For many aspiring nurses, compensation isn’t their driving force. While you may be drawn to this dynamic and vital career based upon your desire to help your fellow man, annual income certainly plays a role when determining specialties. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a myriad of unique and profitable career opportunities for professional nurses outside of the traditional Registered Nurse (RN) role. The following career options are not only in-demand, but as of 2018, are pegged as being the highest paid nursing careers. It’s important to note that while the salary expectations are considered average throughout the United States, certain states and regions may feature higher or lower median salaries.
Without further ado, let’s investigate the highest paying nursing careers for 2018 and beyond:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
As a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, you’ll work in both outpatient and inpatient environments. These nursing professionals are found in a variety of medical facilities, such as emergency rooms, operating rooms and dentists. The primary responsibilities for this professional involve prepping a patient for general anesthesia. Along with preparing the patient, you will also be responsible for mixing compounds and administering the actual anesthesia alongside an anesthesiologist.
Because of the intense and vital nature of this work, aspiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists require advanced degrees and additional certifications. It’s important to note that this is a highly competitive field. Therefore, to increase your chances of securing employment, seek a degree program that specializes in job placement in your region or in the United States. In terms of job growth, this profession is expected to increase by 31 percent by the year 2026, which is significantly higher than the 11 percent growth projection for most other nursing specialties.
Median Annual Salary – $160,000
If you have a genuine love and desire to care for newborn babies, then you’ll likely find yourself gravitating toward the Neonatal Nurse specialty. This is a dynamic and vital profession the plays a direct role in the care and safety of newborns. Because of the intricate nature of this work, Neonatal Nurses tend to command a higher than average annual salary.
In order to become a Neonatal Nurse, you must earn your Registered Nurse (RN) license and apply to work in the neonatal unit under the supervision of other Neonatal Nurses. From here, you will be required to earn either the NNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner) or CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) destinations. These designations often require additional training and passing a state licensing examinations. As with all the careers listed in this article, Neonatal Nurse job growth is expected to increase by 11 to 20 percent over the coming years.
Median Hourly Wage: $29.60
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
While the role of midwife dates back centuries, Certified Nurse Midwife professions are relatively new and are obviously an in-demand career option. If you’re a Registered Nurse who’s fond of working in the labor and delivery, prenatal care or obstetrics units, then you’ll find working as a CNM to be both professionally and monetarily rewarding.
These professionals often work in pregnancy-related clinics, hospitals or OB/GYN offices. However, a high percentage of CNM’s own their own practices. In order to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, you must pass the American Midwifery Certification Board designations. These include the Certified Nurse Midwife and Certified Midwife examinations. Check with your state board of nursing to learn more about unique state requirements regarding job experience and training requirements.
As with many of nursing career specialties, job growth for CNMs is expected to be greater and faster than most other jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Certified Nurse Midwife professions are expected to grow by at least 29 percent by 2022, which is an incredible boost.
Median Salary: $102,390 per year
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
Do you have a strong interest in nursing and psychiatric care? If so, then it’s possible to blend these passions into a rewarding career as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, or PNP. This unique profession offers an opportunity to work directly with psychiatric physicians in a variety of environments. The primary responsibilities of this profession include counseling patients, crafting patient care plans and administering medication for a variety of mental health disorders.
In order to begin your career in this exciting and dynamic profession, you must earn your Registered Nurse license by completing a BSN degree program. Like all other specialties, you are then required to continue your schooling by earning an advanced degree. The most common educational pathway for aspiring PNPs is to complete a Masters in Psychiatric Nursing from an accredited university. Upon earning this degree, and passing state-level licensing examinations, you’ll be able to secure work in hospitals, psychiatric institutions or in private psychiatric care practices.
The job outlook for this profession aligns with the overall nursing industry outlook. While data is lacking for this specific job growth potential, as adult and adolescent needs for professional psychiatric care continues to rise, this career is projected to remain in high demand.
Median Annual Salary: $90,376
Pain Management Nurse (PMN)
The immediate moments following surgery are paramount for not only recovery, but also patient comfort. Whether the patient underwent a minor outpatient procedure, or a highly invasive inpatient surgery, the role of a Pain Management Nurse (PMN) is essential for the positive progression of each patient.
This nursing professional works directly with post-surgical patients to help address pain-related issues. These issues may be directly related to the procedure, or may stem from chronic pain conditions. As a Pain Management Nurse, you’ll work with the entire healthcare team to not only identify the root cause of pain, but to construct an effective treatment plan for immediate and long term pain relief.
One of the most exciting elements of this role is your ability to cease current pain and educate patients regarding pain management without developing addiction to prescription medication. Therefore, many nurses in this specialty find their work both satisfying and important. To become a Pain Management Nurse, you must hold several years of experience as a Registered Nurse (RN). Your state will determine how long you must actively be employed in this role in order to move forward with the Pain Management Specialist designation. Check with your State Board of Nursing to learn more about your state’s unique requirements.
Median Annual Salary: $90,288