The pay is highly variable, as Suzanne noted. CNSs do not necessarily
make more than staff nurses; it depends on the position. I have been a child psych CNS for ~11 years. I have worked in outpatient positions where I made quite a bit less than staff nurses working on inpatient psych units, because that was the kind of work I wanted to do. I taught nursing for a few years, and made quite a bit less than I could have made in a clinical position (that's
pretty much a universal "given"
). I've worked in inpatient settings where I made a good salary, more than the base salary of staff nurses, but, with overtime and extra shifts, I'm quite sure there were plenty of staff nurses at the hospital who made more than me over the course of a year (because I was on a straight salary).
There are also significant regional/geographical differences. There are so many
variables and possibilities that it's v. hard to make any meaningful predictions about salary.
I would strongly discourage anyone from pursuing any advanced practice role in nursing only
because they want to make more money.