Survey Finds Nurse Practitioner Profession Grew in 2019


Since 2007, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners conducts the survey using the national nurse practitioner database to capture viral information about NPs across the country.

By December 2019, more than an estimated 290,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) are licensed to practice in the United States, which is an increase of about 20,000 more than the number of NPs reported in January 2019.1

The new national count and other findings were derived from the 2019 National NP Sample Survey. Since 2007, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) conducts the survey using the national nurse practitioner database to capture viral information about NPs across the country.1

In an interview withPharmacy Times®, Christine Tracy, VP of Research at AANP, said the organization goes to each state board of nursing and filters through a list of NPs to make sure each NP is only counted for once. If an individual has a license in more than 1 state, they are not considered for the survey.

A randomly selected group of NPs are asked to participate in the survey each year. This year, there was an overall response rate of 9.7% of the 58,000 NPs that were sent the questions, according to Tracy.

In even numbered years, the survey focuses on practice behaviors, such as what NPs are diagnosing, and what age group of patients the NPs are seeing. In odd numbered years, there is more of a focus on compensation, and other background behaviors, such as employee benefits, employment and compensation characteristics, and salary.

In the 2019 results, 4 of the top 5 certifications reported were in primary care, including family (65.4%), adult (12.6%), adult-gerontology (7.8%), and pediatrics (3.7%). Additionally, the findings found that the median base salary for full-time NPs was $110,000, and the median total income, including bonuses, for full-time NPs was $115,000.1

Education wise, the majority of respondents said they received a graduate degree (95.9%), and an estimated 16.4% indicated a doctoral degree as their highest level of education. More than 6% of NPs were educated in an additional Advanced Practice Registered Nurse role.2

Additionally, more than 11.9% of NPs reported working in communities with a population of less than 10,000 and approximately 3.2% of NPs work in communities with a population of less than 2500.2

The compensation arrangement found 69.6% of NPs were salaried, 26.8% were hourly, and 3.6% were self-employed. Furthermore, more than 3 out of 4 NPs (76.8%) worked full-time. Seventy eight percent of full-time NPs were salaried, whereas more than half of NPs who worked part-time had hourly compensation arrangements.2

A higher median base salary of $120,000 was reported in NPs with an additional administrative role to their clinical role, whereas NPs who only held a clinical role made a median base salary of $108,000. Compensation by community population, certification, work setting location, and years of experience were also included in the findings.1

Although there are a variety of different salary surveys available each year, Tracy emphasized how the National NP Sample Survey does its best to represent NP data on a national level.

“We get a healthy distribution of participants who are full-time employed, office, hospital, etc., but also self-employed or practice owners so you get a variety of information” Tracy said.

This survey has been essential to NPs across the country for several years, reminding them of their importance in the health care space. “It’s important to understand your value,”. “If you don’t have good benchmarking data on what’s happening in your region versus nationally, then you can’t advocate for your personal value in your workplace.”

The full 2019 National NP Sample Survey report is free for AANP members; nonmembers can purchase the report in the AANP store.1


  1. More than 290,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the United States [news release]. Austin, Texas; PR Newswire: March 3, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2020.
  2. 2019 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Compensation [PDF, email]. Sent March 6, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2020.

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