For years now, a healthcare crisis has been brewing in the U.S. No, not COVID-19. Long before terms like “social distancing” and “flatten the curve” became household phrases, in Maryland and across the U.S., a lack of skilled nursing professionals was poised to wreak havoc on the medical system.
One analysis found that Maryland was among the states that were at the highest level of risk over a nursing shortage, and there can be little doubt that the pandemic has made the situation much worse. While nursing professionals of all stripes are needed, there’s a popular nursing degree that is especially in high demand — the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
We wanted to explore the landscape in Maryland for DNP graduates, including what they can expect to make as well as how difficult it may be to find a job based on the ratio of DNP jobs in the larger economy in Maryland. To do this, we analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on a total of six jobs that are commonly held by those with a DNP: nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Four of the six DNP jobs we analyzed boast average annual salaries that are at least $100,000 in Maryland, with a fifth nearly at that level. Nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid DNP professionals in Maryland, and the same is true in every other state as well. Maryland’s lowest-paid DNP workers are registered nurses, though it’s important to note that RNs who have DNP degrees will certainly have higher wages than the average. Maryland ranks No. 5 for nurse midwives, No. 7 for postsecondary nursing instructors and No. 10 for nurse administrators and is above-average for the three other jobs.
Average annual Maryland salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$95,830.00|
In Maryland, as well as every other state, registered nurses will have the easiest time finding jobs, and in all states, there’s a huge gap between the employment rate for RNs and the rate for other jobs. This holds true in Maryland as well, where RN employment levels are almost five times higher than the next-highest rate, which is for nurse administrators. Compared to the rest of the U.S., Maryland ranks No. 5 for nurse administrator employment rates but comes in near or slightly below average for the other five jobs.
Maryland employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.334|
Zooming into the municipal level, most of the largest cities that are entirely or partially in Baltimore have average DNP wages higher than $100,000, with the Baltimore metro area leading the state. Washington, D.C., isn’t far behind, and the area includes portions of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
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 someone who’s planning to complete a DNP program is nurse practitioner. After all, the degree is mentioned in the name of the job. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced nurses who are able to perform many of the same functions as physicians. Maryland has one of the most expansive practice environments for NPs, which makes the state attractive for these nursing professionals. All of the metro areas entirely or partially in Maryland with available data have average NP wages that are higher than $100,000, with Baltimore and D.C. topping the list.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
Most of the cities and metro areas with available data have NP employment rates that exceed the state level, with the exception of the Washington and Hagerstown-Martinsburg areas. The Hagerstown-Martinsburg area includes portions of West Virginia. Salisbury has the highest NP employment rate in Maryland.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Most jobs for registered nurses don’t require applicants to have a DNP degree, but many people who complete DNP programs will go on to pursue RN jobs. The averages listed below include all RNs, so they are lower than what DNP graduates would be able to command. Salaries are highest in the D.C. area and lowest in Cumberland, which includes portions of West Virginia.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
RN jobs are by far the most commonplace among the six DNP jobs we studied, and this holds true across Maryland. Rates are highest in Cumberland, by a wide margin, and lowest in the Washington, D.C. area.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Many people who complete DNP degree programs will continue working directly with patients, but for many nursing professionals, the reason for seeking DNP education is to gain the educational expertise necessary to compete for leadership roles, such as nurse administrator. These jobs tend to be heavy on responsibilities, but they also usually offer six-figure wages, and in every Maryland city with available data, average salaries are at least $100,000. Nurse administrators can expect to maximize their earning potential in D.C.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
Aside from RN positions, nurse administrator roles are typically the next most common, and this is the case in Maryland. Jobs will be easiest to come by for nurse administrators in the Baltimore area, though the Philadelphia metro area, which includes portions of Maryland, isn’t far behind.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Meeting the increased demand for nursing professionals will mean producing an increasing number of graduates in higher-level nursing education programs. For many DNP graduates, teaching at the postsecondary level is a popular side job or career focus. In all three Maryland cities and metro areas with available data, instructors have high wages, led by a nearly $121,000 average in the D.C. area.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Employment rates for nursing instructors tend to be on the lower end of the scale, but they’ll have the easiest time finding work in the Philadelphia metro area, which covers portions of Maryland, and the most difficult time in the D.C. metro area.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Nurse anesthetists can expect by far the highest average wage among the six DNP jobs we analyzed, and for DNP graduates who can find these jobs in Baltimore, salaries should be quite high with a nearly $200,000 average. But the two other cities with available data also have impressive wage figures for nurse anesthetists.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
Only two cities have available data on employment rates for nurse anesthetists, and their rates are quite similar, though the Baltimore area gets the slight edge.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Nurse midwifery is an increasingly popular specialty for DNP programs, and these professionals can typically expect to find relatively high wages in employment situations. Their average is highest in the Baltimore area, though only three cities in Maryland had available data, and each of them were near or above $100,000.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
Not much data was available for employment rates for nurse midwives, but employment rates are higher in Baltimore and Philadelphia than the state of Maryland overall, and lowest in the D.C. metro area.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
The pre-existing condition of a major nursing shortage probably hasn’t helped the country with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, but only time will tell the full extent of damage. But the good news is that the state of Maryland, while it was expected to have one of the worst nursing shortages, does seem to be an attractive place for DNP 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, which the agency published in April 2020.