For years now, long before terms like “social distancing” became commonplace because of the COVID-19 pandemic, another major medical crisis was brewing in Oregon and across the U.S. — a massive shortage of trained nursing professionals.
We wanted to understand how appealing Oregon is for one particular advanced nursing professional: those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This degree can provide the educational foundation necessary for licensure as a nurse practitioner, as well as opening up a host of other challenging and lucrative careers in nursing.
We analyzed data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for six jobs that are commonly held by those with DNP degrees. The list consisted of nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
In Oregon, four of the six DNP jobs on the list have average salaries in the six figures, while the fifth is quite close to that level. Nurse anesthetists have the highest average of the six jobs, and this holds true in Oregon and across the country. Oregon’s average salary for nurse anesthetists is the third-highest in the country. Postsecondary nursing instructors have the lowest average salary of the six jobs we studied, though these professionals still make far more than the typical worker in the state, who earns just under $54,000 per year. In addition to ranking No. 3 for nurse anesthetist wages, Oregon is fifth for registered nurses and ninth for postsecondary nursing instructors.
Average annual Oregon salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$83,900.00|
In every state, Oregon included, registered nurse jobs are the most common, and nurse administrator roles typically have the second-highest rate of employment per 1,000 jobs. Nurse midwife roles are the most difficult to come by in the state.
Oregon employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.262|
Among major cities and metro areas with available data, each of the top five have an average wage across the six jobs that exceeds $100,000, with the Portland metro, including areas of Washington, taking the top spot. Corvallis is a close second.
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 job role for a person who has earned a DNP is nurse practitioner. After all, the name of the degree is right there in the job title. Nurse practitioners can work in a variety of specialty areas and are authorized to perform some of the same services as a doctor, though rules vary by state. Oregon, like many other Western states, has a very expansive practice environment for NPs, which helps make the state attractive for students and professionals. All cities with available data in Oregon are home to average NP wages that exceed $100,000, with Medford having the highest average and the Bend-Richmond area having the lowest.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
NPs in Oregon will probably find the best chances for employment in Corvallis, though all but two cities (Salem and Eugene) have a higher rate of NP employment per 1,000 jobs than the state overall.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
While it’s true that most registered nurses probably don’t have to get a DNP in order to find a job, many people who complete DNP education will go on to seek RN positions. Several cities in the state have average RN wages that are close to $100,000, and for those who do have DNP degrees, salaries will go even higher. Portland’s average wage is the highest in the state, with Eugene and Medford also having average RN wages that are at least $90,000. The lowest average wage for RNs is in Albany.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
Employment rates for RNs are by far the highest of the six DNP jobs on our list, and this is the case in Oregon and the rest of the U.S. Medford has the highest RN employment rate, with Bend-Richmond not too far behind. Salem and Eugene also have higher rates than the state overall.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
While many people who pursue DNP education will eventually find jobs where they work directly with patients, others may be more interested in pursuing healthcare leadership jobs like nurse administrator. These roles tend to be heavy on the executive-level responsibilities, but wages rise in concert with added job tasks. All but one of the cities and metro areas in Oregon with available data are home to six-figure average wages for nurse administrators. Corvallis has the highest average, and Albany’s is the lowest.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
Aside from registered nurse employment levels, nurse administrators generally have the highest levels of employment per 1,000 jobs. This rate is highest in Corvallis, with several other cities also having higher rates than the state — Bend, Eugene, Medford and Salem.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Attacking the nursing shortage requires producing more graduates of nursing programs, particularly those that end in advanced degrees. This requires the services of postsecondary nursing instructors, and teaching is a common side job for DNP graduates, while others may decide to pursue academia full-time. Limited geographic data was available for Oregon, but the average annual wage for postsecondary instructors in Portland ($84,810) is just a bit higher than the state’s average.
As mentioned, nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid DNP professionals among the six we studied. The only data published for cities in Oregon was in Portland, where the average nurse anesthetist earns $224,710, which is the seventh-highest average among the nearly 400 cities and metro areas in the U.S.
Helping families through pregnancy, labor and after birth, also known as nurse midwifery, is an increasingly popular educational track in DNP programs. While limited geographic data was available, these professionals can expect to earn $113,080 in Portland, which is just under the state’s average for the job.
The multifaceted causes of shortages in nurse staffing will almost certainly be compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, though we won’t know the full toll for years. Still, with high wages and solid employment levels, Oregon should be able to continue attracting DNP professionals who can have a huge impact on the entire healthcare ecosystem.
Our analysis of BLS data covered six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a listing of all jobs that are possible with a DNP degree. We used the May 2019 data, which was released in April 2020.