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Top 10 Highest Paying Nursing Positions (And How To Land Them)

Top 10 Highest Paying Nursing Positions (And How To Land Them)

By Editorial Team | Updated On May 27, 2024
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The medical industry plays a crucial role in our well-being. A good healthcare sector is crucial for the functioning of a society. Nursing is a vital aspect of the medical field. Though doctors tend to have more responsibility and tend to get paid more, that doesn't mean one cannot hold financially lucrative roles as a nurse.

Many laymen consider nurses to be like sidekicks to the doctors or a typical Watson to Sherlock Holmes, but that is certainly not always the case. Nurses are of many types, and some of them may even be a lot more qualified than you think and are capable of earning six-figure annual incomes too.

Factors Affecting The Salary Of A Nurse

The salary of a nurse varies greatly depending on multiple important elements. It is important to know what they are so one can focus their efforts in the right areas and boost their income. Learning how the industry works is key to landing some of the highest-paying nursing jobs in the future.

Organization Type

Nurses of all kinds work in various types of healthcare facilities. Sometimes they even work in facilities specializing in other purposes, such as schools, colleges, sports-related organizations, etc. These types of workplaces focus on other things but also have medical departments that employ nurses and doctors. The type of workplace they are employed in can influence their pay to some degree.

Location

The condition of the local economy of the city where they work plays a crucial role as well. The strength of economies varies from country to country and even city to city. Hence, it is important to research the local job market well when looking for work. Another crucial detail to keep in mind is the cost of living.

Experience

Just like any other profession, even in nursing, your longevity in the industry matters greatly. More experience allows you to work better and provides you with a wider base of knowledge to call upon when needed. It also allows you to be a leader and take on mentorship duties in the organization.

Education

There’s no denying the fact that the qualifications you obtain play a role in the salary you are offered. The amount of education you obtain also determines what type of nurse you become. APRNs are generally the most educated among nurses, and it's no surprise that they are among the highest paying nursing positions.

List Of Highest Paying Nurse Positions

There are many types of nursing roles in the job market with varied demands for highest-paying nursing jobs. Candidates need to assess their abilities and interests well before choosing which path to pursue. Some of these professions require licenses to practice within a state and may need another license to practice in a different state.

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthesist

Average Annual Salary: $248,127 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

To secure this job it is necessary to complete either an ADN (Associate’s degree in Nursing) or a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). The next step is acquiring a Registered Nurse license to practice in your chosen state. They then need to finish their Master’s degree in the next 24-36 months after obtaining their RN license. The final step is earning their license by obtaining a CRNA certification from the NBCRNA.

Roles & Responsibilities:

Managing the patient’s respiratory status and airways, along with forming and implementing effective anesthetic plans, are inevitable parts of the job. They observe patients before, after, and during medical procedures while also preparing the operation rooms and equipment for medical procedures. Performing and evaluating diagnostic tests is expected, as is being up to date with the latest industry trends.

2. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Average Annual Salary: $137,837 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

The first step is to start by earning either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) along with clearing the NCLEX-RN exam and obtaining an RN license. It is also recommended to get some experience as an RN before proceeding further with your schooling.

Next up, you need to complete your post-graduation with either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). Finally, after all the aforementioned steps are done, you must get the Psychiatric Mental Health Certification and your license.

Roles & Responsibilities:

They are also referred to as mental health nurses, and they help evaluate the status of an individual and their mental well-being. For this, they may need to go through the medical history of the patient. Developing effective recovery plans for patients is also part of their responsibilities. Evaluating a patient’s progress through their recovery plan is a must in their job too.

3. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Average Annual Salary: $134,587 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

You must first acquire either an Associate’s degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The latter is highly recommended, as most institutes for aspiring FNPs have that as a minimum requirement. The next step is clearing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and obtaining the RN license to practice in the state of your choice.

It also helps if you have some practical work experience under your belt before choosing to pursue further education. To become a Family Nurse Practitioner you need either a master's or a doctorate in nursing. Make sure you pick a course accredited by ACEN or CCNE to get your license and certification.

Roles & Responsibilities:

Diagnosis of diseases and coming up with treatment plans, especially, for acute and chronic diseases are part of the job description along with educating patients and their families on lifestyle and managing their illnesses. They also counsel patients and prescribe them medications when appropriate.

4. General Nurse Practitioner (GNP)

Average Annual Salary: $131,877 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

There are multiple routes to acquiring this role. One can opt for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and then go for an RN license. After this, study for your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and then get a license to practice in your state.

An alternate pathway for those who have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is to get an RN license and, after that, enroll themselves in an RN-MSN program. After completing this candidates need to get a license to practice in their state.

Roles & Responsibilities:

They carry out physical examinations and observe patients while recording their medical histories and other details, like symptoms. Formulating patient care plans and implementing them or updating them as needed. They must monitor and know how to use medical operating equipment and administer treatment and medication.

5. Pain Management Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $123,812 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then clear the NCLEX-RN exam, after which you have to obtain a license to practice in your chosen state. Now you can apply for entry-level jobs in pain management.

Once you have at least two years of work experience, you can try and get your certification in this field. Although being certified is not a must, it certainly does improve a candidate’s odds of bagging a higher-level role in this area of nursing.

Roles & Responsibilities:

Nurses employed in this role are expected to constantly monitor patients and evaluate their current state of health. They usually do not have the authority to prescribe medicine but typically have a good idea of potential side effects that may emerge. They assess pain levels using certain cues and help figure out what needs to be done, along with helping determine the cause of pain.

6. Certified Nurse Midwife

Average Annual Salary: $120,129 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

Begin by earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, as this is usually a requirement for this role, and then clearing the NCLEX-RN exam, followed by acquiring your RN license to practice in the state. You will typically need at least 1 year of work experience to be eligible for most programs in this career path.

Then you need to complete a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, and if you have the ambition, you can go for a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to further your credentials. Lastly, candidates need to obtain a relevant license, for which they need to clear the ACME examination. They even need to be part of a certificate maintenance program, which needs to be renewed every 5 years.

Roles & Responsibilities:

They are expected to coordinate with Gynecologists and Obstetricians to help with diagnosing and treating reproductive health issues. They even perform regular screenings for male and female patients while also helping women during labor and preparing them for deliveries. Their duties even include providing assistance post-pregnancy to mother and their families.

7. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Average Annual Salary: $119,718 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

To acquire this role, one must first become a registered nurse. This can be done by pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor Of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and then getting an RN license to practice in your chosen state. You also need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

The next step would be to gain an MSN degree but it is recommended that you gain some work experience as an RN first, as most MSN programs prefer candidates with prior work experience. Once you’ve completed your post-graduation, you need to get CNS certification in your desired area of specialization.

Roles & Responsibilities:

They supervise nursing staff to help improve the quality of service, along with developing specialized treatment plans and evaluating the health of patients. Their duties include guiding patients and their families when it comes to treatments. This role requires a bit of leadership and decision-making.

8. Travel Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $112,307 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

Travel nurses are usually Registered Nurses at the very minimum. To become an RN, you need to complete either Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Then you need to write the NCLEX-RN and apply for a license to practice in your chosen state.

Roles & Responsibilities:

As the name suggests, the job requires candidates to go to different places as part of the job to carry out their nursing duties. They administer medications and vaccinations while conducting necessary tests on patients. Examining wounds and changing dressings are also part of their duties, along with addressing queries and providing guidance to patients. They also ensure medical equipment is kept sterile and well-organized.

9. Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $108,090 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

One must first complete either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, after which one needs to clear the NCLEX-RN exam and get an RN license to practice in the state. Next, you need to obtain at least two years of relevant experience in an intensive care role and then obtain the required certification for this role.

Roles & Responsibilities:

Their duties include monitoring patients and assessing their progress, along with being able to identify changes in a patient’s health early on. They need to keep doctors and families of patients regularly updated about the patient’s current condition while also knowing how to implement treatments and keep track of doses. Maintaining patient records and carrying out necessary paperwork is part of their job too.

10. Rehabilitation Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $104,111 (Source: GlassDoor)

Qualifications Needed:

Candidates will require either an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited program. Then they will need to clear the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain their RN license. Finally, you need to obtain the relevant certifications. A popular choice is the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses Certification.

Roles & Responsibilities:

They specialize in providing medical assistance to patients with a physical disability or chronic illness and perform hands-on nursing duties as part of their job. Typically, they need to adopt a holistic approach to healthcare and may need to be involved in community education regarding the acceptance of individuals with disabilities. Their job also involves educating patients and their families regarding self-care and the management of their health conditions.

How To Get Highest Paying Nurse Positions?

Knowing what some of the highest paying nursing positions are is fine and good, but what about ways to land them? Who does not want to have a job that pays well in their field? The same applies to many nursing aspirants out there. Let’s take a look at some tips to keep in mind to accomplish this.

Acquire Certifications

Enrolling yourself in further education programs is a great way to develop new hard and soft skills to help you grow in your career. Getting these additional qualifications can be a great addition to your resume. It is also important to ensure these certifications are relevant to the job title you wish to apply for as this can greatly improve your odds of getting hired.

Experience

Staying in the profession for a good period of time helps greatly when it comes to acquiring the highest paying nursing positions. If you have completed the educational requirements for a big role but have not gotten it yet, it is usually a case of sticking to it long enough until you gain enough experience for the management to promote you.

Networking

Building connections in your profession is a great way to help increase your opportunities for advancement in any field. It helps to make sure you develop a strong network in your line of work. This applies greatly when it comes to landing some of the highest paying nursing positions. The more people in authority you have built a good impression on with your work, the better chances you have of landing the job.

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