Top States for Nurse Practitioners Today

best states for nurse practitioners
best states for nurse practitioners

The demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) is soaring in states across the country.

From diagnosing illnesses and treating medical conditions to providing patient education, nurse practitioners play an essential role in promoting the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.

Growing at a much-faster-rate than other occupations, nurse practitioner jobs are expected to increase by 52% through 2029. With more than 110,000 new roles on the horizon, you’ll find opportunities nationwide as an NP.

Read on to learn which states offer the best outlook for nurse practitioners.


what are the top states to work as a nurse practitioner

What are the Top States to Work as a Nurse Practitioner?

With the increased need for nurse practitioners, many states are doing all they can to attract professionals. The demand certainly varies, but here are the top 10 states to consider as you prepare for a thriving career as a nurse practitioner:

New York

New York is one of the top five states when it comes to those with the greatest number of jobs available for nurse practitioners over the next few years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects nurse practitioner jobs to continue increasing by 36.1% nationally over the next six years. In New York, however, that growth is expected to be nearly 42%.

New York is also estimated to have 1,640 job openings for nurse practitioners each year—the most of any state in the country.

Another reason New York is a top destination for nurse practitioners is salary: the average annual salary is $126,440. That ranks in the top five of highest paying states.


California tops all other states when it comes to the highest yearly salary for nurse practitioners. The state reports an average annual salary of $145,970

The top paying metropolitan areas for Nurse Practitioners are all in California, including San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA with an average salary of $177,800 and Vallejo-Fairfield, CA with an average salary of $188,070.

California has one of the highest employment levels for nurse practitioners at 15,100, (similar to New York), and the state is increasing at a rate higher than the national average (35%). This puts California roughly at 1,200 NP job openings each year.


Counties all over Florida are projected to have hundreds of nurse practitioner job openings each year, propelling it to one of the top five states with the highest employment level in nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioner is the fastest growing profession in the state of Florida with an estimated growth rate of 51.9% between 2020 and 2028.

Part of Florida’s tremendous growth is because approximately half of the state’s physicians are expected to hit retirement age in the next 10 years.

Simultaneously, approximately three million Floridians are eligible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, which has increased accessibility to care.


Texas comes in third when it comes to projected employment for nurse practitioners in the United States. Texas should see a 32% increase in nurse practitioner roles between 2020 and 2028, which represents 1,170 new positions each year.

The Lonestar State also ranks relatively high when it comes to average annual salary: $116,700.

Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas in the top 20% for both economy and fiscal stability across all states.


Ohio comes in at number five when it comes to states with the highest employment level in nurse practitioners.

Anticipated to add 650 nurse practitioners to its workforce each year, it’s expected for the state to have 9,620 NPs by 2028.

In addition to a positive job growth rate, Ohio also ranks as one of the most affordable states to live. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks the state number two for affordability.


The state of Illinois expects to employ 10,700 nurse practitioners by 2028, a prediction that lands Illinois among the top five states for projected employment among nurse practitioners.

With a projected job growth rate of 31% and average of 760 jobs opening up each year, Illinois is a top notch consideration for nurse practitioners.

Consider this as well if you’re considering a move to Illinois—the state lands in the top quarter of all states for both education and opportunity in the U..S. News & World Report rankings.

New Jersey

While California leads the way as the top paying state for nurse practitioners, New Jersey isn’t too far behind. The Mid-Atlantic state lands at second place, reaching an average annual salary of $130,890.

New Jersey’s annual job growth is estimated at 28% with 560 nurse practitioner jobs added each year between 2020 and 2028.

The state also boasts impressive U.S. News & World Report rankings: first place for education and fourth place for healthcare among all other states.


Tennessee is home to numerous metropolitan areas with high concentrations of nurse practitioner jobs, including Johnson City, Knoxville, Jackson, and Cleveland.

Another benefit to practicing in Tennessee is that the state’s projected growth rate is 35% between 2020 and 2028, with approximately 730 NP jobs opening up each year.

And while the average mean salary for nurse practitioners comes in at $99,370—lower than some of the other states we’ve covered thus far—Tennessee ranks third for fiscal stability in the rankings published by U.S. News & World Report.

Tennessee also has a lower than average cost of living when compared to all states.


Salary is a definite appeal of working in Massachusetts. The average annual salary of nurse practitioners in this state is $126,050, the fifth-highest salary for NPs across all states.

Massachusetts is predicted to add around 560 nurse practitioner positions each year between 2020 and 2028. Nurse practitioners in Massachusetts also enjoy a higher share of employment than the national average.

If you’re considering the state Massachusetts for your nurse practitioner career, the good news doesn’t stop at salary and job outlook.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Massachusetts ranks second in health care and education, fourth in crime & corrections and natural environment, and fifth in economy across all states.


Virginia enjoys a nurse practitioner job growth rate of 31%. The state expects to add 450 new nurse practitioner positions each year between 2020 and 2028. That will increase the 2020 number of 4,880 nurse practitioners to 6,380 in just eight years.

The average salary for nurse practitioners in Virginia is $109,660.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Virginia at #7 in its overall ranking of all states, citing positive features of the state such as equality, economic opportunity, and employment.


what is the role of a nurse practitioner

What is the Role of a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners can practice in primary, acute, and specialty healthcare settings. Their day-to-day duties are much like those of physicians including:

  • Performing consultations and physical evaluations
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Prescribing medications
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Providing patient-centric treatment plans

Nurse practitioners can be found in a range of healthcare settings including hospitals, medical offices, emergency departments, and urgent care clinics. They can also provide care in a specialized area, such as family medicine, pediatric health, psychiatric-mental health, and adult-gerontology.

Read our blog to learn which qualities make an effective NP.

Why are Nurse Practitioners in Demand?

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners notes, “As clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective and personal touch to health care.”

That’s why more than one billion visits are being made to NPs across the country each year. As the profession celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, more Americans are making the decision to visit a nurse practitioner.

The projected shortage of primary care physicians in the United States will also greatly impact the need for NPs, with a projected deficit of 122,000 physicians by 2032.

This nationwide gap in primary care services is occurring during a critical time as population growth is expected to increase by more than 10% (and age 65 and older increase by 48%).

The demand for NPs is also rising due to healthcare becoming more accessible, especially in low-income communities, due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

NPs can anticipate a need for their clinical expertise through 2029, as the United States is projecting to have 110,700 new job openings for the role.

In terms of salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salary for a Registered Nurse as $75,330. Nurse Practitioners, however, earn an average salary of $111,680.

Demand in Rural vs. Urban Practice

While the demand for nurse practitioners is ever-increasing, the need is actually much higher in rural communities than urban areas.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that approximately 80 million people live in Health Professional Shortage Areas.

That’s defined as an area that has “more than 3,500 patients for a single primary care provider.” Oftentimes, those areas are rural communities.

Many physicians typically choose to practice in larger metro areas instead of rural areas. Additionally, rural communities may not have major hospitals or health clinics.

Many rural areas often rely on NPs to serve as primary care providers—which has been especially significant during the pandemic.

Because the overwhelming majority of nurse practitioners—nearly 89%—are trained in primary care, more nurse practitioners are making the choice to practice in rural areas to help address the need for care.

In fact, reports suggest that one in four nurse practitioners are actually choosing rural communities over urban areas.

While rural communities may present its challenges—such as higher patient rates of chronic diseases—the benefits can also be great. Nurse practitioners who work in rural areas also have more professional autonomy, increased work-life balance, and higher job satisfaction.


nurse practitioner find success

Find Success with Spring Arbor University

Being a nurse practitioner is a rewarding career. U.S. News & World Report ranks it third in the 100 Best Jobs. Spring Arbor’s online MSN-NP program will equip you with the clinical expertise, education, and experience you need to advance your career as a nurse practitioner.

Spring Arbor’s online MSN-NP program will give you a solid foundation as an NP leader in today’s dynamic healthcare environment. The program is uniquely designed for working nurses with a flexible class model. And while helping you get the specialized degree you desire, it does so in an atmosphere that helps you grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Choose from four in-demand NP specialty tracks, including:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

There are so many reasons to join the ranks of Spring Arbor alumni and begin making a positive impact on the lives of others. So don’t wait. Start your journey as a nurse practitioner today.


Learn more about SAU’s online MSN-NP.


Read more of SAU online's top MSN blogs below.

1. PMHNP: Bridge Gaps In Behavioral Healthcare

2. Challenges in Nursing: What Do Nurses Face on a Daily Basis?

3. Clinicals In Nursing Education: FAQ

4. What Can You Do With an MSN in Nursing Education?

5. Spring Arbor’s Bridge MSN Program: 4 Benefits