What Are Some High-Paying Nursing Jobs?
The primary function of nurses is to provide patients with optimal medical treatment, education and care. Nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and nurse educators all make high wages. Read on to find out more about these high-paying nursing jobs.
High-Paying Career Options
Advancement opportunities for registered nurses (RNs) are greater for those with bachelor's degrees or higher in nursing. The highest-paying nursing positions, including those in advanced practice, nearly always require a minimum of a master's degree. In May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median yearly salary of a registered nurse was $71,730. As you'll see, some of the nursing specialties discussed below have a greater earning potential.
Important Facts About High-Paying Nursing Jobs
|Nurse Anesthetist||Nurse Practitioner||Nurse Educator|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||16%||36%||4%|
|On-the-Job Training||Clinical experience is typically required as part of an APRN program||Same as nurse anesthetist||None required|
|Key Skills||Compassion, communication, critical thinking, leadership, detail-oriented||Same as nurse anesthetist||Communication, critical thinking, writing|
|Similar Occupations||Audiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants||Same as nurse anesthetist||High school teachers, instructional coordinators|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice nurses who handle anesthesia administration and other forms of pain management for medical procedures. The requirements and authority for nurse anesthetists vary by state; however, minimum requirements include current RN licensing and acute-care experience combined with a graduate degree from an accredited program in nurse anesthesia. You need to obtain national certification through the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists in order to hold the title of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
As of May 2018, according to the BLS, most nurse anesthetists worked for physicians' offices and general hospitals, which paid these professionals respective average wages of $168,140 and $187,000 respectively. Texas employed the largest number of nurse anesthetists and paid them an average wage of $158,510, while Montana offered the highest average salary of $246,370.
PayScale.com reported that nurse anesthetists with the CRNA credential earned a median wage of $145,789 as of May 2019, although early-career professionals earned a lower median wage of $137,109. Most chief nurse anesthetists with the CRNA credential earned between $138,000 and $230,000, as of June 2019.
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who diagnose and treat a broad range of health issues. Their jobs are very similar in nature to those of primary care or specialized physicians, including the ability to prescribe medication. They may further specialize in areas such as women's health, pediatrics or cardiology.
Although state regulations vary, most nurse practitioners are licensed RNs with clinical experience who subsequently obtain a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited graduate program. National certification is available and usually leads to better employment opportunities.
According to PayScale.com, entry-level nurse practitioners earned a median wage of $87,467 in April 2019. The BLS reported that most nurse practitioners worked for physicians' offices and general hospitals, which paid them respective average salaries of $107,530 and $113,900.
Nurse educators teach in classroom and clinical settings, providing professional education for nursing students. They are registered nurses themselves who generally teach in their own field or specialty, such as pediatrics or oncology. Nurse educators are responsible for developing and implementing curricula. Those who teach in clinical settings work directly with nursing staff and collaborate with others in the nursing department to improve training. National certification is voluntary, but it may lead to improved opportunities for employment.
Generally, nurse educators' wages increase in relation to acquired experience and degrees earned. In the academic setting, a minimum of a master's degree is usually required. Some clinical settings may accept a bachelor's degree for teaching positions. Administrative and faculty positions at higher academic institutions almost always require a doctoral degree for a tenured position. PayScale.com reported a median salary of $74,324 for nurse educators as of June 2019.
According to the BLS, those working for colleges, universities and professional schools earned an average wage of $80,380, as of May 2018. That was more than the average wage of $74,450 for those working for junior colleges. Instructors and teachers working for technical and trade schools were paid an average wage of $74,390 while those teaching at general hospitals earned a much higher average wage of $123,760.