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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary

Just over a half of Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $62K to $118K per year, but median earnings come to around $81K annually. Cash earnings for Clinical Nurse Specialists — including $6K in bonuses and $15K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $62K to $118K depending on individual performance. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a majority. Job satisfaction for Clinical Nurse Specialists is high. Female Clinical Nurse Specialists far outnumber their male contemporaries among survey respondents. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$60,332 - $110,772
(Median)
$60K
$81K
$110K
MEDIAN: $81,204
10%
50%
90%

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$29.93 - $63.80
(Median)
$30
$41
$64
MEDIAN: $41.00
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
$60,332 - $110,772  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,781  
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).
)
$61,605 - $117,522  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 475
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
$29.93 - $63.80  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $90.98  
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 - $5,781  
   
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).
)
$61,605 - $117,522  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 188

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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. Many Clinical Nurse Specialists choose to become Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and Family Nurse Practitioners as their careers advance. However, folks in those positions report median salaries of $7K less and $3K less, respectively.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


Clinical Nurse Specialists seem to wield many skills on the job. 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Pediatrics. Most people 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. Someone who has worked for fewer than five years earns around $77K on average. Individuals with five to 10 years of experience don't get much more, though; the average income in this group is $80K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $87K in this role. As Clinical Nurse Specialists reach more than two decades on the job, compensation remains commensurate with experience; the average pay in this group is $92K.

Related Job Salaries

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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%

Acute Care
up arrow 2%

Operating Room / OR
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%

Wound Care
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 132 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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