For the better part of a decade, a major health crisis has been brewing all across the United States. No, not the coronavirus pandemic. A massive shortage of qualified healthcare personnel. Namely, nurses.
Indiana, like the rest of the U.S., has been getting closer and closer to a potentially dangerous shortage of trained, qualified nurses. The combination of an aging population and an aging nursing workforce means there simply aren’t enough people to provide important nursing care services.
While nurses are needed in a variety of fields and with a variety of educational backgrounds, there’s one type of nursing degree that is becoming increasingly sought-after: Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP.
SEE ALSO: Indiana DNP Programs with Online Options
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Indiana
A DNP degree provides the educational foundation required to earn formal licensure as a nurse practitioner, which is a critical part of the healthcare ecosystem, but DNP degrees can also lead to a whole host of other healthcare careers. We wanted to see how attractive Indiana is for DNP students and professionals, so we turned to federal employment data. We analyzed employment rates and salaries for six jobs that are commonly held by those with a DNP degree — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Four of the six DNP jobs we analyzed boast six-figure average wages in Indiana, with nurse anesthetists taking the top spot. Indiana is quite representative of the nation in that regard, as every other state also saw nurse anesthetists have the highest average salary of the six jobs. Registered nurses are the lowest-paid DNP professionals in Indiana, though it’s important to note that because DNP degrees generally aren’t required for RN jobs, candidates who do have that advanced education will almost certainly make much higher wages. Indiana ranks ninth for postsecondary nursing instructor salaries and No. 13 for nurse midwives, though the state’s average salary rates are below average for the other jobs on the list.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Indiana?
The average salary ranges from $66,560 to $165,770 in Indiana.
Average annual Indiana salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$83,880.00|
In Indiana, as well as in every other state, jobs for registered nurses (RNs) are by far the most common, though employment rates for nurse anesthetists in Indiana were not available. But RNs will have the easiest time finding work with an employment rate that’s almost 10 times higher than nurse administrators, who are No. 2 on the list. Indiana has the ninth-highest employment rate for postsecondary nursing instructors, and it’s No. 10 for nurse practitioners.
Indiana employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.562|
Two of the biggest metro areas that are either partially or entirely in Indiana have average salaries of more than $100,000 when taking all six jobs into account, and three others are close, including Muncie and Indianapolis, the state’s capital.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
Given the similarity of their names, the most obvious career path for a DNP graduate is to become a nurse practitioner. These nursing professionals are empowered to perform some of the same functions as a physician, though Indiana’s practice environment is somewhat restrictive, though largely in keeping with what’s common in the Midwest. In all 10 of the cities and metro areas in Indiana (or that include parts of the state), NPs can expect to earn upwards of $100,000. The highest average is in Terre Haute, home of Indiana State University, followed by Columbus and the Lafayette-West Lafayette area, which is where Purdue University is located.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
|Michigan City-La Porte||$111,130.00|
Evansville is the hub of NP employment in Indiana, though most of the other cities in the top 10 also have higher employment rates for NPs than the state overall, including Fort Wayne, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Michigan City and Muncie.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|Michigan City-La Porte||1.876|
Most RN positions don’t require candidates to have a DNP degree, but many of those who complete DNP programs will go on to get jobs with that title. And while salaries for RNs are on the lower end of the spectrum, those with a DNP degree will make much more than the overall average for all RNs. In Indiana, RN salaries are highest in the Chicago metro area, which spans much of northwestern Indiana.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
|Michigan City-La Porte||$69,360.00|
RN jobs are by far the easiest to come by among all DNP jobs we studied, and this holds true across the state of Indiana. In fact, all but two of the cities and metro areas in the state have RN employment rates that exceed the state’s rate. After No. 1 Evansville, the Fort Wayne and Indianapolis areas have a similar RN employment rate.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|Michigan City-La Porte||21.381|
While it’s common for DNP graduates to become nurse practitioners or get other roles where they are working directly with patients, medical and healthcare leadership is another popular option. That’s why many DNP-holders pursue careers as nurse administrators or medical managers. These jobs tend to come with big responsibilities, and big bumps in pay. The Chicago metro area has the highest average salary for nurse administrators in Indiana, followed by Muncie, while the majority of the other cities in the top 10 also offer six-figure wages for this job.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
Nurse administrator employment is the second highest after registered nurses, and most of the cities in the top 10 have higher rates than the state overall. Nurse administrators will have the easiest time finding work in Fort Wayne, with Muncie and Columbus not far behind.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|Michigan City-La Porte||2.988|
Tackling the nursing care shortage will require ramping up the number of people who complete advanced nursing programs, including the DNP. Also, many of those who complete a DNP will supplement their income by teaching on the side, and others may make the jump to academia. While less data is available when it comes to instructor salaries than for other jobs, the Lafayette area, which includes Purdue University’s main campus, has the highest salary rate, followed by Cincinnati, which spans portions of Ohio as well as both Indiana and Kentucky.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Most of the cities for which data was available have higher employment rates for nursing instructors than Indiana as a whole, with Terre Haute and Lafayette, both college towns, leading the way.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
In every state and across Indiana, nurse anesthetists have the highest average wage among the six DNP jobs we studied. They can expect to find the highest average salary in the Chicago metro area, followed by Cincinnati.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
It’s a small sample size based on available data, but nurse anesthetist employment rates in Indianapolis are lower than for other areas of the state that are included in the metro areas of both Cincinnati and Chicago.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Many DNP programs offer an education track in midwifery, or assisting women through pregnancy, labor and after birth. In Indiana, the average wage for a nurse midwife in Indianapolis is the highest, though limited data was made available by the BLS.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
The sample size is quite small, but all three cities and metro areas either entirely or partially in the state of Indiana for which data was available had higher employment rates for nurse midwives than the state overall.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
It’s too soon to tell what the impact of COVID-19 will be on healthcare staffing, including the supply of trained nursing professionals, such as those with a DNP degree. But states like Indiana would be well-advised to continue investing in educational opportunities for these professionals and ensuring they are well-compensated for the important work they do.
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, which the agency published in April 2020.