nurse preparing a patient for surgery
Profiles and Features June 15, 2018

By Melissa Mills, RN, BSN, CCM, MHA

Top 5 Highest-Paying Nursing Career Options

As a nurse, you have a wide variety of nursing career options. You can choose to stay at the bedside, go into management, or obtain an advanced degree that provides many new and exciting nurse career options.

If you are looking for ways to make more money as a nurse, you may be ready to explore the many roles of the advanced practice nurse. 

[Don’t want to go back to school? CHECK OUT all the high-pay, short-term contract nursing options from NurseChoice.]

What Is An Advanced Practice Nurse?

Advanced practice nurses hold an advanced degree, such as a Master’s or Doctorate. In addition, many hold specific certifications in their field of expertise.

Advanced practice nurses play a pivotal role in the future of health care. They can work as a nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, or a midwife. 

These nurse career options not only offer career satisfaction but come with a nice annual salary too.

5 Highest-Paying Nursing Career Options

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

CRNAs administer anesthesia and other medications to patients. They work with anesthesiologists, surgeons, dentists, and other physicians. Most CRNAs work in operating rooms, emergency rooms, intensive or cardiac care units, or outpatient surgical clinics.

To be a practicing CRNA, you must have a Master’s degree in anesthesia, complete a clinical training course, and pass a certification exam approved by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2016, the average annual salary for a CRNA was $160,270.

2. Nurse Practitioner (NP)

An NP prescribes medication, examines patients, diagnoses illnesses, and provides the treatment. They are an integral part of the healthcare team. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that NPs can manage 80–90% of care provided by primary care physicians.

In some states, NPs do not have to work under the supervision of a physician. However, in other states, they must have a medical doctor co-sign certain patient care decisions. Even in these states, they have more authority and decision-making powers than a Registered Nurse.

The BLS estimates that NP jobs will increase by 35 percent during the 10-year span between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2016, the average annual NP salary was $100,910, making this one of the most lucrative nurse career options.

3. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

According to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, the CNS has been part of the health care system in the U.S. for more than 60 years.

A CNS is trained in physiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment. They work in many specialty areas, providing diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of patients.

The median annual salary for a CNS is $100,697.

4. Certified Nurse Midwife

A nurse-midwife does more than deliver babies. They provide healthcare and wellness to women through family planning, gynecological checkups, and prenatal care. 

Many nurse-midwives find job satisfaction while helping mothers birth their babies safely and naturally.

According to BLS, the average salary for a Certified Nurse Midwife was $99,770 as of May 2016.

5. Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers are scientists who study various aspects of health, illness, and health care. 

They assist with designing scientific studies that look for ways to improve health, health care services, and health care outcomes.

BLS projects a 19 percent growth rate from 2012 to 2022 for nurse researchers, which is faster than the average rate for many other nurse career options. The average annual salary for a nurse researcher is $95,000.

You Have Nurse Career Options

As a nurse, you have many nursing career options. Whether you stay at the bedside or advance your career, you can have a fulfilling and lucrative nursing career with one of these nurse career options.

[ADVANCE your nurse career with a contract nursing job from NurseChoice.]

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