Hi, welcome to an exciting and informative read on Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary!

This piece will delve into Clinical Nurse Salary by state, years of experience, work environment, and educational attainments.

At the end of the reading, you’ll know the average Clinical Nurse Specialist’s Salary and how they can increase their earnings.

We’ll x-ray the following concepts:

  • Overview of CNS Nurse Salary
  • CNS Median Salary by State
  • The Effect of Experience on Clinic Nurse Salary
  • Highest Paying Cities for Clinical Nurse Specialists

Let’s hit the nail on the head!


What is a Clinical Nursing Specialist?

One of the advantages of becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is earning a high income.

The global rise in the cost of living has made it essential to consider a job’s financial future before hopping at it.

Hence, we want to shed light on the Clinical Nurse Specialist’s Salary to know what’s in for you if you want to choose this career path.

Generally, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses play leadership roles in the Healthcare setting due to their educational attainments and skills, which affect their earnings positively.

However, your APRN specialization will affect your salary range.

So, the question is: how much do Clinic Nurses make?

Introduction to Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses as of May 2022 was $123,780 per annum.

The BLS wasn’t specific about any APRN specialization.

However, the average salary of CNSs is $82,000 per annum and $39.65 hourly.

The 10th percentile earns an average of $27 hourly and $56,000 annually—they’re the lowest earners in this specialty.

Also, the 25th percentiles make $32 per hour and $67,000 yearly.

The 75th percentiles earn $48 hourly and $100,000 annually.

The 90th percentile makes $57 per hour and $119,000 per annum.

These figures mean you can either earn beneath or beyond the national average, depending on many factors.

Let’s dig further into these figures.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary by State

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary

When searching for a Clinical Nurse Specialist job, you must be strategic because geographical location affects earnings.

Beyond being passionate about diagnosing and treating Acute Care patients, you must also be calculative about your location.

For instance, the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Texas Role pays an average annual salary of $77,885, while their counterparts in New York earn $113,721.

Thus, you can see the effect of location on CNSs; two professionals with the same Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree and job title earn different salaries.

Let’s have a comprehensive view of the data:


Hourly Wage

Annual Salary

























District of Columbia































































New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico



New York



North Carolina



North Dakota















Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota





















West Virginia









Highest Paying Cities for Clinical Nurse Specialists

What's the average  Nurse's salary

Apart from the state, you should specify the city you intend to practice.

As you work hard to ensure excellent patient care, you also deserve appropriate compensation.

Mouthwatering remuneration is motivation and bolsters satisfactory patient outcomes.

Highest Paying Cities for Clinical Nurse Specialists

CNSs earn fat salaries in Saint Paul, Boston, and Davis, with an average of $141,875, $137,126, and $131,382.

Perhaps, some of you expected Washington, DC, and San Francisco to top the list.

Well, a Nurse Professional Development Specialist’s Salary isn’t based on the popularity of a city.

Below are the cities with the best remunerations for CNSs:


Hourly Wage

Annual Pay

Saint Paul, MN



Boston, MA



Davis, CA



Eau Claire, WI



Anchorage, AK



Farmington, CT



Portland, ME



Rochester, NY



Washington, DC



Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary by Years of Experience

Conclusion on Nurse Manager Salary

It doesn’t matter whether you’re into Oncology, Mental Health, Pediatrics, or Community Health; your experience level will affect your earnings.

Experience differentiates an entry-level salary from a senior level.

Knowledge, contacts, work environment, and complexity are indicators of experience in Nursing careers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) demonstrates how experience affects earnings in its National Compensation Survey.

According to the survey, the hourly rate for an entry-level CNS is $31.66 and $65,900 annually.

On the other hand, those in the mid-level of their Clinical Nursing careers earn an average of $39.72 hourly and $82,600 per year.

Senior-level CNSs make an average of $53.76 hourly and $112,000 per annum.

These figures show the implication of experience on earning potential in the health care sector.

Unfortunately, experience only comes with time and years of dedication to service; you can’t circumvent the process through an MSN or Doctoral Degree.

Of course, Advanced Nursing Programs also have their impact, but they’re not alternatives to experience.

Highest Paying Companies for CNSs

Average Salary for Nurse

Clinical Nurse Specialists work in various settings, including hospitals, prisons, home health, private practice, corporations, and educational institutions.

However, some companies with a high reputation offer good remuneration, and you’ll be better off pitching your tent with them.

These organizations are in Critical Care, Informatics, Gerontology, and other health care roles.

Below are the best organizations for CNSs financial-wise:


Median Salary

Tampa General Hospital


Mount Sinai Health System




Methodist Hospitals


Massachusetts General Hospital


MedStar Health


Seattle Children’s Healthcare System


Mayo Clinic


Cleveland Clinic


Grady Health System


From the figures above, you can see that even the lowest earner in these companies earns more than the national average.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should search for CNS roles in these organizations alone; your interests and openings will determine the best organization for you.

You may even garner experience in other firms before aspiring to work in these high-paying companies.

Stanford Health Care and Regosin Institute are also high-paying firms in the US.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary by Education

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Education is one of the greatest influencers of Nurse Specialty Salaries.

You must build on your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree if you want to be a relevant CNS; Clinical Nursing is an exclusive reserve of Health Care Providers with a higher degree.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary by Education

For instance, CNSs with a Master’s Degree earn higher salaries than those with a Bachelor’s Degree.

Similarly, CNSs with Doctorates earn an average of $92,170, compared to those with a Bachelor’s Degree who make $85,986.

The table below shows how education level influences the salaries of Clinical Nurse Specialists:

Education Level

Median Income

Associate Degree


Bachelor’s Degree


MSN/Master’s Degree


Doctorate Degree


According to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS), Clinical Nurse Specialist hopefuls must earn certifications in their intended subspecialty before practicing.

For instance, if you want to focus on Mental Health, earn relevant certifications in this specialty before getting licensed.

Related Job Salaries

Nursing Jobs Salaries

Another way to clearly understand CNS Salary is by comparing it to other related jobs because Nurses don’t earn the same amount.

For instance, a Nurse Counselor’s salary differs from a Nurse Pathologist’s Salary.

Nurse Manager Salary

A Nurse Manager supervises the Nursing staff in a hospital or clinical environment.

They set work schedules, plan budgets, and ensure adequate patient care.

The burden of organizational growth and conformance rests on Nurse Managers.

They make an average of $84,260 per annum.

Nurse Educator Salary

Nurse Educators are RNs with additional credentials in a specialty.

They teach children and adult health courses to make Nursing students sound and professional.

Nurse Instructors make an average of $64,085 per year.

They’re one of the least earners among Advanced Practice Nurses.

Yet, their work is more demanding because they must conduct research and stay updated about new happenings in the industry.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners offer medical services to kids and are one of the highest earners in the field.

They earn an average of $113,347 yearly.

They may work independently or under the supervision of a Physician.

Clinical Nurse Practitioner Salary

Clinical Nurses align with Specialists and Doctors to offer immediate care to patients.

They obtain patient medical history, coordinate treatment procedures, and administer medication.

They earn an average of $68,988 annually.

You rarely find Clinic RNs in home health care settings; they work in clinics.

You can see that their average earning is about half of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s salary.

It reinforces that money shouldn’t be your greatest motivation in choosing a career path.

For instance, if you naturally like teaching, you’ll do better as a Nurse Instructor than a Pediatric Nurse because of a high income.


Conclusion on Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary

The content in this piece is geared toward answering this question: “How much do Clinical Nurses make?”

We shed light on CNS earnings nationally and regionally to make you make an informed financial decision.

As we drop the curtain on this discussion, remember that your education must be solid to earn a good salary.

You should also be strategic about your location and garner enough experience.

If you tick all the indices and search for a job in one of the highest-paying companies, you’re on your way up.


FAQs on ultimate clinical nurse specialist

How much does CNS make?

The average hourly wage of CNSs is $39.65 and $82,000 per annum. However, those at the entry level make an average of $56,000 per annum, while experienced ones earn $119,000. Education, work environment, geographical location, and expertise also affect Clinical Nurses’ earnings.

What are the benefits of being a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

It allows you to live out your passion and help a given patient population. You also enjoy paid vacation and excellent medical coverage. Depending on your work environment, the work schedule is flexible and gives you room for growth. You play a leadership role and determine organizational growth.

What is the salary range of Clinical Nurse Specialists?

The average salary of a Clinical Nurse Specialist is between $56,000 and $119,000. However, some CNSs make more than that due to higher educational attainment, experience, and location. For instance, Clinical Nurses in Alaska make an average of $121,351 annually, while their counterparts in Vermont make $136,014.

What is the outlook for a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

The demand for Advanced Practice Nurses, Clinical Nurses inclusive, is projected to rise by 45% by 2029. The projection signals a positive and prosperous future for them. Also, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says over 91% of Clinical Nurses are satisfied with their work.

What Nurses are the happiest?

Nurse Educators are the happiest because their roles are less stressful. Summer Camp Nurses, Nurse Administrators, and Public Health Nurses are also some of the happiest in the industry. However, happiness is personal, and many factors determine an individual emotional mood.

Where do Clinical Nurse Specialists work?

They work in diverse settings, such as corporations, hospitals, private practices, prisons, clinics, and Nursing homes. They also work in schools, laboratories, and research centers. They treat acute patients and look for improved ways of doing things within the system. Their roles and other factors determine their salaries.

What is the lowest-paying state for Nurses?

South Dakota pays the least to RNs, with $28.63 per hour. However, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Oklahoma are the least-paying states for CNSs, with an average of $52,366, $66,914, and $69,075, respectively. You need to work harder than your colleagues in other states to make more money.




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