Years before COVID-19 even existed, a different sort of healthcare crisis was brewing: The rapid aging of the U.S. population and retirement of skilled nurses meant that all across the country, cities and states were about to face a massive shortage of nursing professionals.
Like the rest of the country, Massachusetts has been watching this crisis unfold over the past several years, with many in the state identifying one particular nursing professional as crucial to alleviating the strain — the nurse practitioner.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Massachusetts
Expanding upon that, we wanted to understand how attractive the commonwealth of Massachusetts is for those who hold or are considering a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which often leads to nurse practitioner positions. That’s far from the only job that’s available for those with DNP degrees, so we widened our analysis to a total of six jobs in nursing — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor — and analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for all six.
Our analysis found that four of the six DNP jobs we identified offer wages in Massachusetts that are at least $100,000, with one job coming in at just over $200,000, nurse anesthetist. The lowest-paid DNP professionals in Massachusetts were postsecondary nursing instructors, but those workers can still expect to earn far more than the average person in Massachusetts, who earns about $66,000 per year. The commonwealth ranks No. 5 for registered nurse wages, No. 5 for nurse administrators and No. 7 for nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and nursing instructors.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Massachusetts?
The average salary ranges from $88,260 to $201,890 in Massachusetts.
Average annual Massachusetts salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$88,260.00|
Across the nation and in Massachusetts, registered nurses are the most likely to find lots of job opportunities, as their rate of employment per 1,000 jobs is by far the highest of the six DNP positions we examined. In fact, RN jobs in Massachusetts are more than five times more common than the next-highest job. Nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist jobs are the most difficult to come by, and this is the case across most of the U.S.
Massachusetts employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.559|
DNP professionals will be able to earn their highest wages on average in the Boston metro area, which includes portions of New Hampshire, and all of the top five cities in the commonwealth have average DNP wages that are upwards of $100,000.
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 pursuit for some with a DNP degree is nurse practitioner, which should come as no surprise. After all, the degree is referenced in the name of the job title. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are vital because they can perform many of the same job functions as physicians, though their authority varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, the practice environment is somewhat restrictive. Despite these guardrails, NPs in Massachusetts earn six-figure wages in every city and metro area for which data was available. Wages are highest in New Bedford, which also ranks No. 9 among the 300-some cities and metro areas across the country. NP wages are lowest in the town of Barnstable.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
NPs in Massachusetts are most likely to find a lot of job opportunities in Worcester, though Barnstable isn’t far behind. The Boston metro area also has an NP employment rate that’s higher than that of the commonwealth as a whole.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
The average RN job doesn’t require applicants to have a DNP, but some of those who have a DNP will go on to RN jobs. That said, they generally can expect higher wages than what’s listed below if they have that type of advanced degree. Wages for RNs are highest in the Boston metro area, and that’s the only city in the commonwealth where RN wages beat the state’s overall average. New Bedford is home to the lowest RN wage in Massachusetts.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
Without a doubt, RN employment rates are the highest of the six jobs we studied, and this holds true across Massachusetts. The Providence, Rhode Island area, which includes portions of Massachusetts, has the highest RN employment rate, with New Bedford and Worcester not far behind. The rate is lowest in Boston.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
While perhaps most of those who pursue a DNP do so because they want to be able to level-up their earning potential while still working directly with patients, some do so in order to access healthcare leadership roles, such as nurse administrator. These high-level jobs tend to have broad responsibilities, and they come with larger wages as well. All cities and metro areas in Massachusetts for which data was available have average nurse administrator wages of at least $100,000, with Boston boasting the highest average wage.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
Nurse administrator jobs are generally among the most common after RN jobs, and in many cities and metro areas across Massachusetts, that plays out. The employment rate for nurse administrators is highest in Pittsfield, with Boston a close second. But those are the only two cities with rates that are higher than the commonwealth’s overall rate, and nurse administrator jobs are a bit harder to come by in places like New Bedford and Springfield.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Helping close the gap in nurse staffing will mean increasing the number of nursing school graduates. A major aspect of that will be schools in the state attracting qualified postsecondary nursing instructors. This is another major landing spot for DNP graduates, who may want to change gears or supplement their income. Wages for nursing professors tend to be on the lower side, but these professionals can expect to earn more than $90,000 in both Worcester and Boston.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Jobs may be somewhat difficult to find across Massachusetts for nursing instructors, but the employment rate for these professionals is by far the highest in Springfield.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
In every state, Massachusetts included, nurse anesthetists are the best-paid of the six DNP professionals we analyzed. BLS data was insufficient for making geographic comparisons of nurse anesthetist wages and employment levels, but these professionals earn nearly $203,000 in Boston, which puts the city in the top 5%.
Nurse midwifery, assisting women through pregnancy, labor and after birth, is growing in popularity as a possible specialty area in DNP programs. While limited data was available for cities that are entirely or partially in Massachusetts for nurse midwife wages and employment, salaries in the Providence area are slightly higher than those in Boston.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
It’s a tiny sample size, to be sure, but nurse midwife jobs should be slightly easier to come by in Providence than they are in Boston.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
As the population continues to expand and age, the need for a regular infusion of highly trained nursing professionals will keep on growing. While it’s not clear the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the medical community, there’s no doubt that Massachusetts should continue to be a good option for DNP students and professionals, given its high wages and job availability.
Our analysis 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 BLS published in April 2020.