Entering the nursing field doesn’t mean you are limited to bedside nursing at your local clinic. In fact, there is a huge variety of careers you can enter into as a nurse, and if salary is a factor, there are still plenty of options. If you’re considering entering the nursing career or are already a nurse but you’re just looking to up your income, here are the highest paying nursing jobs available today.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
If you’re looking for the absolute highest paying nursing job, this is it. Of course, that also means it is a highly skilled position that will require extra certifications and further education. Here’s what you can expect:
Duties: A nurse anesthetist works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and other medical professionals. They administer anesthesia and will monitor patients throughout the procedure or surgery. They are also closely involved with the patient’s recovery period.
Requirements: To become a CRNA, you will need a master’s degree from an official anesthesia educational program at the very least. You’ll also need to pass the National Certification Exam to receive your new initials.
Salary Expectations: As the highest-paid position for nurses, the average salary for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists is about $133,000 in the United States.
General Nurse Practitioner
A general nurse practitioner is the next highest paying position for nurses. There are a variety of options for this type of nurse regarding work settings. Opening up an independent practice is a possibility for the most motivated nurse practitioners, but primary care facilities are also a very safe bet.
Duties: A GNP is expected to provide primary care to patients, including physical exams and other patient observations, as well as recording medical histories and taking note of current symptoms. They may also work with the physician to create care plans and modify existing care plans. A general nurse practitioner can expect to also order, perform, and analyze diagnostic exams and work with medical equipment.
Requirements: Again, you’ll want to have at least a Master of Science in Nursing degree to fulfill this role. Following that, you’ll need to pass the Nurse Practitioner licensure exam according to your state requirements.
Salary Expectations: The high end of the NP salary sits at around $98,000 per year as of 2014. The average salary is slightly lower, of course, since salaries will always depend on the state and specific location of the facility that you are hired at.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
As the American population is aging quite rapidly, there is a massive demand for nurses who work with the elderly. Because of the high demand, the salary for this specialty ranks right up there as one of the highest-paying nursing jobs out there.
Duties: As a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, you’ll be expected to help the physician diagnose illness and disease as well as help manage associated pain. Because your clientele is elderly, you’ll also be doing a lot of education work to help patients understand their new limitations due to age. Furthermore, you’ll be prescribing medication and helping with physical therapy, along with ordering and completing routine screenings for worsening conditions.
Requirements: While there is no minimum master’s degree required, you’ll need to be an experienced RN and then pass an exam to become a Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, following your state’s requirements and exam.
Salary Expectations: As of 2013, the median salary for a gerontological nurse practitioner was $95,000 per year. Depending on your state and local needs, your salary may be slightly higher or lower than this number.
Pain Management Nurse
This specialty is not as well known as others, but there is still a large demand for this type of nurse. Luckily, pain management nurses are in need in a plethora of healthcare settings. Hospitals, local clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers are all in need of this type of nurse, so there’s definitely no shortage of opportunities.
Duties: The goal of a pain management nurse is to help increase the quality of life of your patients. You will need to be familiar with the psychosocial aspects of patient care and will work closely with physicians to develop a proper plan of care. You’ll need to be able to interpret patient medical histories and perform diagnostic tests. You should also be comfortable with assessing pain and choosing proper routes for medication and treatment.
Requirements: If you’re interested in becoming a pain management nurse, all you’ll need to do is have your RN certification and a few years’ experience. Following that, you will need to complete your Nurse Practitioner certification for Pain Management Specialists.
Salary Expectations: The current average salary for Pain Management Nurses is around $90,000 per year. As with all specialties, location and experience will affect salary.
Certified Nurse Midwife
While many nurses specialize in labor and delivery, becoming a certified midwife is another step up. Like L&D nurses, they offer help with pre- and postnatal care, as well as assisting during delivery. However, one major difference is that while these nurses can work with an OB/GYN office, clinic, or hospital, they can also set up their own practice to help women deliver their babies.
Duties: Before labor and delivery, CNMs provide pregnancy care, including monitoring the health of both the mother and the child. CNMs will also educate the new mother on what to expect during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postnatal recovery period. Of course, they will also assist during labor and delivery, ensuring a healthy birth.
Requirements: Nurses must complete training and certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board if they want to become a Certified Midwife or Certified Nurse-Midwife.
Salary Expectations: Salaries for CNMs can be an average of around $102,000 per year.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Mental health is certainly a growing area of the health sector in America, especially as we learn more about how the body and mind interact with each other. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you’ll be able to work with a psychiatrist to help counsel patients about mental health disorders. The demand is growing in this area, especially for the adolescent and child population.
Duties: If you choose to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, you can expect to help treat patients with a diagnosed mental disorder. You may also need to assess family histories in patients who are likely to develop a mental illness. Additionally, you may adopt the role of counselor or therapist for your patients as you help the psychiatrist offers treatment and disease management.
Requirements: Since mental health is so complicated and less understood, you will want to have at least a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing to get into the field.
Salary Expectations: A certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can expect to earn upwards of $90,000 per year, depending on the facility and location.
Family Nurse Practitioner
A Family Nurse Practitioner has quite a few options for where they can work. This specialty functions essentially like a primary care physician, so it’s possible to work in a clinic, hospital, doctor’s office, or even a nursing home. This job is expected to grow a lot in the next few years, so it’s a great specialty to get into. Its versatility and high demand make it an extremely viable opportunity for many nurses.
Duties: The duties of an FNP are many since you’ll be working with a wide variety of patient populations. You will be helping to assess and diagnose health conditions, conduct physical exams and help create care plans for patients with chronic conditions that need regular maintenance. Prescribing medication and therapy, educating patients on their diagnosis, and interpreting test results are also among the many duties of a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Requirements: Many nurses who choose to become an FNP complete a master’s degree, though this is not necessary. You will, however, be expected to pass your Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certification exam in order to practice as an FNP.
Salary Expectations: Currently, the average is $85,000 per year, though this is expected to rise as the demand grows throughout the country.
As the world progresses, technology is becoming more and more of a necessary part of our everyday lives, including healthcare. Informatics nursing is an ideal specialty for those nurses who are interested in technology and have a knack for inviting it into their nursing career. This is a great sector to work in if you prefer a less hectic way of life that can become an issue with regular nursing.
Duties: Using technology and informational systems, an informatics nurse will need to be able to monitor for errors in current systems, implement new systems, and analyze technology trends. Interpreting data is a key skill you will need as an informatics nurse.
Requirements: You’ll need a minimum of a master’s degree, though that could be in either nursing or computer science. However, you’ll also want to consider having a couple of years’ experience in nursing to get a full grip on the position.
Salary Expectations: The current average salary of an informatics nurse is around $83,000, though this is expected to rise dramatically in the next few years, due to the growing demand for technology-savvy nurses.