Seven Best Paying Nursing Careers

June 12th, 2014 by

Nurse With Elderly PatientNursing is an integral part of the medical field, and nurses are necessary in hospitals, clinics, schools and private practices around the world.

Many people decide to go into the nursing field because they want to work in patient care or they have a desire to make a positive difference every day.

However, there is no question that salary is also an important factor when it comes to finding the perfect career.

While there are many different types of nursing careers, this guide will detail those nursing careers with the highest earning potential.

If you are ready to earn your nursing degree or you are just thinking about your future, picking one of these lucrative career choices can be a smart way to gain financial and job security in the years to come.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

One of the highest paying careers in the nursing industry is that of clinical nurse specialist. This career involves studying and mastering a certain medical specialty and then acting as the expert in the field.

In a hospital, for example, a clinical nurse specialist in oncology might deal exclusively with cancer patients and help them receive the patient care they need.

Clinical nurse specialists almost always have a master’s degree in nursing, and they typically also have a CNS certification in whatever field that they specialize in.

Clinical nurse specialists tend to earn around $80,000 annually, and they are employed primarily in hospitals and research clinics. If you are interested in pursuing a specific field within the medical industry, this career choice could be the perfect fit for your future.

Nurse Practitioner

When patients visit a private practice for medical attention, they often see a nurse practitioner rather than a physician. A nurse practitioner offers direct patient care, often under the guidance or supervision of a physician.

This kind of career is best suited for those who want to pursue higher education in the field as well as those who want to establish lasting relationships with patients.

A nurse practitioner might work in a private practice or in a hospital, and they see patients routinely and regularly. They treat illnesses, describe side effects and aim to prevent diseases, and they might also diagnose patients within their specialty or for non-emergency cases.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners in the United States earn average salaries of $95,070 each year, making the position one of the most lucrative in the entire nursing industry.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Administering anesthesia is a complicated and difficult job, and it is one that can have significant effects on the patient. During surgeries, certified registered nurse anesthetists may be responsible for determining how much anesthesia a patient requires, monitoring their vital signs during the surgery and deciding when to stop providing the medication.

A lot rides on this, and certified registered nurse anesthetists have an incredible amount of responsibility. To reward CRNAs for their training, education and dedication, they can expect to earn anywhere from $100,000 to $130,000 annually.

While the high salary is certainly impressive, certified registered nurse anesthetists are not able to develop relationships with patients, as they tend to only be around immediately before, during and after surgeries.

Investigate your choices in nursing degrees you can earn online through and accredited online college or university.

Chief Nursing Officer

If you have natural leadership abilities, confidence and excellent communication skills, then you may be interested in pursuing a nursing career like that of chief nursing officer. A CNA might work as the head of an entire hospital’s nursing staff, or they might be responsible for the care in a clinic or even an assisted living facility.

Wherever they happen to be employed, a chief nursing officer will be tasked with devising more effective ways to provide patient care, implementing new procedures, organizing staff schedules or ensuring that their department follows health and safety standards for the medical industry.

Chief nursing officers typically require a graduate degree like a master’s, and they will also need to be registered with the American Organization of Nurse Executives. The reward, however, is an average salary that is typically upwards of $100,000 per year.

Nursing Midwife

Whether you have always wanted to be involved with midwifery or you are currently working in labor and delivery and want to be promoted, a career as a nursing midwife could be the perfect option.

A nursing midwife helps with every stage of having a baby, and they may work in hospitals, clinics or private practices. Nursing midwives often provide conception advice, monitor the progress throughout the pregnancy and then are on hand during the labor and delivery.

Along with being a registered nurse and earning a master’s degree from an accredited college, a nursing midwife generally needs to be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board in order to be employed in this capacity.

Legal Nurse Consultants

Combining an interest in the legal world with a background in nursing is the recipe for success when it comes to a career as a legal nurse consultant. A legal nurse consultant typically provides advice and expertise on legal cases that involve suing a medical provider, improper medical care or almost anything else that relates to the medical industry.

They often work directly for large law firms, or they might be retained as legal consultants for a large public hospital. They work through medical terminology, explain medical procedures to lawyers to help them understand the case and they may even speak with witnesses or potential jury members to better explain complicated medical situations.

While no legal training is necessary for this position, legal nurse consultants will always need to be certified or registered nurses and have many years of experience working in the medical industry.

Geriatric Nurse

Due to a rising number of baby boomers in the United States, a generally aging population and an increased need for medical care as a whole, there is an increased demand for those who specialize in geriatric care.

This demand translates to higher pay for nurses who are trained in geriatric care, or care for senior citizens. Geriatric nurses may be registered nurses, nurse practitioners or even clinical nurse specialists, but their area of expertise is caring for aging patients.

If you want to establish relationships with patients and also make a higher salary than in many other nursing specialties, focusing on geriatrics may be an ideal solution.

Pursuing a career in nursing can be a smart way to prepare for your future. The medical industry is booming, and there is an increased demand for nurses who are trained in all areas of the field.

Whatever nursing career you ultimately decide upon, you can rest assured that you will be making a difference in the health and happiness of countless patients. To secure the highest earning potential, however, selecting from the list of careers above is a smart place to start. Visit to find the right degree program to help you reach your goals.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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