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The Highest Paying Nursing Jobs in 2024

 

When you think about becoming a registered nurse (RN), are your first thoughts including exhausting night shifts, working the bedside, and stressed with an overloaded patient ratio? For some, this might be their reality. However, it doesn’t have to be. The best part about becoming an RN is the numerous avenues in which to take your career. Whether you are new to the nursing field, looking to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), or just looking to make more money, below are the highest-paying nursing jobs in 2024.

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): $212,650

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is an APRN and is the highest-paid nurse around. CRNAs administer anesthesia and analgesia in numerous settings, such as operating rooms, obstetrical delivery rooms, office-based settings (i.e., dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons), ambulatory surgery centers, pain management centers, and the U.S. military.  For more information, visit the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology.

  • CRNA Salary: $212,650 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 9% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: To qualify to become a CRNA, you must have at least one year of working in critical care under your belt. From there, you can apply to a nurse anesthesia educational program, which depending on the program, will result in either a master’s or doctorate degree and then require taking a state certification exam. By the time nurse anesthesia students graduate, they have an average of 9,369 hours of total clinical experience.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, freestanding birthing centers, academic centers, office-based anesthesia locations, ambulatory surgery centers, and staffing agencies.
  1. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner (NP): $139,467

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners (NPs) specialize in cosmetic medical procedures that enhance a patient’s appearance. Aesthetic NPs can work in a variety of private settings, such as dermatology, plastic surgery, and wherever injectables (e.g., Botox and fillers) are given. For more information, visit Nurse.org.

  • NICU Nurse Salary: $139,467 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 9% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Aesthetic NPs will need to obtain their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from a Nurse Practitioner program. From there, it is recommended training, such as from the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include private practice clinics, medical spas, dermatology offices, and plastic surgery centers.
  1. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse: $136,204

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses work with premature and ill infants, as well as those with birth defects. In addition to caring for the tiniest patients, NICU nurses are also advocates and educators for the parents going through this emotional experience. For more information, visit the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

  • NICU Nurse Salary: $136,204 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: NICU nurses will usually need their BSN at minimum. Some nurses may be lucky to be hired on a NICU team without prior experience, but many units will require some work with infants, such as in a pediatric unit or mother-baby (well-baby nursing).
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, clinics, and medical centers.
  1. Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner (NP): $135,000

Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioners (NPs) diagnose, treat, and manage both acute and chronic infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C. Additionally, Infectious Disease NPs can work in research and health policy For more information, visit NursingProcess.org and The Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner Society of America.

  • Infectious Disease NP Salary: $135,000 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Infectious Disease NPs will need to obtain their MSN or DNP from a Nurse Practitioner program. From there, obtaining a certification in infection control is required.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, private clinics, academia, and outpatient facilities.
  1. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-APRN): $134,488

Psychiatric-Mental Health NPs (PMH-APRNs) provide a combination of nursing, psychosocial, and neurobiological care. This includes diagnosing, treating, and managing chronic or acute illnesses and providing psychotherapy and preventative care. For more information, visit the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

  • PMH-APRNs Salary: $134,488 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 65% from 2016-2030
  • Requirements: PMH-APRNs complete a nurse practitioner program that specializes in psychiatric nursing.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, clinics, and mental health facilities.
  1. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM): $129,650

Midwives have been providing holistic term prenatal and intrapartum care for centuries. Ranked at the second highest-paying nurse career, CNMs are APRNs that can also provide primary gynecologic care in addition to obstetrics, which includes diagnosing and treating medical conditions. For more information, visit the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

  • CNM Salary: $129,650 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Most of the approximate 38 midwifery graduate education programs in the U.S. require a Bachelor’s Degree to apply, but some will take RNs who undergo a bridge program to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree prior. Graduates would need to take their state certification exam.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, freestanding birthing centers, OB/GYN clinics, midwifery practices, and in private homes.
  1. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner (NP): $127,660

Cardiac NPs are APRNs who specialize in patients with acute or chronic heart conditions. Cardiac NPs assess, diagnose, treat, and manage heat conditions and also work on prevention.  For more information, visit the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

  • PMH-APRNs Salary: $127,660 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Cardiac NPs must work in a cardiac unit for several years before getting an advanced degree to become an APRN. Candidates can become certified and credentialed after their post-master’s program.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, medical centers, outpatient cardiac rehabilitation clinics, and private practices.
  1. General Nurse Practitioner (NP): $126,260

General NPs are the third type of APRN and are represented in every healthcare setting. When you choose the NP path, you can choose to become a general NP or delve into a specialty, many of which are listed below. NPs can diagnose and treat medical conditions, as well as write prescriptions. For more information, visit the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

  • NP Salary: $126,260 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 45% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: General NPs attend an MSN or DNP program that focuses on the population you are looking to specialize in, or if you would like to stay a general NP.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, academic centers, outpatient primary care offices, nursing homes, and clinics.
  1. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): $124,681

Clinical Nurse Specialists are a type APRNs whose primary function is to improve patient outcomes, nursing practice, and system-wide organizations. While NPs focuses more on direct patient care, CNSs are more focused on educating nurses which will result in improved patient outcomes. For more information, visit the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

  • CNS Salary: $124,681 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 38% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: General NPs attend an MSN or a DNP program that focuses on the population you are looking to treat, or if you would like to stay a general NP.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, academic health centers, and academia.
  1. Nurse Manager/Administrator: $123,100

Nurse managers, or administrators, support nurses on the administrative side, such as attending meetings, serving on committees, creating policies, and managing the nursing staff. For more information, visit Nurse.org.

  • Nurse Manager/Administrator Salary: $123,100 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Nurse managers/administrators usually must be RNs with a master’s degree in nursing. Additionally, a master’s in business administration (MBA) may be helpful.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and mental health facilities.
  1. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP): $107,313

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners (AGPCNPs) care for patients ranging from adults to seniors, mainly focusing on treating and managing chronic health conditions. For more information, visit the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association.

  • AGPCNPs Salary: $107,313 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: AGPCNPs complete a nurse practitioner program that specializes in gerontological nursing.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, academia, long-term care, post-acute care, and home health.
  1. Travel RN: $105,021

While not a specialty, there are massive opportunities to grow professionally and financially through travel nursing. The pay ranges widely from where you work in the country, including if you are working full-or part-time, the shift worked, and specialty, among others. For more information, visit Nurse.org.

  • Travel RN Salary: $105,021 annually (but can be over $150k depending on location)
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Travel nurses need to be RNs, with experience varying on specialty.
  • Practice Setting: Employers normally include hospitals, but can vary on location and specialty.
  1. Utilization Management (UM) Nurse: $104,567

Utilization management (UM) nursing may be an option for those nurses who want to leave the bedside.  UM nurses work with insurance companies and reimbursement, verify compliance and documentation, coordinate health care services, and manage resources, among others. For more information, visit the American Nurses Association.

  • UM Nurse Salary: $104,567 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: UM nurses may only need a few years of nursing experience, but many companies will hire newly graduated nurses.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, private practices, and insurance companies.
  1. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP): $102,409

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs) are experts and advocates for pediatric patients from birth through transition to adult care. This care includes health promotion, disease prevention, and disease management. For more information, visit the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

  • PNP Salary: $102,409 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 40% from 2018-2028
  • Requirements: PNPs complete a nurse practitioner program that specializes in pediatric primary care.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, primary care pediatric offices, public health settings, schools, and urgent care facilities.
  1. Nurse Informaticist: $98,409

Informatics nurses are RNs who combine the fields of nursing, computer science, and information science to better patient outcomes and workplace systems and advance the nursing profession. Example roles include working on electronic medical records (EMRs) in hospitals, performing research, or working for the government to improve public health. For more information, visit the American Nursing Informatics Association.

  • Nurse Informaticist Salary: $98,409 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 28% from 2021-2031
  • Requirements: It is recommended that informatics nurses get their MSN in healthcare informatics (or a similar field) and must have at least two years of nursing experience and 30 hours of continuing education in nursing informatics to be eligible for certification.
  • Practice Setting: Employers hospitals, research companies, academia, pharmaceutical companies, medical record companies, and at the government level.
  1. Pain Management Nurse: $97,647

Pain management nurses care for patients experiencing acute and chronic pain and identify the best way to treat them. They also provide education for patients and families in how to manage pain. For more information, visit the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

  • Pain Management Nurse Salary: $97,647 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Pain management nurses have at least two years of full-time RN experience, at least 2,000 hours of pain management practice, and 30 continuing hours to be eligible for certification.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and outpatient settings.
  1. Flight Nurse: $95,470

Flight nurses provide patient care while transporting patients in a helicopter or aircraft. Similar to many of the tasks performed in an emergency room (ER) or intensive care unit (ICU), flight nurses keep calm under pressure while transporting critically ill or severely injured patients to trauma centers. For more information, visit the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association.

  • Flight Nurse Salary: $95,470 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Flight nurses need to have experience working in an ER or ICU for a few years and have basic, advanced, and pediatric life support certificates. Some programs or states may require nurses to have EMT-B or EMT-P (Paramedic) certification.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, aviation companies, and medical air transportation companies.
  1. Nurse Recruiter: $90,769

Nurse recruiters help healthcare organizations fill open nursing positions. Think of a combined HR and nursing role, where the nurse recruiters schedule interviews, screen candidates, schedule orientations, and develop recruitment programs. For more information, visit Indeed.com.

  • Nurse Recruiter Salary: $90,769 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Being a nurse is the top selling point for becoming a nurse recruiter, as nurses have knowledge about the different fields of nursing, as well as the clinical experience to know what is needed.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include hospitals, healthcare facilities, and staffing agencies.
  1. Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC): $89,318

Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) are RNs who provide consultations in the legal field. For example, LNCs can testify as expert nurses or fact witnesses, evaluate healthcare-related documents, evaluate the merit or defensibility of a medically-related case, and identify record tampering, among others. For more information, visit the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

  • LNC Salary: $89,318 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 7% from 2019-2029
  • Requirements: LNCs need a solid clinical nursing background to best understand a variety of legal case settings. Obtaining a certification is recommended, but not necessary.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include law firms, insurance companies, health care risk management programs, case management agencies, and litigation support firms.
  1. Nurse Educator: $86,530

Nurse educators work in academia as professors teaching prospective nurses. In addition to teaching in the classroom, they mentor the next generation of nurses through classroom learning, clinical rotations, and research. For more information, visit Nurse.org.

  • Nurse Educator Salary: $86,530 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow 6% from 2022-2032
  • Requirements: Nurse educators will need to get their MSN degree, specifically from a nurse educator program.
  • Practice Setting: Employers include nursing schools, community colleges, and technical schools.

Nursing takes many different forms, from working at the bedside to becoming an APRN to working as a nurse manager/administrator. The most important part is to do what speaks to you and avoid potential burnout and cynicism as you advance in your career. There are a number of affordable MSN or DNP programs available that can be done virtually as well as certification programs to demonstrate excellence in your field.  As our beloved Florence Nightingale once said, “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work.”