitioner master’s or doctoral degree program, followed up by a certification exam.

10 Types of Nurse Practitioners

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2019, the median annual income for nurse practitioners was $115,800 per year. But there are a lot of different Nurse Practitioner specialties to choose from that will impact your duties and your salary. Let's take a look at some of the most popular ones.

1. Family Nurse Practitioner - $105,898

Pregnant woman with father holding stomach

If you want to be a “jack of all trades” type of NP, the FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified) designation allows you the most flexibility to work within a healthcare setting, or to open your own practice.

>> Related: How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

These NPs work in a similar way to family doctors. Most often, they work in hospitals, medical offices, or clinics, but some have their own practices. They diagnose and treat patients, provide wellness check-ups, prescribe medication, and more.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for Family Nurse Practitioners is $105,898. 

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2. Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - $107,309

A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner focuses on mental illnesses in the same way in which psychiatrists do. You’ll treat patients, prescribe medication, and/or counsel those who suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

>>Related: How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

The official credential you’ll earn via the ANCC is Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (PMHNP-BC).

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Payscale.com, Psychiatric NPs make an average of $107,309 per year, as of June 2020. Glassdoor.com reports a slightly higher average annual salary of $110,076. 

3. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner - $100,377

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who specialize in cosmetic medical procedures that improve their patients’ appearance. 

>>Related: How to Become an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner

They examine and evaluate patients, counsel them on a variety of procedures, perform those procedures, and care for them as they recover. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners can even own and operate their own cosmetic clinics. 

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Ziprecruiter.com, the average national salary for an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner is $100,377.

4. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - $121,659

Child at doctor's office with stethoscope over heart

If you love working with children, from infants to adolescents, becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner is the perfect fit for you.

>>Related: How to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Your practice will focus on the primary health care of young patients to help them achieve healthy physical and emotional development. Upon completing the certification exam, you’ll earn the designation of PPCNP-BC (Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified). 

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Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a pediatric nurse practitioner in the United States is $121,659 per year.

5. Emergency Nurse Practitioner - $113,840

If you work well in high-pressure environments, becoming an Emergency Nurse Practitioners may be right for you. Emergency Nurse Practitioners assess, diagnose and manage injuries and illnesses that need urgent care. 

In many states, emergency nurse practitioners can work autonomously, without oversight from physicians.  

>>Related: How to Become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Emergency Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for an Emergency Nurse Practitioner in the United States is $113,840.

6. Acute Care Nurse Practitioner - $110,076

Acute Care NPs see patients when they are sick, admitted to the hospital, or after a surgical procedure and/or trauma. Their focus is solely on caring for the adult population with complex diseases.

>>Related: How to Become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary

Glassdoor reports that the average Acute Care Nurse Practitioner salary in the U.S. is $110,076 per year. 

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7. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner - $100,035

An orthopedic Nurse Practitioner focuses on the care and treatment of patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems. These can include disease and/or injuries of the bones, muscles, joints, and supporting connective tissue. 

>>Related: How to Become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Payscale, the average salary for an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner as of April 2020 is $100,035 or $43.90 per hour.

8. Women's Health Nurse Practitioner - $110,076

A Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) specializes in the comprehensive care of women throughout their lives. They focus on reproductive, obstetric, and gynecological health for women of all ages.

>>Related: How to Become a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Glassdoor.com, Women’s Health NPs make on average $110,076 per yearPayscale.com reports an average annual salary of $91,454 or roughly $47.72 per hour

9. Adult-Gerontology  Nurse Practitioner - $110,076

Elderly patient with oxygen and doctor checking heartbeat

If you want to focus on providing care of a more serious nature to adults and to the elderly, you can choose to become an ACNPC-AG, which stands for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology.

>>Related: How to Become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Acute care refers to working with patients who have more serious health issues, which is why these NPs typically work in hospital emergency rooms or ICUs. 

If you’re not interested in treating younger patients, you might consider choosing to become an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Like the Family NP, you’ll provide primary care, usually in outpatient settings like clinics or medical offices.

You’ll typically work with adults, but mostly aging patients who come in for routine visits, or who have minor or chronic illnesses. 

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to Glassdoor.com, Adult-Gerontology NPs make, on average, $110,076 per year. Payscale.com reports an average annual salary of Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners of $90,102 or $47.02 per hour. 

10. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner - $124,756

Neonatal nurse practitioners care for premature and sick newborns including diagnosing them, providing treatment plans, and prescribing medication.They also can assist in delivering patients in certain settings. 

>>Related: How to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Most commonly NNPs work in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, but they can work in a variety of healthcare settings.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Salary

Salary.com reports that the median salary for an NNP as of June 2020 was $124,756. 

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Highest Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties

In our list of specialties above, these are the three with the highest reported average annual salaries:

  1. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner - $124,756
  2. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - $121,659
  3. Emergency Nurse Practitioner - $113,840

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