Career Tips

Career Opportunities in Nursing: What You Can do With a Nursing Degree

Health promotion, health prevention, and the care of physically ill, mentally ill, disabled, and dying persons of all ages, communities, and health care settings are all included in the highly specialized, continuously expanding field of nursing. The distinctive role of nurses encompasses a wide range of tasks, from those that help patients stay healthy, recover, or pass away with dignity, to the creation of policies, research, advocacy, and teaching.

Prospective nurses can concentrate on particular fields of medicine when pursuing a profession in nursing. The 30 nursing job pathways listed below include the qualifications needed to be successful in each position.

This article offers information on average salaries as well as highlights the fundamental nursing roles within each speciality. Prospective professionals can decide whether a career in nursing fits with their professional objectives by getting a general overview of each nursing career option.

Where Do Nurses Work?

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Federal and State Governments
  • Offices of Physicians
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
  • Clinics
  • Schools – State, Local, and Private

Is Nursing a Good Career Path?

Being a nurse is without a doubt one of the best career choices you can make. Excellent job satisfaction, high income, opportunities for advancement, and a wide range of employment options are all features of nursing careers. If you’re considering a career in nursing, you should become familiar with the many employment options. The type of nursing work you want to undertake, your career goals, your projected salary, and how long it will take you to complete your training will all have an impact on your choice.

30 Best Opportunities to Consider for a Nursing Career

We choose the following 30 top nursing positions based on their pay, workplaces, and strong demand. This list might help someone looking to work in nursing find the position that best suits them.

1. Nurse Midwife

Image showing description of a nurse midwife delivers newborns and treats mother and child before, during, and after the birth.

A nurse midwife delivers newborns and treats mother and child before, during, and after the birth. Gynaecological exams, prenatal and postnatal care, and family planning advice are all things they do.

A master of science in nursing (MSN) is necessary for a nurse midwife. Candidates who have completed midwife specialization programs are highly sought after by employers.

Average Salary: $97,787 per year

2. Nurse Anesthetist

Image showing the description of a nurse anesthetist helping patient care before, during, and after surgery by administering anesthetic to patients

A nurse anesthetist can help with patient care before, during, and after surgery by administering anesthetic to patients. They continuously check on each patient’s biological processes while giving drugs to keep patients slept off or pain-free during operation.

Before enrolling in an MSN in nurse anesthesia program, a nurse anesthetist must have two years of experience as a nurse with a BSN. It might also be necessary to have a doctorate.

Average Salary: $161,000 per year

3. Nurse Case Manager

A nurse care manager assesses care, suggests substitute therapies, and tracks patient improvement. Patients who are geriatric, recuperating from serious injuries, or dealing with chronic illnesses, establish, administer, and review healthcare plans. Both within and outside of a hospital or other medical facility, case managers are employed.

Case management options are available in some RN-to-MSN programs.

Average Salary: $74,051 per year

4. Nurse Educator

A nurse care educator illustration

To create, assess, and carry out nursing education programs in schools, universities, and colleges, nurse educators combine a love of learning with clinical knowledge.

A master’s or doctoral degree in nursing is required for a nurse educator.

Average Salary: $77,403 per year

5. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) offer primary and specialized healthcare, frequently collaborating with physicians. NPs are permitted to have their own clinics in some states.

A minimum MSN degree is required for an NP to obtain an RN license.

Average Salary: $98,859 per year

6. Nurse Researcher

Based on analysis and research acquired in the nursing area, nurse researchers produce reports. They want to enhance healthcare and medical services.

RN candidates with BSNs are still eligible, but those with an MSN or higher are more likely to get hired.

Average Salary: $72,446 per year

7. Informatics Nurse

Informatics nurse illustration job role

In addition to offering training on new programs, informatics nurses give healthcare data to doctors, nurses, patients, and other healthcare professionals.

The assessment, planning, instruction, implementation, assessment, and optimization of nursing informatics projects fall under the purview of the nursing informatics specialist, a registered nurse with a master’s degree.

A BSN is a minimum need for an informatics nurse, although many employers prefer applicants to have an MSN in health informatics, quality management, or healthcare management.

Average Salary: $84,273 per year

8. Certified Dialysis Nurse

Image showing certified dialysis nurse

Dialysis nurses sometimes referred to as nephrology nurses, are in charge of supervising the dialysis procedures needed by patients with acute or chronic kidney failure. They monitor patients’ vital signs, make sure that the dialysis machines are configured properly, and instruct patients on how to use their home dialysis equipment. In one of the fastest-growing specialities, certified dialysis nurses help people who have serious kidney issues.

Over the course of two years, 2,000 hours of patient care experience are required to become a qualified dialysis nurse. Each applicant also needs to pass a certification exam, obtain a registered nurse (RN) license, and finish 15 hours of nephrology-related continuing education.

Average Salary: $73,831 per year

9. Travel Nurse

Image: travel nurse description

Healthcare services are provided by traveling nurses to hospitals and medical facilities as needed.

An RN licensure, two years of nursing experience in one or more facilities, and a BSN are requirements for this position.

Average Salary: $80,000 per year

10. Chief Nursing Officer

The chief nursing officer’s duties include both organizational management and nursing leadership. Setting patient care standards, creating procedures and protocols to meet those standards, and supervising the work of nurses who provide patient care are typically the duties of a CNO.

Average Salary: $134,604 per year

11. Clinical Nurse

In hospitals and clinics, a clinical nurse treats and diagnoses patients with serious medical disorders.

A clinical nurse needs a BSN, an MSN, and additional specialized training.

Average Salary: $91,720 per year

12. Nursing Administrator

Within healthcare facilities, nursing administrators offer management assistance and specialized human resources. Along with managing numerous business aspects for healthcare businesses, they recruit, train, and hire people.

These administrators require graduate-level nursing degrees as well as nursing experience.

Average Salary: $87,542 per year

13. Trauma Nurse

Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities employ trauma nurses.

To apply for certification, a trauma nurse must hold a valid RN license and have two years of emergency department experience.

Average Salary: $67,324 per year

14. Legal Nurse Consultant

Image: legal nurse consultant.

Registered nurses who engage with lawyers and other legal experts to serve as expert medical witnesses in medical disputes involving medical malpractice, personal injury, or workers’ compensation are known as legal nurse consultants (LNCs).

A trained legal nurse consultant uses their knowledge to provide insight into the healthcare system in consultations on medical cases.

Although a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree is often necessary, these consultants must hold RN license.

Average Salary: $78,658 per year

15. Critical Care Nurse

In order to deliver the best treatment possible, critical care nurses frequently work with teams in hospital intensive care units.

How to Get There: To keep current in the field of critical care, a critical care nurse needs a BSN in addition to extra training and ongoing education. They ought to have at least two years of critical care experience.

Average Salary: $70,147 per year

16. Diabetes Nurse

Diabetes nurses work with diabetic patients and provide patient education, including advice on exercise and nutrition.

Each candidate is required to complete RN school and find employment at an institution that specializes in treating diabetes. An MSN and 500 hours in a diabetic clinic are requirements for a diabetes nurse.

Average Salary: $66,484 per year

17. Family Nurse Practitioner

Image: family nurse practitioner description

The majority of illnesses that people experience throughout their lifetimes are treated by a family nurse practitioner. They examine patients, make medical diagnoses, and issue prescriptions.

Each applicant must hold a valid RN license in addition to an MSN and a BSN.

Average Salary: $97,011 per year

18. Health Policy Nurse

Health policy nurses collaborate with patients on a social level, developing laws and new policy recommendations as appropriate in order to create a healthy population.

In addition to having an RN license, a BSN, and an MSN, a health policy nurse must also complete a 10-week residency at a suitable facility. 

Average Salary: $64,168 per year

19. Medical-Surgical Nurse

In addition to administering care to and monitoring adult patients, medical-surgical nurses also assist with procedures and work with drugs.

Before passing a credential exam, a medical-surgical nurse needs to have an RN license, two years of experience, and 2,000 hours working in a surgical nursing facility.

Average Salary: $59,657 per year

20. Nurse Advocate

In order to investigate alternative treatment possibilities, a nurse advocate acts as a liaison between patients, medical professionals, and doctors.

A BSN and RN license are requirements for nurse advocates. Candidates need ongoing education in the financial and social aspects of healthcare after gaining some experience in a hospital.

Average Salary: $66,130 per year

21. Pain Management Nurse

Before meeting with other nurses and doctors to establish the best course of action for therapy, a pain management nurse assesses patients and assists in identifying the source of the pain.

BSN and RN license requirements apply to pain management nurses. Before sitting for the certification exam, each candidate is required to have two years of full-time nursing experience and 2,000 hours of expertise in pain management.

Average Salary: $60,000 per year

22. Nurse Attorney

Nurse attorneys are often in high demand since few lawyers have a medical understanding of nurses. These individuals work in a variety of places, such as litigation firms and hospital legal departments.

A BSN, an RN license, three years of law school, and passing the bar test are all prerequisites for becoming a nurse attorney.

Average Salary: $78,658 per year

23. Perianesthesia Nurse

A post-anesthesia nurse cares for patients recovering from anesthesia.

An RN license, a BSN, and years of experience are requirements for a perinealesthesia nurse. Before sitting for the certification exam, each candidate should seek to accumulate 1,800 hours of experience in a perianesthesia setting by taking electives in perianesthesia and anesthesia.

Average Salary: $161,000 per year

24. Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses guide their patients through mental disorders using their expertise in the field of mental health, assisting them in avoiding incapacity, social isolation, and other problems.

These nurses require a BSN from a college that is recognized. Candidates must hold a master’s degree or higher if they intend to diagnose patients or administer drugs.

Average Salary: $66,906 per year

25. Orthopaedic Nurse

Orthopaedic nurses provide care for patients with musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis or joint replacement.

These nurses require both a BSN and an RN licensure.

Average Salary: $66,363 per year

26. Neonatal Nurse

A neonatal nurse often works in intensive care with preterm infants.

A neonatal nurse must have at least a BSN, while many employers also prefer MSN candidates with specialized knowledge of neonatal patients.

Average Salary: $68,760 per year

27. Pediatric Nurse

In order to provide specialized treatment, pediatric nurses work with children in clinical or critical care settings.

A pediatric nurse must possess a minimum of a BSN, while many also hold an MSN. Candidates should also have the training and specialized expertise in dealing with kids.

Average Salary: $61,440 per year

28. Endocrinology Pediatric Nurse

Endocrinology-trained pediatric nurses provide care for children with endocrine-related illnesses and disorders as well as information on growth and sexual development concerns for patients and their parents.

An RN license, two years of experience, and internships in pediatric-endocrinology facilities are requirements for becoming an endocrinology pediatric nurse.

Average Salary: $63,335 per year

29. Public Health Nurse

Generally focused on preventative medicine by informing patients about health issues and how to improve them, public health nurses provide treatment for entire communities.

A public health nurse needs a BSN, RN licensure, and regular nursing experience in addition to these qualifications. Some nurses who work in public health are MSNs.

Average Salary: $59,560 per year

30. Oncology Nurse

An oncology nurse administers chemotherapy and other treatments to cancer patients at clinical care facilities, their homes, or hospitals.

A BSN and several years of nursing experience are prerequisites for oncology nurses. After that, nurses can become certified in oncology nursing.

Average Salary: $75,050 per year

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