NP Fact Sheet

There are more than 248,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) licensed in the U.S. 1

  • More than 26,000 new NPs completed their academic programs in 2016-2017 2
  • 97.8% of NPs have graduate degrees 3
  • 86.6% of NPs are certified in an area of primary care, and 77.8% of all NPs deliver primary care 3
  • 84.9% of NPs are accepting Medicare patients and 82.9% are accepting Medicaid patients 4
  • 49.9% of NPs hold hospital privileges; 11.3% have long term care privileges 4
  • 95.8% of NPs prescribe medications, and those in full-time practice write an average of 23 prescriptions per day 4
  • NPs hold prescriptive privileges, including controlled substances in all 50 states and D.C.
  • In 2017, the mean, full-time base salary for an NP was $105,546 3
  • The majority (60.8%) of NPs see 3 or more patients per hour 3
  • Malpractice rates remain low; only 1.9% have been named as primary defendant in a malpractice case 4
  • Nurse Practitioners have been in practice an average of 11 years 3
  • The average age of NPs is 49 years 3

Distribution, Top Practice Setting and Clinical Focus Area by Area of NP Certification 3

Population*Percent of NPsTop Practice SettingTop Clinical Foci
Acute Care 6.4 Hospital Inpatient Clinic (33.3%) Surgical (16.1%)
Adult^ 15.7 Hospital Outpatient Clinic (15.2%) Primary Care (32.4%) 
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care 2.0 Hospital Inpatient Clinic (43.3%) Surgical (13.3%)
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care^  4.4 Hospital Outpatient Clinic (18.7%) Primary Care (46.6%) 
Family^  60.6 Private Group Practice (12.7%) Primary Care (46.2%) 
Gerontology^ 2.2  Long-Term Care Facility (16.6%) Primary Care (57.8%) 
Neonatal 1.3 Hospital Inpatient (69.1%) Neonatal (57.8%)
Pediatric - Acute Care 0.6 Hospital Inpatient (38.2%) Other (19.7%)
Pediatric - Primary Care^ 4.6  Hospital Outpatient Clinic (18.7%) Primary Care (55.6%) 
Psychiatric/Mental Health - Adult  1.7 Psych/Mental Health Facility (23.0%) Psychiatric (93.6%) 
Psychiatric/Mental Health - Family 2.1 Psych/Mental Health Facility (25.8%) Psychiatric (91.6%)
Women's Health^ 3.4 Hospital Outpatient Clinic (15.7%) OB/GYN (64.1%)

* NPs may be certified in more than one area
Primary care focus

Downloadable PDF                                                                                          Updated August 20, 2018

Sources:
1 AANP National Nurse Practitioner Database, 2018
2
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2018) 2017-2018 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing. Washington DC: AACN.
3
2017 AANP National Nurse Practitioner Sample Survey
4 2016 AANP National Nurse Practitioner Sample Survey

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