Group of medical students with their instructor

18 Highest-Paid Nursing Jobs in 2021

Discover the Best Paying Nursing Careers: Responsibilities, Requirements, Salary, and Job Outlook

Group of medical students with their instructor

Ask any registered nurse (RN) the #1 reason they decided to pursue a career in nursing, and you’re likely to get a similar answer—it’s incredibly fulfilling to help others at work every day. However, the fact that nurses also earn a great living has to be a close second!

While people rarely get into nursing solely for the money, it’s still an important consideration for any career. Nurses work very hard and are deservedly well-compensated for their skills and dedication. It’s why the top nursing careers have some of the highest earning potential in the medical industry for anyone other than doctors.

(Click here to learn How to Become a Registered Nurse)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary among all registered nurses is about $75,000 per year, which works out to more than $36 per hour.

However, RN salaries can vary significantly depending on location, industry, and specialty. Here’s a look at where you’ll find the highest-paid nursing jobs by state:

State Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Salary
California $57.96 $120,560
Hawaii $50.40 $104,830
Massachusetts $46.27 $96,250
Oregon $46.27 $96,230
Alaska $45.81 $95,270

Curious about specific metropolitan areas where RNs are likely to earn the most? Here are the cities where nurses earn the most money:

City Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Salary
San Francisco, CA $71.73 $149,200
San Jose, CA $70.61 $146,870
Vallejo, CA $68.34 $142,140
Sacramento, CA $64.59 $134,350
Salinas, CA $63.54 $132,160
Santa Rosa, CA $60.02 $124,840
Modesto, CA $58.21 $121,090
Stockton, CA $55.70 $115,860
Los Angeles, CA $54.38 $113,120
Redding, CA $53.78 $111,860

While all registered nurses earn a solid living, some industries and types of employers pay more than others. On average, you’re likely to find the highest-paid nurses working in these industries:

Industry Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Salary
Outpatient Care Centers $42.93 $89,300
Specialty Hospitals $39.86 $82,910
General Hospitals $39.27 $81,680
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals $37.14 $77,250
Home Health Care Services $36.48 $75,870

With so many types of nurses working throughout the healthcare industry, there are countless opportunities to choose a nursing specialty that speaks to your interests and passions. Whether you’d prefer to work with children, cancer patients, trauma victims, or any other patient group you can think of, there’s a nursing career to match!

When trying to decide on the specialty that’s best for you, it can be helpful to know which nursing careers offer the best opportunity to maximize your potential earnings. There’s a good bit of variety among the highest-paid nursing specialties, which means plenty of opportunities to earn a great living while also focusing on a field that’s meaningful to you.

For the purposes of this article, we’ve chosen to focus on the top 18 highest-paid nursing jobs that don’t include management or supervisory roles. While a promotion into management will almost certainly come with more responsibility and a higher salary, not everyone loves the idea of managing others, so we’re featuring the highest-paid nursing careers that anyone can attain regardless of leadership aspirations.

Continue reading to discover which nursing specialties are the highest-paid, starting with number 18 on the list.

18. Research Nurse

Smiling nurse with a stethoscope and clipboard

What is a Research Nurse?

Research nurses are equal parts healthcare providers and scientists. They design and conduct research experiments to better understand illnesses and develop new treatments, medication, and medical devices.

What Does a Research Nurse Do?

In addition to developing and conducting experiments with the overall goal of improving modern medicine, research nurses must also analyze data and present their findings to fellow scientists. They also frequently help with grant writing to secure funding for their chosen field of research.

Where Do Research Nurses Work?

Research nurses work anywhere you’ll find medical advancements being made. That means some of the most common workplaces for research nurses are at university hospitals, medical research laboratories, or pharmaceutical companies.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Research Nurse?

After working as a licensed RN, becoming a research nurse usually requires earning a postgraduate degree. Most research nurses have either a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or even a Ph. D. in nursing.

What Is the Job Outlook for Research Nurses?

Employment prospects for research nurses are expected to remain stable. The BLS projects overall employment of medical scientists to increase a steady 6% by 2029.

How Much Do Research Nurses Make?

According to Salary.com, research nurses earn an average of nearly $88,000 per year or over $42 per hour. The highest-paid research nurses (in the top 10% of all earners) can bring home more than $105,000 per year.

Learn More

Click here to learn How to Become a Research Nurse

17. Nurse Educator

Doctor and nurse consulting a chart

What is a Nurse Educator?

Nurse educators (also known as nursing education coordinators) are responsible for the training and development of up-and-coming nurses. It’s one of the top nursing careers for those who love teaching and sharing their knowledge with others.

What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

Nurse educators are responsible for developing their own curriculum or training programs and teaching the material to recently hired nurses or nursing students. They often serve as a general source of knowledge, guidance, and encouragement for students or trainees.

Where Do Nurse Educators Work?

Nurse educators often work in academic settings like universities or technical colleges, somewhat removed from the fast-paced world of hospitals and emergency rooms. However, many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities also employ nurse educators to keep their nursing staff sharp and up-to-date on all the latest knowledge.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Educator?

The primary qualification for becoming a nurse educator is possessing plenty of experience as an RN, typically at least 4-7 years. Many nurse educators will also earn a master’s degree or even a Ph. D. in nursing.

What Is the Job Outlook for Nurse Educators?

The overall number of nurses working is projected to steadily increase, with the BLS estimating a 7% growth in nursing careers by 2029. That’s good news for nurse educators, as all these new nurses will need teachers and mentors!

How Much Do Nurse Educators Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary for nurse educators is nearly $94,000 per year or over $45 per hour. Nurse educators in the top 10% of earners can bring home $110,000 or more per year.

Learn More

Click here to learn How to Become a Nurse Educator

16. Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Smiling nurse with an elderly patient

What is a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

Gerontology nurse practitioners (also known as GNPs) specialize in providing care to the elderly. They work closely alongside physicians to help older adults preserve their independence and overall quality of life.

What Does a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Do?

GNPs specialize in treating age-related diseases and health issues. They may manage medication regimens, assist with mobility or chronic pain, or even help manage mental health concerns among individuals who may be feeling lonely or isolated.

Where Do Gerontology Nurse Practitioners Work?

You’ll find gerontology nurse practitioners anywhere the elderly receive medical care. This means that the majority of GNP jobs are located in nursing homes, retirement communities, or memory care facilities, as well as general medical environments like hospitals or outpatient clinics.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

After working for a few years as a licensed RN, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree from an accredited nurse practitioner program. Afterward, you’ll be eligible to take an exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center to get certified as a GNP.

What Is the Job Outlook for Gerontology Nurse Practitioners?

As life expectancy continues to increase, so will the need for specialists in caring for the elderly. While detailed job data is not available specifically for GNPs, the BLS estimates that the overall employment of all types of nurse practitioners will increase by an impressive 52% by 2029.

How Much Do Gerontology Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, gerontology nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of around $96,500, which works out to over $46 per hour. GNPs among the top 10% of earners can earn a salary of $112,000 per year and up.

Learn More

Click here to learn How to Become a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

15. Pain Management Nurse

Patient performing exercises

What is a Pain Management Nurse?

Pain management nurses specialize in making people who suffer from chronic pain more comfortable in an effort to improve the overall quality of their day-to-day lives.

What Does a Pain Management Nurse Do?

By administering medication and other forms of treatment, pain management nurses help care for people who suffer from chronic or long-term conditions like cancer, diabetes, or fibromyalgia. Pain management nurses assess patients to determine the root cause of pain and adapt treatment strategies to each individual under their care.

Where Do Pain Management Nurses Work?

Pain management nurses typically work in hospitals, outpatient facilities, or home-care providers. You’ll frequently find them working in oncology wards, rehabilitation facilities, physical therapy clinics, or collaborating with doctors who specialize in treating long-term health conditions.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Pain Management Nurse?

After earning your BSN and working as a registered nurse for a couple of years in a relevant context, you’ll likely be eligible to earn your certification as a pain management specialist from the American Nurses Credentialing Center upon passing a certification exam.

What Is the Job Outlook for Pain Management Nurses?

The long-term job outlook for pain management nurses is excellent, as the BLS projects the total number of available nursing careers to increase by 7% by the year 2029.

How Much Do Pain Management Nurses Make?

According to Indeed.com, pain management nurses earn an average annual salary of around $100,000 per year, which works out to over $48.00 per hour.

14. Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Female nurse with an elderly woman

What is a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner?

Women’s health nurse practitioners are medical professionals specializing in reproductive health for women, from adolescence through menopause and beyond. While they do not deliver babies, they are qualified to diagnose and treat a number of reproductive health issues.

What Does a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Do?

Women’s health nurse practitioners often conduct pregnancy exams, provide routine examinations and disease or cancer screenings, and prescribe birth control or other medications. They may also educate women and their families or partners on best practices for long-term reproductive health.

Where Do Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners Work?

Many women’s health nurse practitioners work in outpatient clinics, OB/GYN offices, hospitals, and urgent care facilities. They may also work for nonprofit or state-sponsored organizations specializing in women’s health.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner?

Like all nurse practitioner jobs, a career as a women’s health nurse practitioner requires earning a master’s degree in nursing and gaining real-world experience as a registered nurse. While some women’s health nurse practitioners are certified as family nurse practitioners (FNPs), nurse practitioner credentials specifically for women’s health are available from the National Certification Corporation.

What Is the Job Outlook for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners?

Nurse practitioners continue to take on an increased role in providing patient care, which comes with excellent long-term job security. While projections are not available for women’s health practitioners specifically, the BLS estimates overall employment of nurse practitioners will skyrocket by 52% by the year 2029.

How Much Do Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, women’s health nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of over $107,000, or over $51 per hour. Women’s health nurse practitioners among the top 10% of earners can make an average salary of more than $122,000 per year.

13. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Healthcare professional with a child

What is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (also known as PNPs) specialize in providing medical care to children by monitoring their development, performing preventative care, and educating children and their parents about proper health and nutrition.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

On a day-to-day basis, pediatric nurse practitioners perform a lot of routine checkups, assess any symptoms that may necessitate further consultation by a specialist. PNPs also regularly prescribe medications and administer vaccines. They also spend a lot of their time calming down concerned parents!

Where Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Work?

Since pediatric nurse practitioners focus on treating children, you’ll find them primarily in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other facilities specializing in pediatric medicine. However, plenty of pediatric nurse practitioners also work in general hospitals and private clinics that treat a wide range of patients.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

You’ll need to spend time working as a pediatric nurse and complete a master’s degree in nursing to become qualified to work as a nurse practitioner. Once you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you’ll be able to sit for a certification exam from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Upon passing the exam, you’ll be able to start practicing as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP), with a specialization in either acute care or primary care.

What Is the Job Outlook for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners?

Pediatric nurse practitioners perform more and more of the duties that are traditionally reserved for pediatricians, which means a rosy long-term job outlook. The BLS estimates overall employment of nurse practitioners will grow 52% by 2029.

How Much Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, pediatric nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of about $109,000, which works out to over $52 per hour. Top earners in the 90th percentile earn an average salary of over $119,000 per year.

12. Surgical Nurse Practitioner

Nurse in an operating room

What is a Surgical Nurse Practitioner?

Surgical Nurse Practitioners are an essential part of the operating-room team, providing hands-on assistance to surgeons during a wide variety of surgical procedures.

What Does a Surgical Nurse Practitioner Do?

In an operating room environment, surgical nurse practitioners may make incisions, operate laparoscopic cameras, suture wounds, or perform other tasks as necessary under the direction of the attending surgeon.

Where Do Surgical Nurse Practitioners Work?

Surgical nurse practitioners work anywhere you’ll find operating rooms, which are primarily located in general or specialty hospitals. Surgical nurse practitioners also commonly work in outpatient clinics or other facilities that specialize in less complex same-day surgical procedures.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Surgical Nurse Practitioner?

Any nurse practitioner role requires earning a master’s degree in nursing and gaining real-world experience as an RN, and becoming a surgical nurse practitioner is no different. Once you’ve earned your MSN and gained sufficient experience in a surgical setting, specialty certifications in surgical nursing are available from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

What Is the Job Outlook for Surgical Nurse Practitioners?

More surgical procedures than ever are being performed, which is good news for surgical nurse practitioners. While BLS data is not available for surgical nurse practitioners specifically, the BLS estimates that overall demand for nurse practitioners will increase by 52% by 2029.

How Much Do Surgical Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, surgical nurse practitioners earn just under $109,000 per year on average, which in hourly terms works out to well over $52 per hour. Surgical nurse practitioners among the top 10% of earners in the field average $125,000 per year and up.

11. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Healthcare professional consoling a patient

What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are mental health professionals who can diagnose and treat a variety of behavioral and emotional disorders, and provide counseling to individuals and families.

What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

The bulk of a psychiatric nurse practitioner’s day involves meeting with patients experiencing any number of mental health challenges. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can prescribe medication and other forms of therapy and frequently offer a listening ear and advice on coping strategies for some of the difficulties their patients may face.

Where Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Work?

The most common workplaces for psychiatric nurse practitioners are psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, and correctional facilities. Some psychiatric nurses start their own practice, where they may collaborate with social workers or other counselors to help patients who may need medication to supplement their regular counseling.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

After working as a registered nurse in a mental health setting, aspiring psychiatric nurse practitioners must complete a postgraduate degree. Most psychiatric nurse practitioners earn an MSN, though some go the extra mile and earn a Ph. D. in nursing. Upon completing these steps, you’ll be eligible to take the exam to become a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

What Is the Job Outlook for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners?

Mental health continues to become less of a taboo topic, which is good not just for society overall but also for psychiatric nurse practitioners! While the BLS doesn’t report specific projections for psychiatric nurse practitioners, though they do report that the demand for nurse practitioners overall is estimated to increase by 52% by 2029.

How Much Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, psychiatric nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of over $109,000, which is equivalent to over $52 per hour. Psychiatric nurse practitioners in the top 10% of earners may find themselves bringing home $129,000 or more per year.

10. Nurse Midwife

Midwife assisting a pregnant woman

What is a Nurse Midwife?

Nurse midwives are maternity care providers who help expecting mothers plan for and successfully deliver their babies. They also frequently provide wellness instruction to new families on topics like nutrition and disease prevention.

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

Nurse midwives provide family planning and prenatal services and deliver babies and even provide surgical assistance during Cesarean-section operations. They’re qualified to handle emergencies and just about anything else that may come up before, during, or after childbirth.

Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?

Nurse midwives most commonly work in hospital maternity wards or OB/GYN clinics, though some nurse midwives also work in home healthcare services. Nurse midwives are the go-to option for people who prefer to have more natural childbirths in the privacy of their own homes.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Midwife?

After working as an RN for a few years, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) to become a certified nurse midwife. Upon gaining the necessary education and sufficient real-world maternity nursing experience, you’ll be eligible to take the CNM exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

What Is the Job Outlook for Nurse Midwives?

The overall employment of nurse midwives is expected to steadily increase in the coming years, with the BLS estimating a 12% increase by 2029.

How Much Do Nurse Midwives Make?

According to Salary.com, certified nurse midwives earn nearly $113,000 per year on average. That works out to over $54 per hour, assuming 40-hour workweeks. Nurse midwives in the 90th percentile of earners can get paid $141,000 per year or more.

9. Home Care Nurse Practitioner

Caregiver helping a patient use her walker

What is a Home Care Nurse Practitioner?

Home care nurse practitioners specialize in providing general medical care to people in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. They usually treat people who are chronically ill or who may have trouble getting around on their own.

What Does a Home Care Nurse Practitioner Do?

Home care nurse practitioners frequently treat the elderly, people who have chronic health or mobility issues, or people who are recovering from a major injury or illness. Home care nurse practitioners may also provide palliative care to those who are terminally ill.

Where Do Home Care Nurse Practitioners Work?

Just like you’d guess from the job title, home care nurse practitioners work primarily in home-care settings. That may mean they provide house calls to private homes, or work in places like retirement communities or long-term rehabilitation facilities.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Home Care Nurse Practitioner?

Like other nurse practitioner specialties, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) in order to become a certified registered nurse practitioner. In addition to maintaining an active nursing license, you’ll need to become certified as a nurse practitioner by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

What Is the Job Outlook for Home Care Nurse Practitioners?

The job market for nurse practitioners is experiencing significant growth. While BLS job projection data doesn’t include home care nurse practitioners specifically, the projected growth rate for nurse practitioners is estimated to add 52% more jobs to the profession by the year 2029.

How Much Do Home Care Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, home care nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of nearly $112,000, which works out to about $54 per hour. Home care nurse practitioners in the top 10% of earners more than $129,000 per year.

8. Family Nurse Practitioner

Healthcare team preparing a patient

What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners (also known as FNPs) are well-rounded healthcare providers who specialize in family medicine. They’re trained to provide patients of all ages with both preventative and primary care.

What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?

Family nurse practitioners can form close relationships with the families under their care. They’re often the first person a family calls when somebody is sick, injured, or otherwise not feeling well. FNPs provide general checkups and assessments, frequently prescribe medication and common treatments, and provide referrals to specialists when necessary.

Where Do Family Nurse Practitioners Work?

Family nurse practitioners work primarily in hospitals and outpatient clinics and anywhere people go for general medical care and wellness advice. Most of the time, FNPs treat walk-in, walk-out patients rather than people who will be in the hospital for extended periods of time.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

The most common route to becoming a family nurse practitioner is earning a master’s degree in nursing after working as a registered nurse. Upon earning your MSN and gaining the necessary clinical experience, you’ll be able to sit for a family nurse practitioner certification exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

What Is the Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners?

The BLS estimates that the overall demand for family nurse practitioners will increase significantly in the coming years, with a 52% projected increase in all nurse practitioner jobs by  2029.

How Much Do Family Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, family nurse practitioners earn an average salary of just under $113,000 per year, which works out to over $54 per hour. FNPs in the 90th percentile of wage-earners can expect to bring home $130,500 per year or more.

7. Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner

Smiling nurse in scrubs and a mask

What is an Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner?

Urgent care nurse practitioners are versatile healthcare professionals who provide frontline care for a wide variety of injuries and illnesses. They’re often the first healthcare professionals somebody sees about any acute issue.

What Does an Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner Do?

Urgent care nurse practitioners treat many of the most frequently occurring injuries and health concerns, including cuts, sprains, other acute trauma, and common illnesses and infections. They frequently order diagnostic tests and are also qualified to prescribe medications. Urgent care nurse practitioners may also refer patients to see other specialists as necessary.

Where Do Urgent Care Nurse Practitioners Work?

Urgent care nurse practitioners work almost exclusively at urgent care facilities and ambulatory care clinics, which are often the first stop for people who need medical attention but are hesitant to go to a hospital or emergency room.

What Are the Requirements to Become an Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner?

After earning your BSN and gaining some experience working as a registered nurse in an emergency setting, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) in order to start a career as an urgent care nurse practitioner. The two main credentialing organizations for NPs are the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

What Is the Job Outlook for Urgent Care Nurse Practitioners?

Like other nurse practitioner careers, the employment outlook for urgent care nurse practitioners is projected to remain strong. While the BLS doesn’t report job data specifically for urgent care NPs, they estimate the total number of nurse practitioners in the workforce will increase 52% by the year 2029.

How Much Do Urgent Care Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, urgent care nurse practitioners average an annual salary of nearly $113,000, which works out to over $54 per hour. Urgent care nurse practitioners in the top 10% of earners routinely receive salaries of $128,000 per year, or potentially even higher.

6. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Medical professional writing in a notebook

What is an Oncology Nurse Practitioner?

Oncology nurse practitioners are cancer specialists who work closely with patients and cancer physicians to detect and treat various forms of cancers and tumors.

What Does an Oncology Nurse Practitioner Do?

Most of the time, oncology nurse practitioners’ main focus is on assessing patients, conducting cancer screenings, and discussing and implementing treatment options with patients and their families or other caregivers.

Where Do Oncology Nurse Practitioners Work?

By far the most common work environments for oncology nurse practitioners are within oncology wards at general medical facilities, and dedicated cancer clinics and hospitals. You’ll also find oncology nurse practitioners working in research roles to improve cancer drugs and other treatments further.

What Are the Requirements to Become an Oncology Nurse Practitioner?

After gaining experience as a registered nurse in an oncology setting and earning your master’s degree in nursing (MSN), you’ll be eligible to get certified as an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.

What Is the Job Outlook for Oncology Nurse Practitioners?

Rising rates of cancer have led to increased demand for oncologists and oncology nurse practitioners. While the BLS doesn’t track specific job data for oncology nurse practitioners, they project the overall number of nurse practitioners in the workforce will increase by 52% by 2029.

How Much Do Oncology Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for oncology nurse practitioners is just under $113,000, or over $54 per hour. Oncology nurse practitioners in the 90th percentile of earners routinely earn $123,000 or more every year.

5. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Female patient with a broken arm

What is an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?

As experts in the musculoskeletal system, orthopedic nurse practitioners diagnose and treat all types of injuries and illnesses of bones, joints, muscles, and other soft tissues.

What Does an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner Do?

On a day-to-day basis, orthopedic nurse practitioners are likely to see patients for things like broken bones, joint sprains or strains, and a variety of other acute trauma or sports-medicine injuries. They may order X-rays or other imaging, prescribe medications and home treatment, or refer patients to other specialists like physical therapists or orthopedic surgeons.

Where Do Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners Work?

As orthopedic injuries are some of the most frequently occurring throughout the population, you’ll find orthopedic nurse practitioners everywhere, from hospitals to outpatient clinics to dedicated sports-medicine facilities.

What Are the Requirements to Become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?

You’ll need to gain some experience as an RN before eventually completing a master’s degree in nursing. Some MSN programs have a concentration in orthopedics, though you can also gain relevant experience during your nursing career. Upon completing your postgraduate degree, you’ll be able to work as a Certified Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner after earning the ONP-C credential from the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board.

What Is the Job Outlook for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners?

As a large portion of the population ages and becomes more injury-prone, there will likely be an increased demand for orthopedic services. While the BLS does not provide specific job projections for orthopedic nurse practitioners, it does project the overall employment of nurse practitioners to grow a staggering 52% by the year 2029.

How Much Do Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, orthopedic nurse practitioners make an average of just under $115,000 per year, which comes out to over $55 per hour. The top 10% of earners among orthopedic nurse practitioners routinely bring home $129,000 per year and up.

4. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

Nurse in a hallway

What is a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

Cardiac nurse practitioners are highly trained specialists who treat and prevent diseases of the heart and circulatory system.

What Does a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Do?

Cardiac nurse practitioners diagnose and treat potentially serious heart conditions like arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, or heart failure. They conduct in-depth assessments and may order additional tests or prescribe medicine and instruct patients and their families on ways to improve cardiovascular health.

Where Do Cardiac Nurse Practitioners Work?

Cardiac nurse practitioners often work in specialty hospitals and cardiology clinics focused entirely on heart health and in cardiology departments located within general hospitals. Cardiology patients usually receive referrals from their primary care providers to see specialists like cardiac nurse practitioners.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

After becoming a registered nurse and gaining some experience in the field, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree in nursing, ideally with a concentration on cardiovascular health. Becoming a certified cardiac nurse practitioner requires a certain amount of clinical hours in cardiac nursing, as well as passing an exam administered by the American Board of Cardiovascular Credentialing.

What Is the Job Outlook for Cardiac Nurse Practitioners?

While BLS occupation data for nurse practitioners doesn’t specifically include specialties like cardiac nurse practitioners, the overall number of employed nurse practitioners is expected to increase by 52% by the year 2029.

How Much Do Cardiac Nurse Practitioners Make?

Cardiac nurse practitioners are well-compensated for their specialized skills and training. According to Salary.com, cardiac nurse practitioners earn an annual salary of about $116,000 or over $55 per hour. Cardiac nurse practitioners in the 90th percentile of earners can expect to bring home $131,000 per year and up.

3. Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner

Nurse waiting for an ambulance

What is an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner?

Emergency room nurse practitioners, also known as emergency nurse practitioners or ENPs, provide trauma and other emergency care to people with immediate, potentially even life-threatening health concerns.

What Does an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Do?

When injured or sick people arrive at an emergency room (either via walk-in or by ambulance), they may be assessed and treated by an emergency nurse practitioner alongside a team of other ER nurses and physicians. ENPs must often make quick decisions in stressful situations, as they have a level of autonomy far beyond that of other registered nurses in the ER.

Where Do Emergency Room Nurse Practitioners Work?

Emergency nurse practitioners work almost exclusively in emergency rooms or trauma wards within hospitals—places patients need acute, often life-saving care. Some ENPs may transition to working in urgent-care clinics (or even open their own.)

What Are the Requirements to Become an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner?

As emergency nurse practitioners must be very experienced and well-trained to handle the life-or-death situations they’ll encounter, it takes a few extra steps to become a certified ENP. After working as a registered nurse, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree and become certified as a Family Nursing Practitioner through one of the major national organizations. Then, after a certain amount of time working as a nurse practitioner in an emergency setting, you’ll be eligible to take the ENP exam from the American Academy of Nursing Practitioners.

What Is the Job Outlook for Emergency Room Nurse Practitioners?

People will always get injured or sick, which means long-term employment prospects for emergency-room staff should always remain solid. While the BLS doesn’t record specifics about employment of emergency room nurse practitioners, they estimate the overall demand for all nurse practitioners will increase by an impressive 52% by 2029. As ENPs are often the best of the best among nurse practitioners, they should have confidence in their employment prospects moving forward.

How Much Do Emergency Room Nurse Practitioners Make?

Working in an emergency room can be a stressful, high-stakes job—it’s no wonder emergency room nurse practitioners are one of the highest-paid nursing specialties. Salary.com indicates ENPs earn an average of over $116,000 per year, which works out to just shy of $56 per hour. Emergency room nurse practitioners in the top 10% of earners receive salaries of over $140,000 per year.

2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Nurse giving a thumbs up

What is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

Neonatal nurse practitioners (also known as NNPs) provide care to newborn infants who may be experiencing anything from minor injuries to potentially life-threatening complications.

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Do?

Usually under the direction of a neonatal physician, neonatal nurse practitioners diagnose newborn infants’ issues initiate treatment as necessary. They often monitor incubators and ventilators and are responsible for ensuring newborn babies are well-nourished and otherwise cared for.

Where Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Work?

NNPs typically work in hospitals, specifically maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). As neonatal nurse practitioners gain experience and advance in their careers, they may move to regional care centers specializing in the rarest and life-threatening conditions among newborn infants.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

After earning your BSN degree and gaining experience as a registered nurse in a neonatal setting, you’ll need to earn a postgraduate degree in nursing, usually an MSN. Upon completing an accredited master’s program and gaining sufficient experience working with neonatal patients, you’ll be eligible to take an exam from the National Certification Corporation to become a board-certified neonatal nurse practitioner.

What Is the Job Outlook for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners?

As long as people are having babies, there will be a need for neonatal nurse practitioners. The BLS may not report on specific job growth of NNPs, though they do estimate a 52% increase in the total number of actively employed nurse practitioners by the year 2029, as well as a 12% increase in the number of nurse midwives (another maternity-related profession.)

How Much Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, a neonatal nurse practitioner is one of the highest-paid nursing jobs, with an average annual salary of over $127,000 per year, or over $61 per hour. NNPs among the top 10% of earners can bring home $147,000 per year or more.

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Medical team in an operating room

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (also known as CRNAs) are practicing healthcare professionals in charge of administering anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures.

What Does a Nurse Anesthetist Do?

Nurse anesthetists administer nerve blocks, epidurals, and general anesthesia to patients in order to prevent discomfort during surgery or other medical procedures. As anesthesia must be administered properly to prevent serious complications, CRNAs are some of the highest-paid specialists in the nursing industry.

Where Do Nurse Anesthetists Work?

Nurse anesthetists work anywhere anesthesia is administered. The majority of nurse anesthetists work in hospitals or outpatient clinics, though you’ll also find them in dentist’s offices and anywhere else where people undergo any kind of moderate to major surgical procedures.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Anesthetist?

After completing your BSN degree and working as an RN for at least a year, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree with a specific focus on anesthesia. Upon completing an accredited program and gaining the relevant work experience, you’ll be eligible to take a certification exam from the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Anesthetists?

The BLS reports overall employment of nurse anesthetists is projected to grow 14% by 2029. That’s over triple the average growth rate for all jobs across all careers, meaning CRNAs are one of the top nursing careers as far as stability is concerned.

How Much Do Nurse Anesthetists Make?

According to the BLS, the average annual salary among all nurse anesthetists is about $189,000 or nearly $91 per hour. Nurse anesthetists among the top 10% of earners can bring home over $223,000 per year, which puts this career solidly at the top of our list of the highest-paid nursing jobs.

Which Nursing Specialization Suits You?

With so many different types of nursing careers available, earning your BSN is really just the beginning of a long, fulfilling, and financially rewarding career with endless opportunities to specialize in something that’s important to you. While it’s certainly understandable to seek out the highest paying nursing careers, there’s more than just money to consider when choosing a specialty. After all, the people who are happiest at their jobs are those who have found a way to do something they’re passionate about every single day!

Ready to pursue a career in nursing? Get started on the road to your new career by enrolling in the BSN program or Second Degree Nursing program at Brookline College.