It’s no surprise that many people are drawn to the field of nursing. Nursing is one of the greatest careers in the fast-growing and lucrative industry of health care, besides being one of the noblest of the helping professions.
Employees in this sector earn a median annual income of just under $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), making it one of the highest-paid occupations in the United States.
Furthermore, there are many employment openings for healthcare workers, and they only expect these gaps to grow.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they expect the healthcare industry to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029. This will create approximately 2.5 million additional jobs, with well over 200,000 of them being high-paying RN roles.
We’ve compiled a list of the highest-paying nursing jobs for registered nurses.
We look at the following questions before we do a review on the key topic:
- What is Nursing?
- Is Nursing hard to study?
- Is Nursing a wonderful career?
- How much do nurses make?
- What is the lowest nursing position?
- How do I specialize in nursing?
- Are nurses still in demand?
- What are the four fields of nursing?
- Review on the 20 highest paying jobs…
What Is Nursing?
Nursing remains a health-care profession dedicated to assisting individuals, families, and communities in trying to achieve, maintain, or regain maximum health and quality of life.
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Is Nursing Hard To Study?
This is a hugely rewarding career. You’re on your path to a fabulous career that will be very rewarding, demanding, and always exciting. Nursing schools are notoriously rigid.
Most nursing programs need high GPAs and powerful performance in math, chemistry, biology, psychology, and other tough courses. It’s also quite satisfying.
Is Nursing a Good Career?
They have ranked nursing as the most regarded profession for 19 years, according to a Gallup poll.
Nurses are the most important link between physicians and their patients, spending more time with them than any other member of the healthcare team.
Thus, nursing is one of the most satisfying jobs available.
Check Out: Top 20 Skills Every Nurse Must have in 2021
How Much Do Nurses Make?
The typical compensation for a registered nurse in 2018 was $71,730 per year, or $34.48 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
(A median pay shows that half of the nurses earn more and half earn less.) Nursing is also the profession with the highest level of trust.
You Can Also Check: 20 Highest Paying Work From Home Jobs Without A Degree
What Is The Lowest Nursing Position?
CNAs help nurses with patient admissions and vitals, as the name implies.
It is the lowest-level nursing credential and the shortest way to get into the field.
See our list of the 20 Best Paying Nursing Jobs
How Do I Specialize in Nursing?
- Earn a bachelor’s degree.
- Get a registered nursing (RN) license.
- Earn a master’s of nursing (MSN) degree.
- You can apply to take the exam relevant to your specialty to earn your CNS certification.
- You can apply for state CNS certification in the state in which you wish to practice.
Are Nurses Still In Demand?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they predict the demand for registered nurses to expand by 9% between 2020 and 2030. And this is faster than the average for all occupations.
They forecast California to have the highest registered nurse shortages (45,500), while Alaska will have the most job openings (22.7 percent ).
What Are The Four Fields Of Nursing?
There are four fields of nursing:
- Adult Nursing
- Children’s Nursing
- Learning Disabilities Nursing
- Mental Health Nursing.
Review On 20 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs
20. Hospice Nurse
Average Salary: $67,490
Hospice nurses have among the highest-paying nursing professions in the country, which is not surprising given that they have some of the toughest jobs in the healthcare industry.
They register hospice nurses who have been specially trained to care for patients with terminal illnesses and those who are nearing the end of their life.
Besides that, hospice nurses are more concerned with preventing pain and discomfort and enhancing the quality of life of people in their care than with improving their patients’ health.
Hospice nurses also have the job of preparing the patient’s family for their death.
To work as a hospice nurse, healthcare workers must have a registered nurse (RN) license and an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) accreditation.
By applying for jobs in the field, nurses with a BSN may have an advantage. Certification from a professional organization may be necessary or desirable.
The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses is an organization that certifies hospice nurses (NBCHPN).
19. NICU Nurse
Average Salary: $69,518
The NICU nurse specialization is one of the most well-known and well-paid nursing professions in the United States. Registered nurses who work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, also known as neonatal nurses, are NICU nurses.
Many nurses who want to work in NICUs want to work with babies. However, the newborns they care for are usually in need of critical care. They are born prematurely in large numbers, and not all of them survive.
NICU nurses must be mentally tough while simultaneously having a delicate touch because they work with babies whose lives are often on a knife’s edge.
Nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) offer specialized care for children from the time they are born until they reach the age of two, depending on the child’s medical needs.
Monitoring newborn vital signs, providing basic care and medical treatment, and training parents on how to care for their babies at home are some of their responsibilities.
The educational requirements to become a NICU nurse, like most of the highest paying nursing positions in our ranking, entail successful completion of an RN program, whether it is an associate’s or bachelor’s degree plan.
However, it is crucial to know that neonatal nursing opportunities are competitive, and some companies prefer BSN-prepared nurses. A frequent prerequisite is professional certification in the field. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses licenses certified NICU nurses.
18. Emergency Room Nurse
Average Salary: $69,866
An emergency room nurse, sometimes known as an ER nurse, is one of the most well-known and well-paid nursing specializations.
They train registered nurses who work in an emergency room or critical care institution to work in a fast-paced, high-stress situation. ER nurses must also have a high tolerance for turmoil and the ability to think on their feet besides their specific training.
That’s because they’re frequently in charge of making split-second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death.
ER nurses are frequently part of a bigger team that includes other nurses, doctors, and medical assistants. Collecting information from patients about their symptoms, offering first aid and drugs (including intravenous pharmaceuticals), monitoring patients’ recovery, and updating doctors and supervisors are all common activities.
You must meet the basic criteria for an RN in order to work as an emergency room nurse.
Completing an associate’s degree nursing (ADN) program and passing the NCLEX-RN license exams are both required. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, some jobs may prefer a degree.
Besides these educational requirements, emergency room nurses typically require a specialist credential, such as the Emergency Nurses Association’s Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) license.
17. Clinical Research Nurse
Average Salary: $71,954
Clinical research nurse is one of the non-traditional high-paying nurse positions. These nurses are to oversee clinical trials and other research endeavors on behalf of a hospital or other healthcare facility, rather than providing bedside care.
Because they get a front-row seat to fascinating medical advances and improvements, a good deal of clinical research nurses report great job satisfaction.
A clinical research nurse handles a wide range of tasks. These registered nurses may take a patient’s vital signs and monitor their status during experimental therapies, besides recruiting patients for clinical trials and medical studies.
Clinical research nurses are also responsible for keeping meticulous medical records, which they do with the use of specialist computer software.
You’ll need more than just the standard criteria for a registered nursing role to be qualified for a career as a clinical research nurse. This career often requires a bachelor’s degree, making it one of our top recommendations for the best paying nursing jobs for BSN holders.
They usually prefer certification as well. You must take and pass an approved licensure examination from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals to gain this extra qualification.
16. Infection Control Nurse
Average Salary: $72,997
Hospitals and other healthcare institutions have made infection control a primary concern even before Covid-19 became a problem, making infection control nurses some of the highest-paid nurses in the medical industry.
These healthcare experts are to prevent and control the spread of infection in a clinical setting, as well as treating patients who are infected.
Their responsibilities may include assessing data on the transmission of an infection, developing plans to respond to an infectious epidemic, and training other healthcare workers in infection prevention.
Infection control nurses aren’t simply regular registered nurses; they’ve had extensive training in their field.
These nurses usually have an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and at least two years of experience working as a registered nurse (RN) in a clinical setting.
Some infection control nurses hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Many employers favor candidates who have received certification from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC).
Average Salary: $73,454
Nurse navigators are among the highest-paid nurses in the healthcare business, as they assist patients in navigating the sometimes perplexing world of health and medical care.
These registered nurses have received special training in informing patients about their diagnoses, treatment options, and prognoses.
Nurse navigators may also assist patients in finding the resources they require as they progress through their treatment regimens, such as financial or emotional support.
Nurse navigators, although being among the highest-paid nurses, may not require a bachelor’s degree in nursing to get work.
An associate degree in nursing, or ADN certificate, maybe sufficient sometimes. To be qualified for navigator positions, these registered nurses must be licensed and have several years of experience in the healthcare profession.
Nurse navigators require a unique set of abilities, besides these educational and professional criteria. They must, in particular, have a thorough awareness of medical conditions and healthcare principles, as well as the capacity to convey this knowledge to their patients.
Obviously, not all nurses are qualified for this position, but they will well compensate those that are.
14. Utilization Review Nurse
Average Salary: $73,847
The role of a utilization review nurse is critical to the healthcare business, despite not being a typical high-paying RN profession.
These medical specialists are to ensure that the medical treatments given to patients are required and suitable, based on the symptoms, condition, and insurance coverage of each individual.
In essence, their role is to ensure that they properly allocate the resources of a hospital or other healthcare facility.
Potential employers recommend a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, though they do not need it. They also require an official RN license and experience working as a registered nurse for a job as a utilization review nurse.
They may also need certain industry certificates, such as those from the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians.
13. Occupational Health Nurse
Average Salary: $74,978
Occupational health nurses earn approximately $74,000 per year, making them one of the most well-paid nursing professions.
An occupational health nurse, sometimes known as an employee health nurse, is a nurse who works with a specific type of patient: employees in the workplace.
These are registered nurses who have been trained to recognize health dangers in the workplace.
Employees may also receive routine first aid and other basic health treatments from occupational health nurses on the job. Additional responsibilities could include dispensing medication, performing laboratory tests (including drug checks), and assisting wounded workers with rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Occupational health nurses must have a unique form of a certification besides their registered nursing license. The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. provides this credential.
An associate degree in nursing (AND) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) are both acceptable academic degrees (BSN).
12. Critical Care
Average Salary: $75,456
Critical care nurses, understandably, are among the highest-paid nurses. These medical professionals have the arduous task of caring for some of the sickest patients, including those with life-threatening injuries and medical disorders.
Burn centers, intensive care units, and emergency rooms, for example, all employ critical care nurses.
Critical care nursing, as one of the highest-paid nursing specialties, causes extensive training. Applicants for these types of nursing professions must have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, besides an RN licensure (BSN).
Several employers prefer critical care nurses with a master’s degree in nursing in the healthcare profession (MSN). Nurses who want to work in critical care nursing must also get professional certification from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN).
Nurses’ education and training frequently do not prepare them for critical care duties. Compassion, confidence in their ability, and mental and emotional resilience are all attributes that these nurses must possess.
Critical care nurses may face the death of their patients more frequently than other types of nurses because of the state of individuals under their care.
11. Nurse Educator
Average Salary: $77,303
Nurse educators are high-paying RN careers for nurses who want to make a bigger influence on the nursing community and the healthcare sector.
These experienced nurses use their professional expertise to build curricula for nursing students and to teach them the principles of nursing.
Nurse educators must have both nursing and teaching skills to be successful in this renowned position. They’re both nurses and instructors, so they’ll need to be knowledgeable in both healthcare and teaching.
Nurse educators are among the highest-paid nurses in the field, so it’s no wonder that they need to be well-educated. Faculty members at most universities and nursing schools must have at least a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).
Many nurse educators have advanced degrees, such as a DNP or a doctorate in nursing. They frequently require a professional qualification, such as the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) designation from the National League for Nursing.
10. Transplant Coordinator
Average Salary: $79,197
The role of transplant coordinator is one of the most interesting and well-paying RN jobs. As part of a hospital’s transplant team, these nurses work alongside other qualified medical experts.
Transplant nurses have the incredible responsibility of coordinating a medical procedure involving the transplantation of a human organ, from the organ donor to the organ recipient.
Their precise duties may vary depending on where they work, but transplant nurses have the incredible responsibility of coordinating a medical procedure involving the transplantation of a human organ, from the organ donor to the organ recipient.
This could entail verifying a proper organ match, scheduling and providing pre- and post-operative care for both donors and recipients, as well as assisting with the transplant procedure itself.
The work of a transplant coordinator, like many of the highest-paying nursing occupations listed here, needs a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
However, many transplant nurses have a master’s degree in nursing. The American Board for Transplant Certification may also require a professional license.
9. Informatics Nurse
Average Salary: $79,631
Many of the highest-paying nursing positions mix nursing and management abilities, but an informatics nurse’s work combines nursing and technological skills.
These nurses give up their bedside duties for more technological activities, such as data analytics. Nurse informaticists examine medical records and other healthcare data using specialized software to improve clinical efficiency and patient care.
They may also examine new healthcare technologies and coach other nurses on how to put them in place.
Although it’s one of the highest-paying nursing positions for those with a BSN, a rising number of informatics nurses have advanced degrees in the discipline, such as a Master of Science in Health Informatics, or MSHI.
Those who want to take directorships or other leadership positions may consider pursuing a PhD degree. Nurse informaticists must also have prior expertise in the healthcare profession, specifically with electronic medical records.
It may also require them to have a professional certification in their field, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Informatics Nursing Certification (ANCC).
8. Nursing Director
Some of the highest-paid nurses in the industry are nursing directors, not just nurses. These nurses have excellent leadership and management abilities, which they employ to supervise and oversee their entire nursing department.
Hiring and training new nurses, designing and implementing nursing practices, maintaining compliance with legislation, and managing the department’s budget are all activities related with this supervisory function.
They can consider you for a nursing directorship if registered nurses must have several years of experience and a BSN accreditation.
Some nursing directors hold advanced degrees in nursing, business, and/or healthcare administration.
A professional qualification or license, such as the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services (AADNS) Certified DNS-CT license, may also be necessary.
7. Operating Room Manager
Average Salary: $93,788
An operating room manager is another high-paying nursing position that combines business and healthcare skills. An operating room manager, not to be mistaken with a surgical services director, has a more hands-on function in the nursing industry.
Rather than the surgical department the OR manager handles the organization and efficiency of the operating room (including its employees and equipment). Establishing patient care standards, directing surgical teams, and training new staff members are all responsibilities.
The role of operating room manager is one of the finest nursing professions for mid-career nursing professionals, as it usually only requires a few years of experience as an operating room nurse, yet it still pays well.
Although a BSN is not essential for the role, many hospitals and healthcare organizations prefer OR managers to have this prestigious certification.
6. Quality Management Director
Average Salary: $ 103,283
The post of a quality management director, like many of the highest-paying nursing jobs, causes a high level of management and healthcare experience.
These nursing professionals are to ensure that a hospital or other healthcare facility produces high-quality results.
Confirming that hospital policies and guidelines adhere to regulatory standards and approved best practices, developing budgets and financial guidelines for various departments, and devising plans to improve aspects of the clinical environment such as safety, patient care, and efficiency are just some of their responsibilities.
They need a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or BSN, for quality management directors besides an RN accreditation. According to most companies, applicants for this position should have at least five years of supervisory experience.
A master’s degree in business or nursing is common among quality management directors.
5. Nurse Midwife
Average Salary: $111,130
Nurse midwives make well over six figures per year on average, making them one of the highest paying nursing occupations available. Women receive medical treatment from these advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) before, during, and after giving birth.
They educate them to give primary care during labor and may also help a doctor during a cesarean section. Besides Medical knowledge, nurse midwives, like other types of APRNs, must have outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
They must be able to keep women and partners informed and reassured during the labor process, as well as remain cool in the event of an emergency or unforeseen problem.
Nurse-midwives are not only among the highest-paid nurses in the world but also among the most in-demand. Nurse midwives, like many other healthcare professions, are in high demand.
Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 12% rise in employment for these sorts of nurses.
Nurse-midwives must complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a nurse-midwifery specialty.
Depending on where they live, advanced practice nurses may additionally need licenses or certificates to perform their profession, such as the American Midwifery Certification Board’s (AMCB) Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential.
4. Nurse Practitioner
Average Salary: $111,680
A nurse practitioner is another well-liked alternative for those seeking the highest-paying nursing employment. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses with advanced training who serve as primary care clinicians for their patients.
These skilled medical professionals perform many of the same responsibilities, including conducting tests and providing drugs.
Nurse practitioners are in high demand right now because of the aging “baby boomer” demographic, which needs more care as they age. Over the next eight years, the BLS predicts a 52 percent rise in employment opportunities for these sorts of nurses, resulting in more than 110,000 additional posts.
Nurse practitioners must complete a specific education and training program, usually a master’s or doctoral degree program. Before practicing in a clinical setting, nurse practitioners usually need to have national certification and a state licensure.
3. Director of Surgical Service
Average Salary: $117,715
The Director of Surgical Services occupies a varied function inside a hospital or outpatient clinic’s surgical wing and is one of the top paying nurse occupations with BSN credentials.
This nurse is in charge of a surgical department’s overall operations, including people, budget, resources, and outcomes.
A surgical services director’s responsibilities may include monitoring and reviewing the work of other surgical team members, buying surgical equipment as needed, providing outstanding patient care, and developing plans for departmental adjustments and improvements.
Nursing professionals must have several years of professional experience in addition to an RN credential before being considered for the position of Director of Surgical Services. Some candidates have a master’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on healthcare administration.
Surgical services directors, regardless of their educational backgrounds or expertise, must have good management and leadership qualities. Project management, financial analysis, and knowledge of human resource principles are among the other talents required for the role.
2. Chief Nursing Officer
Average Salary: $133,623
A chief nursing officer, or CNO, is the top nurse management in a healthcare facility and one of the highest-paid nurses in the world.
This nursing professional, also known as a chief nurse executive (CNE), oversees the day-to-day operations of a nursing department and serves as a liaison between nurses and other departments within a hospital or clinic.
The CNO, in collaboration with other nurse managers, may make critical decisions about nursing practices, departmental finance, and patient care.
He or she may also collaborate with other healthcare executives across the hospital or other healthcare facilities to coordinate work assignments and professional responsibilities, as well as build an organizational business strategy.
Registered nurses must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become chief nursing officers (BSN). Many CNOs have a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in nursing administration, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Some chief nursing executives pursue an MBA with a healthcare administration focus because the position necessitates a high level of business acumen.
Furthermore, several larger medical facilities frequently seek CNO candidates who hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP). Chief nursing officers may also have professional licenses and qualifications relating to their jobs, such as the Nurse Executive Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) (NE-BC).
1. Nurse Anesthetist
Average Salary: $183,580
The highest-paying nursing position is that of a nurse anesthetist, which comes in at number one on our list. A nurse anesthetist, also known as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is a type of nurse who administers anesthesia during surgeries and other medical operations.
Because many patients are anxious about anesthesia, these qualified nurses must have great bedside manners. Though some patients may only encounter the nurse anesthetist at the start of a procedure, she or he must continue to offer care once the patient is sleeping or anesthesia has been provided.
They are to keep track of the patient’s vital signs during surgery and may need to adjust the quantity of anesthetic given if necessary.
Nursing students must pursue a highly specialized course of study that culminates in a master’s degree at the very least to become nurse anesthetists. Depending on the state in which they practice, they may also need to get certain licenses and certificates.
The employment forecast is another issue to consider while analyzing the finest nursing careers. Advanced practice nurses, such as nurse anesthetists, are in great demand, according to the most recent statistics available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with a predicted growth of 14% over the next eight years.
What Type of Nurse Gets Paid the Most?
A certified registered nurse anesthetist is the highest-paid nursing position. Nurse anesthetists are advanced, highly skilled registered nurses who work closely with medical professionals during anesthetic treatments.
What is the Easiest Nursing Job that Pays Well?
- Nurse educator.
- School or summer camp nurse.
- Clinic nurse.
- Long-term care nurse.
- Nurse administrator.
- Clinical research nurse.
- Nurse informatics.
- Lactation consultant nurse.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can one be a nurse without a degree?
Yes. An LPN/LVN certificate is for students who desire to enter the nursing field without having to invest the time and money in a bachelor’s degree. In contrast to a CNA certificate, the LPN certificate denotes mastery of a broader set of skills. LPNs and LVNs are qualified to supervise CNAs in many states.
What do I need to know when I get my first nursing job?
A rookie nurse’s most crucial characteristics include a passion for education, patience, and tenacity.
Does your Nursing Salary Increase with your Working Experience and/or How Much Nursing Education you Have Taken?
Absolutely! If it doesn’t, look for alternative employment with a unique organization.
What is the Maximum Hours you Can Work as a Nurse?
Most full-time nurses are assigned to work only 40 hours per week or 80 hours every two weeks, unless they opt to work over 40 hours per week or 80 hours every two weeks.
Do you have a Certain Person you Work for?
Yes, there’s a particular person you work for and this person is a nurse manager. Almost all nurses work under another nurse who is at the management stage.
Nursing is a broad field with a wide range of prospects. There is truly something for everyone interested in a healthcare profession, from bedside care to behind-the-scenes management roles.
One thing that all the positions on this list have in common is that they are all considered being among the highest-paying nursing careers available.
The high-paying RN jobs in this ranking pay anything from little under $68,000 to well over $100,000 per year on average.
Nonetheless, many nurses who work in these positions say that the most rewarding aspect of their jobs is enhancing the health and quality of life of the patients they care for.
Only one question remains: which of these finest nursing careers can provide you with both financial and intrinsic fulfillment?