Good news for the health care system: the current number of nurse practitioners (NPs) licensed to practice in the US increased by 9%, from 325,000 in 2021 to 355,000 in 2022, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

The increase in NPs will help address primary care provider shortages as well as widespread provider burnout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the AANP.

“Nurse practitioners are answering the call to provide vital health care services to all Americans,” said April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of AANP. “With the challenges of the pandemic and the demand for more accessible and equitable care, NPs continue to enhance health care delivery across all settings. Today’s nurse practitioner count indicates that demand for these highly-qualified clinicians continues to be on the rise — and for good reason.”

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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2026, the NP role will grow by 36%.

Nurse practitioners have played a big role in the health care industry since the inception of the field more than 50 years ago.

Nurse practitioner and PA ranked first and second, respectively, in the latest U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Health Jobs list. The Clinician Advisor 2021 salary survey showed that 21% of NPs and 27% of PAs reported earning a lower income in 2021 during the pandemic, while 19% of NPs and 15% of PAs reported earning a higher income.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioner, No. 1 ranked health care job, reports increase in numbers. April 7, 2022. Accessed April 8, 2022.