Years before the coronavirus pandemic changed pretty much everything about our daily lives and unleashed a crisis on the healthcare system, a different type of healthcare crisis was threatening the country: a shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers.
Louisiana was projected to have one of the biggest shortages of nursing professionals in the country, in fact, and only time will tell how the pandemic has deepened that pre-existing condition in medical staffing.
We wanted to understand how attractive the state of Louisiana is for one nursing professional in particular: those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. These highly trained advanced nurses can serve a variety of roles that have a huge impact on care and the efficiency of healthcare systems.
To create our analysis, we looked at federal data for Louisiana and several of its cities and metro areas on salaries and employment levels for five jobs that are common after earning a DNP — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Three of the five DNP jobs we studied have average wages in Louisiana that are upwards of $100,000, with nurse anesthetists having by far the highest average wage. These DNP professionals are the highest-paid in every state. Registered nurse wages are lowest in Louisiana, though it’s worth noting that DNP graduates who fill these roles will be able to command far higher salaries. Also, while RNs are on the lower end of the list for DNP graduates, they still earn far more than the average worker in Louisiana, who earns about $44,000.
Average annual Louisiana salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$67,080.00|
In Louisiana, and every other state for that matter, registered nurse jobs are the most common among the DNP jobs we analyzed. Louisiana’s rate of RN employment per 1,000 jobs is about eight times higher than the next-highest rate, which is that of nurse administrators. Postsecondary nursing instructor jobs are the hardest to come by in Louisiana.
Louisiana employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.286|
Four of the top five Louisiana cities by average salaries across the five DNP jobs boast salaries in excess of $100,000, while the fifth is barely below that level. DNP salaries are highest in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, with Lake Charles not far behind.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
The most obvious career path for a DNP graduate is to earn licensure as a nurse practitioner, and in Louisiana, as in other states, nurse practitioners are granted the authority to provide many of the same medical services as a physician, though rules vary by state. Louisiana’s practice environment is somewhat restrictive, though the state still has several cities with average salaries for NPs that are quite high. Average salaries are highest in Alexandria and lowest in Monroe.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
Hammond and Alexandria are nearly tied with their rate of NP employment per 1,000 jobs, with Monroe a close third. Lake Charles and the New Orleans-Metairie metro area both have NP employment rates that exceed the overall rate for the state.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Typically, jobs for registered nurses don’t require candidates to have a DNP degree, but many people who complete DNP programs will find work as RNs. That said, the averages listed below can be considered the low end of the scale for RNs who have DNP degrees. The average annual salary for RNs in New Orleans is the highest in the state, and Lafayette’s is the lowest.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
Of all five DNP jobs, registered nurse employment rates are by far the highest. RN employment rates in Alexandria are No. 1 in the state, followed closely by Shreveport. Several other cities have higher rates than the state overall, including Hammond, New Orleans and Monroe.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
While many advanced nursing professionals and students who pursue DNP education intend to continue working directly with patients, a desire to obtain leadership roles is motivating for many others. Healthcare management jobs, such as nurse administrator, are popular for DNP graduates, and these jobs tend to be well-paying. Four of the Louisiana cities with available data have six-figure average wages for nurse administrators, and most others are near that range. The highest average salary for nurse administrators is in Hammond and the lowest is in Monroe.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
Aside from RN jobs, nurse administrator employment rates tend to be the highest of the DNP jobs we analyzed, and this holds true across Louisiana. Rates peak in Alexandria, with Hammond not far behind, while they’re at their lowest in Lake Charles.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Alleviating the shortage of trained nurses means educating increasing numbers of graduates, including at the postsecondary level. Many DNP graduates, including some who are working professionals, may be interested in a career change or supplementing their income with teaching positions. The BLS data did not include information for every city in the state when it comes to postsecondary nursing employment, but the average salary for these professionals in New Orleans is $66,760, which is slightly lower than the state average.
Nurse anesthetists are by far the best-paid DNP professionals we studied, and every Louisiana city with available data has average wages for these nurses that exceed $100,000, while Shreveport’s average nears $200,000.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
Limited data was published for nurse anesthetist employment rates, but these jobs will be much easier to come by in New Orleans than in Shreveport, while all three cities listed have higher rates than the state overall.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Bridging the staffing gap in the medical system will require a multifaceted approach, but it’s clear that Louisiana has some work to do in order to make DNP education and employment more attractive in the state.
Our analysis of BLS data covered a total of five jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible occupations that can be obtained with a DNP education. We used the May 2019 data, which the agency published in April 2020.