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The 10 Highest-Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties That Make $100K or More

Masked female nurse practitioner standing outside facing camera with row of NPs standing behind her.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) May 2020 data, the average annual salary for nurse practitioners was around $114,510 a year — or about $55.05 per hour. That said, NPs who choose to focus on a particular specialty could make much, much more.

Below, we’ve provided a ranked table of 10 NP specialties that have a median salary of more than $100,000 per year, ranked in order of highest to lowest. (As a refresher, the median is the number that’s right smack in the middle of a range of values. In this instance, it would be the salary that’s right in the middle of a range of salaries for a given NP specialty. Since averages can be skewed by outliers, we thought median salaries would give you a more realistic idea of the earning potential of each specialty.)

To keep things as "apples to apples" as possible, we pulled all income data from Salary.com. Keep in mind that nursing professionals in any specialty may make more (or less), depending on factors like facility type, experience, geographic location, and tenure.

The 10 Highest Nurse Practitioner Salaries by Specialty

Rank Specialty Median Salary Estimate
1 Neonatal Nurse Practitioner $126,933/year
2 Emergency Nurse Practitioner $115,820/year
3 Cardiac Nurse Practitioner $115,701/year
4 Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner $114,579/year
5 Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner $114,557/year
6 Oncology Nurse Practitioner $114,484/year
7 Acute Care Nurse Practitioner $112,203/year
8 Family Nurse Practitioner $111,680/year
9 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner $108,624/year
10 Surgical Nurse Practitioner $108,552/year

The 10 Highest-Paying Nurse Practitioner Specialties, Explained

You’re probably thinking: “Well, it’s great to know how much money I could make… but how do I get there? This specialty sounds interesting, but how do I know if it’s right for me?”

These are all great questions and ones we’re determined to help you answer. We researched each specialty and collected information on the points we thought would be most helpful to you. They are:

  • Estimated Average Salary
  • Typical Salary Range
  • Relevant National Associations To Know About
  • Duties & Responsibilities
  • National Certification(s) Available

For each specialty, we also provided a link to Indeed.com so you can see real-life job postings. In any kind of job hunt, reading through listings often can give you the best idea of whether a particular job or specialty is the right fit for you. Through this “recon” work, you’ll be able to see the specific skills, certifications, and educational backgrounds that prospective employers are looking for. And, ultimately, you’ll be able to decide whether it sounds like the right fit for you or if you need to keep looking.

Good luck and happy job-hunting!

1. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

2. Emergency Nurse Practitioner

3. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

4. Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner

5. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary Estimate: $112,900/year
  • Typical Salary Range: $105,400 - $120,000
  • Relevant National Association(s): The following are two important associations that aspiring orthopedic NPs should know about:
  • Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of an orthopedic NP can include:
    • Providing recovery care (e.g., replacing dressings, emptying drains)
    • Setting broken bones, applying casts
    • Some may be able to assist with surgeries
    • Performing physical exams
    • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, scans (e.g., X-rays), and treatments
    • Prescribing medication to help with patients’ pain management
    • Caring for patients with musculoskeletal conditions across the lifespan
    • Prepping for surgery
    • Informing and educating patients and their families regarding their rehabilitation journey and on how to care for patients once they’ve left hospital
  • National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that this is the most common certification that orthopedic NPs tend to pursue:
  • Where to Find Jobs in This Field: Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as an orthopedic NP.

6. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

7. Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

8. Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Median Salary Estimate: $110,100/year
  • Typical Salary Range: $102,160 - $119,600
  • Relevant National Association(s): Although we weren’t able to find any associations specifically devoted to family nurse practitioners (FNPS) in our research, the following is a list of some important general NP associations to know about:
  • Summary of Duties & Responsibilities: Depending on your particular state’s nurse practice act, the duties and responsibilities of aN FNP can include:
    • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients across the entire lifespan – which includes pregnancy/OB care
    • Performing routine checkups and physicals
    • Tracking patients’ health histories
    • Educating patients and their families on strategies for supporting and maintaining good health and wellness, as well as giving them preventative strategies
    • Designing and implementing treatment plansOrdering and interpreting various diagnostic tests, scans, and lab results
  • National Certification(s) Available: Our research found that these are some of the most common certifications that FNPs tend to pursue:
  • Where to Find Jobs in This Field:
    • Click here to find real-life examples of jobs you could get as a FNP.

9. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

10. Surgical Nurse Practitioner


Last updated on June 7, 2021.
Originally published on February 15, 2019.


Image courtesy of iStock.com/FatCamera


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Berxi™ or Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. This article (subject to change without notice) is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute professional advice.

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