Long before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc upon the American medical system, it was well-known that a major shortage in healthcare staffing was looming. Among the worst locales for a nursing shortage, according to one analysis, was the state of North Carolina.
While it will be perhaps years before the full extent of COVID-19’s damage is known, North Carolina will probably be among the hardest-hit states. That’s why it’s so vital that the state attract trained, qualified nurses and nursing students.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in North Carolina
A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, is a type of doctoral degree that nursing professionals can earn that enables them to perform some of the same functions as a physician, thus helping alleviate some strain on the medical system. To understand what North Carolina DNP graduates can expect if they choose to work in the state, we analyzed data published by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics covering a selection of six sample jobs that are commonly held by those with a DNP. The jobs include nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
In North Carolina, two of the six DNP jobs come with an average annual wage that’s at least $100,000, with nurse anesthetists being by far the highest-paid DNP professionals in the state. As in most other states, registered nurses (RNs) are the lowest-paid DNP professionals in North Carolina. While their wages are on the low end for DNP graduates, they still make much more than the average worker in the state, who earns about $48,000 per year.
How Much Does a DNP Make in North Carolina?
The average salary ranges from $66,440 to $189,060 in North Carolina.
Average annual North Carolina salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$70,300.00|
In every state, North Carolina included, registered nurse jobs are the most common, according to the number of professionals employed per 1,000 jobs. RNs can expect to find exponentially more jobs than any other DNP professional of the six we analyzed, though the state does rank No. 4 for its concentration of nurse anesthetist jobs.
North Carolina employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.499|
In three cities and metro areas that are entirely or partially in North Carolina, the average DNP professional can expect to earn upwards of $100,000, and two cities are quite close to that level. The highest six-job average wage is in the Myrtle Beach area, which is primarily in South Carolina but includes portions of North Carolina, while the Charlotte metro area is just a tad behind that.
Average salary by city, top 5
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach||$110,460.00|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$105,348.33|
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
The most obvious job for a DNP graduate is nurse practitioner, and in North Carolina, as in other states, these professionals have the authority to provide many of the same medical services as a physician. North Carolina’s practice restrictions are among the harshest in the country, but despite this, nurse practitioners (NPs) in North Carolina have high wages in many cities across the state. Wilmington’s average annual wage for NPs is the highest in the state, and each of the top 10 cities that are entirely or partially in the state also offer six-figure wages.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$107,100.00|
The Durham-Chapel Hill area, part of the state’s vaunted Research Triangle, has the highest concentration of NP employment, followed by Asheville. Most other cities and metro areas in the top 10 have NP employment rates that exceed the state’s overall rate.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||1.372|
Most jobs for registered nurses (RNs) don’t require a DNP, but many of those who do complete this degree will go on to take jobs with this title. Given their widespread availability, these jobs tend to be on the lower-paying side, but across the state, the Fayetteville area offers the highest average annual wage.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$69,770.00|
As mentioned, RN jobs are by far the most common of the six jobs we analyzed, and this holds true both in North Carolina and across the United States. Greenville’s employment rate for RNs is the highest in the state, followed by the Durham-Chapel Hill area, and both cities are among the top 10 nationally among the 300-plus cities for which data was published.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
DNP degree graduates who are interested in pursuing leadership roles within healthcare systems, hospitals and other organizations may choose to eschew direct patient contact in favor of nurse administrator or medical manager jobs. These are usually jobs with heavy responsibilities and high wages. Indeed, in the 10 North Carolina cities with the highest wages, the lowest average annual wage for nurse administrators is nearly $113,000 in Fayetteville. Wages are highest in Durham-Chapel Hill, with Winston-Salem not far behind.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
Jobs for nurse administrators are among the most common, and Fayetteville has the highest concentration of nurse administrator employment of any North Carolina city or metro area for which data was available.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach||2.439|
Helping alleviate the nursing shortage across North Carolina will mean training new nurses to take the place of those who retire and leave the workforce. That means the need for experienced, qualified nursing instructors is high. While these professionals generally aren’t paid in the six figures, in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, they get pretty close with an average annual wage of almost $90,000, though it’s important to note that data was unavailable for many communities.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$64,820.00|
Employment rates for nursing instructors aren’t very high, but they peak in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, with the highest rate in Durham-Chapel Hill. Several other areas also have higher rates than the state overall, including Winston-Salem and Greensboro-High Point.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||0.274|
In all states, North Carolina included, nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid DNP professionals among the six jobs we analyzed. The Charlotte metro area, which includes portions of South Carolina, ranks No. 16 among all cities and metro areas thanks to its average annual wage for these professionals of nearly $208,000.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$188,840.00|
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach||$185,650.00|
Nurse anesthetist employment isn’t high in most places, and that tends to hold true across North Carolina, though a couple of metro areas may be better markets for nurse anesthetists than the state as a whole. Both the Charlotte and Raleigh areas have higher employment rates for nurse anesthetists than North Carolina overall.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||0.151|
Many DNP programs offer a track in midwifery, and while these jobs tend to be the least available of the six DNP jobs we analyzed, they are usually high-paying. The average wage for these professionals in North Carolina is just over $100,000, but they’re even higher in the Charlotte metro area.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$95,640.00|
Insufficient data was available to make geographic comparisons about employment rates in North Carolina for nurse midwives.
Given the commitment of time and resources required to complete a DNP degree, the good news for students or professionals considering that degree in North Carolina is that many of the state’s biggest cities are likely to produce generous wages for applicants.
Our analysis included jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible jobs. We used data published in April 2020.