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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary

Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — slightly more than half have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $62K to $117K per year, median earnings come to $81K annually. Cash earnings for Clinical Nurse Specialists — which occasionally include more than $6K from bonuses and more than $15K from profit sharing — stretch from around $62K to approximately $117K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the larger part. The vast majority (89 percent) of Clinical Nurse Specialists who took the survey are female. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$60,496 - $110,496
(Median)
$60K
$81K
$110K
MEDIAN: $80,984
10%
50%
90%

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$30.01 - $63.72
(Median)
$30
$41
$64
MEDIAN: $40
10%
50%
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
$60,496 - $110,496  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,896  
Profit Sharing
$0.30 - $14,544  
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).
)
$61,820 - $117,236  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 476
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$31$62$93
Hourly Rate
$30.01 - $63.72  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $90.73  
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$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,896  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.30 - $14,544  
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).
)
$61,820 - $117,236  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 190

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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 tend not to experience significant pay changes as they move up the career ladder to roles like Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. The two jobs pay about the same on average. Clinical Nurse Specialists most often move into Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner roles. However, the former pays $7K less on average, and the latter pays $3K less.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


Survey results imply that Clinical Nurse Specialists deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Psychiatric, Emergency Room, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Operating Room / OR are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 10 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Pediatrics and Wound Care. The majority of those who know Acute Care also know Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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 appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. During the first five years of their careers, Clinical Nurse Specialists see a median income of $77K. Survey respondents with five to 10 years of experience report an only modestly higher median of $80K. Clinical Nurse Specialists see a median salary of $86K after reaching one to two decades on the job. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Clinical Nurse Specialist with more than 20 years of experience can earn $91K on average.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries



National Average
$83,000



Skills That Affect Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries


Emergency Room (ER)
up arrow 4%

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
up arrow 4%

Operating Room / OR
up arrow 3%

Acute Care
up arrow 2%

Medicine / Surgery
up arrow 1%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 1%

Labor & Delivery, Birthing
up arrow 1%

Case Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$83,000

Geriatrics
up arrow 1%

Oncology
up arrow 1%

Pediatrics
up arrow 3%

Wound Care
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 139 votes.

Gender

Female
89 %
Male
11 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
23%
20 years or more
31%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 84% dental benefits Dental: 78%
vision benefits Vision: 63% employee benefits None: 13%
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