6 Best Paying Clinical Nursing Jobs and Careers icon

6 Best Paying Clinical Nursing Jobs and Careers

| NurseJournal Staff

Clinical nurses are essentially a type of practicing nurse that has returned to school and earned either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. They will usually focus on a specialized area of study within the nursing field, and will work primarily if not solely in that area of medicine. Areas of specialization could focus on specific illnesses, specific groups of the population such as pediatrics or geriatrics, a particular type of care, or even a specific setting such as an emergency room. However, in most cases there are three main areas of specialty to choose from:
  • Patients and Families
  • Administration
  • Nurse Management
While a clinical nurse may find themselves practicing medicine in a hands on environment, they will also have additional duties and will more often than not work away from the bedside. Common duties of clinical nurses include consulting for nursing or medical facilities, helping to develop improved ways to deliver health care to patients, provide a specialized type of care, and help make primary decisions involving specific patients or entire groups of patients. Clinical nurses will find employment in a variety of settings including private care facilities, home health care systems, outpatient facilities, hospitals, and more. Average salaries for these professionals range from $62,000 to $79,000 per year, but in some cases positions can pay far more than that. Pay is usually based on experience, area of expertise, location within the country, specific employer, and much more. There are already about 69,000 professionals working as clinical nurse specialists, and the demand for them is growing steadily. Here are a few of the best paying jobs a clinical nurse can find employment in.

#1 Clinical Nurse in NICU

A clinical nurse could work in a . Here, they will help oversee and develop best practices for the care of sick or premature newborns while also providing hands on care to those in need. These jobs are in high demand, and a CNS can make a major difference in the field.
  • Percentage of Workforce .6%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $124,000

#2 Clinical Nurse Consultant

A clinical nurse consultant works with various organizations to help drive them forward and ensure that they are following the best practices for care or management. There are numerous specialized areas within the consulting field, and nurses could assist in teaching teams better care practices, improve the role of management, and much more. Often, these professionals serve as private contractors and work for various institutions and organizations throughout the year.
  • Percentage of Workforce 1.2%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $112,000

#3 Clinical Nurse Manager

A clinical nurse manager assumes a leadership role either in a facility or over a particular department. If specialized training is held such as pediatrics or geriatrics then it is more likely that the manager will find themselves in charge of that particular area of medicine within a larger health system. They will generally take over all management level tasks and duties, and as such the job is filled with responsibility, challenges, and more. However, it can be very rewarding.
  • Percentage of Workforce 2.3%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $70,000

#4 Clinical Nurse Educator

A clinical nurse educator does exactly what their job title suggests and takes on an education focused role. Their primary job is to help train and educate nursing students or new nursing professionals, and they may do so with a focus on a specialized area of medicine or focus on general nursing. They can find work in community colleges, business schools, universities, and even within medical systems and hospitals.
  • Percentage of Workforce .9%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $62,000

#5 Clinical Nurse Practitioner

These professionals are probably the most common clinical nurse and work in a clinical, hands-on capacity. Nurse practitioners are qualified to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries and often serve as a primary care provider for some patients. They can find work in a variety of settings ranging from hospitals to nursing homes to private practices and beyond.
  • Percentage of Workforce 4%
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $61,000

#6 Clinical Nurse Specialist ICU

This is a nursing professional who has had additional specialized training in working in an Intensive Care Unit. They will be able to monitor patients, provide direct care, reduce infection risk, enhance best practices, and generally elevate the level of care a patient in an ICU receives.
  • Percentage of Workforce
  • Projected Job Growth by 2020 19%
  • Average Salary – $69,000

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