Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia was in the midst of a critical shortage of trained nursing professionals. In fact, estimates for 2020 indicated that the commonwealth’s demand for nurses would exceed supply by 30%.
Nursing degrees like the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) remain quite popular, including in Virginia, and an increase in the number of these degrees being granted over time will be crucial in narrowing the gap of nursing employment in Virginia and beyond.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Virginia
We wanted to understand how attractive Virginia is for DNP graduates, so we analyzed federal employment data covering six possible job titles that are commonly held by those with DNP degrees. Our analysis covered data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics related to salaries and employment for nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nurse anesthetists, nurse administrators, nurse midwives and postsecondary nursing instructors.
Half of the six DNP jobs we studied have six-figure average wage numbers in Virginia, and a fourth is close to that level. In Virginia and every other state, nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid among the DNP roles we studied, and their salaries in Virginia average nearly $200,000. The lowest-paid DNP workers in Virginia are postsecondary nursing instructors, though even this rate that’s low among those who hold this degree is still considerably higher than the average wage for everyone in the state, $56,740.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Virginia?
The average salary ranges from $71,640 to $180,120 in Virginia.
Average annual Virginia salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$71,640.00|
Registered nurse (RN) jobs are by far the most common type of DNP job we studied, and in Virginia RN employment is exponentially higher than the next-most-common job, nurse administrators. Nurse midwife jobs are the hardest to come by in Virginia, and this is true across much of the rest of the United States.
Virginia employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.386|
Zooming into the local level, several cities and metro areas that are entirely or partially in Virginia have six-job average salaries in excess of $100,000. The highest average was in the Washington, D.C., area, which includes a substantial portion of the commonwealth of Virginia.
Average salary by city, top 5
|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
For graduates of Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, the most obvious job title to pursue is nurse practitioner (NP). After all, the job name is referenced in the name of the degree. While significant restrictions and licensure requirements are in place, and these vary across the nation, Virginia’s practice environment for NPs is among the most restrictive in the United States. Still, these professionals can expect to earn high wages across much of Virginia, with the Winchester area having the highest average annual wage. Among communities for which data was available, NP salaries were lowest in the Blacksburg metro area.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$107,100.00|
NP employment levels reach their Virginia peak in the Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol metro area, which covers areas of both Virginia and neighboring Tennessee. Employment levels for NPs are lowest in the Blacksburg and D.C. areas.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||1.372|
While registered nurses don’t usually need to have a DNP degree to find a job, many people who complete DNP programs will seek jobs that have an RN title. These professionals are most likely to find high wages in the D.C. area, followed by Charlottesville, while salaries are lowest in the Kingsport metro area when taking into account all cities for which data was available.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$69,770.00|
RN jobs are by far the most common among the DNP jobs we examined, and several cities that are entirely or partially in Virginia have rates even higher than the commonwealth overall. Charlottesville leads the way, followed by Roanoke and Winchester. Employment levels for RNs is lowest in the D.C. area, which joins Blacksburg with an employment rate lower than that of the commonwealth overall.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||18.333|
While the desire to help provide hands-on care is what drives people to seek nursing education and employment, for many who complete DNP programs, their interests lie more in nursing leadership and healthcare administration than in providing direct patient care. Fortunately for these individuals, salaries tend to be very high, though this is commensurate with the higher responsibility level intrinsic to these jobs. Nurse administrators can expect to reach the highest wage levels in the D.C. area, though the Staunton-Waynesboro metro area isn’t far behind. Among cities and metro areas for which BLS data was available, average nurse administrator salaries are lowest in the Blacksburg metro area.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$105,920.00|
Nurse administrator jobs are generally one of the most common among DNP jobs, and several areas of Virginia have relatively high employment rates. These levels reach their peak in Charlottesville, while they are lowest in Harrisonburg.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||1.845|
Helping to combat the nursing shortage means training more professionals for jobs in the field. That means colleges and universities need an influx of postsecondary nursing instructors, and these jobs are often sought by DNP graduates. While their wages are generally on the lower end of the six jobs, those who are able to find employment in the Washington, D.C., area will likely find well-paying jobs. The average annual salary for nursing instructors in D.C. not only is the highest in Virginia, but it’s the highest in the country.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$64,820.00|
Employment rates were not published for every city or metro area in the commonwealth, but postsecondary nursing jobs are most plentiful in the Kingsport metro area among the cities for which data was available. Roanoke and Richmond were tied for the lowest rate.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||0.274|
Of the six DNP jobs we studied, nurse anesthetists had the highest average wage in every state, and that holds true in Virginia as well. Limited data was available, but the Virginia Beach metro area boasts the leading average salary rate for these DNP professionals, followed closely by Richmond, with D.C. not very far behind.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$188,840.00|
Insufficient data was available to make employment rate comparisons on a geographic level in Virginia for nurse anesthetists.
Many DNP programs offer an education track in midwifery, and nurse midwives tend to have salaries that exceed $100,000. This is true across most of the U.S., and in Virginia as well, though limited data was available from the BLS as compared to some other DNP jobs. But nurse midwife salaries are near or higher than $100,000 in all three of the metro areas for which the BLS had published data for Virginia.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$95,640.00|
We could not make geographic comparisons of employment rates for nurse midwives across the commonwealth, as not enough data was available.
The ongoing nursing shortage in Virginia is probably only getting worse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s why it may be more important than ever for schools, hospitals and lawmakers to make the commonwealth an attractive place for DNP students and graduates.
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.