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The issue of compensation for DNPs is one that often discourages bachelors-trained nurses from pursuing an advanced practice nursing degree. One coworker completed her DNP degree; however, she still works bedside because she can make more money working four to five days a week than she could as an APRN. Similar to many other professions with doctoral terminal degrees, payment does not necessarily correspond to the amount of education required for that position. However, one of the most significant differences is that APRNs with a DNP are more competitive and may find more opportunities in leadership positions.
Another issue related to compensation is independent practice. In states with restricted and reduced practice, APRNs are paid less than in states with full or independent practice. Currently, in California, APRNs have reduced practice authority; however, starting in 2026, they will finally be able to practice independently. Under the current practice standards, nurse practitioners work under the supervision of a physician who is compensated much more, even though the physician may not see patients. Full practice authority will allow facilities to spend much less because physician oversight will no longer be required by law, so nurse practitioners will have more bargaining power when negotiating salary.