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Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Salary

With over one-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 $81K annually and can range from $62K on the lower end to $118K per year near the higher end. 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. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. Female Clinical Nurse Specialists far outnumber their male contemporaries among survey respondents. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$60,585 - $110,627
(Median)
$61K
$81K
$110K
MEDIAN: $81,032
10%
50%
90%

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$29.99 - $64.11
(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
$60,585 - $110,627  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,757  
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).
)
$61,843 - $118,264  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 471
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
$29.99 - $64.11  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $90.85  
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 - $5,757  
   
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).
)
$61,843 - $118,264  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 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 may not see large compensation differences if they transition into an upper-level role such as Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners on average make about as much as Clinical Nurse Specialists do. A lot of Clinical Nurse Specialists advance their careers by becoming Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and Family Nurse Practitioners. However, those positions offer $7K less and $4K less per year on average.

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. 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.


Clinical Nurse Specialists do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Survey participants with less than five years' experience report a median income of $77K, and earnings aren't much higher for respondents who have five to 10 years under their belts; respondents in the latter group report a median of just $80K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $87K. 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%

Medicine / Surgery
up arrow 2%

Case Management
up arrow 2%

Operating Room / OR
up arrow 2%

Acute Care
up arrow 1%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 1%

Geriatrics
0%

Labor & Delivery, Birthing
0%

National Average
$83,000

Oncology
up arrow 2%

Wound Care
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 141 votes.

Gender

Female
90 %
Male
10 %

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%