Which Nursing Specialties Lead to the Best Paying Nursing Jobs?

One of the most exciting things about nursing is its diverse specialties, but you may be considering which nursing specialties lead to the best paying nursing jobs. With so many differing areas of nursing practice to choose from, you will want to find an area that taps into your particular skills and talents while offering you the potential to earn a higher salary during your career.

Advanced Practice RN Jobs

Many of the potentially higher paying jobs in nursing reflect the longer time that a nurse has spent in school. A variety of graduate degrees can open the door for a registered nurse (RN) to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Almost without a doubt, in almost every piece of information you can find regarding nursing salaries, the highest paying nursing job is that of a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). This role is one of the four main APRN roles, the other three being certified nurse midwife (CNM), clinical nursing specialist (CNS) and certified nurse practitioner (CNP). These APRN jobs, which usually require a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) generally break down into further areas of specialization, some of which may require further certification processes. So you could be looking at quite a bit of schooling as well as ongoing professional development, but the practical rewards can be great.

A CRNA makes about $135,000 per year while a CNM (please see: What Is a Typical Day Like for a Nurse Midwife?) makes about $84,000 annually. A CNP makes about $78,000 per year, while a CNS is not far behind with an average salary of $76,000. Bare in mind these are some of the highest paying nursing jobs, and actual salaries may vary depending on where you work and on any sub-specialties you may hold.

Other High-Paying Jobs

While those nursing specialties lead to the best paying nursing jobs, there are other areas of learning emphasis that can still lead to high paying nursing jobs. The role of nurse researcher, for example, commands a highly respectable salary that averages about $95,000 per year. Nurse researchers typically work for private companies or non-profit organizations concerned with healthcare policy. Two other nursing roles that can potentially earn excellent average salaries include those of neonatal nurse (please see: How Do I Become a Neonatal Nurse?) and orthopedic nurse. Both of these are roles you can pursue at the RN level, generally by gaining work experience in the area of specialty and then pursuing certification. Neonatal nurses who go on to get a graduate level degree and become nurse practitioners will usually command a higher salary than their counterparts who only hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but the average salaries for these jobs are quite respectable at the RN level as well, averaging in the mid $50,000 or $60,000 range.

Whether you decide to pursue a graduate degree or only your bachelor’s, there are many jobs in the nursing profession that pay well. A graduate degree will open the door to becoming an APRN, where you can pursue various specialties. These nursing specialties lead to the best paying nursing jobs, one of which might be just right for you.