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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary (United States)

Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and slightly less than three-fifths have more than 10 years of experience. Salary is expected to be around $80K per year, but may range from $62K to $115K per year. With some bonuses approaching $5K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $15K, overall incomes of Clinical Nurse Specialists spread between $62K and $115K depending on individual performance. Geography and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a strong majority, and a fair portion earn dental coverage. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$60,656 - $108,362
(Median)
61K
70K
80K
93K
110K
MEDIAN: $80,071
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$29.86 - $63.34
(Median)
30
40
50
63
MEDIAN: $40
10%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$60,656 - $108,362  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,240  
Profit Sharing
$3.21 - $14,681  
Commission
$3,000 - $22,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$61,754 - $114,590  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 484
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$30$60$90
Hourly Rate
$29.86 - $63.34  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $89.40  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,240  
   
Commission
$3,000 - $22,500  
Profit Sharing
$3.21 - $14,681  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$61,754 - $114,590  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 198
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Job Description for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are responsible for clinical care and nursing practices in a specialized unit or clinic. Clinical nurse specialists are a type of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) with a focus on the management and improvement of nursing care and patient satisfaction within a particular clinical department such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, or oncology. They teach new techniques for patient care to nurses under their supervision, tailoring their methods according to department-specific needs. Clinical nurse specialists analyze patient results (in terms of both satisfaction and medical outcomes) and use this analysis to provide feedback and develop policies within their department. They work closely with other medical professionals to assess current patient care standards and find potential improvements. Clinical nurse specialists also provide clinical service directly to patients, giving medical assessments and nursing care.
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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Tasks
  • Educate patients, community and staff.
  • Conduct research in field of specialty.
  • Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment and counsel specific patient population.
  • Maintain clinical practice and case management.

Common Career Paths for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

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Clinical Nurse Specialists may not always see an increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. For example, top-notch roles like Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner offer money in line with Clinical Nurse Specialists. Clinical Nurse Specialists most often move into positions as Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners or Family Nurse Practitioners. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners actually earn $6K less on average, however, and Family Nurse Practitioners earn $4K less per year than Clinical Nurse Specialists do.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Clinical Nurse Specialists seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Psychiatric, Emergency Room , Neonatal Intensive Care Unit , and Case Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 12 percent, 5 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Pediatrics. The majority of those who know Acute Care also know Medicine / Surgery.

Pay by Experience Level for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Clinical Nurse Specialists, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. People who have worked for fewer than five years earn around $76K, and folks with five to 10 years of experience see a modestly higher median of $79K. Clinical Nurse Specialists who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $85K. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $90K. The majority of Clinical Nurse Specialists have only one to 10 years of practice in the field. Workers with more than 20 years make up the second biggest group followed by those with 10 to 20 years under their belt.

Pay Difference By Location

San Diego
up arrow 27%
New York
up arrow 25%
Boston
up arrow 15%
San Antonio
up arrow 12%
Minneapolis
up arrow 11%
Baltimore
up arrow 7%
Seattle
up arrow 5%
Atlanta
up arrow 3%
Denver
up arrow 3%
National Average
$82,000
Indianapolis
up arrow 9%
Orlando
up arrow 12%
Charlotte
up arrow 19%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Clinical Nurse Specialists, busy San Diego offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 27 percent above the national average. New York, Boston, San Antonio, and Minneapolis are a few other cities that offer generous salaries, with Clinical Nurse Specialists earning around 25 percent, 15 percent, 12 percent, and 11 percent more than average. Falling short of the national average by 19 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Charlotte. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Orlando (12 percent lower) and Indianapolis (9 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries

National Average
$82,000

Skills That Affect Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries

Psychiatric
up arrow 12%
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
up arrow 4%
Case Management
up arrow 1%
Acute Care
0%
Medicine / Surgery
0%
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
0%
National Average
$82,000
Geriatrics
up arrow 1%
Oncology
up arrow 2%
Labor & Delivery, Birthing
up arrow 2%
Operating Room / OR
up arrow 2%
Pediatrics
up arrow 5%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 190 votes.

Gender

Female
90%
female alumni
 
Male
10%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
24%
20 years or more
32%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 83% dental benefits Dental: 74%
vision benefits Vision: 59% employee benefits None: 14%