While advancements in the healthcare sector were already underway, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these changes rapidly. The evolving trends now focus on meeting complex medical needs as the last of the baby boomers will likely retire around 2030. But while there is an urgent demand for nursing leaders to manage mounting health concerns, there is an extreme shortage of these professionals.
The nursing field offers numerous degrees, specialties, licenses, and certifications. We can no longer confine nurses to the role of providing care by helping patients eat, sleep, and wash up. They can now treat the sick from infancy to old age and those afflicted with different health conditions. Nurses with advanced degrees and more outstanding work experience can take on administrative, leadership, and educational roles and work independently in several healthcare settings.
But with so much diversity in the nursing profession, it may seem impossible to choose the right career for you. To help you make this decision, we have outlined the top 5 most lucrative nursing professions, their roles, and the average salaries they command.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
A Doctor of Nursing Practice is the ultimate apical profession in nursing because there is no higher level of education present. If you wish to take your career to its pinnacle, consider enrolling in one of the MSN to DNP programs online today. These degree programs offer you the knowledge and skillset that, besides enhancing your clinical application, help you gain leadership capabilities.
Within the healthcare industry, DNPs can work in various settings and take on multiple roles in the workforce. Some of these include:
- Nurse management
- Organizational leadership
- Health policy analyst
- Health informatics system analyst
Over the next several years, opportunities and salaries for a DNP are likely to rise. According to Medscape, the average salary for DNPs will likely rise to $126,480 depending on an individual’s experience and skillset.
- Nursing Administrator
Nurse administrators are part of a management team within a healthcare setting. They may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, public health offices, or nursing homes. Although they may interact and work with patients, their primary job responsibility is to manage a team of nurses. In this management role, nurse administrators may sometimes wear several hats throughout the day to ensure healthcare standards are maintained and patient care isn’t compromised.
Job titles for a nurse administrator may vary but mainly comprise nurse managers, supervisors, directors, and even chief nursing officers. Their typical responsibilities may include:
- Hiring, firing, and supervising nurses
- Addressing patient complaints
- Scheduling nurse shifts
- Planning and sticking to departmental budgets
- Facilitating staff meetings
Nurse administrators earn a median salary of $104,280 per year as classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- General Nurse Practitioner
General nurse practitioners are part of a larger group of healthcare providers who work in hospitals, research institutes, clinics, and private practices. Besides the right academic qualifications, you must also be a registered nurse in the state you wish to work. Some places may even require you to receive certification from national bodies like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Regardless of their workplace setting, nurse practitioners are in high demand. Some of the most vital duties they perform include the following:
- Recording patient history
- Maintaining medical records
- Performing routine examinations in rural or underserved communities
- Ordering diagnostic tests
- Diagnosing health conditions and devising relevant treatment regimens
A general nurse practitioner, on average, can command a salary well over $125,000 annually.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
The job responsibilities of a certified registered nurse anesthetist are vital for patients’ health and safety. They have a high amount of responsibility and must have a strong focus. A CRNA provides anesthesia medicines to patients after administering tests and ensures o adverse effects or allergic reactions to the dose. Besides medical competencies, a nurse anesthetist must also have strong analytical, communication, technological, and organizational skills.
Their job comprises several varying duties, including:
- Performing pre-, intra-, and post-anesthetic assessments of patients
- Explaining the process and effects of anesthesia to the patient
- Administering the anesthetic agents
- Monitoring medication and vital signs as needed
- Maintaining accurate records regarding a patient’s anesthetic process
Various factors like experience, work setting, and geographical location may impact a CRNA’s salary. But overall, they earn a higher salary than most other nursing professions. The mean annual wage estimate for nurse anesthetists is $202,470.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
Licensed and registered nurses who provide advanced patient care and consultation services are clinical nurse specialists. They may work in clinics, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities. Additionally, their job responsibilities can include working with patients or performing administrative roles in the health sector. Other duties may include:
- Supervising the nursing staff
- Performing health assessments
- Developing nursing practices, procedures, and policies
- Identifying training needs and facilitating them
The average salary of clinical nurse specialists may fall between $100,736 and $122,032, depending on an individual’s experience and qualifications.
You have the highest chances of building a lucrative nursing career when you obtain an advanced degree in nursing. Factors like education, experience, and skills significantly impact salaries for nursing professionals.
Since online nursing programs are likely to continue growing popular, this may be an excellent time to enroll in a degree program and take your career to new heights.