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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary

More than 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 $117K per year, but median earnings come to around $81K annually. Total incomes of Clinical Nurse Specialists incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $5K from bonuses and close to $15K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $62K and $117K. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. The vast majority of Clinical Nurse Specialists (90 percent) who responded to the survey are women. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a majority. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Clinical Nurse Specialists. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
$60,817 - $109,615
(Median)
61K
71K
81K
94K
110K
MEDIAN: $80,670
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$29.82 - $63.88
(Median)
30
40
50
64
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
$60,817 - $109,615  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,222  
Profit Sharing
$3.30 - $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).
)
$61,856 - $117,330  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | 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
$29.82 - $63.88  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $90.60  
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 - $5,222  
   
Profit Sharing
$3.30 - $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).
)
$61,856 - $117,330  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 194
United States (change)

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 a change in pay as they move up the career ladder to upper-level roles like Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. That job pays about the same on average. Many Clinical Nurse Specialists go on to become Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners or Family Nurse Practitioners despite the fact that median compensation in those roles is reportedly $7K lower and $4K lower, respectively.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Psychiatric, Emergency Room, and Case Management 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.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. In this position, someone who has worked for fewer than five years can expect a median salary of $77K. The median for people with five to 10 years of experience is only a little bit higher at $79K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $86K in this role. Veterans who have acquired more than 20 years report a median income of $92K, which is generally higher than the pay reported by other tenure groups.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries



National Average
$82,000



Skills That Affect Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
up arrow 10%

Emergency Room (ER)
up arrow 4%

Acute Care
up arrow 1%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 1%

Case Management
up arrow 1%

Medicine / Surgery
0%

Labor & Delivery, Birthing
0%

National Average
$82,000

Geriatrics
up arrow 1%

Operating Room / OR
up arrow 1%

Oncology
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
up arrow 5%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 162 votes.

Gender

Female
90 %
Male
10 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
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: 76%
vision benefits Vision: 62% employee benefits None: 14%