A Guide to the Most Lucrative Nursing Careers

Do you want to help people while at the same time earning a high salary? Luckily, there are plenty of excellent nursing careers that allow you to do both. Some of them may require more education than others, but in the end, though, it becomes worth it. If you can put four years into schooling to earn a six-figure salary for the rest of your career, then four years doesn’t seem too bad. Plus, if you are a naturally curious learner, the education side is quite attractive. 

You might wonder, why nursing? In fact, nursing is one of the best careers out there. It puts you on the front line with patients, allowing you to give them the care and attention they need to pursue a healthy life. When patients leave a hospital or clinic, it is often the nurses who they keep in mind. Without nurses, the healthcare system would not be anything like it is today—it’s nurses who keep the nation healthy and looked after. 

With nurses giving so much, it makes sense that they earn a high salary. If you are a nurse (or an aspiring one) and looking to earn more, use this guide to the most lucrative nursing careers. One might stand out to you. 

General Nurse Practitioner 

Average salary: $111K per year 

General nurse practitioners are licensed professionals who work with a wide range of patients and can be a international travel nursing. Unlike registered nurses, they are allowed to perform medical services such as writing prescriptions and diagnosing illnesses. Some of their daily tasks might include running diagnostic tests, performing medical procedures, and prescribing medication for an illness. They work directly with patients to help them overcome their illness or injury.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 

Average salary: $117K per year 

As you would expect from the name, acute care nurse practitioners specialize in acute and chronic conditions, such as anemia and skin disorders. They work primarily with older adults and seniors. As the role requires a significant amount of knowledge alongside exceptional critical thinking skills, nurses must do a graduate nursing program. 

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If this career interests you, look at adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner online programs to get qualified. Not only does the role allow you to earn a high salary, but it also means you can help adults who are suffering from ongoing and complicated diseases that would otherwise take over their lives. 

Certified Nurse Anesthetist 

Average salary: $181K per year 

Certified nurse anesthetists are some of the highest-paid nurses in the industry. It’s not hard to see why, either, as their role is so crucial. Nurse anesthetists deliver anesthetic to a range of patients throughout a surgical procedure. They work alongside doctors to ensure the surgery goes as smoothly as possible and to prevent pain in the patient. You don’t want to go into surgery without a nurse anesthetist around! 

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse 

Average salary: $74K per year 

Neonatal intensive care nurses, also known as NICU nurses, work with newborn babies presenting with medical difficulties. They may have been born prematurely or have fallen ill. These nurses monitor the babies’ progression, ensuring they receive the proper treatment and care. 

Neonatal nursing requires a specific set of skills such as breastfeeding knowledge and neonatal intubation. They have excellent communication skills, emotional control, and the ability to prioritize. It’s an intense job—not one that everyone is cut out for, but the rewards are often excellent. 

Oncology Nurse

Average salary: $74K per year 

Oncology nurses work with cancer patients. They are specifically trained for administering radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help kill the cancer cells. On top of that, oncology nurses spend time with cancer patients and monitor their progression. 

This nursing career is solely focused on cancer patients, which means these nurses must pass the Oncology Certified Nurse exam. Being an oncology nurse is an excellent choice, as you get to help a variety of patients get through their cancer treatment. 

Certified Nurse-Midwife 

Average salary: $115K per year 

The job of a certified nurse-midwife is to assist women in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum. They mainly focus on the parts before the baby is born, however. It involves performing screenings, diagnostic tests, and preparing women for labor. The goal is to ensure all mothers and babies are healthy throughout pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. 

To become a nurse-midwife, you need a master’s degree in a midwifery-focused program. From there, you must earn your APRN license. It is a wonderful job that allows the safe delivery of many infants, but it is also hard work and requires between six to eight years of education. Only go into midwifery if you are passionate about mothers, pregnancy, and children!  

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Pain Management Nurse 

Average salary: $101K per year 

As you would expect, a pain management nurse’s job is to manage pain in patients. They do this in various ways, such as by monitoring the pain (often by asking the patient), administering medications, and education. They know all about pain-related issues and the best ways to solve them. This type of nurse works with patients of all ages, with the overarching goal to make the patient as comfortable and pain-free as possible.   

Research Nurse 

Average salary: $89K per year 

Rather than working with ill or injured patients, research nurses usually work with human participants undergoing a study. Their job is to ensure all participants are safe and well looked after, and that the study itself goes smoothly. A research nurse’s role in the medical world is crucial, as they help provide insights into many diseases, illnesses, and more. To become a research nurse, you’ll need to be a great leader with organizational skills and a talent for IT. 

Nurse Educator 

Average salary: $80K per year 

Nurse educators are different from the other nurses listed here. Instead of working with patients, they work to teach student nurses. They teach them everything on the course, from anatomy to treatment planning. Due to this, it takes a great deal of leadership and patience to be a great nurse educator. 

Nurse educators must spend time as nurses first before delving into education. They also need a master’s degree in nursing. 

ICU Nurse 

Average salary: $78K per year 

Intensive care unit nurses work in intensive care, providing care to patients who present there. They tend to multiple patients each day, evaluating conditions and administering medications. Due to working in the ICU, the work involved is fast-paced and intense. You need a strong stomach and great emotional control to work as an ICU nurse. They deliver amazing care to the patients, though, so if you can handle it, and you want to earn a good salary, it might be the nursing role for you. 

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How to Succeed as an Advanced Nurse

These advanced nursing careers are anything but easy. They require extensive education, intelligence, and relentless drive—they are not for everyone.

If you want to earn more and advance your nursing career, though, these options are perfect. To make sure you succeed, be sure to do the following: 

  • Study hard: whether you’re doing an online nursing course or attending nursing school, put everything into your studies. Study smart, learn the material, and do your own research outside the course. It will help you achieve the grades you need. 
  • Find a work–life balance: while you need to work hard, a work–life balance is also pivotal. Not only will it teach you the life skill of balancing work and life, but it will also ensure you don’t burn yourself out too early, which is essential if you want to make it as an advanced nurse. 
  • Set goals: decide what you want to achieve and focus on that. Times won’t always be easy, so you need a tangible future in mind to look toward. Otherwise, you might give up before you have barely started. 
  • Stick to a schedule: scheduling your time is crucial when it comes to advancing as a nurse. You’ll be balancing so much—work, school, social life, personal time—that you can’t just go with the flow. Even during a relatively free day, schedule your morning, afternoon, and evening to make sure you get everything done. 
  • Spend time on yourself: taking time for yourself is important, even when advancing your nursing career. Whether you want to become an ICU nurse, a research nurse, or a family nurse practitioner, it’s important to also think about yourself. Being selfless is good when you’re on shift, but you can’t give everything you have if you’re burned out. 
  • Take advice from your superiors: your superiors are the best place to go for advice—especially the ones in the position you want. Ask them questions, talk to them about various paths, and let them help guide you through your journey toward your dream nursing career. 

Plenty of nursing careers provide a lucrative salary. If you have the stamina and drive to gain the qualifications and experience, you can help people every day while also earning a good living.

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