50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand
April 2023

50 Best Nursing Jobs Based on Salary and Demand

50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

Best Nursing Jobs and Careers

The best nursing jobs based on salary and demand have roles for nurses at all different license and education levels to grow their careers! Along with the medical field in general, the role of a nurse underwent significant changes over the 20th century, as the field professionalized, and the duties of a nurse went from essentially a non-skilled service to highly educated, qualified, and licensed professionals.

Over that time, administering medications, checking vital signs, and simply following the doctor’s directions charge shifted to collecting raw data, interpreting observations, and making diagnoses and treatment plans. One of the great things about the nursing profession is all the different nursing specialties. So, if you’re burnt out, it’s relatively easy to change roles!

Ranking the Best Nursing Jobs and Careers

Check out our latest ranking of the best online RN to BSN programs if you’re interested in earning a nursing degree. Specialized certifications may be required by law in many areas but are used by potential employers as a measure of competence. So you have a better chance on the job market with a certification than without it.

Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand
50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

1. School Nurse

What can registered nurses expect: If the low salary scares you, consider that school nurses only work 9 to 10 months a year. They also have weekends and evenings off and have fall and spring vacations. Generally, a school nurse works without direct supervision from a nursing coordinator. School students are the main clients for school nurses who do wellness screenings and provide basic first aid and referral of students discovered to be ill. School nurses also take care of medication administration. A couple of years of experience following graduation and licensure will likely be essential.

Median salary: $45,500.

What is a School Nurse?

What is a School Nurse?

2. Nursing Home Staff Nurse

What can registered nurses expect: Interestingly, the two lowest median salaries in this ranking also reflect the two opposite sides of human experience, the very young and sometimes the oldest members of society. Retirement Community Care requires independent thinking and good assessment skills since, generally speaking, physicians may not be present physically. Medications and patients with special feeding and elimination needs will probably be included. RNs often supervise staff who perform basic care of clients. Additionally, this role may require several years of experience in acute care.

Median salary: $55,200

Nursing Home Staff Nurse - 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

3. Legal Nurse Consultant

What to expect: Legal Nurse Consultants are Registered Nurses with additional training in legal matters. They serve as an expert consultant for attorneys, insurance companies, and other legal entities. They are responsible for analyzing medical records, preparing reports, testifying in court, and much more. Legal Nurse Consultants use their medical and legal knowledge to advise attorneys and other legal entities on medical-related cases.

Median salary: $82,742 for legal nurse consultants

Nursing Home Staff Nurse - 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

4. Burn Unit Nurse

What to expect: Even with all the challenges that a staff nurse may feel in working with clients who often have to deal with excruciating pain and bodily disfigurement, staff nurses on a burn unit still earn a median salary well below the median overall salary. As a specialized worksite, additional understanding and assessment in specific areas will be needed. While working more closely with other professions than in some areas of nursing, assessment skills and independent thinking are still crucial. Prior experience in acute care is part of the preparation.

Median salary: $61,900

Burn Unit Nurse - 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

5. Gerontology Nurse

What to expect: Unlike a nursing home staff nurse, a geriatric staff nurse will not have a range of ages in the clients being cared for. Thus learning to know the peculiarities of elderly patients via both experience and specialized study will make this job much more meaningful. Diseases related to age and deceased bodily function are part of the big picture in this field. A generalized slowdown, especially compared to acute care, may make it seem easy and less stressful, but there are other stresses. These nurses sometimes crush or liquefy medications for patients. So, food needs and elimination take longer to address in some patients.

Median salary: $62,400

Top 20 Online and Hybrid MSN Programs in Gerontology

Gerontology Nurse - 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

6. Pediatric Nurse

What to expect: A pediatric nurse is a nursing professional who specializes in the care of children and adolescents. They provide specialized care for infants, children, and adolescents, from newborns to 18 years of age. Pediatric nurses often work in clinics, hospitals, or private practices. They provide preventive care, diagnose and treat illnesses, and help manage chronic health conditions. They may also assist in medical procedures, give immunizations, and provide guidance to families on health promotion and health maintenance.

Median salary: $62,700 for pediatric nurses.

Complete Job Description of a Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric Nurse - 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand

7. Hospice Care Nurse

What to expect: Hospice nurses specialize in providing end-of-life care for terminally ill patients and their families. Their job duties include providing physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort to the patient and their loved ones, managing medications, administering treatments, and coordinating care with other health care providers. They also provide support to family members and help them understand the patient’s condition and make decisions related to their care.

Median salary: $63,600

What is a Hospice Nurse?

8. Pain Management Nurse

What to expect: Pain management nurses specialize in the treatment of patients with chronic pain. They are responsible for assessing and diagnosing a patient’s pain and developing individualized plans of care to help manage the pain. Pain management nurses also provide education and support to patients and families, and they may work with other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists and psychologists, to provide a comprehensive approach to pain management.

Median salary: $75,938 for pain management nurses

9. Home Care Head Nurse Quality Improvement

What to expect: These nurses do not provide direct health care. However, the guidance and planned activities to promote the quality of care provided by the home care service will ultimately improve what the organization provides to its clients. Knowing current best practices and expectations that persons who utilize the service expect is a starting point. Carrying out the tasks and successfully motivating changes will test the leadership you practice. Because of government regulations that cover most healthcare professions, an awareness of rules and successful adherence to those are vital to this nurse’s success. Minimally you will need a bachelor’s nursing degree and more than a few years of experience, as well as solid leadership and self-starting skills with creativity to lead.

Median salary: $67,100

10. Oncology Nurse

What to expect with this nursing specialty: Oncology nurses are specialized nurses who care for patients who have cancer. They provide physical and emotional care to patients and often provide support to family members. Oncology nurses help patients manage their treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as provide pain management and symptom control. They also educate patients about their health and treatment options and provide emotional support.

Median salary: $67,200

11. Nurse Researcher

What to expect: Nurse researchers are nurses who specialize in research. They may be involved in a variety of research activities, such as developing and conducting studies of nursing practices, examining the effectiveness of treatments, exploring the impact of health care policies and systems, and analyzing trends in health care outcomes. Nurse researchers may also participate in the education of nurses and other health care professionals and develop new models of care delivery. They may also collaborate with other researchers to provide evidence-based information to support decision-making in health care.

Median salary: $67,600

12. Nurse Recruiter

What to expect: If you are excited about being a nurse, and want to find other nurses of any level of competence to work in your preferred place of employment, being a nurse recruiter is the way to go. Answering questions at job fairs, making nurses aware of openings and options, and interviewing candidates who pass your required level of confidence is part of what you will do, but in order to do that you need to be highly competent yourself both educationally (with at least a bachelor’s degree and experientially, that is, being knowledgeable about the details of the job you are recruiting for.

Median salary: $71,900

Top 10 Nurse Career Changes

13. Flight or Transport Nurse

What to expect: Handling emergencies with firm ground under your feet, both literally and figuratively, is part of being a professional flight nurse. Doing the same when you are thousands of feet above the ground, and possibly dealing with acutely or severely ill clients will identify your level of competence. Accurate and ready assessment of the unexpected as well as simply handling the crisis you faced on beginning the transport to a major medical center, will call for your best effort. Sometimes you will need to do much more than simply follow orders that anticipated almost every potential issue as you respond to the demand for your best effort.

Median salary: $72,000

14. Renal Dialysis Unit Nurse

Dialysis Nurse, What to expect: Of all the nursing careers we have considered, being a renal dialysis nurse requires less formal or advanced education in order to begin a career than most. Much of the work is routine with specific guidelines for assessing and determining what goals need to be met during the time a client spends using an “artificial kidney.” While the work in itself may be more routine, clients who have, or are in the process of coming to terms with their reality and needs do not see their reality as routine. Being a compassionate, understanding, and encouraging person will probably give both you and your clients a lot more satisfaction.

Median salary: $72,000

How Much Does a Dialysis Nurse Make?

15. Home Health Nurse

A Home Health Nurse, What to expect: Home Health Nurses provide home care services to individuals who are ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled. These services may include wound care, medication administration, patient and caregiver education, monitoring vital signs, and providing emotional support. Home health nurses may also provide services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They may also perform home visits to evaluate the patient’s condition and develop an individualized plan of care. Home health nurses are also responsible for coordinating and communicating with other health care providers to ensure the best possible care for the patient.

Care may not be complex, but persons who have recently become home-bound may have expectations that are not realistic or may be angry about what they are experiencing and blame the nurse for not fixing all that they have to face. Working without professional peers close by, or having a physician readily available means taking initiative, but also knowing when a person’s knowledge and understanding for making a decision is not enough.

Median salary: $72,200

16. Long-Term Care Nurse 

What to expect: Knowing a bit about long-term and institutional care of persons will not cut it for this career. Advanced education, managerial skills, and five or more years of clinical experience will prepare you for assessing, planning, and organizing those who provide the care. You will be responsible for both professional and paraprofessional caregivers, and advocating for their needs will be an important part of this job as you strive for maintaining a competent staff in what may be routine work, but challenging in the terms of workload and certain monotony.

Median salary: $73,500

17. Travel Nurse

What to expect: A travel nurse is a registered nurse who works on a contract basis, usually for a period of 13 weeks or more, at various health care facilities throughout the United States. Travel nurses are often sent to fill temporary nursing positions at hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. They may also provide care in specialized areas, such as operating rooms, intensive care units, and emergency rooms. Travel nurses often provide care in locations that are difficult to staff. Examples are rural areas or areas experiencing a medical staffing shortage. They also provide relief for nurses who are taking extended leaves of absence. These nurses usually earn a higher rate than staff nurses due to more specialized skills, knowledge, and experience.

Median salary: $74,800

18. Nurse Researcher 

What to expect: As part of ongoing research, pharmaceutical firms and health-related industries rely on human subjects to evaluate their products’ effectiveness. Therefore, belief in patient safety, strict adherence to guidelines and policies, and an investigative spirit are qualities of a nurse researcher. Additionally, a bachelor’s nursing degree and at least four or five years of experience will equip you for this job. In addition, being skilled at assessing what is happening at any given moment and responding to emergencies is vital for research of this type.

Median salary: $74,900

19. Charge Nurse

What to expect: Charge nurse is a catch-all phrase synonymous with head nurse, nurse coordinator, and nurse manager. However, it generally refers to a nurse who oversees other staff persons, both professional and paraprofessionals providing direct patient care. They ensure clients receive quality care, are duly assessed, and that there is continuity between the institution and community. Coordination of continuing and in-service education is also part of the charge nurse’s role. In addition, a charge nurse will necessarily be based and focused on a specific aspect of human reality. For example, they may choose medical-surgical, OB-Gyn, orthopedics, or pediatrics.

Median salary: $75,000

20. Occupational Health Nurse

What to expect: Occupational health nurses provide care for workers in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. They are responsible for assessing and monitoring workers’ health and safety, conducting health screenings, developing health and safety policies, and educating workers about health and safety practices. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop health promotion and disease prevention programs.

Median salary: $75,200

21. Recovery Room Nurse

What to expect: As technology advances and surgical procedures take advantage of new processes, the amount of time a patient spends post-operatively in the hospital will continue to decrease for some patients, as will their time in recovery. For others, however, the unheard-of complex procedures requiring total control of body functions will make the recovery room much more than a “wake up room.” Assessing all aspects of what is or may be happening with a post-operative patient and responding appropriately and in a timely manner is obviously at the very core of this profession.

Median salary: $75,500

22. Nursing Home Nurse Practitioner

What to expect from these nursing jobs: Nursing homes are not synonymous with geriatric care facilities. In some areas, a nursing home provides care for persons who are no longer acutely ill and therefore do not require hospitalization but are not well enough to be discharged to home care. As a practitioner in this setting, your independence may be simplified because clients will be reasonably stable and probably a larger group. Preventative care (especially infectious disease possibilities) and curative response are part of this job. An advanced degree and certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) are required to get started. Of course, for both of those, a prior requirement, even if not a legal requirement, might be a few years of experience to be familiar with the principles and practices you could, or do encounter, will make you an important part of the health team.

Median salary: $75,600

23. Nursing Services Instructor

What to expect from these nursing jobs: Having the heart of an educator, and being able to plan, organize, and carry out “in-service” programs that will keep the nurses on your unit excited about what they are doing, and eager to do it better, will make you successful in this field. Registered Nurses who are stressed out, or burned out, maybe experience that reality because of the workload, but possibly because of not being adequately prepared for changes that have occurred in approaches and technology. An educator tuned in to current reality can make a world of difference by being relevant, and sensitive to colleagues. Expect to take a lot of initiative and use your own experience to make a difference for others. Having a background in education will help you be successful.

Median salary: $79,200

24. Transplant Nurse Coordinator

What to expect from these nursing jobs: As skills and technology improve and awareness of how to deal with rejection of a transplanted organ or tissue increases, a transplant coordinator will need to maintain current as well as have a firm base with experience and awareness of how vital coordination of both donors and recipients intentions is. You will be working with clearly limited deadlines in time for organs and some tissues to be viable, feel a lot of pressure from persons involved (families that are, in the case of a donor), and will need to know how to handle grief, and joy, and all the emotions in between as a voice for those who made the decision to share life. More than an educated heart you may need a realistic and compassionate heart.

Median salary: $79,800

25. Infection Control Nurse

What to expect from these nursing jobs: “Hospital-acquired infections” have become a challenge for providers and caregivers and tragically, the salary of persons who thrive on other person’s misfortune. Being very knowledgeable about the specific transmission of given diseases, and the precautions required to avoid their spread is a must. Even though you may know the basics of epidemiology, you will need to constantly upgrade your knowledge of new and dangerous bacterial strains and viruses. Monitoring and discovering breakdown in the system that allows for infection to spread from one part of a facility to another is an absolute necessity. Educating, and insisting on compliance is also vital. From initiative based on assessment skills, knowledge, and awareness, to testing premises and responding, you will be a very vital part of the future well-being of your institution.

Median salary: $79,900

26. Occupational Health Nurse

What to expect from these nursing jobs: If you found working as a staff nurse in occupational health invigorating, discovered that you enjoyed assessing and planning your own work, and at the same time thought about how you could help others be more relevant and fulfilled, you may be ready for a head nurse position. Don’t plan on doing it for the salary increase, a mere $2.00/hour more than you made, but the job fulfillment may be worth it. Large companies who are concerned for the well-being of their employees will expect you to provide continuity of care so that what is good in one area is also available in another area of the business. Employees will always be sharing their experiences so your goal will be to provide equally good care, follow-up, and preventative nursing and teaching to all by way of dedicated, unified staff working under your guidance.

Median salary: $81,000

27. Medical Surgical Assistant Nurse

What to expect from these nursing jobs: As in some other settings, the need prompts the expansion of roles. For example, a staff nurse working as a surgical first assistant may perform some surgical procedures under the direction and supervision of a surgeon. Typically surgical nurses work as a scrub (helping to prepare the client for surgery and assisting the surgeon) and circulating registered nurses (providing supplies and support without being in the actual “operating field,” but this role may go beyond that. Due to the increased responsibility, additional certification will be required, and at least two years of experience in the OR. Specializing in a given area of surgery to understand foundational practices and procedures and their concepts will make you more effective. Again, wise judgment and experience are crucial.

Median salary: $84,300

28. Nursing Education Coordinator

What to expect from these nursing jobs: As median salaries increase, the complexity of the role, as well as the demand reflected by the law of supply and demand in the salary, so too the education and experience required increases. One step up from the education instructor, and about $3.00/hour more pay, this job has the additional challenges of using resources wisely between different services, coordinating education that has common aspects, and adapting what is not common. Although the coordinator may not do the actual teaching, sensitivity, and insight based on additional years of experience and education (at least a bachelor’s degree), will help you to be successful. Being a successful leader means respecting and admiring those you lead; expect that to happen.

Median salary: $85,200

29. Psychiatric Unit Head Nurse

What to expect from these nursing jobs: Head psychiatric nurses delegate the care of clients to professionals and paraprofessionals working under them. In addition to the care provided, mental and written awareness of what is happening on the unit will mean good feedback and documentation of care provided, equipment and supply inventories, and following institutional guidelines for keeping tabs on all controlled substances. The degree of responsibility psychiatric nurses have is supported by a minimum of five years of experience and possibly an advanced degree. For the unit to function like a well-oiled machine, your personality skills, care for personnel working there, and team-building activities and attitude are crucial.

Median salary: $88,800

30. Obstetrics Nurse

What to expect from these nursing jobs: Some websites provide job descriptions for head nurses in only a word or two. However, this job is more complex. The essential routine responsibilities of documentation, inventory, reporting, staffing, controlled substance inventory, and provision for staff maintenance are, of course, very similar. However, ahead nurse on an obstetrical unit can expect to be ready to respond to a wide range of emotions from both clients and staff and will need to provide creative care and understanding for the unexpected. Furthermore, the degree of preparation for caring for a newborn will vary greatly, so staff must also be gifted and sensitive educators. Additionally, awareness and understanding of roles and expectations are crucial. Finally, team leadership and team building are vital parts of this role.

Median salary: $91,700

31. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

What to expect from these nursing jobs: Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who specialize in mental health care. They assess, diagnose, and treat mental health issues and provide counseling services to patients of all ages. They may also prescribe medications, order laboratory tests and refer patients to other specialists as needed. Psychiatric nurse practitioners typically have a master’s degree in nursing and must be licensed by their state board of nursing.

Median salary: $91,900 for a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

32. Home Health Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: The degree of independence you experience as a home health care nurse practitioner can be invigorating and exciting. As a practitioner, because you are able to diagnose and provide for the immediate medical needs of your homebound clients, you will also be able to use an important shortcut to health improvement. As in all nursing care, documentation and use of other medical and medical-related services is crucial. Being independent is not synonymous with providing all the care that is provided for your client, nor is it synonymous with caring for only elderly persons. Depending on your actual agency, you may provide for both families and pediatric clients.

Median salary: $92,300

33. Emergency Room Nurse

What to expect in this nursing career: As a head nurse on a unit, competence is a keyword. Your staff should be mentally, emotionally, and educationally prepared to respond to the unknown. Their awareness of anatomy and physiology will help make your ER function successfully. Reviewing procedures and best practice outlines via documentation will avoid unexpected dilemmas. Years, of at least five, of experience as a staff nurse will help to prepare you. But preparation is insufficient if you lack relational and motivational skills to equip your team. You rarely practice hands-on care, and you will delegate care almost entirely. Maintaining a solid professional relationship with the other services, such as radiology, laboratory, and an array of specialized providers is crucial. If you are not a team player or are aware of group dynamics, this job may not be for you.

Median salary: $92,500

Trauma Nurse vs ER Nurse Job Description

34. Certified Nurse Midwife

What to expect in this nursing career: Although a certified nurse-midwife has far fewer years of preparation than an OBGyn physician, a midwife often has the time and experience necessary to be much more involved in the care of an expectant mother. But the role does not stop with the delivery as many nurse-midwives also are involved in follow-up care of the mother and newborn infant. Usually, midwives have a working relationship with a qualified OBGyn physician and have both the knowledge and practical skills necessary to know which pregnancies are beyond their scope of practice. In some geographic areas, you may function with a great deal more latitude than others; if you desire, you may find working directly under the direction of a board-certified physician an option. American Midwifery Certification Board.

Median salary: $94,000

35. Critical Coronary Care ICU Nurse 

What to expect in this nursing career: As the median salaries mentioned in this listing increase, one may conclude two things. First, the demand is higher, and the supply is less. Second, the stress, responsibility, and required preparation for critical care nurses are greater than in other areas of nursing. Being in charge of a critical or coronary care unit demands a great deal of stamina and preparation.

Providing optimum care in situations that involve life and death decisions is part of the oversight. Still, just as important is making certain that all areas are fully functional, from technology to sustain life to technology to document all that is taking place. As team leaders, critical care nurses need at least five years of experience and advanced study to head up this unit. Wise judgment and knowing when to be flexible and when to draw a firm line will help you be successful as a CCU head nurse.

Median salary: $94,200

36. MD Office Family Nurse Practitioner

What to expect in this nursing career: A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who specializes in providing primary health care services to families and individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly. FNPs are able to diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, provide health promotion and counseling services, perform gynecological and family planning services, and provide medical care for minor injuries. Family Nurse Practitioners typically work in primary care settings such as hospitals, private practices, and community health centers.

Median salary: $94,300

37. Nursing Informatics Specialist

What to expect: A Nursing Informatics Specialist is a type of healthcare professional who specializes in the use of technology and data to improve patient care and healthcare outcomes. This can include the use of software and databases, process automation, and data analysis to improve patient care and healthcare systems. In addition, an informatics nurse works to ensure that all healthcare providers have access to the most up-to-date information, tools, and resources. They also assist in the development, implementation, and maintenance of healthcare information systems. This nursing specialty is new to the nursing field and in demand!

Median salary: $86,000 for informatics nurses.

38. Clinical Nurse Specialist

What to expect: A clinic nurse specialist has a role that, in some ways, is like a head nurse or nursing director of a facility. The oversight and attention to care are similar. However, a clinical nurse specialist will ensure that clinic competency is achieved and maintained rather than being involved with interpersonal relationships and maintaining a good team approach. For that to happen, clinical competency will be more important than staff relationships. No matter the clinical specialty area, the nurse specialist will be familiar with and insist on following best practices and procedures that adhere to recognized concepts in the field. Knowing how to adjust to cultural or religious values will make you a true specialist if you choose nursing expertise. Both an advanced degree and certification in your specialty area, plus, of course, experience gained over five years or more, will make you a true professional.

Median salary: $95,800

39. Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: As a nurse practitioner, you may find employment working independently on a limited basis. For example, there are family practice physicians and others who see a wide range of clients and may want a nurse practitioner to care for and follow up with some of those clients. In addition, your general knowledge will be more significant as you work in preventative and curative care. Diagnosing, treating, prescribing medications, and following up to see the effectiveness of what you have ordered will be part of this role. Even if you don’t have specialized certification, you will still need to be certified as a nurse practitioner. Additionally, you need five years of experience as a registered nurse.

Median salary: $96,000

40. Medical Surgical Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: A Med-Surg nurse practitioner will have decided to focus on this area of care. An advanced degree, experience, and certification in your specialty are part of the requirements. As with other nurse practitioners, a nurse practitioner dealing with both surgical and medical clients will function much more independently than a clinical nurse in the same area. Diagnosis, treatment, prescribing care and medicines, follow-up, and proper documentation are part of this role. Persons recovering from severe accidents, diabetics, or other chronic health issues need a nurse practitioner who understands and can address all their needs. Knowing one’s limits and gracefully referring those clients who are out of the scope of practice from the nurse practitioner’s perspective is crucial.

Median salary: $98,900

41. ER Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: An ER nurse practitioner will probably not have the same level of independence as a nurse practitioner has in a family clinic. Doing triage duty, ordering initial tests, providing input, and interpreting results are part of this role but may involve other professionals. Keeping current with advances in technology in both goods and services is vital. You may work closely with social services in providing support to families who have to deal with significant stress, loss, and grief. Your extensive knowledge in advocating for appropriate care and knowing your limitations is vital for being an ER nurse practitioner. An advanced degree, as well as more than a few years of experience, will help you to deal with the unknown and the unscripted life of an ER.

Median salary: $100,000

42. Specialty Care Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: Nurse practitioners who choose specialties rather than working as generalists can expect to earn a higher salary. However, the difference is not as great as one might expect. You will still assess, interpret, order meds and tests, and record results to plan initial and ongoing care. An advanced degree in and of itself may not fully equip you for the specialty of your choice. Still, it will provide the foundation. The final part of that degree will prepare you for certification in the specialty care most important to you. Knowing and keeping tabs on advanced practices and procedures is part of this role also. The concept of once a professional, always a professional simple is not valid. Your wise judgment and ongoing education will keep you fine-tuned to continue the specialty in which you are engaged.

Median salary: $100,000

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43. ICU Head Nurse

What to expect: With the possible inclusion of other high-risk units, nursing services in ICU are among the most stressful environments. In addition, they also have the highest staff-to-client ratio. As director of the nursing service in the ICU, you need a firm understanding of staffing and placement options for the professionals and paraprofessionals on your unit. Maintaining performance documentation for equipment, supplies, medications, and controlled substances is vital. Personnel performance reports are also essential to make the team a safe, healing, and whole unit. You will need to collaborate with nurse educators to ensure your staff is fully competent for whatever reality they face. Knowledge about creativity in leadership and maintaining a good team spirit is part of your task; carrying it out is just as or more important. You will probably need an advanced degree and specialized certification to work in this role.

Median salary: $100,500

44. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: A Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) is a Registered Nurse (RN) who has completed advanced education and training in the care of newborns. NNPs provide care to newborns from the delivery room to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating newborns with acute and chronic health problems. They also provide assistance to families of newborns and provide education and support to new parents. NNPs may also provide specialized care for high-risk infants, such as those born prematurely or with congenital defects.

Median salary: $106,500

45. Nursing Administrator

What to expect: A nurse administrator is a professional who oversees the day-to-day operations of a healthcare facility’s nursing services. They ensure that registered nurses adhere to best practices and legal requirements, while also developing strategies to improve patient care. Additionally, nurse administrators often work with other departments within a hospital to ensure the facility runs smoothly. They may also oversee the recruitment, hiring, and training of new nursing staff.

Median salary: $107,400 for nurse administrators.

46. Nurse Practitioner

What to expect: Specialization as a nurse practitioner will require more experience, a lot more education (advanced degrees and certification), and an area of nursing that has both high demands and is unique in the field. As you learn to know your interests, particularly in regard to independence, and the acute awareness of what you can offer that is not frequently offered by nurse practitioners, you will be able to provide your own job description as you tailor your specialty to what you can offer. Nurse practitioners’ freedoms to assess, plan, provide, test, and carry on do not vary a great deal from one general area to another, but a specialized field gives you latitude for creativity and spontaneity.

Median salary: $109,900

47. Nurse Educators

What to expect: Nurse educators are responsible for providing formal nursing education programs, as well as guidance and mentoring for student nurses. A nurse educator is responsible for the educational aspects of nursing, such as curriculum development and implementation, evaluation of student performance, and clinical instruction. In addition, most nurse educators are also involved in nursing research, professional development, and policy development.

Median salary: $110,200

48. Director of Nursing

What to expect: The median salary posted at the end of this entry is generic. A Director of Nursing position will be different in expectations and compensation in a hospital, nursing home, or another facility. You will be the primary link to other departments–such as physicians and providers, and heads of departments in different areas that relate to nursing in the institution where you are employed. You will be the voice and interpreter of what you expect and what policies are in place. Advanced nursing degrees and years of experience must accompany your RN license as well. Creativity leading and directing the nursing staff and having an organized system will help you succeed.

Median salary: $131,200 and is one of the highest paying nursing jobs.

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49. Certified Nurse Anesthetist

What to expect: A certified nurse anesthetist is a highly specialized nurse and takes home one of the higher salaries in the field. But these advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) may also experience a much higher demand for safety and care for persons unable to communicate their needs. An acute awareness of safety in both the preparation and administration of anesthesia forms the core of this role.

Evaluating clients thoroughly pre-operatively for what unexpected and undesirable events may result from the client’s current anatomy and physiology, as well as post-operatively for what has or may occur is a vital part of this profession. An advanced degree, as well as certification as a nurse anesthetist, is required. Nurse anesthetists must understand current practice expectations and limitations, as well as knowing how to respond to the unexpected is vital.

Median average salary: $164,000 and is one of the highest paying nursing jobs.

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50. Chief Nurse Anesthetist

What to expect: While a certified nurse anesthetist is directly involved in the preparation of pre-, actual, and post-operative care of clients, the chief nurse anesthetist will probably not be involved in the care of clients, but rather in the care of colleagues. Providing both educational and professional oversight, by way of planning and maintaining equipment and supplies as well as personnel, the head of the department will need to have a broad understanding and preparation.

Nurse anesthetists need an advanced degree and seven years or more of experience along with the required certification is the minimum requirement. Skills in team leadership are also vital and must include ways to provide self-care for all those in the department.

Median average salary: $186,000 and is one of the highest paying nursing jobs.

What are the Benefits of the Best Nursing Jobs and Careers?

Nursing jobs and careers offer a variety of different tasks and responsibilities, allowing nurses to choose a job that best fits their interests and skills. The best nursing jobs and careers offer a number of benefits. Many nursing jobs and careers offer flexible working hours and schedules, allowing nurses to work around personal obligations.

Additionally, nursing is a profession with high job security, as it is in high demand in many parts of the world. Nurses typically earn competitive salaries, depending on the job and location. Job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment are other benefits for nurses who help patients and make a difference in their lives. And, nursing is a field in which nurses can continually grow and develop professionally.

What are Nursing Specializations?

Today there are hundreds of options for meaningful careers in nursing, with the nurse’s role determined by the level of nursing education and specialization, the type of facility, and other factors. For instance, a registered nurse may have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, and an RN license, but the duties of a nurse with a BSN will likely be higher than an RN with an ASN and better paid.

How Do the Types of the Best Nursing Jobs and Salaries Relate?

Location and demand make an enormous difference in nursing jobs and the salaries available. For example, the Department of Labor-based Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that generally, registered nurses earn a mean annual wage of about $77,600. However, if you are nursing in California, you might top out at $141,000. On the other hand, in Puerto Rico, a nurse might earn as little as $25,000. The highest paid nursing jobs are the ones in high demand.

Know yourself. It is vitally important to know, among other variables, which is more important, a higher salary or fulfillment and job satisfaction. Related to job satisfaction are job location and mobility. Wages and projected income vary incredibly, as does demand. For instance, the salary of a nurse practitioner may be much higher for nurse practitioners who have more responsibility and autonomy. 

Finding the Best Nursing Jobs and Careers

Only you can find the nursing career that is the right fit! Many nurses choose based on the circumstances of their life and their education level. For example, some new graduates only look for a job to do the most to help others. Other nurses just need a great paycheck. Let’s face it, the best nursing careers for moms are often just the best-paying nursing careers.

Furthermore, students with graduate degrees may want to look at the best-advanced practice nursing careers. Whatever nursing specialties path you choose, you can take comfort in the flexibility of a career in nursing. It is one of the few professions that lets you continually build your education and change focus areas. Good luck with your career in nursing!


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