10 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs & Fields

While salary might not be the deciding factor in whether or not to seek a career in nursing, it certainly contributes to choosing a program and specialization. Work in all fields of the medical profession is demanding and rewarding.

Here are some of the most financially rewarding careers for nurses.

#1 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Making between $105K and $130K annually, these nurses work in both inpatient, outpatient, and emergency facilities alongside dentists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons. It is the nurse who typically prepares the patient, and mixes and administers anesthesia. You would be well advised to seek a degree program that offers job-placement, as this market is among the more competitive.


#2 Nurse Researcher

A research nurse can expect to earn a salary between $75,000 and $95,000 per year. Nurse researchers work in universities, medical labs, or for any number of industries and nonprofit concerned with healthcare. Strong writing skills are a must in this profession, which requires grant proposals, medical journal contribution, and presentations.


#3 Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

In this field, you will work closely with the patients and their families and caretakers. You may find employment at a mental health facility, a correctional center, or you can launch an independent practice. With an average salary ranging between $70,000 and $90,000, work experience as an RN will increase your earnings potential. There are dozens of specializations, should you feel compelled to work exclusively with substance abuse patients, young people, or the elderly.


#4 Certified Nurse Midwife

Paying a median salary of $75,000, this field was one exclusive to women. However, more male nurses are exploring careers in midwifery. Midwives work alongside OB/GYN physicians, assisting with the full range of women’s health services, and advising under unusual circumstances, such as irregular pregnancy and illness. Suggestion: Try the online Georgetown University Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (Online).


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#5 Pediatric Nurse

Working with children is a rewarding profession, and pediatric nurses can expect to earn a salary near $67,000. Pediatric nurses may find employment at a variety of facilities, from the ICU to the school system to small practices. Those who work with young patients need to be excellent at communicating with patients as well as their caregivers. 


#6 Orthopedic Nurse

An orthopedic nurse can expect to provide care for a broad swath of patients facing mobility issues due to disease, disorder, or injury. Duties include assisting with surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and creating a prevention and wellness regimen. Orthopedic nurses generally work in hospital wards, emergency rooms, or outpatient clinics, although there are career opportunities in specialized offices as well. Experienced staff nurses with critical care training can earn up to $120,000 per year. 


#7 Nurse Practitioner

General nurse practitioner is a terrific entry-level position, with a starting salary of around $78K. NPs have nearly endless options regarding place of employment, and are particularly in demand in critical care and mid-sized family practices. A nurse practitioner will need to interact closely with patients, analyzing medical history, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. See our list of 10+ Accredited Nurse Practitioner programs online


#8 Clinical Nurse Specialist

To become a CSN, you will need at least a master’s degree in a specialized field of nursing, whether that’s by patient age or gender, disease, or type of care. This field requires a heavy load of researching. Demand is high for CSNs across disciplines, and you can expect to earn a salary as high as $104,000. 


#9 Geriatric Nurse

Nurses who work in gerontology tend to earn about $75,000 a year, but NP certification and skills like being multilingual can bump your earnings potential into six figures. With the aging population in the U.S., geriatric nurses are in high demand, and have a range of responsibilities, including monitoring mental health, medication, and preventative care. Geriatric nurses will also need to be skilled in communicating with the families and caretakers of elderly patients. Suggestion: Try the online Georgetown University  Master of Science in Nursing – Adult Gerontology ACNP/ CNS (Online).


#10 Neonatal Nurse

A very rewarding field of nursing that is highly in demand, this newer specialization consists of caring for newborn babies up to 28 days old. Nurseries for healthy babies seem to be getting phased out, but emergency care for premature babies and newborns with minor illnesses are growing. Neonatal nurses will administer oxygen, medication, and some more basic procedures. Working in the NICU will require an extensive knowledge in critical infant care.