6 High-Paying Nurse Specialties to Consider
By Katelynne Shepard, Contributor
The average salary for a registered nurse in the United States is $71,730 per year or around $34.48 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics - and travel nurses can make more depending on facility and their travel nursing assignment.
With healthcare jobs predicted to grow at a better-than-average rate, looking into nurse specialties (and certification in these specialties) is a smart choice to keep moving forward in your career. Here are six high-paying nurse specialties to consider.
1. Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
Certified registered nurse anesthetists are nurses who specialize in administering anesthesia to patients and monitoring their vital signs during procedures. They also monitor patients during the post-procedure recovery process. CRNAs make an average of $169,450 a year, with some locations such as New York, Maryland and California getting close to — or over — $200,000.
With this high level of pay, though, comes a lot of responsibility. Even just the slightest issue with anesthesia dosages can cause major complications, and according to Nikola Djordjevic at MedAlertHelp.org, "It's a job that requires a lot of patience."
2. Gerontological nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioners in general command a high salary, averaging around $110,030 per year, but specializing in gerontology can increase this and provide even more job security as the baby boomer generation continues to need care. Gerontological nurse practitioners work with the aging population, usually starting at around 65 years old, to help them stay as healthy as possible as long as possible. Areas of care can include everything from nutrition and weight management to brain health and disease management.
3. Nurse midwife
Nurse midwives can expect to make upwards of $93,000 per year and get to help provide pre- and postnatal care to women and their babies. Nurse midwives often work in labor and delivery units at hospitals, but many also practice in alternative settings such as birth centers. Certified nurse midwives must have a master's degree and have completed the requirements according to the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education standards.
4. Psychiatric nurse
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and if it's something you're passionate about, you may want to think about going into psychiatric nursing. The average rate of pay for a mental health nurse is $96,460 per year or $46.37 per hour, and if you decide to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you'll see higher salaries.
5. Emergency room nurse
Emergency room nurses are responsible for delivering high-quality care to patients in a very fast-paced and often-changing environment. An ER nurse could go from a young gunshot patient to an older patient having a heart attack to a child with a possible concussion all within the same shift. This makes it an exciting atmosphere and ideal for those who work well under pressure. ER nurses on average make up to $95,000.
Related: 5 Ways ER Nurses Can Prevent Patient Falls
6. Informatics nurse
Informatic nursing is a relatively new specialty that's grown by leaps and bounds as technology has progressed in the medical field. The average salary for an informatics nurse is just over $77,000 but can go up to more than $100,000 in the right location.
Another way to bump your nursing salary is to consider travel nursing positions, where you get to work from different cities — and even states — and try out different units and environments. This broadens your skill set and networking potential, all of which can help increase your salary. You'll find a wide range of travel nursing opportunities on the Travel Nursing job listings.
Whether you're just graduating and thinking about specializing in one of these six or have been on the floor for a while and are looking for a change, salary is always an important consideration. Learn more about other nursing career options.