Nurses make up the largest health care workforce in the country, with over 2.5 million nurses practicing a career in nursing. There are many types of nursing careers and choosing a nursing field of specialization can be overwhelming. Below are 3 of the highest paying nursing careers and the top 5 nursing specializations based on type of care.
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High Paying Nursing Careers
The highest paying nursing careers require highly specialized training and education at the graduate level.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist receives an average annual salary of $100,000 or more. Licensed registered nurses may enter a graduate education program to become a CRNA. CRNAs assist anesthesiologists by delivering anesthesia during surgery. If you have an interest in surgery and good technical skills, you may want to become a CRNA. This field of specialization does not require much patient interaction, since your patients are unconscious during the surgical procedure.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) works under the supervision of a licensed physician and provides patient care. NPs are qualified to do certain patient exams and some minor procedures and tests. They need a licensed physician to sign off their work. Some states, however, allow NPs to practice independently of physicians. They may provide primary care and prescribe medications. NPs can earn as much as CRNAs.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Clinical Nurse Specialists are trained and educated in a particular medical field of specialty. For example, a CNS of oncology is highly trained in the care and treatment of cancer patients. A CNS of oncology may also assist with clinical trials, conduct informational or educational meetings with cancer patients, and assist in developing nursing protocols within the oncology department of a hospital,
A CNS may specialize in a number of areas including cardiology, psychiatry, infectious disease, geriatrics, and others. The average salary is around $70,000 to $80,000 with some subspecialties paying more than others. As you can see, nursing careers can be financially as well as personally rewarding.
Types of Nursing Careers
A variety of nursing careers offer specialization when nurses finish school and begin practicing their profession. The top 5 nursing careers based on type of care are:
- Ambulatory Care Nurse: Treats patients with a variety of injuries and illnesses in an outpatient care setting.
- Critical Care Nurse: Works in intensive care and critical care units and specializes in treating patients with serious issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Home Health Care Nurse: Provides special nursing services at home while patients are recovering from complicated accidents, surgery, childbirth, etc.
- Ob/Gyn Nurse: Work in maternity units and gynecologist’s offices.
- Psychiatric Nurse: Helps patients suffering from mental conditions.
For more information about nursing careers, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.