The Highest Paying Nursing Careers

By: Staff
Last Updated: March 2020

Working in medicine is both demanding and rewarding. While salary might not be the deciding factor on whether or not to seek a career in nursing, it’s certainly something to keep in mind when choosing a program and specialization.

Position Median Annual Salary
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist $143,739
Nurse Researcher $81,500
Mental Health Nurse Practitioner $101,602
Certified Nurse Midwife $102,390
Pediatric Nurse $58,914
Orthopedic Nurse $101,034
Nurse Practitioner $107,480
Clinical Nurse Specialist $87,184
Geriatric Nurse $94,000
Neonatal Nurse $61,168

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

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A CRNA prescribes and administers anesthesia to patients during medical procedures. To become a CRNA, you need a master’s or doctoral degree and registered nurse certification. CRNAs represent half of the anesthesia providers in the U.S.

Median Annual Salary: $143,739

Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers are scientists who work to improve the field of nursing. They conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and report results to improve medical processes and practices. To become a nurse researcher, you need a bachelor’s of science in nursing at minimum.

Median Annual Salary: $81,500

Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Also known as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, P-MHNPs are responsible for prescribing medications and assessing and diagnosing patients. They focus on patients who suffer from mental health issues like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. To pursue this field, you must have your RN license and at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Median Annual Salary: $101,602

Certified Nurse Midwife

CNMs provide care for women throughout their lives, helping them with pregnancy, postpartum issues, birth control, family planning, and overall women care. In order to become a midwife you will need your RN license as well as a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

Mean Annual Salary: $102,390

Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses primarily work with children, including infants, elementary-aged kids, adolescents, and teenagers. Pediatric nurses help with child growth and development. Some healthcare settings may accept candidates with an associate degree, but most prefer a bachelor’s.

Median Annual Salary: $58,914

Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nurses help patients who are suffering from fractured bones, arthritis, osteoporosis, joint injuries, or other musculoskeletal issues. They assist doctors and patients before, during, and after orthopedic surgeries. To become an orthopedic nurse, you need an RN license and either an associate or a bachelor’s degree.

Median Annual Salary: $101,034

Nurse Practitioner

An NP diagnoses illnesses and diseases, creates treatment plans based on the needs of patients, and interprets diagnostic lab tests. You will need to earn a bachelor’s in nursing and an RN license for this position.

Mean Annual Salary: $107,480

Clinical Nurse Specialist

CNSs can provide patients with expert advice on treatment options. They often serve as consultants and can help colleagues make informed decisions on medical treatments. For this position, you need RN licensure and at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. A graduate level nursing degree is preferred.

Median Annual Salary: $87,184

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses focus on caring for the elderly, who become more fragile and often require specialized care as they age. These types of specially trained nurses care for aging and elderly adults. To become a GN, you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Median Annual Salary: $94,000

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses specialize in caring for newborn and premature infants during their first few weeks or months. They also conduct research, consult with other medical professionals, or educate patients and the general public on issues related to infancy. To become a neonatal nurse, you must have an RN license and at least an associate degree in nursing, though a bachelor’s is preferred.

Median Annual Salary: $61,168