Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary (United States)

Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and just under three-fifths have more than 10 years of experience. Salary is expected to be around $82,032 annually, but may range from $61,754 to $114,590 per year. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. The greater part enjoy medical while most get dental coverage in this occupation. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. This synopsis is derived from the responses of individuals who took PayScale's 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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
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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Additional career progression does not lead to a big boost in pay for Clinical Nurse Specialists. At the upper end, those who move into a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner role will bring in a similar salary to their current position. More commonly, Clinical Nurse Specialists take pay cuts as they move into roles as Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)s or Family Nurse Practitioners, making $6,495 or $3,648 less per year, respectively.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Survey takers working as Clinical Nurse Specialists report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Psychiatric, Emergency Room (ER), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and Case Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 12 percent, 5 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Pediatrics. Most people 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, level of experience is overall a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation—more experience does not yield dramatically higher pay—and pay raises are largely incremental. Clinical Nurse Specialists in the early stages of their career don't see a large increase in pay for the first decade—salary tends to grow from $77K to just $79K. After 10 to 20 years, compensation comes in at $85K. Though minimal, Clinical Nurse Specialists continue to experience salary development even after two decades, and pay is estimated at $90K. Clinical Nurse Specialists with one to 10 years in the field are most commonly found while those with more than 20 years of experience are harder to spot. The rarest group is those with 10 to 20 years of experience.

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.
San Diego offers some of the highest pay in the country for Clinical Nurse Specialists, 27 percent above the national average. Clinical Nurse Specialists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+25 percent), Boston (+15 percent), San Antonio (+12 percent), and Minneapolis (+11 percent). In Charlotte, salaries are 19 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Below-median salaries also turn up in Orlando and Indianapolis (-12 percent and -9 percent, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

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%
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