Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary

What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Clinical Nurse Specialist salaryA clinical nurse specialist or else known as a CNS is a trained and advanced practice nurse that will provide the necessary aid and patient care. They will, as well, provide their consulting services to a wide range of healthcare facilities and areas. These professionals have a very specific and practical role of practicing medicine, conducting research and manage the staff in a specific medical specialty or environment.

Their educational training will describe them as being RNs or with other words Licensed Registered Nurses that already possess a Master’s degree or a Doctoral degree and a specialized certification in this field.

Job Description of a Clinical Nurse Specialist

A clinical nurse specialist is seen as one of the experts in a particular nursing field that can be encounter in geriatric nursing, home health nursing, infectious disease nursing and other related with this field. The tasks and duties of this professional can go from providing personal care to patients and up to the health management area, all this being conducted through his specialization that is normally in educating, researching and administration.

Their role is to find the remedy for a wide range of sickness found in patients. It is also important for these experts to be involved in everything from the wellness assessments that are the most basics and up to fundamental health evaluation and even in the geriatric tests and in the psychological health tests.

They are very supportive and involved in the health discussions related to the patient’s conditions and their families, making sure that the health situations are understood. Their part also involves explaining any other or present medical alternatives, such as options for treatment plans. In some cases, clinical nurse specialists are involved in the direct supervision of medical facilities or health clinics.

How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

If your ideal is to become a clinical nurse specialist, then you should know that the most common job requests that employers ask are a master’s degree or a post master’s certificate as a CNS. All states will require for a career in this field a license as an RN.

Besides the educational requirements that one must have to enter in this domain, there are certain technical and key skills that must be fulfilled. The technical skills involve knowing how to manage the medical equipment that is to be found according to the area of specialty. We are referring to equipment such as heart monitoring devices, ventilation devices, IV devices, catheterization devices, suction devices and other.

When it comes t important key skills, you can add on the job chart, reaching, leadership, communicational skills, as well as verbal skills, teaching and not the last the writing skill. You also have to prove yourself when it comes to using a computer by having related skills such as entering data, basic word processing and keeping all the medical records in an automated base.

If you area an aspiring clinical nurse specialist the first step that you have to complete is to enroll in a nursing school and fulfill all the four years of this training program. The coursework classes involve subjects such as pharmacology, and anatomy, physiology, patient health assessment and other. The students enrolled in these nursing degree programs will have to do also supervised clinical rotations.

One of the tips that will bring you to success since these bachelor’s degree nursing programs are very rough and competitive is to maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA.

The next step in which you have to be informed is that all the states expect and require that the nurses should be licensed before they get the chance to practice. The clinical nurse specialist graduate degree programs require that all the applicants must be licensed as a registered nurse or RN. The candidates are required to pass the NCLEX-N else known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses that is usually administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Never the last there are some states that have some additional state board licensure requirements.

The majority of the CNS degree programs will require all their candidates to have experience as an RN in the specialty that they have chosen. There is usually required a year of two of direct patient experience in settings such as hospitals, private practices or even outpatient facilities. You can obtain all this experience as an RN performing her job.

In this case, the successful tip is to make sure that you’ve informed yourself upon the prerequisites established by the preferred graduate program that you’ve chosen to follow. This will grant you the opportunity to choose and select the employment options that usually meet the school’s admission requirements.

The next step will involve completing the courses of a master’s degree program for CNS. The length of these classes is usually estimated between 2 or 3 years of study, this depending pretty much on the specialty that you’ve chosen to follow. This training program will allow you to practice and even develop the advanced nursing skills, as well as required assessments. You will also go through advanced nursing courses that will include subjects such as pharmacology, pathophysiology and other that are related to the specialty that you’ve chosen.

In the medical specialty that you’ve chosen to study for you’ll gain supervised clinical experience. Another successful tip that will help you when you get a job is to gain authority to prescribe, this will include the fact that many of the employers prefer that a CNS will be able to write prescriptions. Having this ability and authority is not that difficult to obtain, you will have to complete a specific training in pharmacology. These classes can be found in many of the graduate degree programs. The authority is usually given by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A CNS specialty might not have a certification credential available. The certifications that are available differ, and there are plenty for advanced practice CNSs. For instance, if you want to gain certification in orthopedics then it would be offered by the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board. At the same time for adult health, home health, gynecology, and community health you can apply to the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The general requirements when it comes to certifications involve that the candidate should be an RN, have a graduate degree from an accredited academy or institution in the specialty they’ve chosen to follow. They also need to have fulfilled the minimum required number of hours in the specialty as well as pass the certification examination.

A successful tip in this area is to try to maintain your certification. The certification period for many of the CNS specialties has a length of 5 years. Some requirements might vary according to each specialty as well as to obtain a re-certification, the conditions will vary according to each state.

There are many present states that will require the CNSs to be licensed or have certification before they actually start working. The certification or license is given by the state nursing board, and the requirements that must be fulfilled include maintaining an RN license, possess a graduate degree from an accredited advanced practice nursing school and being certified by a CNS certification authority. For those CNS specialties that do not possess certification, there are a number of states that accept school transcripts while others a demonstration that the candidate has fulfilled the minimum state licensing requirements, in the position of an advanced practice CNS.

Work Environment and Schedule

A clinical nurse specialist can be found working in a variety of settings that many times will include areas such as clinics, hospital nursing units, health care facilities, educational institutions, mental health settings and none the less medical offices. A CNS environment of work also involves direct contact with his or her patients.

The work environment is often busy and crowded and many times will mean a huge collaboration with other specialists. These professionals can act either as a supervisor for other nurses or supervise of physicians. The working hours that are conducted in this job will involve the regular working hours but due to the job in the healthcare system this might involve according to the type of specialization also long hours of work, including on this side weekends, holidays, evenings and even nights.

Pros and Cons of Being a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Deciding if becoming a clinical nurse specialist is the best thing that you can choose or not, here is a list of pros and cons that will help you form an opinion about what it means to find a good career according to your dreams and the skills that you possess.

First of all you have to really enjoy working with people; this will involve, on an instant base, having skills such as communicating good and in an effective manner with a variety of team members and staff. You will have to possess that ability to analyze problems, and make the best decisions, as well as having some leadership skills.

The best news is that working as a CNS you are not limited only to one area of work but you have plenty of settings that you can choose from. You will never get bored at your working place since you can choose the type of specialization that you would like to have and continue on this path.

The estimated and current wages are much higher than the average ones, this including a great median income established to be around $81,010 per year. There is also a faster growth average and plenty of job opportunities estimated in the field due to the number of demanding.

The cons that accompany this job will involve especially long hours of work, around the clock, and some possible injuries due to the long hours in which these professionals have to stand on their feet, or due to stretching and lifting a lot. Sometimes due to the job itself, a CNS will be placed into stressful situations or it will often be a challenge for him or her to treat ill patients as well as injuries.

Another con is the educational training that often can be pretty costly since the requirements will involve possessing a master’s degree, a licensure, and certification, so this could mean a lot of student loans.

Clinical Nurse Specialist job growth

The employment growth for clinical nurse specialists is predicted at 26% rate of increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The main factor that contribute to this rate of increase is the baby boomer population that is going to increase very fast in the coming years, rising up the number of demanding for health care services leading to new job opportunities for clinical nurse specialists. Compared to the past situations, people are living more and have healthier lives, this leading also to an increase in the demand for health care providers such as these specialists.

The job outlook for this professionals is very good, with plenty of settings to choose from. They can find work in various health facilities such as hospitals, laboratories, home health care organizations, community centers, outpatient care facilities and other as well.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary

In US, the salary of a clinical nurse specialist is influenced and driven by several major factors such as the type of employer, the years of experience gained in the working setting and according to the top paying states that pay higher incomes than the rest.

The estimations made indicate that the salary of these professionals ranges in the United States from $60,538 per year and up to $120,921 per year. The average annual incomes reach about $80,010 per year. The starting hourly wage in the case of a clinical nurse specialists estimated to be at about $30.36 per hour with the opportunity for an increase due to more years of experience accumulated.

A clinical nurse specialist can reach up in time to an hourly wage estimated at $72.21 per hour. As mentioned before the experience factor in this field has a major impact when it comes to the hourly wages. For instance those who are situated in an entry level position or have between a year and up to four years of working experience in this field can expect to gain an hourly payment estimated between $30.36 and $66.39 per hour.

Those professionals who have between five and eight years of experience, more or less can expect to an hourly payment comprised between $29.57 and up to $50.34 per hour, while those that reached over twenty years of experience will take home an hourly wage estimated to be comprised between $32.26 and $72.21 per hour. To all this, you can add an average yearly bonus that is estimated to go around $4,956 per year.

Another factor that has a word when it comes to the clinical nurse specialist salary  is the location. For instance, in California the hourly pay is estimated to be from $48.52 and up to $76.04 per hour while in Georgia the hourly wage is comprised from $36.98 per hour and up to $54.05 per hour.

Salary of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in 2015

In 2015, in US the salary of these professionals are mainly influenced by the same major factors and by the economic flux. The median income for a CNS is estimated at $82,388 per year while the average salary is estimated to be from $60,538 and up to $120,921 per year. The number of demanding and the population that is in need of a clinical nurse specialist including the healthcare industries that are hiring have increased the job opportunities among the numbers of these specialists.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary in 2016

The median average income for a clinical nurse specialist, in the United States, for the year 2016, is estimated at $81,953 per year, according to the salary data information provided by PayScale. The starting rate in the incomes of these specialists has an average that goes from $61,278 per year and up to $112,053 per year. The bonus that is usually received can reach up to $5,135, while the profit sharing is comprised from $0.22 and up to $15,103, this leading in the end at a total payment that starts from $61,471 and up to $117,782.

The main factors that affect and impact the earnings of these specialists are linked with the demographic factor that involves the geographical location, specific type of employment, years of experience as well as company size and industry. The vast majority of individuals employed in this profession are women rather than men.

The years of experience in this field have also their part in the salaries. For instance an entry-level clinical nurse specialist, with less than five years of experience can expect to make around $78,010 per year, while one with 5 and up to 10 years of working activity and knowledge will gain around $81,010 per year.

Those individuals who are seen as experienced clinical nurse specialist, with 10 to 20 years of work, can expect to receive incomes that go up to $88,010 per year, while the veterans in this field, with more than 20 years of experience take home around $92,010 per year.

The national average salary is $83,010 per year, with incomes that vary from state to state, town to town and region to region, according to the costs of living and the living expenses that are meet in that particular area. The variations in the economic status of the salary are noticed according to the higher lower points of the earnings, the differences that are established between the rural and the urban areas, as well as differences between the metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.

According to, the average income of a clinical nurse specialist is estimated to have a value that reaches at $71,010 per year. A clear difference can be spotted in the average earnings of jobs with related titles. For instance, a Clinical Educator Garza Unit can expect to receive an average salary estimated at $76,010 per year, while a Clinical Documentation Specialist can expect to receive around $69,010 per year.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom

  • In Canada, for instance, the estimated median salary reaches out at about C$81,010 per year. The average clinical nurse specialist salary in Canada can be estimated from C$61,464 per year and u to C$102,193 per year.
  • In Australia, the received salary has an average that is estimated to be comprised between AU$52,806 and AU$89,456 per year. The hourly wage is influenced greatly by the years of experience gathered at work. For instance those specialists with one and up to four years of experience will gain an hourly wage estimated from AU$26.46 and up to AU$36.41 per hour while those working for 10 and up to 19 years in the field will take home an estimated hourly wage of AU$29.17 and up to AU$40.53 per hour.
  • The annual clinical nurse specialist salary in the United Kingdom, for a Clinical Nurse Specialist, ranges at about £23,719 and can go up to £53,726 per year. The great news is that there are plenty of benefits and perks that will allow these specialists to have a good clinical nurse specialist salary in the UK. For instance these professionals can benefit of paid holidays and the figures are estimated to be from £23,113 and up to £41,226, or paid sick leave estimated to be from £23,286 and up to £42,704 per year and other benefits such as company pension plan or even certification reimbursement.

Conclusion on Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary

A clinical nurse specialist salary is always influenced by major factors that will determine the wages. The experience gained in this field will help these professionals to earn higher salaries that can be even estimated to reach up to $120,010 per year.

The number of demanding is pretty high in this field since the healthcare system is in need for these professionals that know how to do their job.