Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary

With a little more than half of Clinical Nurse Specialists in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Clinical Nurse Specialists is $83K annually and can range from $59K on the lower end to $111K per year near the higher end. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Most Clinical Nurse Specialists like their work and job satisfaction is high. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$63,497 - $108,476
$63K
$83K
$110K
MEDIAN: $83,236
10%
50%
90%

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$19.31 - $53.60
$19
$40
$54
MEDIAN: $39.69
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$63,497 - $108,476  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,740  
Profit Sharing
$850  
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).
)
$59,291 - $111,343  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 244
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$19.31 - $53.60  
   
Overtime
$11.50 - $70.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,740  
   
Profit Sharing
$850  
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).
)
$59,291 - $111,343  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 112

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United States (change)

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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

  • Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment and counsel specific patient population.
  • Maintain clinical practice and case management.
  • Educate patients, community and staff.
  • Conduct research in field of specialty.

Common Career Paths for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


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For Clinical Nurse Specialists who go on to become Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, career progression may result in slightly increased compensation. On average, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner earns $93K annually. Clinical Nurse Specialists most often move into Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner roles. However, the former pays $6K less on average, and the latter pays $2K less.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)


Clinical Nurse Specialists seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in Labor & Delivery, Birthing, Intensive Care Unit, Acute Care, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 15 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Wound Care and Psychiatric. Most people who know Acute Care also know Medicine / Surgery and Oncology.

Pay by Experience Level for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Pay by Experience for a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) has a positive trend. An entry-level Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $80,000 based on 114 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $85,000 based on 102 salaries. An experienced Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $84,000 based on 117 salaries. A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $91,000 based on 100 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $83,973

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Professionals in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — the three largest American cities — enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with compensation above the national average. Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Clinical Nurse Specialists in Charlotte earning a whopping 22 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Orlando (12 percent less) and Indianapolis (2 percent less).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Gender

Female
92 %
Male
8 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 33 votes.
Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
24%
20 years or more
28%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries

▲9%

▲2%

▼0%

National Average
$84,000

▼5%

Skills That Affect Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salaries



▲4%

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
▲4%

▲3%

▲1%

Operating Room / OR
▲1%

Medicine / Surgery
▼0%

Case Management
▼0%

National Average
$84,000

▼2%


▼3%

Wound Care
▼3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 33 votes.

Gender

Female
92 %
Male
8 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
24%
20 years or more
28%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 77%
vision benefits
Vision: 68%
no benefits
None: 10%