You may have become a nurse for many reasons. For instance, you may have a strong interest in biology and a desire to help people. Money may not have been one of the main reasons you had for choosing a nursing profession. But depending on what type of nursing you are interested in, your education, and what part of the country you live in, salaries can be six figures a year.
All of the nursing specialties below require a minimum of an associate degree in nursing and a registered nursing license. Most specialties also require additional education. Below are some of the highest paid nursing specialties.
Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing ($75,000)
Neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurses are trained to take care of the youngest of patients. NICU nurses take care of babies who are born prematurely. Prematurely may cause a variety of problems from breathing difficulties to brain bleeds. NICU nurses also care for term newborns who are critically ill. Responsibilities may include assessing and monitoring the infant’s condition, administering medication, and providing education on infant care to parents. Nurses who are interested in working in the NICU should get experience working with babies in a well-baby nursery prior to applying for a NICU position.
Nurse Practitioners ($79,000)
Nurse practitioners care for patients in a variety of settings. They may work with anyone from newborns to the elderly. Responsibilities will vary depending on the patient population they work with. But typically, duties include performing physical examinations, ordering tests and developing a treatment plan. Nurse practitioners work in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. If you are interested in working as a nurse practitioner, you need to attend a nurse practitioner program after earning your registered nursing degree. A BSN degree may also be required prior to admission into a nurse practitioner program. Most programs are two years long and result in a master’s degree.
Nurse Anesthetist ($135,000)
Nurse anesthetists are trained to administer anesthesia during medical procedures, such as surgery. They perform duties similar to an anesthesiologist, who is a medical doctor. Jobs for nurse anesthetists can be found in surgery centers and hospitals. In addition to a registered nursing license and a bachelor’s of science degree, a nurse anesthetist program must be completed.
Certified Nurse Midwife ($84,000)
Nurse midwives care for women during their pregnancy. Midwives perform exams, order prenatal tests, assist with deliveries, and care for women after they give birth. They also provide education to new parents on baby care including breast-feeding assistance. Nurse midwives work in birthing centers, hospitals and in private practice. In order to become licensed as a midwife, registered nurses need to graduate from an accredited midwifery program.
Nurse Researcher ($95,000)
Nurses who specialize in research conduct and report on a variety of studies and data they and others have collected. The purpose of research may vary. Some studies may be on treatments, medications, or disease management. Other types of research may involve prevention programs or analysis of public health problems. Nurse researchers work for government agencies, universities, medical centers, and pharmaceutical companies. Nurses interested in specializing in research will need to earn a master’s degree in nursing.