Job Prospects for Nurse Practitioners | Incredible Health (2023)

Nurse Types / Nurse Practitioner / Job Prospects

Nursing has changed tremendously in the last few years. Many nursing professionals are reconsidering their futures. Perhaps you’re thinking of furthering your career with a Nurse Practitioner (NP) degree. Or you might be an NP wanting a new job. Either way, it’s essential to look at the job prospects.

We’ve got good news! There is no better time to be a Nurse Practitioner. Job prospects are HOT. The demand for Registered Nurses with advanced practice degrees is growing. In this post, we look at the job prospects, how to become an NP, and roles these professionals commonly fill. This guide will give you confidence to know if now’s the time to pursue a new job as an NP.

Let’s get to it!

  • Increased demand for Nurse Practitioners
  • Job prospects for Nurse Practitioners
  • How to become a Nurse Practitioner
  • Difference between Nurse Practitioners and doctors

Increased demand for Nurse Practitioners

The field of Nurse Practitioners in the US is growing. Here are a few reasons for the increased demand for NPs.

  • The US is facing a growing shortage of physicians.
  • Retailers and grocery stores are adding healthcare clinics to their stores.
  • Healthcare legislation continues to widen the NP’s scope of practice.
  • The US population is aging quickly.
  • A growing emphasis on preventative care generates a continuous need for primary, secondary, and tertiary care for injuries and illnesses.

Experts estimate that by 2040, the group of Americans over age 65 will double, and those over 85 will quadruple. Many worry the supply of healthcare providers won’t keep up with the demand.

It doesn’t look like these issues will change anytime soon. So if you are thinking about becoming an NP, now is the time.

Job prospects for Nurse Practitioners

Certified Nurse Practitioners have considerable job prospects in today’s market. Opportunities abound! According to the US Department of Labor, most NPs work in physician’s offices. Other settings where NPs work include hospitals, outpatient clinics, and home health agencies.

Advanced degrees prepare NPs to take their careers as far as they wish to go, in any number of directions.


In addition to giving nurses more job options, a Nurse Practitioner certification increases a nurse’s earning potential. The average salary for an NP in the United States is $118,040. This compares to an average RN salary of ​​$82,750. You can also check out NP salaries by state.

Job Outlook

Nurse Practitioners also have job security because the need is growing. The most current data from the US Department of Labor suggests the job outlook for NPs will increase by 40% from 2021 to 2031.

In some states, Nurse Practitioner jobs are increasing faster than in others.

(Video) Alternative Jobs for Nurse Practitioners

For instance, Arizona is expected to see job growth for NPs greater than 51%. Two significant factors contribute to this job market. There is a physician shortage and much of the state lives in rural areas with limited healthcare access. Hospitals and clinics are increasing access to healthcare using non-physician practitioners.

The state expecting the least growth is Mississippi. Even here, the job market is expected to grow by 7.14%. The state has many residents with complex chronic health problems in outlying and rural areas.

No matter what state you plan to practice in, you can count on a growing demand for NPs over the next decade.

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How to become a Nurse Practitioner

If the increasing demand, better pay, and greater opportunities have convinced you to explore a Nurse Practitioner program, here’s what you need to know about becoming an NP.

An NP must be a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) and earn a master’s degree or higher in advanced nursing practice to become an NP. Here is a path that nurses commonly follow.

  1. Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

You must graduate from an accredited nursing school with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This requires 36-48 months of school. Then you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to practice as a nurse.

  1. Gain experience

Next, you’ll need work experience as a nurse. Most NP programs require one to two years of practice as a Registered Nurse for admission. Use this time to find the specialty you are passionate about and want to pursue.


  1. Earn an MSN or DNP degree

Choose the area you want to specialize in and enroll in a master’s or doctorate program. The MSN programs typically require two years of coursework and 500 clinical practice hours with a preceptor. A DNP program may take 3-4 years and 1000 practice hours.

  1. Pass the specialty certification exam

After you graduate with an advanced nursing degree, it’s time to take the NP certification test. There are currently two recognized certification boards, each offering different specialty exams and credentials.

  1. American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certifies NPs in Family Practice, Gerontology, and Psych-Mental Health Care
  2. American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) certifies NPs in Family, Gerontology, and Emergency Care
5. Obtain state licensure

When you pass the certification exam, you can apply for the NP license in your practice state. Licensing requirements vary by state, so it is important to check with your board of nursing for information.


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Some examples of Nurse Practitioner jobs

A Nurse Practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides patient care, including diagnosis, treatments, and consultations. They may perform physicals, order tests, and serve as primary healthcare providers.

Nurses with advanced practice degrees are extremely knowledgeable and skilled. NPs are more advanced than RNs. In most states,they have the authority to practice autonomously and can prescribe medications.

A few of the different roles available for advanced practice specialization ​​include:

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

Some NPs change specialties during their careers. Meanwhile, others choose a dual specialty. For example, an NP could hold a full-time job in an Emergency Room while working part-time in a mental health setting.

Difference between Nurse Practitioners and doctors

Nursing programs and medical programs are different. Nurse Practitioners and doctors have different training and distinct practice philosophies. These two roles also differ in the principal focus of patient care.

Nursing care from an NP tends to be more holistic and considers treating the patient. In comparison, medical care from a doctor may focus on treating the condition affecting the patient.

(Video) Top Flexible Jobs for Nurse Practitioners and Nurses

Next steps

If you’ve been waiting for a sign to explore your options for a Nurse Practitioner degree in your specialty field, consider this to be it. To move forward in your career as a prospective NP student, learn more about MSN programs, and start checking out schools in your area.

If you’re already a Nurse Practitioner and you’re looking for your next job, browse NP jobs near you on our job board!

Now’s the time to take the next step. Let us help you!

Top advanced practice jobs on Incredible Health

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Job Prospects for Nurse Practitioners | Incredible Health? ›

A growth industry

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of nurse practitioners to grow 45% between 2019 and 2029, adding more than 117,700 jobs to the field.

What is the future of nurse practitioners in healthcare? ›

A growth industry

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of nurse practitioners to grow 45% between 2019 and 2029, adding more than 117,700 jobs to the field.

Which nurse practitioner specialty is in highest demand? ›

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and labor statistics, the most in-demand specialties for NP include:
  • Family (70.3%)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (8.9%)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health (6.5%).
Apr 10, 2023

Will there be a strong demand for nurse practitioners in the future? ›

The job outlook for nurse practitioners is the fastest growing in the medical field. As previously mentioned, NP career has a projected growth rate of more than 50% over the next decade. The second fastest-growing career in healthcare is a physician assistant, at almost a 31% projected growth over the next decade.

Will nurse practitioners always be in demand? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 46% from 2021 to 2031. This is much faster than the average for all occupations as well as the average for physicians (3% projected growth). As we will show you, the reasons nurse practitioners are in high demand.

Why are nurse practitioners leaving the profession? ›

According to Medscape's "Nurse Practitioner Burnout & Depression Report 2022," almost a third of NPs are considering leaving health care, particularly as more of them struggle with burnout and other work difficulties.

Are doctors being replaced by nurse practitioners? ›

With a shortage of primary care physicians leaving more than 90 million people without access to primary care, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration, it is not surprising that NPs and PAs are filling the gap and being sought to do so.

What is the lowest paid Nurse Practitioner? ›

The average annual salary for a Nurse Practitioner is $118,040. The bottom 10% of average annual NP salaries is $79,470. The top 10% is $163,350 per year. The median annual wage for a Nurse Practitioner is $120,680.

What is the highest NP salary? ›

The best Nurse Practitioner jobs can pay up to $400,000 per year. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with additional responsibilities including prescribing medication, examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing treatment, much as physicians do.

Where is the highest paid Nurse Practitioner? ›

  1. 1. California. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the highest paying state for nurse practitioners. ...
  2. New Jersey. ...
  3. Washington. ...
  4. New York. ...
  5. Massachusetts. ...
  6. Nevada. ...
  7. Minnesota. ...
  8. Wyoming.

What state needs nurse practitioners the most? ›

New York

Why is nurse practitioner growing so fast? ›

As the baby boomer generation ages, hospitals and other care centers will need a significant number of new healthcare professionals filling many roles. This is a large reason why the healthcare sector is expected to grow faster than any other industry, adding about 2.6 million jobs over the 10-year period.

Are nurse practitioners happier than doctors? ›

"Their importance and prestige is rising as more hospitals, health systems, and accountable care organizations... move to team-based care, in which they play a big part," Hoogerwerf says. As a result, NPs "are far happier" than physicians, Megan Brooks writes for Medscape Medical News.

Does anyone regret becoming an NP? ›

More and more, NPs are balking at the irregular hours of the profession, with those with families feeling it the most acutely. Mothers report that they regret becoming a nurse practitioner when it comes to the job stealing critical time from their family life.

What is the hardest part of being a nurse practitioner? ›

  1. Emotional work. ...
  2. Varying hours. ...
  3. Working with people. ...
  4. Power imbalance and hierarchy. ...
  5. Not being able to help everyone. ...
  6. Restrictive practice settings. ...
  7. Being challenged too little or not enough. ...
  8. Charting, charting, and more charting.

How hard is it to go from nurse practitioner to doctor? ›

Being a nurse practitioner does not mean you can take short cuts on your road to being a doctor. After you become a nurse practitioner you will still need to go to four years of medical school and 4 years of residency if you want to be a doctor.

Are nurse practitioners happy? ›

Yes, nurse practitioners are overall very happy in their professional positions. NPs have many of the benefits of being a physician combined with some of the characteristics that they loved about nursing.

Is nurse practitioner less stressful? ›

Their duties may be more stressful compared to RNs because nurse practitioners often manage complicated patient cases and are responsible for making higher-level decisions.

How do you prevent NP burnout? ›

  1. Keeping a work-life balance.
  2. Identifying and avoiding toxic work environments.
  3. Knowing your role expectations.
  4. Identifying and utilizing your support systems.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Sleep.
  7. Practice mindfulness.
  8. Get professional support.

What do doctors think about NPs? ›

In addition, 87% of physicians said their working relationship with NPs was "good to very good," and 92% of NPs said the same about their working relationship with physicians.

What is the new term for nurse practitioner? ›

Community Health Officer (CHO) also called Mid Level Health Provider (MLHP) and non-physician practitioner, are trained health care providers who have a defined scope of practice.

Why are PAs better than NPs? ›

NPs can specialize in several areas, including gerontology, mental health, pediatrics, and women's health. PAs have a more generalized education and can specialize in areas like emergency medicine, orthopedics, and general surgery.

What is the easiest job as a nurse practitioner? ›

  • Hemodialysis.
  • Remote Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
  • Working in a Minute-Clinic.
  • Working at an Online Urgent Care Center.
  • NP on Foot Care Team.
  • Case Management.
  • NP for Long-Term Care Facility.
  • Health Coach.

Do nurse practitioners make 6 figures? ›

Can Nurses Make Six Figures? Yes, you can 100% make six figures as a nurse. The disclaimer is that working in some states may make this easier than working in other states. Geographic location is a huge indicator of starting salary and can be a reason why some of you are not as close to others when looking at raw data.

What is the best first job for a nurse practitioner? ›

  1. Urgent Care Center. ...
  2. University Health Center. ...
  3. Addiction Medicine. ...
  4. Nephrology. ...
  5. Hard to place locations. ...
  6. Family health private practice. ...
  7. Locum Tenens (Travel Nursing) ...
  8. Occupational Care.

Can you make a lot of money as an NP? ›

Your career path with a DNP will greatly influence your salary. Depending on the role, you can make anywhere from an a median wage of $83,000 to $180,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As leaders in every facet of healthcare, nurses with DNPs work to improve patient care.

What is the best nurse practitioner to be? ›

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Cardiology Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Pain Management Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

Who are the largest employers for nurse practitioners? ›

Industry profile for Nurse Practitioners:
IndustryEmployment (1)Hourly mean wage
Offices of Physicians122,830$ 58.60
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals58,080$ 62.18
Outpatient Care Centers23,760$ 64.44
Offices of Other Health Practitioners10,950$ 54.16
1 more row

What state pays nurse practitioners the least? ›

The lowest-paying states are Tennessee ($95,120), Alabama ($102,410), South Carolina ($102,850), Missouri ($103,490), and West Virginia ($104,750). NP salaries vary significantly across the country.

What is the most versatile nurse practitioner? ›

Family Nurse Practitioner or FNP is the most common Nurse Practitioner specialty, accounting for about half of all NPs – and there's good reasons for that, because FNPs are the most versatile NP certification that there is. FNP programs focus on family medicine, spanning from birth to death, ages 0-100+.

What is the average age of a nurse practitioner? ›

The average age of a nurse practitioner is 43.4 years old, but the nurse practitioner age range starts between 20 and 24 years to 65 years old and over. Most nurse practitioners are between 35 and 44 years old, equaling almost 39% of all nurse practitioners in the United States.

Who has more autonomy a PA or NP? ›

Nurse practitioners tend to specialize in fields, whereas PAs tend to have a more generalized education. NPs also tend to have more autonomy in 24 states, where they have full practice authority. PAs work interdependently with physicians.

Is the nurse practitioner field becoming saturated? ›

The current California job market for new grad NPs is rough. However, this is not typical. Due to reduced patient demand for provider visits due to COVID, a lot of RNs, NPs, PA, MDs were laid off or had to accept reduced hours. The job market for NPs is slowly coming back.

What is the future of the family nurse practitioner? ›

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is projecting the number of nurse practitioner roles will grow by 52% (335,200) by the year 2030, making it one of the fastest-growing roles in health care.

Why do patients like nurse practitioners? ›

Background: Care provided by NPs results in high patient satisfaction, mostly related to the assurance of continuity of care, and to receiving information and advice on coping with the disease. Research shows that health care provided by NPs equals the quality of care provided by physicians.

Can a nurse become a doctor faster? ›

Can an RN become a doctor? A registered nurse (RN) can become a doctor if they complete the required certifications and education. Typically, nurses have many of the prerequisites that medical schools require, so you may be able to accelerate the medical school admissions process.

Do patients prefer MD or NP? ›

75% prefer to be treated by a physician. 75% said they prefer to be treated by a physician—even if it takes longer to get an appointment and costs more.

Why being an NP is better than MD? ›

you're seeking a faster way to advanced practice. If better work-life balance is important to you, a NP has more flexibility and more options for accelerated training than a MD. you want to practice more autonomously.

What are the pros and cons of a nurse practitioner vs doctor? ›

A nurse practitioner has the advantage of more time with patients, and is also able to provide a different level of care. Doctors are focused on diagnostics and specific types of treatment, whereas nurses spend more time delving into prevention and a wider range of holistic and wellness based treatments and therapies.

Can you bridge from NP to MD? ›

Can you go from NP to MD? An NP could become an MD by applying to medical school and going through all the requirements.

Is 40 too old to become an NP? ›

Yes—you absolutely can become a nurse practitioner after 45. There is no right age to become a nurse practitioner—and often times your knowledge and skills gained in your years as a nurse will greatly benefit you in your new career.

What are your weaknesses as a nurse practitioner? ›

Reflect on your weaknesses

Spending too much time on paperwork. Paying too much attention to detail. Attempting to complete too many tasks at once. A lack of clinical experience, which may apply to recent graduates or new nurses.

Is NP harder than bsn? ›

Courses and content are more challenging. The level of knowledge you're required to have as a Nurse Practitioner is a huge step up from a RN. You'll take a lot of the same courses as you did with your BSN, but will go into each topic with a lot more depth because you'll be diagnosing and treating health problems soon.

Is there anything above a nurse practitioner? ›

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)-Prepared Practitioner

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal nursing degree, meaning that it is the highest possible practice-based degree in nursing.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

What is the long term outlook for a nurse practitioner? ›

The Nurse Practitioner Job Outlook Is Positive

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for nurse practitioners includes a 40% growth rate by 2031. This means that 118,600 jobs will need to be filled in this time.

How close to being a doctor is a nurse practitioner? ›

While doctors and nurse practitioners have many similarities, there are some notable differences. The biggest difference between the two is the amount of time spent on training. While NPs have more training than a registered nurse, they receive less training than a doctor. They also are licensed differently.

Why are nurse practitioners important in healthcare? ›

The importance of nurse practitioners in healthcare is unmistakable as they help provide care to people who live in underserved areas. This may include urban and rural areas with limited access due to a lack of providers leading to a lack of healthcare resources and further enhancing health disparities.

What is the highest salary for a nurse practitioner? ›

The best Nurse Practitioner jobs can pay up to $400,000 per year. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with additional responsibilities including prescribing medication, examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing treatment, much as physicians do.

Is nurse practitioner less stressful than RN? ›

More time with patients.

Despite these positives when compared to working as an RN, the NP role can be very challenging and more demanding. Their duties may be more stressful compared to RNs because nurse practitioners often manage complicated patient cases and are responsible for making higher-level decisions.

Why is a nurse practitioner better than a doctor? ›

Many duties can overlap, but a nurse practitioner's role differs from a doctor's in flexibility and scope. A nurse practitioner, for example, can often be available to patients who need immediate care sooner than from a doctor, allowing nurse practitioners to serve as a frontline of defense in helping patients.

Is there a difference between NP and FNP? ›

The profession of nurse practitioner (NP) covers a spectrum of specialties, including pediatrics, women's health, and adult gerontology. A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a nurse practitioner who specializes in family medicine and treats a diverse patient base, providing care to patients throughout their life span.

What are the benefits of being a nurse practitioner? ›

Top 10 Pros of Being a Nurse Practitioner
  • Prosperous job outlook.
  • Flexibility in your work hours.
  • Competitive pay.
  • Having the opportunity to specialize.
  • Having a challenging career.
  • Growth of Telehealth.
  • Traveling opportunity.
  • The longevity of the career.

Why am I seeing a nurse practitioner and not a doctor? ›

Many patients prefer to visit a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor as they often find the interactions to be overall more friendly, the wait times when scheduling an appointment to be far shorter and the prices to often be far more affordable.

Do doctors respect nurse practitioners? ›

In addition, 87% of physicians said their working relationship with NPs was "good to very good," and 92% of NPs said the same about their working relationship with physicians.

What is higher rank NP or PA? ›

Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both NPs and PAs work in the healthcare field but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.

What state pays the highest for nurse practitioners? ›

Highest-Paying States for Nurse Practitioners
  • California - $151,830 / year.
  • New Jersey - $137,010 / year.
  • New York - $133,940 / year.
  • Washington - $130,840 / year.
  • Massachusetts - $129,540 / year.
Feb 17, 2023


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