Long before anybody had heard of COVID-19, the U.S. was on the brink of a major healthcare crisis of an entirely different sort — a staffing shortage. Arizona was identified as one of the states expected to have it the worst in terms of nursing staff shortages by 2025, according to one analysis, likely due in part to the state’s large senior population.
While it will be years before we know the full extent of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on healthcare and nursing staffs, we do know that one nursing professional in particular will be in high demand — those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. These advanced nursing professionals are authorized in every state to perform some of the same functions as physicians, which makes them critical to helping the medical system be more effective.
SEE ALSO: Arizona DNP Programs with Online Options
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Arizona
We wanted to understand where Arizona stands when it comes to salaries and employment rates for DNP professionals. Because this degree is such a versatile one, we gathered wage and employment rates for a total of six DNP jobs: nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor. For each job, we studied data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for all 50 states, D.C. and more than 300 cities and metro areas across the country and in Arizona.
Four of the six DNP jobs we studied boast six-figure average wages in Arizona, with nurse anesthetists having by far the most substantial average annual wage. In every state, nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid of the six DNP professionals. Registered nurses (RNs) in Arizona have the lowest average annual wage, but these nurses still can expect to earn higher wages than the average worker in the state, who makes about $51,000 per year. Also, most RNs don’t have DNP degrees, so for holders of that degree who continue in registered nurse jobs, salaries should be much higher. Compared to other states, Arizona tends to come in near the middle for each of the jobs, with the exception of nurse midwife salaries, for which Arizona ranks No. 6.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Arizona?
The average salary ranges from $78,330 to $144,530 in Arizona.
Average annual Arizona salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$81,110.00|
RN positions are by far the most common DNP job among those we studied, and this holds true in Arizona as well as the rest of the country. In fact, the next most prevalent job, nurse administrators, have a rate that’s nearly seven times less than the RN employment rate. Nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist jobs will be the toughest to come by in Arizona.
Arizona employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.414|
Of the cities and metro areas for which salary data was available, Flagstaff had the highest six-job average, followed closely by the Phoenix metro area and Yuma, and all three areas have average DNP wages that reach the six figures. The other two cities in the top five for salary rates are nearly there as well.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
It should come as no surprise, but the most commonly sought job title for those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is nurse practitioner. After all, the degree’s name is right there in the job title. In all states, NPs are empowered to perform some functions that may otherwise be reserved for physicians, and Arizona is among the states where NPs have the widest degree of freedom. That may be one reason why every city and metro area for which the BLS published data offer average NP wages upwards of $100,000. Wages are highest in Yuma and lowest in the Phoenix area, though, again, both have six-figure wages for NPs.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||$110,800.00|
NP employment rates spike in Flagstaff, which has a rate that’s nearly double the next-highest city. Several other cities have employment rates for NPs that are higher than the state’s rate, including the Sierra Vista-Douglas area, Tucson, Yuma and Prescott.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||1.407|
While it’s true that most RN jobs don’t require a DNP degree, many people who complete DNP tracks will take jobs as registered nurses or with very similar job titles. These professionals overall tend to have wages on the lower end of the scale, but that’s due largely to the fact that most RNs don’t have the advanced education that a DNP provides, so for DNP grads who want to practice as RNs, wages should be even higher. Among Arizona cities with available data, the highest average salaries were in Prescott and the Phoenix metro area.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||$69,450.00|
RN employment rates are by far the highest of the six DNP jobs on our list, and a few Arizona cities have RN employment rates that are even higher than the state’s overall rate. RN employment is at its peak in Tucson, followed by Prescott and the Lake Havasu City-Kingman area. Sierra Vista-Douglas has the lowest rate.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||21.069|
Many people who seek DNP degrees do so in order to get jobs practicing advanced forms of nursing, while others get this degree because they want to work in healthcare leadership. Jobs like nurse administrator or medical services manager are quite common for those who have a DNP, and it’s not hard to see why. The step up in career responsibilities tends to come with higher pay, and most of the Arizona cities with available data are home to nurse administrator salaries that exceed $100,000. Wages are highest in the Phoenix metro area and Tucson.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||$84,570.00|
After RNs, nurse administrator jobs tend to be the most prevalent, and that’s the case across much of Arizona. Nurse administrator positions will likely be at their highest rate in Lake Havasu City, with Flagstaff close behind.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Lake Havasu City-Kingman||4.984|
Tackling the nursing shortage will mean producing a new crop of highly trained nursing professionals. That’s where postsecondary nursing instructors come in, and teaching at high levels is often a popular option for DNP graduates who want to shift gears or supplement their income. While much less robust data was available for this job, wages for nursing instructors are slightly higher in the Phoenix area than in Tucson.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Insufficient data was available to make geographic comparisons about employment rates.
Boasting the highest wages of the six DNP professionals whose data we examined, nurse anesthetists can generally expect to earn at least $100,000. While insufficient data was available from the BLS to make comparisons between cities across the state, the agency indicated that the average nurse anesthetist in Phoenix earns more than $142,000 per year.
Nurse midwifery, the practice of assisting women through pregnancy, labor and after birth, has become one of the most popular specialties offered in DNP programs, though not all schools offer the track. The only Arizona city for which the BLS provided data was Phoenix, where the average nurse midwife earns about $109,000 per year.
Time will tell the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state of nursing and healthcare employment in Arizona and the U.S. But given that the situation was dire even before the pandemic, it seems clear that Arizona may have a limitless appetite for DNP students and graduates.
Our analysis of BLS data covered a total of six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible jobs. We used the May 2019 data released in April 2020.