10 Nursing Jobs That Pay More Than Average
Registered nurses, or RNs, are well compensated healthcare professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for an RN in 2016 was just under $70,000. This is well above the median average salary in the U.S., which most recently was reported at around $51,000 per year. While you can easily make a nice living as an RN, some nursing positions command higher pay than others. Most of the time, of course, additional education and training are required to qualify for these positions. As you will see from the examples below, the increase in pay tends to be worth it.
10 Nursing Positions That Offer Exceptional Compensation
If you'd like to map out a nursing career with the highest potential for compensation, consider these options:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - To become a CRNA, you'll need to earn your master of science in nursing, or MSN, with a specialization as a nurse anesthetist. In 2014, these professionals earned a median salary of around $133,000. This field is expected to grow by more than 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, so opportunities are plentiful.
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioner - If you enjoy working with elderly patients, consider returning to school to earn your MSN with a specialization in gerontology. This will qualify you for positions as a gerontological nurse practitioner. These professionals earned a median salary of around $95,000 in 2014, and the field is expected to grow by 31 percent through the year 2022.
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Many registered nurses are drawn to the area of mental health. The field is a good one for RNs to pursue, as the median salary for psychiatric nurse practitioners in 2014 was $90,000. Demand for qualified psychiatric nurse practitioners is expected to remain strong and to increase in the years ahead. You will need to return to school to pursue your MSN in psychiatric nursing to qualify for these positions, but the extra training will more than pay off.
- General Nurse Practitioner - RNs who want more autonomy, but who aren't interested in becoming MDs, often become nurse practitioners instead. In many states, NPs are eligible to establish and run their own practices. The median salary for this profession in 2014 was $98,000, which is nearly double the national median salary. A master's level education is required, so you will have to earn your MSN and then obtain your nurse practitioner license from there.
- Pain Management Nurse - This is a nursing job that doesn't necessarily require additional schooling. The median salary for this profession in 2014 was $90,000, and demand is expected to grow in the years ahead due to the rapidly aging population. You don't need an advanced degree, but you do need to obtain your certification. For this to happen, you must first gain relevant experience in the area of pain management, so seek out opportunities in this area as much as you can.
- Family Nurse Practitioner - If you dream of one day opening your own practice or otherwise being more autonomous, becoming a board-certified family nurse practitioner, or FNP-BC, may be the option for you. These professionals earned a median salary of around $84,000 in 2014, and opportunities exist in regions around the country. You absolutely must return to school to earn your master's degree to qualify for this line of work, and you will want to choose a specialization as a family nurse practitioner.
- Certified Nurse Midwife - This is another nursing job that doesn't necessarily require an advanced degree. However, you will need relevant experience and plenty of it to get there without one. Certified nurse midwives earned a median salary of $102,000 in 2014, and the field is projected to grow by 29 percent from 2012 to 2022. After acquiring the necessary experience, you will have to earn your certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist - A master of science in nursing degree is required to become a clinical nurse specialist. Demand for these professionals, who earned a median salary of $80,000 in 2014, is on the rise because they tend to provide healthcare services at a lower cost than average. As a CNS, you can rest assured of having plenty of job opportunities and excellent compensation. Many RNs pursue their master's degrees through online schooling while holding down their regular jobs, so this is something to consider as you advance in your career.
- Nursing Administrator - Like some registered nurses, you may find yourself drawn more to the backstage end of things as opposed to the patient-facing side of things. Nursing administration is a demanding, but rewarding field. These professionals earned a median salary of $79,000 in 2014, and the field is expected to grow by 23 percent through 2022. Most RNs who work in management or administration have MSN degrees in healthcare administration. Again, this is the type of degree that you can often work toward online.
- Informatics Nurse - This is another nursing job that appeals to those who prefer working less directly with patients while still providing a truly valuable service. Informatics nurses earned an average of $83,000 in 2014, and more than 70,000 new jobs are expected to be added in the next five years. These professionals pull together information about nursing to promote public health. The job is more about analyzing trends and information than providing clinical care. You will definitely want to go back to earn your MSN to qualify for this line of work.
Even if you are happy with your initial salary after earning your RN license, it's important to remember that you don't have to stop there. With a little additional training or education, you may be able to push your salary and compensation to even greater heights.