The 12 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2019

The 16 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2022

Learn About the Best Paying Nursing Careers: Requirements, Salary, and Job Outlook

Highest Paid Nursing Jobs

Highest Paid Nursing Jobs:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist$202,000
  2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner$131,000
  3. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner$120,000
  4. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner$119,000
  5. Oncology Nurse Practitioner$119,000
  6. General Nurse Practitioner$118,000
  7. Family Nurse Practitioner$116,000
  8. Nurse Midwife$114,000
  9. Clinical Nurse Specialist$113,000
  10. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner$112,000
  11. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner$112,000
  12. Pain Management Nurse$110,000
  13. Nurse Researcher$104,000
  14. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)$100,000
  15. Nurse Administrator$97,000
  16. Nurse Educator$79,000

When people decide to pursue nursing, they are focused on helping others. Whether recording patient vitals in a clinic or conducting assessments in a hospital, patient care is top of mind.

As you go through nursing school, however, you discover the wide range of available nursing specialties and the perks that come with each. There are many nursing categories, from midwifery to gerontological care and from anesthesiology to nursing administration, each with unique benefits, appealing to different students. Of course, one of the most significant benefits of nursing is your compensation. Various specialties may offer different salaries that are commensurate with your level of education and experience. As a result, we often get asked, “what are the best-paid nursing jobs?”

For context, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary* for Registered Nurses in the United States is about $78,000 per year or around $37.00 per hour.

While a high-paying nursing career sounds nice, it’s essential to consider your interests, or what you’re most passionate about, when choosing a nursing specialty. The amount of money you’ll make as an RN can vary depending on your location, industry, and level of training and experience.

For example, according to the BLS, here are the top paying industries for Registered Nurses and their respective salaries:

Highest Paying Industries for Registered Nurses

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Pharmaceutical Industry $50.61 $105,270
Outpatient Care Centers $44.74 $93,070
General Hospitals $40.88 $85,020
Specialty Hospitals $40.77 $84,800
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals $38.59 $80,260
Home Health Care Services $37.59 $78,190

Highest Paying States for Registered Nurses

According to the BLS, here are a few of the top paying states in which Registered Nurses can work:

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
California $59.62 $124,000
Hawaii $51.22 $106,530
Oregon $47.42 $98,630
Washington D.C. $47.38 $98,540
Alaska $46.74 $97,230

Highest Paying Cities for Registered Nurses

According to the BLS, here are some of the top paying cities in which Registered Nurses can work:

City Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
San Jose, CA $74.63 $155,230
San Francisco, CA $72.90 $151,640
Vallejo, CA $70.37 $146,360
Santa Rosa, CA $68.00 $141,440
Napa, CA $67.15 $139,680
Santa Cruz, CA $67.11 $139,590
Sacramento, CA $65.14 $135,490
Salinas, CA $62.75 $130,520
Modesto, CA $61.41 $127,730
Hanford, CA $60.00 $124,790

There are also ways to earn more money within any nursing career, including promotions, leadership roles, or more job responsibilities.

This article will cover the jobs and salaries of the highest-paid nurses in America. Although most nurses don’t choose their career paths based on financial considerations alone, nurses provide an invaluable service to their communities, and their compensation is very important.

With that in mind, here is a list of the highest-paid nursing specialties.

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CNRA)

CNRA

How Much Do Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Make?

According to the BLS, Nurse Anesthetists make an average salary* of about $202,000 per year or about $97 per hour.

Nurse anesthetist salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $298,000.

Some of the highest paying cities for Nurse Anesthetists include:

  1. Springfield, IL (Average Salary: $298,890)
  2. Riverside, CA (Average Salary: $283,550)
  3. Ann Arbor, MI (Average Salary: $276,810)
  4. Hartford, CT (Average Salary: $273,060)
  5. San Antonio, TX (Average Salary: $262,560)

What Does a Certified Nurse Anesthetist Do?

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist consistently ranks as the highest-paid nursing career. That is because Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled Registered Nurses who work closely with medical staff during medical procedures that require anesthesia. Also, anesthetists are prone to more lawsuits due to the complexities of this type of clinical care. Nurse Anesthetists work with surgeons, dentists, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals to prepare patients for their procedures.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Anesthetist?

You’ll need to obtain a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program and pass the NCLEX to become a CRNA.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Anesthetists?

Positive: The BLS reports that the employment of CRNAs will grow 13% from 2020 to 2030.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

 

2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

How Much Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner is about $131,000 per year or about $63 per hour.

Neonatal nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $151,000.

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Do?

Neonatal Nurses are always in high demand. This highly rewarding specialty entails caring for newborn babies up to 28 days old. Nurses in this specialty care for sick and premature newborn babies by administering oxygen, medication, and various NICU procedures.

What are the Requirements to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

You may work in the neonatal unit as an RN; however, earning your Neonatal Nurse Practitioner certification is a great way to advance in this specialty.

What is the Job Outlook for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which includes Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

The increased frequency of premature births and steady population growth will provide a strong job outlook for neonatal nurses.

Learn More: How to Become a Neonatal Nurse

 

3. Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

How Much Do Cardiac Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner is about $120,000 per year or about $58 per hour.

Cardiac Nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $135,000.

What Does a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Do?

Cardiac Nurses conduct in-depth cardiovascular assessments on patients who may have an acute or chronic illness related to their heart.

What are the Requirements to Become a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

After two years of work experience as an RN, you can apply to take the cardiac nursing exam administered by the ACCN.

What is the Job Outlook for Cardiac Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which includes Cardiac Nurse Practitioners, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

Cardiac Nurse Practitioners can find increasing job opportunities in long-term rehabilitation, residential care, and home care settings.

Learn More: How to Become a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

 

4. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

Nurse escorting a patient

How Much do Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner is about $119,000 per year or about $57 per hour.

Orthopedic nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $133,000.

What Does an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners Do?

Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners care for patients dealing with injury or disease of the musculoskeletal system. They work alongside physicians to help patients recover from surgery, rehabilitate from injury, and return to full mobility.

What are the Requirements to Become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner?

An RN can become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner by earning their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and gaining over 2,000 hours of practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). After they’ve earned the required experience, they can apply to take the certification exam provided by the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB).

What is the Job Outlook for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which includes Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

The growing demand for Registered Nurses will provide a strong job outlook for Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners.

Learn More: How to Become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

 

5. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

How Much do Oncology Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of an Oncology Nurse Practitioner is about $119,000 per year or about $57 per hour.

Oncology nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $127,000.

What Does an Oncology Nurse Practitioner Do?

Oncology Nurse Practitioners work closely with physicians and surgeons to assist cancer patients with their treatments. In addition, they provide care, education, and support to the patients and their caregivers during their treatment.

What are the Requirements to Become an Oncology Nurse Practitioner?

You will need to obtain a master’s degree from an Oncology Nurse Practitioner program and earn your license by completing the oncology nursing certification exam administered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

What is the Job Outlook for Oncology Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which includes Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

As cancer research becomes more advanced, the role of an Oncology Nurse Practitioner will change, but the overall demand for the position will grow.

Learn More: How to Become an Oncology Nurse Practitioner

 

6. General Nurse Practitioner

How Much do Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to the BLS, Nurse Practitioners earn an average salary* of about $118,000 per year or about $57 per hour. Nurse Practitioner salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $163,000.

Some of the highest paying cities for Nurse Practitioners include:

  1. San Jose, CA (Average Salary: $197,870)
  2. Napa, CA (Average Salary: $184,700)
  3. Vallejo, CA (Average Salary: $180,380)
  4. San Francisco, CA (Average Salary: $177,160)
  5. Yuba City, CA (Average Salary: $159,260)

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

Nurse Practitioners make long-lasting connections with their patients by providing basic preventative health care. They most commonly work in family practices; however, they can also use their profession in adult practices, women’s health, pediatrics, and other healthcare facilities, making this an incredibly versatile career.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

You’ll need to obtain a master’s degree from an accredited program to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. After earning your MSN, you can decide to pursue a nursing specialization.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of Nurse Practitioners will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

The growing demand for Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses provides a strong job outlook for Nurse Practitioners.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

 

7. Family Nurse Practitioner

GNP

How Much do Family Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Family Nurse Practitioner is about $116,000 per year or about $56 per hour.

Family nurse practitioner salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $135,000.

What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?

Family Nurse Practitioners are APRNs with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice. They work with adults and children in family practice or clinical settings.

What are the Requirements to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

To become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you must first earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Then, after completing your MSN, you must earn your Family Nurse Practitioner certification from the ANCC.

What is the Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS estimates that employment of Nurse Practitioners will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

As the overall demand for Nurse Practitioners continues to grow, so will the need for Family Nurse Practitioners.

Learn More: How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

 

8. Nurse Midwife

Neonatal

How Much do Nurse Midwives Make?

According to the BLS, Nurse Midwives make an average salary* of about $114,000 per year or about $55 per hour.

Nurse Midwife salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $166,000.

Some of the highest paying cities for Nurse Midwives include:

  1. Charleston, WV (Average Salary: $169,460)
  2. San Francisco, CA (Average Salary: $162,800)
  3. San Jose, CA (Average Salary: $157,570)
  4. Sacramento, CA (Average Salary: $150,990)
  5. Salt Lake City, UT (Average Salary: $133,950)

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

Certified Nurse Midwives enjoy a special relationship with their patients that evolves during a critical time in their patients’ lives. Midwives care for their patients through the joys and challenges of pregnancy, labor, and birth.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Midwife?

After earning your master’s degree in nursing (MSN), you can complete a program approved by the Accreditation for Midwifery Education (ACME) to receive your nurse midwife certification.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Midwives?

Positive: The BLS reports that the employment of nurse midwives will grow 11% from 2020 to 2030.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Midwife

 

9. Clinical Nurse Specialist

How Much do Clinical Nurse Specialists Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Clinical Nurse Specialist is about $113,000 per year or about $54 per hour.

Clinical nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $133,000.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Specialist Do?

Clinical Nurse Specialists are expert nurses with advanced education and training in a specialized area of nursing practice. They can work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including:

  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Emergency
  • Critical care
  • Diabetes
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry
  • Rehabilitation

What are the Requirements to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

You must earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with an emphasis in clinical nursing to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

What is the Job Outlook for Clinical Nurse Specialists?

Positive: The BLS estimates that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which include Clinical Nurse Specialists, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

Since the demand for all nurses, especially those with advanced education and training, is expected to grow significantly by 2030, Clinical Nurse Specialists will have a leg up on other nursing pathways.

Learn More: How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

 

10. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Nurse assisting older female patient

How Much do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is about $112,000 per year or about $54 per hour.

Psychiatric nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $133,000.

What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

Psychiatric Nurses treat patients with various psychiatric and mental health disorders, often at a mental health facility or correctional center. They provide vital and life-changing care to their patients by offering daily physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual support. By providing medical treatment along with counseling to comfort patients, this career is not only rewarding financially but emotionally as well.

What are the Requirements to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

You must earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with an emphasis in psychiatric care to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

What is the Job Outlook for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS estimates that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which include Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

Learn More: How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

 

11. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

How Much do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is about $112,000 per year or about $54 per hour.

Pediatric nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $123,000.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

Pediatric Nurses have the rewarding job of treating children and supporting their ongoing growth and development. Pediatric Nurses can find employment at various facilities, including urgent care centers, ICUs, and schools. Pediatric Nurses must be comfortable communicating with their young patients and their caregivers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

To become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, you’ll have to earn your MSN degree specializing in pediatric care. After earning your MSN, you can then apply to take the pediatric certification exam provided by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

What is the Job Outlook for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS estimates that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which include Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

As the overall demand for Registered Nurses continues to grow, especially for RNs with advanced education and training, pediatric nurses can expect a strong job outlook for years to come.

Learn More: How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

 

12. Pain Management Nurse

How Much do Pain Management Nurses Make?

According to Indeed.com, the average salary* earned by Pain Management nurses is about $113,000 per year or about $54 per hour.

What Does a Pain Management Nurse Do?

Pain Management Nurses work within hospital oncology units, hospice programs, or palliative care. They help identify the cause of a patient’s pain and assist in caring for the patient. They also educate the patient about pain management and medication.

What are the Requirements to Become a Pain Management Nurse?

There is no requirement for an advanced degree. Still, to become a Pain Management Nurse, you’ll need to have significant RN experience to earn the nurse practitioner certification for pain management.

What is the Job Outlook for Pain Management Nurses?

Positive: As a Pain Management Nurse, you’ll have lots of versatility within the industry due to the high demand for this skill in multiple healthcare settings.

Learn More: How to Become a Pain Management Nurse

 

13. Nurse Researcher

How Much Do Nurse Researchers Make?

According to the BLS, the average salary* earned by Medical Scientists, which includes Nurse Researchers, was about $104,000 per year or about $50 an hour.

Some of the highest paying cities for Nurse Researchers include:

  1. Memphis, TN (Average Salary: $176,770)
  2. Columbia, SC (Average Salary: $155,570)
  3. Danbury, CT (Average Salary: $151,970)
  4. Hartford, CT (Average Salary: $146,220)
  5. New Haven, CT (Average Salary: $138,990)

What Does a Nurse Researcher Do?

This position is for scientists who study various aspects of healthcare. Nurse Researchers can improve health care services and outcomes for patients by researching and implementing scientific studies, making this nursing specialty essential.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Researcher?

To become a Nurse Researcher, you must earn your doctoral degree (Ph.D.).

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Researchers?

Positive: The BLS reports that the employment of medical scientists will grow 17% from 2020 to 2030.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Researcher

 

14. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)

How Much do Gerontological Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner is about $100,000 per year or about $48 per hour.

Gerontological nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can be as high as $116,000.

What Does a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Do?

If you strongly desire to aid the elderly, this nursing specialty might be for you. Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (GNPs) hold advanced degrees in geriatrics and help treat long-term or debilitating conditions. Like all nurses, GNPs must approach nursing holistically and maintain a pleasant bedside manner for their elderly patients.

What are the Requirements to Become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner?

To become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, RNs must earn their license by passing a certification exam administered by the Gerontology Nursing Certification Commission (GNCC).

What is the Job Outlook for Gerontological Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: The BLS estimates that employment of Nurse Practitioners, which include Gerontological Nurse Practitioners, will grow 52% from 2020 to 2030.

As life expectancy continues to increase and medicine continues to advance, there will be a greater need for nurses who specialize in caring for the elderly.

Learn More: How to Become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

 

15. Nurse Administrator

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do

How Much do Nurse Administrators Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Nurse Administrator is about $97,000 per year or about $47 per hour.

Nurse administrator salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $117,000.

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?

Nurse Administrators are part of the executive team that oversees the nursing staff. They help coordinate between nurses and other departments, develop policies and procedures, and manage HR and budgeting.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator?

A master’s degree in healthcare administration is typically required to become a Nurse Administrator.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Administrators?

Positive: The BLS reports that the employment of medical and health service managers is projected to grow 32% from 2020 to 2030.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Administrator

 

16. Nurse Educator

How Much do Nurse Educators Make?

According to Payscale.com, the average salary* earned by nurse educators is about $79,000 per year or about $39 per hour.

What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

Nurse Educators teach nursing professionals within a healthcare setting by developing and using training curriculums. They also oversee new nurses and nursing students in a clinical setting.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Educator?

To become a Nurse Educator, you must hold a master’s degree in nursing. However, many Nurse Educators may earn their doctoral degrees as well.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Educators?

Positive: According to the BLS, employment of postsecondary teachers, which includes Nurse Educators, will grow 12% from 2020 to 2030.

The employment of nurses is growing. Therefore, nurse educators will continue to need to train these new nurses in various healthcare settings.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Educator

 

Which Specialization Will You Choose?

Healthcare team in a meeting

There are lots of rewarding careers in nursing. Specialized nursing careers require unique skills and offer a wide range of benefits, whether you’re treating newborn infants, expectant mothers, the elderly, or any other patient group.

If you’re ready to start training for your nursing career, contact us at Provo College. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you pick a program that can help you enter a financially and emotionally rewarding career in nursing.