Long before anybody had heard of COVID-19, states across the country were experiencing a different kind of healthcare crisis — a shortage of nursing expertise. In fact, the Washington organization responsible for reporting nursing-related statistics in the state labeled a shortage of nursing facilities as dire in addition to declaring the state was low on nurses.
While it’s unknown just what impact the virus will have, there’s no doubt that Washington is in need of an influx of trained nursing professionals, such as those who have earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This degree provides the educational foundation for licensure as a nurse practitioner, and it can open up a range of other potential occupations.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in Washington
We wanted to understand how attractive the state of Washington is for people who have completed this degree, so we analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics data on six jobs that are commonly held by those with a DNP — nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse midwife and postsecondary nursing instructor.
Four of the six DNP jobs we studied offer average wages in the state of Washington that are at least $100,000, with the other two jobs not far behind. This is largely in keeping with other Western states. Nurse anesthetists are the highest-paid DNP professionals among those for whom we studied data, and these workers can expect to earn an average salary near $200,000 in Washington. Postsecondary nursing instructors have the lowest average salary in Washington when compared to other DNP professionals, but they can still expect far more than the average worker in the state, who earns just over $62,000. Washington’s salary level for nurse practitioners is second only to California’s, and Washington ranks No. 9 for the average registered nurse salary.
How Much Does a DNP Make in Washington?
The average salary ranges from $81,980 to $192,440 in Washington.
Average annual Washington salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$81,980.00|
In Washington and across the rest of the country, jobs for registered nurses (RNs) are the most common, according to the measure of employment per 1,000 jobs. Jobs for nurse midwives are the least commonly available among the six DNP jobs we analyzed.
Washington employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.371|
Several areas of the state are home to high wages when it comes to the average salary of the six jobs, with the Spokane metro area having the highest average salary across the six jobs, followed by the Portland, Oregon metro area, which includes portions of Washington.
Average salary by city, top 5
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
Given that it’s referenced in the very name of the job, graduates of Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are most likely to pursue positions as nurse practitioners, or NPs. These are highly trained and skilled nurses who are authorized to perform many of the same functions as physicians, though their range of freedom varies depending on the state in question. In Washington, NPs have a very wide range of latitude, which could help make the state more attractive for DNP grads in the long run. The average NP wage in the Spokane area is the highest, with Longview not far behind. Both cities are also in the top five among all cities and metro areas in the U.S. with available data.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
NPs in Spokane and Lewiston are the most likely to find jobs compared to their counterparts across the state. Several other cities have employment rates for NPs that exceed the state’s rate, including the Seattle-Tacoma and Portland metro areas.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
RN jobs don’t typically require a DNP, but many professionals who complete this degree will go on to jobs with this title. Also, it’s important to note that DNP graduates in RN roles likely will be able to earn wages far above the averages listed here. Across the state of Washington, average RN wages are highest in the Portland-Vancouver area, with Seattle-Tacoma not far behind. Those areas are the only two in the state with average RN wages that are above the state’s overall average.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
Jobs for registered nurses are by far the most common of the six DNP jobs we analyzed, and this holds true both in Washington and across the country. Several cities and metro areas in the state are hotspots of RN employment, including Lewiston, Idaho, which covers portions of Washington, Wenatchee, Spokane, Mount Vernon, Yakima, Portland and the Kennewick-Richland area.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
While many students who attend DNP programs are interested in jobs that relate to direct patient care, one of the most popular tracks in DNP programs is healthcare leadership and similar specialties. These types of degrees can lead to jobs in nursing administration and other medical management roles, jobs that tend to be very well-paying. Average salaries are highest in the Portland and Seattle areas of Washington, while the Mount Vernon area also has an average salary figure that exceeds the state’s overall average.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
Taking into account the entire state, nurse administrator jobs are the second-most-common DNP job in Washington, and employment rates for this role are highest in Wenatchee, Olympia and Lewiston. A few other cities also have employment rates higher than the state’s overall rate, including Longview and Seattle-Tacoma.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
Ensuring a bright future for nursing in Washington, postsecondary nursing instructors are responsible for training the next generation of nursing professionals in the state. That makes these DNP graduates crucial, though not all nursing instructors will hold DNP degrees. Still, of the cities with available data, salary rates are highest in the Seattle-Tacoma area and lowest in Bellingham.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Employment rates for nursing instructors are on the low end compared to other DNP jobs, but three cities with available data have employment rates that beat that of the state. The Olympia area’s employment rate for nursing professors is highest, followed by Bellingham.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
In every state, Washington included, the average salary for nurse anesthetists is the highest of the six DNP jobs we studied. Salaries for these professionals peak in the Portland metro area, which includes portions of Washington, with that city also coming in No. 7 compared to all cities for which data was published by the BLS.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
The sample size is small, to be sure, but nurse anesthetists are slightly more likely to find work in the Spokane Valley than in the Portland area.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Midwifery, the practice of assisting women through pregnancy, labor and after birth, is a growing specialty area in many DNP programs. Limited data was available from the BLS for cities that are entirely or partially in Washington when it comes to salary and employment data for nurse midwives. In both the Seattle-Tacoma and Portland metro areas, though, these professionals can expect to earn more than $110,000.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
Nurse midwives are likely to have the most difficult time of the DNP professionals on our list at finding work in the state of Washington, though it is likely to be a bit easier in Portland compared to Seattle.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
Combatting the nursing shortage in Washington and beyond will mean attracting students and graduates of DNP programs. The good news for these individuals in Washington or who may be considering relocating is that salaries tend to be higher in Washington, though it certainly depends on where you look.
We analyzed BLS data for six jobs that are commonly available with a DNP degree, though that’s not meant as a complete listing of all possible occupations, and not every one of those jobs necessarily requires a DNP. We used the May 2019 data, which the agency released in April 2020.