Specialization is the key to growth in many industries. This is especially true when it comes to many types of nursing jobs. The 12 specific nursing careers you should consider as you move forward in the industry provide a glimpse into the diversity that exists within the field. Before we get to them, let’s go over a few general notes regarding the entire nursing industry:
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for nurses continues to be strong. While nursing jobs available in 2018 numbered more than three million, there is an expected employment change of an additional 371,500 jobs by 2028. The job outlook for nurses is expected to grow at 12 percent by 2028, a much faster rate than the average.
In nearly every instance, becoming a nurse specialist requires that you at least first become a registered nurse. For many, a bachelor’s or master’s degree, as well as relevant certification, is also necessary. RNs who don’t possess a bachelor’s degree have the option of pursuing one through an RN-to-BSN program. Doing so provides them with the ability to boost their skills and increase their career options.
The median pay in 2019 for registered nurses was $73,300 annually, according to data released by the BLS. While the specializations listed below might offer different salary specifics, this figure provides a good baseline for the industry as a whole.
Nurses who do specialize—in psychiatry, pediatrics or family care, for example—can often set themselves up to further advance their careers by attaining more certifications, training and degrees to become a nurse practitioner. These healthcare leaders were compensated with a median annual wage of $109,820 in 2019, according to the BLS.
12 High-Paying Nursing Jobs Employers are Hiring for Right Now
Below, 12 of the highest-paying nursing jobs that employers are looking for right now are outlined. In addition to a brief overview of duties, you’ll also find information about the populations you might help and where you might work.
1. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
In this position, you’ll treat patients, such as those at a correctional center or in a mental health facility, for a range of mental health, behavioral and psychiatric disorders. With a focus on combining medication with counseling, this job allows you to help patients potentially change their lives for the better.
2. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse
An intensive care unit (ICU) nurse also might be referred to as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in some settings. In addition to your nursing skills, you must also have excellent decision-making abilities. You’ll work to care for patients by diagnosing illnesses, diseases and injuries, and then treating them.
3. Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric nurses can work in facilities such as schools, urgent care offices, physicians’ offices, intensive care units and more. If you decide to become a pediatric nurse, you’ll need to feel comfortable treating and communicating with young people, as well as speaking with their caregivers. This profession not only treats children, but it also assists with their growth and development.
4. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
With the number of elderly continuing to grow, there is a need for skilled, compassionate gerontological nurse practitioners to provide them with holistic care. By holding an advanced degree in geriatrics, you’ll be able to assist your patients and treat both their debilitating and long-term conditions.
5. Pain Management Nurse
If you’re a pain management nurse, you might find work in palliative care, a hospital oncology unit or within a hospice program. Because your primary goal will be to help manage your patients’ pain, you’ll identify its cause and treat it. You’ll also spend time educating the patient and their loved ones about pain management and the medications that can treat it.
6. Nurse Midwife
As a nurse midwife, you’ll experience a special relationship with your patients as you assist them during pregnancy, labor and birth. You might work in a hospital, obstetrics office or another setting. Guiding patients through this momentous time and caring for a newborn can be rewarding both financially and emotionally.
7. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
As a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), you’ll use your advanced degree and skills while working closely with other medical personnel when patients have medical procedures that require the use of anesthesia. This specialization often requires a master’s degree because of the complexities that exist within the field. You could work with dentists, anesthesiologists, surgeons or other medical professionals.
8. Nurse Administrator
As part of an executive management team, you’ll work closely with the nursing staff as well as other departments. In this role, you’ll assist in developing procedures and policies for and about nursing staff, help with budgeting matters and negotiate with human resources. A master’s degree in healthcare administration is often necessary to secure this position.
9. Forensic Nurse
Forensic nurses could work in a variety of careers such as a sexual assault nurse examiner, a correctional nursing specialist, a nurse coroner or a forensic nurse investigator. You’ll be bridging the gap between the country’s judicial system and healthcare. This is accomplished by examining those people who have been victimized by exploitation, neglect, abuse or death.
10. Rehabilitation Nurse
As a rehabilitation nurse, you’ll work closely with patients in long-term acute care facilities, rehab centers or home healthcare agencies. Your job will be to assist your patients as they recover from injuries and/or diseases that could potentially change their lives.
11. Nurse Researcher
As a key player in the vital and lucrative research industry, a nurse researcher typically needs to earn a master’s or doctoral degree. This scientist focuses on studying healthcare, illness and health to determine their impact on people and society. A nurse researcher investigates various aspects and implements scientific studies designed to improve healthcare outcomes and services for patients.
12. Neonatal Nurse
As a neonatal nurse, you’ll be working alongside other medical professionals in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). You’ll be caring for premature and/or sick newborn babies who are up to 28 days old. Along with basic care, you will also be responsible for administering medication and oxygen to your young patients.
The types of nursing jobs and salaries are almost endless once you begin to specialize. The extensive range of different nursing jobs allows you to follow where your interests lie while improving healthcare outcomes and enjoying a lucrative salary.