Why Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) can have a significant influence on a patient’s health and wellness. A subspecialty within the nurse practitioner (NP) field, the family nurse practitioner role focuses on providing holistic health care to patients throughout their lives, from diagnosing and managing treatment and prescriptions to providing preventive care. An FNP’s advanced education and training enable them to practice more independently, gain increased responsibility, and earn a competitive salary.

Family Nurse Practitioner Job Outlook

A career as a nurse practitioner is considered one of the best professions in health care, as reported by U.S. News and World Report. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that NP employment will increase 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Nurse practitioner career opportunities are being fueled by an increased patient population coupled with an anticipated shortage of primary care physicians in the years ahead.

By 2025, the demand for primary care physicians is projected to exceed supply (PDF, 302 KB) at the national level, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Another 2015 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts shortages of anywhere from 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025 in primary and specialty care.

The shift in physician supply could affect NP jobs, the HHS report suggests. From the report: “More effective incorporation of NP and PA services in care delivery could mitigate regional disparities and improve access to primary care services.”

FNPs are specially trained to provide primary care services and are uniquely positioned to help meet the anticipated care gaps.

The role of an FNP is multifaceted and can be fulfilling for nurses who enjoy a variety of responsibilities, including the following:

  • Managing patient treatment plans
  • Diagnosing
  • Prescribing medication
  • Providing disease prevention care
  • Helping patients manage chronic illnesses
  • Promoting family and community health and wellness

As NPs that focus on the family, FNPs work in a variety of health care settings, according to the BLS. These settings include: 

  • Physician offices (which employ the greatest number of NPs)
  • Medical and surgical hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of other health care practitioners
  • Specialty hospitals
  • College, universities, and professional schools

It is important to note that the above information regarding work settings is specifically for Nurse Practitioners as the BLS does not track FNP-specific data.

Family Nurse Practitioner Salary

BLS does not track salary information for FNPs specifically, but it does list the average salary for nurse practitioners, which is $110,030. Many factors can affect the salary for family nurse practitioners, including the location of their practice. The chart below shows average salaries by state.

Annual Mean Wage for Nurse Practitioners by State
State Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $95,970
Alaska $122,880
Arizona $110,750
Arkansas $104,300
California $133,780
Colorado $111,210
Connecticut $118,020
Delaware $108,340
District of Columbia $109,800
Florida $101,100
Georgia $106,750
Hawaii $120,570
Idaho $102,600
Illinois $105,800
Indiana $103,200
Iowa $106,290
Kansas $99,430
Kentucky $99,790
Louisiana $105,340
Maine $103,220
Maryland $115,060
Massachusetts $122,740
Michigan $106,880
Minnesota $119,160
Mississippi $109,700
Missouri $102,470
Montana $103,510
Nebraska $103,800
Nevada $112,540
New Hampshire $109,460
New Jersey $122,100
New Mexico $109,810
New York $109,810
North Carolina $104,100
North Dakota $106,200
Ohio $101,970
Oklahoma $103,280
Oregon $110,010
Pennsylvania $98,250
Puerto Rico $20,910
Rhode Island $109,290
South Carolina $99,910
South Dakota $100,690
Tennessee $95,990
Texas $111,060
Utah $105,840
Vermont $106,000
Virginia $105,170
Washington $117,650
West Virginia $100,690
Wisconsin $106,790
Wyoming $116,030

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 data

If you are interested in learning more about an FNP career, take the next step to becoming a family nurse practitioner today.

Citation for this content: Nursing@Simmons, the online MSN program from the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences