May 2013

Implementing the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification in the Occupational Employment Statistics


The three advanced practice nursing occupations were considerably smaller. The nurse practitioners occupation was the largest of the three, with employment of 105,780. Total employment was 34,180 for nurse anesthetists and 5,710 for nurse midwives. Like registered nurses, most advanced practice nurses were employed in hospitals or ambulatory health care services. However, the relative importance of the two industries was reversed: 65 percent of nurse anesthetists, 60 percent of nurse practitioners, and 55 percent of nurse midwives were employed in ambulatory health care services, primarily in offices of physicians, while hospitals accounted for slightly less than a third of jobs in each occupation. About 11 percent of nurse midwives and 3 percent of nurse practitioners were employed in educational services, which contain some teaching hospitals. Unlike registered nurses jobs, which were more prevalent in elementary and secondary schools, most nurse midwife and nurse practitioner jobs in educational services were in colleges, universities, and professional schools.

Metropolitan areas with the highest employment of both registered nurses and nurse practitioners tended to be those with high overall employment, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. However, some smaller metropolitan areas had high concentrations of these occupations relative to total area employment. Metropolitan areas with the highest location quotients for nurse practitioners are shown in chart 1.2 Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL, had nearly 4 times as many nurse practitioners as a percentage of total employment than the United States as a whole. The employment share of nurse practitioners was over 3 times the U.S. average in Provo-Orem, UT; Bangor, ME; and Hattiesburg, MS. Two of the areas in chart 1--Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL, and Johnson City, TN--also had among the highest concentrations of registered nurses. Other areas with high concentrations of registered nurses included Gainesville, FL, and Lima, OH. States with the highest concentrations of nurse anesthetists included Tennessee, Louisiana, and both Dakotas. Indiana and Oregon had among the highest concentrations of nurse midwives.

All four of these nursing occupations had above-average pay. With an annual mean wage of $154,390, nurse anesthetists was among the 20 highest paying occupations in the United States; occupations with similar wages included general dentists ($163,240) and petroleum engineers ($147,470). Both nurse practitioners and nurse midwives had annual mean wages of approximately $91,000. At $67,930, the annual mean wage for registered nurses was considerably lower than the wages for the advanced practice nursing occupations but more than $20,000 above the U.S. average of $45,790 across all occupations.

Except for the nurse midwives occupation, for which average wages were similar in both industries, nurses in hospitals tended to earn more than did those in ambulatory health care services. For example, the annual mean wage for nurse practitioners in hospitals was $95,870, compared with $90,740 in ambulatory health care services.


2 Location quotients represent area employment in an occupation as a percentage of total area employment, divided by national employment in the occupation as a percentage of total national employment. Occupations with location quotients greater than 1 make up a higher share of local employment than they do of national employment; occupations with location quotients less than 1 make up a lower share of local employment than of national employment. For example, an occupation that makes up 8 percent of area employment and 2 percent of national employment would have a location quotient of 4 for the area in question.

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About the Author

Audrey L. Watson

Audrey L. Watson is an economist in the Division of Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.