Healthcare officials and industry observers in Utah have seen a healthcare crisis on the horizon for years now. No, it’s not COVID-19. This crisis is less dramatic but potentially could remain dangerous — a major shortage of nurses and other nursing professionals.
Nearly half of the nursing workforce in Utah is over the age of 45, which means the state is poised to begin seeing mass retirements of nurses with not nearly enough students and early-career professionals to replace them.
There’s one particular type of nursing professional who could make an especially big positive impact on the state of nursing in Utah — individuals with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees. In every state, including Utah, these advanced nursing professionals are licensed and authorized to fulfill many of the roles a physician traditionally fills, though rules vary by state.
To dig into the details of DNP employment, including job rates and salaries, in Utah, we analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on a total of six jobs that are often or always filled by DNP graduates — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Four of the six DNP jobs in Utah have an average salary that exceeds $100,000, and a fifth isn’t too far off that. Nurse anesthetists have the highest average wage in Utah, and this is true of every other state as well. The lowest-paid DNP professionals in Utah are registered nurses, though it’s important to note two things: First, though they’re at the bottom of this list, RNs in Utah still make more than the average worker in the state, who earns less than $50,000. Second, DNP graduates who work in registered nurse positions will command a higher wage than most RNs, who may have only a bachelor’s degree.
Average annual Utah salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$82,790.00|
In every state, including Utah, registered nurse positions are the most commonly available, though Utah’s rate of RN employment per 1,000 jobs is the lowest in the nation. Still, these jobs are several times more common than the next-highest, which is nurse administrator. Data was not available for nurse anesthetists, but nurse midwives had the lowest employment level of the five jobs with available data.
Utah employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.226|
Zooming into the city level, BLS data was available for five cities and metro areas in Utah, with wages, perhaps unsurprisingly, being highest in the state’s largest city, Salt Lake City. The average DNP professional, accounting for wages across all six jobs, earns nearly $100,000 in Salt Lake City, while the average wage is lowest in Logan.
Average salary by city
|Salt Lake City||$99,170.00|
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
A DNP student going on to earn licensure and find work as a nurse practitioner shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, the name of the degree is referenced right there in the job title. Nurse practitioners (NPs) are highly trained nurses, who may work within a specialty area or may be general practice NPs, and they are empowered to provide many medical services that would otherwise be performed by a doctor. Utah does have a relatively restrictive legal environment for NPs, which makes it unusual in the Western U.S. Still, available data for cities in the state tells us that NPs in Utah generally can expect to earn six-figure wages. Three of the four cities with available data have average wages over $100,000, and the fourth is very close. The Ogden-Clearfield metro area has the highest average, while Provo-Orem is at the bottom of the list.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||$104,370.00|
NPs in Utah will have the easiest time finding jobs by looking in the St. George area, followed closely by Salt Lake City. Jobs will be toughest to come by in Ogden-Clearfield.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||1.363|
While it’s true that the typical registered nurse (RN) won’t need to obtain such an advanced degree, many DNP graduates will go on to fill RN positions. For those who do, salary average s will be far higher than what’s listed for the five cities with available data in Utah. RN salaries are highest in Salt Lake City and lowest in Logan.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||$70,040.00|
Far and away the most common DNP job among those we analyzed was registered nurse. In every state, RNs will have a much easier time finding jobs than any of the other DNP professionals on our list. But in Utah, the St. George area has a much higher employment level for RNs than any other city in the state, while Salt Lake City also has a higher employment rate than the state overall.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||15.271|
DNP degrees can often lead to jobs that deal directly with patients, but those roles aren’t the only ones possible. For nursing professionals with a desire to work in leadership positions within healthcare organizations, jobs in medical management, such as nurse administrator, are very appealing. These tend to be executive-level positions or non-executive roles that have a wide range of organizational responsibilities. As a result, salaries tend to be much higher. In fact, in four of the five Utah cities with available data, nurse administrators make near or above $100,000, with average salaries in Salt Lake City topping the list.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||$110,720.00|
Across the country, nurse administrator employment rates tend to be the highest (outside of RN jobs), and rates in Salt Lake City are the highest in the state. St. George also has employment rates for nurse administrators that are higher than the state’s overall rate, while Ogden-Clearfield has the lowest rate.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||3.049|
Tackling the severe nursing shortage will mean ramping up educational opportunities and attracting students to nursing education, particularly at high levels. That means more demand for nursing professors and postsecondary nursing instructors. While limited geographic data was available for Utah cities, Salt Lake City has a much higher average wage than Ogden-Clearfield.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||$92,000.00|
Postsecondary nursing instructor jobs generally will be difficult to come by, with employment rates tipping to the lower end of the scale in most places across the U.S. Ogden-Clearfield has the same rate as the state overall, while Salt Lake City comes in below that.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Salt Lake City||0.188|
No wage or employment data was available for any cities or metro areas in Utah when it comes to nurse anesthetist wages.
DNP programs are increasingly offering educational specialties in midwifery, which is the study and practice of assisting families through pregnancy and during and after labor. Wages for these positions, which tend to be rare, are often high. Data is limited for Utah cities, but Salt Lake City’s average annual wage of $118,720 is high enough to rank the city at No. 7 nationally.
A healthcare system is only as good as the staff that supports it. That’s why it’s so crucial that the entire U.S, Utah included, makes it a priority to educate students and promote the importance of nursing.
Our analysis of BLS data covered six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible jobs one could fill after completing a DNP program. We used the May 2019 data, which came out in April 2020.