10 Top Nurse Career Changes

Top 10 Nurse Career Changes

Nurse Career Changes

Top 10 Nurse Career Changes

These top nurse career changes are for nurses tired of their nursing job. Has the last year left you burned out and thinking about some other career? What are some good career changes for nurses?  Most of our content is for individuals interested in starting a career in nursing and about how to become a nurse. However, we recognize that many nurses may need to change gears and try something new. Therefore, we have created a list of the Top 10 Nurse Career Changes. These are alternative careers for nurses that draw on the knowledge and skills you already have as a nurse. This list is for nurses interested in trying a new career! We recommend that you keep your license active until you are 100% sure you don’t want to go back to nursing if you try a new career.

Seeking Out the Career Changes for Nurses

To find these alternative careers in nursing, we first looked at what careers are similar to nursing. Next, we sorted the nurse career changes list for jobs that are in demand and growing. Then, we compared the skills nurses have to the skills needed for these jobs. A change of career from nursing may be a good idea for many nurses close to burnout. Most of our information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Top 10 Nurse Career Changes list is in alphabetical order.

Transferrable Nursing Skills For a Career Change

1. Administrative Services Manager

While some people can get into a position as Administrative Services Manager with only a high school diploma, most workplaces require a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Because this position requires related work experience focusing on leadership abilities, having experience as a nurse is a definite plus. Nurses also have plenty of experience in keeping impeccable records from years of recording information pertinent to their patients, which will come in handy in this type of job.

It also helps if they have been a nurse manager or have operated a facility as the director of nursing or some other position garnered leadership experience. In addition, nurses have the analytical skills required to know and understand how to improve efficiency and plenty of communication skills. Nurses are also very detailed oriented, which is vital in this type of career. The healthcare sector was the largest employer of administrative service managers in 2020. Thirteen percent of Administrative Services Managers work in this sector, making this one of the top Nurse Career Changes.

Transferable Nursing skills: Analytics, Communication, Detail Oriented, Leadership
Potential New Salary: $98,890
Salary Range: $56,080 – $169,930
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 9%

2. Community Health Educator

Community Health Educator is another top Nurse Career Change. Usually, at least a bachelor’s degree is required for these roles. In addition, some potential employers may want the job candidate to have a certification in health education. However, some employers may only require a high school diploma or an associate’s degree with experience in health and wellness, culture awareness, and ethics. And on-the-job training is available in many positions.

Employers usually require that the candidate understands the specific culture, medical condition, community, or disability involved in the position for which they applied. Nurses possess the analytical skills required for this career change and excellent communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, and instructional skills. Although, the salary is not the highest on our career change list, nurses are well qualified for a Community Health Educator position.

Transferable Nursing skills: Analytical, Communication, Instructional, Interpersonal, Problem Solving 
Potential New Salary: $48,140
Salary Range: $28,010 – $70,790
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 17%

3. Emergency Management Director

The crucial role of an Emergency Management Director is to keep people safe. It only fits that it would be a good choice for nurses who want to make a career change. In addition, most emergency management directors hold a bachelor’s degree and many years of experience in disaster planning, public administration, or emergency response. Nurses are familiar with planning and responding to a crisis or emergency. Some states may require specific emergency management-related certifications within a certain timeframe from accepting a position. A good candidate will possess essential qualities for this job which nurses utilize daily. Critical thinking, excellent decision-making, leadership, and interpersonal skills are all needed for this top nurse career change.

Transferable Nursing skills: Communication, Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Interpersonal, Leadership, Problem Solving 
Potential New Salary: $76,250
Salary Range: $42,230 – $142,870
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 6%

4. Event Planner

If you want to downshift from fifth gear to first, becoming an Event Planner may be just the thing you need to shake things up! In this job, you will have just as many crazy stories and last-minute crises. But in this new job, these events will revolve around parties instead of life and death. Any Event Planner needs to have excellent organizational, communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Most nurses already possess these qualities needed for this top nurse career change.

The position requires a planner to organize various events, conventions, conferences, and meetings at various locations. The average salary for this position is around $51,000 per year. A degree is not usually required, so nurses would have a leg up because they already have a degree. In addition, Event Planning is a growing field, with over 16,000 job openings for event planners projected for each year over the next decade.

Transferable Nursing skills: Communication, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal, Negotiation, Organizational, Problem Solving
Potential New Salary: $51,560
Salary Range: $29,240 – $88,360

Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 18%

5. Exercise Physiologist

The median pay for an Exercise Physiologist is about $50,000 a year. Nurses would make a great fit as exercise physiologists since they have already learned and understood how the human body works and how exercise will affect the body. In addition, an exercise physiologist is responsible for developing various fitness and exercise programs to assist sick patients, injured people, or disabled people to recover or at least improve their quality of life. Most exercise physiologists are self-employed, but some work for hospitals or other health care providers at full-time positions.

Typically, an exercise physiologist needs to possess a bachelor’s degree in some science or health-related field, making nurses a fantastic fit for this nurse career change. They will conduct clinical work and can instruct people on biology, kinesiology, anatomy, and nutrition. A license is needed in Louisiana to become an Exercise Physiologist and most states require basic certifications like CPR. Exercise Physiology is a growing field and definitely one of the top nurse career changes to consider.

Transferable Nursing skills: Communication, Compassion, Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal, Leadership
Potential New Salary: $50,280
Salary Range: $36,070 – $78,170

Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 13%

6. Health Informatics Specialists

A Health Information Specialists may need a postsecondary certificate to enter this nurse career change field. They should possess at least an associate’s degree, which nurses already have in place. Extra classes for certification in topics such as medical billing and coding may be required. However, nurses will certainly already possess the required skills necessary for this nurse career change position.

Health Informatics Specialists need analytical skills that will help them interpret medical documentation. In addition, they are very detail-oriented, possess integrity, and have interpersonal skills to discuss different issues with patients and other staff. The median income for this job is around $51,000 per year. In comparison, the lower end of the pay spectrum brings about $30,000 per year, while the higher side can be over $100,000 annually.

Transferable Nursing skills:  Analytical, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal, Organizational
Potential New Salary: $45,240
Salary Range: $29,130 – $105,690
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 9%

7. Human Resources Specialist or Manager

Do you like where you work but are tired of working there as a nurse? Many nurses switch to a Human Resources Specialist or manager within their hospital or healthcare agency. Entering this field for a nurse career change allows you to work in the exact location but in a different role. A suitable candidate will have some experience in human resource management. They will also have some experience with business, psychology, and excellent writing skills.

A nurse who has worked as a nurse manager or in other leadership positions will be qualified for this type of position. Nurses have excellent decision-making skills, which are very important in resolving disputes as a human resource specialist or manager. In addition, nurses already possess interpersonal skills and are very detailed oriented. The average salary for this type of position is a little over $63,000 per year.

Transferable Nursing skills:  Communication, Decision Making, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal, Leadership 
Potential New Salary: $63,490
Salary Range: $37,710 – $109,350
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 10%

8. Safety Director of Occupational Health 

Becoming a Safety Director of Occupational Health is another good fit for a nurse career change. Typically, the position requires a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related scientific or technical field. However, some companies only require an associate’s degree or a certificate. Written and verbal communication skills are fundamental in this position, and knowing and understanding the dynamics of health and safety for employees and managers. In addition, there are many rules and regulations safety directory implement to keep employees safe at work. The person must also have excellent organizational skills, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

Transferable Nursing skills:  Analytical, Communication, Organizational, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal, Leadership, Problem Solving  
Potential New Salary: $63,490
Salary Range: $37,710 – $109,350
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 10%

9. Training And Development Manager

Some of the Training and Development Manager positions will require a master’s degree, but most only require a bachelor’s degree in business administration, education, or a related field. Many nurses have worked as trainers and as development managers throughout their nursing careers. As a result, they possess many of the skills required for this nurse career change, especially for a role in a health care organization. Nurses have superior communication and collaboration skills and know how to work as part of a team. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also vital in this position.

The best candidate for the job will train and develop others while setting business goals and creating the plans for the company to reach those goals. To meet the needs of each organization, a training and development manager will also need to have excellent decision-making skills. They also need to determine which types of training are best for each organization they work within their new position. 

Transferable Nursing skills:  Communication, Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Detail Oriented, Instructional, Leadership 
Potential New Salary: $115,640
Salary Range: $66,270 – $200,210
Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: 11%

10. Travel Nurse Recruiter

Many nurses are taking to the road to fill different positions all over the country and even the world. Travel Nursing is gaining in popularity and is also creating a demand for Travel Nurse Recruiters. These Recruiters work for various companies that provide travel nursing services throughout the United States. Nurses switching to this top nurse career change will make an average of about $65,000 per year and can even make up to close to $100,000 annually. In addition, stellar communications are a must for this position, including honesty, integrity, patience, and trustworthiness.

A Travel Nurse Recruiter’s job is to advise and educate travel nurses before assigning them to a job position. They also mentor them during their time at each job and after they complete assignments. The top priority for a travel nurse recruiter is to find qualified talent to fill each of the different openings around the United States and internationally at hospitals and health care facilities. Travel nursing is a growing field with many opportunities for experienced nurses looking to make a career change.

Transferable Nursing skills:  Communication, Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Detail Oriented, Instructional, Leadership, Negotiation
Potential New Salary: $65,167-$80,638 
Salary Range: $24,000 – $117,500

Job Growth from 2020 to 2030: no BLS info

What Are Good Second Careers For A Nurse Career Change?

There are many good nurse career changes, including home health care managers. Home health is a growing field, and many nurses have already opted to start their businesses. They have hired their staff of nurses and aides to fulfill the needs of patients all over the country. Another nurse career change that is growing in popularity is obtaining their doctorate in nursing and becoming a nurse practitioner. Some nurse practitioners have even opened up their practices or urgent care centers. Many works within a physician’s office yet can see their list of patients and provide care to them since a doctor is nearby to sign off on certain things as needed. Promising second careers for nurses can be a wide range of positions, including fitness instructors and nutritionists. Some nurses have even decided to open their health food stores or restaurants.

In contrast, others have opened their businesses as health coaches. A nurse can easily transition to a health and wellness coach or fitness instructor. Since they understand the body’s physiology this is a great nurse career change.  In these jobs, nurses may set up a weight loss plan for people with disabilities and health issues. Coaches work with individuals who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other serious diseases. More Americans are striving to eat healthier, lose weight, and get into shape. As a result, the health and wellness field continues to grow and change. This expansion provides licensed practical nurses and registered nurses many opportunities to garner a second career or completely change their career goals.

What Other Jobs Can I do With A Nursing Degree?

Nurses can switch from a hospital setting to a dialysis center, home health care, or school nurse. Another in-demand area is Nurse Education. For nurses who enjoy teaching, there are many jobs in the nurse education field. These jobs require a master’s level degree.

Another growing field is telemedicine. Various insurance companies, doctor’s offices, and also hospitals are using telehealth. These jobs can be very lucrative while allowing nurses to work from home. In addition, with the rise in substance abuse throughout the country, nurses have plenty of opportunities to work in the chemical dependency field or mental health facilities. Some registered nurses have even begun to work for insurance companies and home health care agencies in screening patients to determine eligibility for each type of service.

Your Nursing Career Change

If you are leaving nursing for another profession there are many good jobs for ex-nurses. These are jobs for nurses looking for a career change from healthcare, a career change from nursing to business, and also alternative careers after nursing. Only you know when you need to make a change.


Sandra Janowicz

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris