The 12 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2019

The 16 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2020

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

The 12 Highest Paid Nursing Jobs in 2019

When people decide to pursue nursing, they are focused on the practice of healthcare and helping others. Whether that includes recording patient vitals in a clinic or conducting assessments in a hospital, patient care is usually what’s top of mind.

As you go through nursing school, however, you begin to discover the wide range of nursing specialties that are available and the perks that come along with each of them. From pediatric care to midwifery, there are many types of nursing categories, each with their unique benefits, appealing to a wide variety of students. One of the most significant benefits in nursing is your compensation. Different specialties may offer different salaries that are commensurate with your level of education and experience. 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 $72,000 per year, or around $35.00 per hour.

While a high-paying nursing career is an obvious perk, it is important 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, your industry, and your level of training and experience.

For example, here are the top paying states for Registered Nurses and their respective salaries:

Highest Paying States for Registered Nurses

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
California $48.92 $101,750
Massachusetts $42.82 $89,060
Hawaii $42.75 $88,910
Oregon $41.83 $87,000
Alaska $41.56 $86,450

Here are also a few of the top paying industry in which Registered Nurses can work:

Highest Paying Industries for Registered Nurses

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Pharmaceutical Industry $40.99 $85,260
Specialty Hospitals $36.80 $76,540
Outpatient Care Centers $35.96 $74,800
General Hospitals $35.71 $74,270
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals $33.39 $69,460
Home Health Care Services $33.34 $69,350

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

To make your selection process a little easier, 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. We’ll begin our list of nursing careers with the highest paid nursing job.

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 $181,000 per year, or about $87 per hour.

Nurse anesthetist salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $208,000 or more.

The highest paying cities for Nurse Anesthetists are:

  1. Toledo, OH (Average Salary: $266,260)
  2. San Francisco, CA (Average Salary: $254,860)
  3. Columbus, GA (Average Salary: $247,540)
  4. Fairfield, CA (Average Salary: $240,820)
  5. Sacramento, CA (Average Salary: $236,400)

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 advanced and highly skilled registered nurses who work closely with medical staff during medical procedures that require anesthesia. Also, due to the complexities of this type of clinical care, anesthetists are prone to more lawsuits and therefore must be completely comfortable in their field. 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 then pass the NCLEX in order to become a CRNA.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Anesthetists?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of CRNA’s will grow 45% from 2019 to 2029.

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 $125,000 per year, or about $50 per hour.

Neonatal nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $145,000 or more.

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 are able to care for sick and/or premature newborn babies by administering oxygen, medication, and  various NICU procedures.

What are the Requirements to Become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner?

You can be placed 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 increase in frequency of premature births as well as the 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 $114,000 per year, or about $55 per hour.

Cardiac nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $129,000 or more.

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: Cardiac nurse practitioners can find increasing job opportunities in long-term rehabilitation, residential care, and home care settings.

 

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 $113,000 per year, or about $54 per hour.

Orthopedic nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $127,000 or more.

What Does an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioners Do?

Orthopedic nurse practitioners provide care to 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 APRN. After they’ve gained the required experience, they can then 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 overall growing demand for registered nurses will provide for 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 $113,000 per year, or about $54 per hour.

Oncology nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $121,000 or more.

What Does an Oncology Nurse Practitioners Do?

Oncology nurse practitioners work closely with physicians and surgeons to assist cancer patients with their treatments. They provide care, education, and support to both 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: As cancer research becomes more advanced, the role of an oncology nurse practitioner will change, but the overall demand for the position will grow.

 

6. General Nurse Practitioner

How Much do Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to the BLS, General Nurse Practitioners make an average salary of about $112,000 per year, or about $53 per hour.

Nurse practitioner salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $152,000 or more.

The highest paying cities for Nurse Practitioners are:

  1. Vallejo, CA (Average Salary: $175,060)
  2. Spokane, WA (Average Salary: $160,110)
  3. San Francisco, CA (Average Salary: $157,150)
  4. Longview, WA (Average Salary: $150,520)
  5. Sumter, SC (Average Salary: $147,210)

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

Nurse practitioners are able to 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 a number of other healthcare facilities, making this career incredibly versatile which is a benefit in itself.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

You’ll need to obtain a Master’s degree from an accredited program in order to become an advanced practice nurse practitioner. After earning your MSN, you can then 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 45% from 2019 to 2029.

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 $110,000 per year, or about $53 per hour.

Family nurse practitioner salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $128,000 or more.

What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?

Family nurse practitioners are APRNS with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice. They are trained to work with both adults and children in a family practice or clinical setting.

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. After completing your MSN, you must then earn your family nurse practitioner certification from the ANCC.

What is the Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: As the overall demand for nurse practitioners continues to grow, so will the demand for family nurse practitioners.

Learn More: How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

 

8. Clinical Nurse Specialist

How Much do Clinical Nurse Specialists Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a Clinical Nurse Specialist is about $108,000 per year, or about $52 per hour.

Clinical nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $127,000 or more.

What Does a Clinical Nurse Specialist Do?

Also known as intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, clinical nurses specialists (CNS) must be able to act quickly under pressure and possess excellent decision-making skills. Clinical nurse specialists provide patients with care by diagnosing and treating diseases, illnesses, and injuries.

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: Since the demand for all nurses is expected to grow significantly by 2029, clinical nurse specialists will have a leg up on other nursing pathways due to their higher level of education and training.

Learn More: How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

 

9. 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 $107,000 per year, or about $52 per hour.

Psychiatric nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $127,000 or more.

What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

In this field, nurses treat patients with a range of psychiatric and mental health disorders, often at a mental health facility or correctional center. They provide vital and often life-changing care to their patients by offering daily physiological, mental, emotional, and even 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 in order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

What is the Job Outlook for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: According to Nurse Journal, employment of psychiatric nurse practitioners will grow 26% by the end of this year.

Learn More: How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

 

10. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

How Much do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is about $107,000 per year, or about $52 per hour.

Pediatric nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $117,000 or more.

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

Pediatric nurses have the rewarding job of treating children, while also supporting their ongoing growth and development. Pediatric nurses are able to find employment at a variety of facilities, including urgent cares, ICUs, and even at schools. It is important that pediatric nurses are comfortable communicating to their young patients as well as their caregivers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

In order to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, you’ll have to first earn your MSN degree with a specialization 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: As the overall demand for registered nurses continues to grow, pediatric nurses can expect a strong job outlook for years to come.

Learn More: How to Become a Pediatric Nurse

 

11. Nurse Midwife

Neonatal

How Much do Nurse Midwives Make?

According to the BLS, Nurse Midwives make an average salary of about $108,000 per year, or about $52 per hour.

Nurse midwife salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $159,000 or more.

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

Despite the perception that this career is exclusive to women, lots of men are exploring careers in midwifery. 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) in order to receive your nurse midwife certification.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Midwives?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of nurse midwives will grow 45% from 2019 to 2029.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Midwife

 

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 $94,000 per year, or about $40 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, but to become a pain management nurse you’ll need to have significant experience as an RN in order 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 of 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 ExploreHealthCareers.org, the average salary earned by Nurse Researchers is about $95,000 per year.

What Does a Nurse Researcher Do?

This position is for scientists who study various aspects of health, illness and healthcare. By researching and implementing scientific studies, nurse researchers can improve health care services and health care outcomes for patients, making this nursing specialty absolutely 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 6% from 2019 to 2029.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Researcher

 

14. 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 $95,000 per year, or about $46 per hour.

Nurse administrator salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $115,000 or more.

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?

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

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator?

A master’s degree in healthcare administration is typically required in order to become a nurse administrator.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Administrators?

Positive: The BLS reports that employment of medical and health service managers is projected to grow 32% from 2019 to 2029.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Administrator

 

15. 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 $95,000 per year, or about $46 per hour.

Gerontological nursing salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $110,000 or more.

What Does a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Do?

If you have a strong desire to aid the elderly, this nursing specialty might be for you. Gerontological nurse practitioners (GNPs) hold advanced degrees specializing in geriatrics and are trained to help treat long-term or debilitating conditions. Similar to all nurses, GNPs must approach nursing holistically by paying special attention to maintaining a comforting bedside manner for their elderly patients. 

What are the Requirements to Become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner?

To become a gerontological nurse practitioner, RN’s must earn their license by passing a certification exam that is administered by the Gerontology Nursing Certification Commission (GNCC).

What is the Job Outlook for Gerontological Nurse Practitioners?

Positive: 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

 

16. Nurse Educator

How Much do Nurse Educators Make?

According to Payscale.com, the average salary earned by nurse educators is about $76,000 per year, or about $37 per hour.

What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

Nurse educators are responsible for teaching nursing professionals within a healthcare setting by using training curriculums that they personally develop. 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. Many nurse educators may earn their doctoral degree as well.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Educators?

Positive: Overall employment of nurses is expected to grow, therefore there will continue to be a need for nurse educators to train these new nurses in a variety of healthcare settings.

Learn More: How to Become a Nurse Educator

 

Which Specialization Will You Choose?

Healthcare team in a meeting

There are tons of financially and emotionally rewarding careers in nursing. Whether you’re treating newborn infants, expectant mothers, the elderly, or any other patient group, there are specialized nursing careers that require unique skills and offer a wide range of benefits.

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.