CCU BSN Nursing students

Top 10 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs

Updated September 29, 2022

Nurses find joy in helping others. It’s why they do what they do, but not all nursing specialties are created equal. So finding the right career path among the different nursing fields can make a big difference in your income potential and nursing career. To help you get ideas about what types of nurses can make a good income, here are the top ten highest-paying nursing jobs and their job outlooks.

Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

CRNAs are among the highest-paying nursing vocations. In this specialty, you can expect to administer anesthesia in a variety of possible settings including inpatient, outpatient, and emergency facilities. These types of nurses are considered pain management nurses. The typical annual salary for nurse anesthetists ranges based on state cost of living.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, nurse anesthetists have an earning potential to make an average annual salary of $202,000 a year which is an hourly wage of $97.34. Which is among one of the highest-paid nursing jobs out there.

In this competitive specialization, one of the best ways to set yourself apart is to become trained as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Here are your next steps for becoming a CRNA.

Nurse Researcher

A great specialty if you like to write, nurse researchers work in universities, medical labs, non-profits, and other healthcare-centric industries. This field is perfect for nurses who love pursuing knowledge, so additional education is a must! According to Explore Health Careers, nurses in the research field can expect an annual salary of $95,000. 

Here are some things you can look forward to when pursuing a career in nurse research are:

  • Deliver health care services more effectively and efficiently.
  • Improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
  • Encourage patients to make healthy choices about nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle.
  • Assure patient safety and prevent injury and illness.
  • Provide care and comfort to patients at the end of life.

Nurse researchers typically do not start off their careers in this type of field. Most nurse researchers will need to get an advanced degree after they have experience in the field. Traditionally, if you are looking to become a nurse scientist, you will need to work towards a Ph.D. Therefore, this career usually starts later in your career after a decade in the medical field. It is possible, based on the knowledge you have gained from your years of experience, to find a new dynamic as a nurse and possibly earn a great supplemental income. As well as an opportunity in becoming a nurse educator.

Also referred to as psychiatric nurse practitioners, nurses specializing in mental health work with patients suffering from psychiatric disorders. Nurses in the mental health field often partner with families and other practitioners to provide the best care, education, and support possible. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a mental health nurse's salary can average $123,780 a year and $59.51 per hour.

As a mental health nurse practitioner, you can expect to work in academia, community medical centers, correctional facilities, domestic violence shelters, and hospitals. Professionals in this field treat cases ranging from anxiety and depression to substance abuse and personality disorders. Mental health nurses are different from certified mental health counselors in that they work in most medical and health facilities and do not work exclusively with the psychological difficulties of their patients.

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

Nurse midwives are focused on women’s healthcare. You can expect to assist in births in hospitals, clinics, and home settings, as well as provide care for newborn babies. Nurse midwives can also be involved in patient care and education in the area of reproductive health. As a CNM, you will need to be flexible as you will be on call to respond to any patients who are about to give birth or any other birthing issues that may occur during your patient's pregnancy.

"Becoming a midwife closely follows the same path as an L&D nurse, but it takes a little more work. Along with becoming a licensed RN, additional training and education are needed. Midwifery programs have different admission requirements. Some schools require applicants to have a BSN degree, while others offer accelerated programs that combine the BSN and MSN requirements. Some universities have programs available for individuals with a non-nursing BS that meets the requirements for taking the NCLEX and the additional education to become a nurse-midwife." (NurseFirst)

Advanced education as a certified nurse midwife helps achieve a median salary of around $114,210 a year and an hourly wage of $54.91.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

If you like working with children, pediatric nursing is the specialty for you! Since pediatric nurses are looked to for their expertise, advanced education and board certification are required. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners generally earn around $74,000 per year depending on experience and additional specializations within the field.

For this nursing position, you will need at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). You will also need to gain valuable experience for nearly two years and then pass the National Certification Examination for Certified Pediatric Nurse. Due to the fact that you will be dealing with children, as well as parents or guardians, you are expected to exhibit a professional bedside manner and be able to communicate well.

Some examples of places you could work as a pediatric nurse practitioner are outpatient specialty healthcare facilities, children’s hospitals, community hospitals, major medical centers, school settings, surgery centers, mental health facilities, urgent care, and rehab facilities.

Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nurses work to prevent and treat musculoskeletal problems, including fractures and chronic systemic disorders. Orthopedic nurses help patients improve mobility; which requires specialty certification. According to, the typical salary for an orthopedic nurse is typically around $110,000 a year depending on what state you reside in.

General Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide basic preventative health services and are increasingly serving as primary care providers, particularly in underserved areas. This specialty, though advanced, is broad, and additional education can lead to a median salary of $123,780 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse, and a master's degree or higher is required. Typically these types of nurses are your family nurse practitioner or general nurse in a hospital that works alongside a doctor. Here are some steps and education requirements to consider when looking to become a nurse practitioner:

  • Become a registered nurse with your associate's degree in nursing (ADN).
  • Get your bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
  • Gain experience working in a hospital or medical facility.
  • Enroll in a graduate program such as a master’s degree MSN or a doctoral degree DNP.
  • Pass your advanced practice nursing licensure test. You can review your state requirements here.
  • Land your first nurse practitioner job.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialists develop standards for quality of care and work to meet those standards. Often clinical nurse specialists have highly specific expertise, so advanced education and management skills are important. According to, clinical nurses can make up to $102,000 a year. Salary ranges can vary depending on where you live and your experience.

Clinical nurses have multiple duties and responsibilities such as providing clinical direction to nursing staff in patient delivery and care programs. This position may require a master’s degree as it is a managerial position. As a nurse manager, you will be responsible for coordinating staff performance daily, as well as making sure you are meeting your department milestones and goals. Becoming a clinical nurse typically requires five years of experience in a related area and 1-3 years of experience in a supervisory position.

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses work with the elderly and have a wide range of responsibilities.  An aging population means this specialty is in increasing demand. Geriatric nursing is a great opportunity for multilingual and highly-educated nurses. According to, geriatric nurses earn a median salary of $73,000 annually. 

For this position, you need a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing, where you will study fundamentals of biology, health, and nursing, as well as gain clinical experience. Like most nursing positions, you need to pass the Nation Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLX-RN). “Licensure is the only legal requirement to become a geriatric nurse, but you can pursue a professional certification after you have gained some experience in the field,” according to

Neonatal Nurse

Working with premature babies or newborns who require critical care is a growing field with challenges but the potential for great rewards. For nurses with specialized training and the ability to work well with newborns and their families in difficult times, this specialty can earn upwards of $74,000 a year. However, neonatal nurse practitioners can make up to $108,535 annually.

Neonatal nurses work closely with pediatricians and physicians to help care for newborn babies. As a neonatal nurse, you will be expected to monitor vital signs and order diagnostics tests, as well as make initial readings of those results. You will help new mothers by teaching them how to care for their newborns and give them assistance as they heal from cesarean section procedures and other post-birth procedures.


Colorado Christian University does not guarantee any job placement as a result of earning this or any other degrees offered by the university.

The opportunities for nurses are endless if you are passionate about becoming a healthcare professional. Speak with a CCU Enrollment Counselor to explore your options for entering the nursing field in a program that also integrates faith. Start earning your nursing degree today!

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