Top 10 Highest Paid Nursing Careers

Debra Riley


Having a career in the nursing field can be rewarding both professionally and financially. Here we have compiled a list of the highest paid nursing careers today. But these jobs don’t come easily. It requires dedication and a lot of work to achieve these goals.

Best Paid Nursing Jobs

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

During medical procedures a CRNA prescribes and administers anesthesia to patients. This is a highly skilled job and requires registered nurse certification alongside a Masters or Doctoral degree.

Average Salary for a CRNA is $169,450 and according to BLS the expected growth is 25% from 2012-2022.

See our salary and career guide for CRNA’s and if you want to look into the training involved see our CRNA Schools by State page.

2. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner/ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

PNP’s work with patients suffering from a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. This is a specialized field of practice and requires nurses to have an RN license with a masters degree in Psychiatric Nursing.

Average Salary for PNP/MHNP is $114,332

3. Certified Nurse Midwife

CNM’s care for women during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. They also look after ladies with issues around birth control, family planning and general well being. To become a midwife you must hold a current RN License and practice for a year before enrolling in an ACME-approved graduate program in midwifery (2 – 4 years). They must then sit the national certification exam and maintain certification every 5 years.

Average salary for CNM is $107,460 with a 31% expected growth between 2016-2026

4. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners (NP) or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) are a specialized are of nursing. NP’s can assess, plan and implement treatment plans. They are also qualified to order and interpret lab tests and diagnostic results as well as prescribe certain medications.

To become a NP you must have an MSN at minimum, followed by Nurse Practitioner Licensure in your specified state.

Average salary for APRN is $107,480 with an expected growth of 34% over the next 5 years.

5. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Geriatric or Gerontological Nurse practitioners specialize in caring for the elderly population. They can work in many areas including hospitals and long term care facilities. To become a nurse in this specialty you must become a Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (CGNP).

The average salary for a CGNP is $102,526 with an expected growth of 34% in the next five years.


6. Family Nurse Practitioner

A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is the most similar to a primary care physician with all the responsibility that entails. Their role includes assessing patients, prescribing treatment plans and medications and much more. They can work in many settings including hospital, clinics and medical facilities.

FNP’s must earn the Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner designation.

FNP’s can earn an average of $92,034 with an expected growth of 34% in the next five years.

7. Pediatric Nurse

A pediatric nurse works primarily with children from infancy to the teenage years. They are involved in the growth and development of children and can work in a number of settings including hospitals and clinics.

Most pediatric nurses have a BSN and work mainly in this specialised area of care.

A pediatric nurse can expect to earn an average salary of $56,137.

8. Neonatal Nurse

A neonatal nurse cares for newborns and infants who are experiencing a variety of health issues such as premature birth, infection, congenital defects and severe illness.

A neonatal nurse requires extensive experience and continuing education along with certification. They must have an active RN licensure and must complete a master’s program which allows them to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.

They can expect to earn an average of $97,000 with an expected job growth of 34%.

9. Informatics Nurse

This area of nursing is where the old meets the new. Technology is used to manage and communicate information with the hope of promoting health in the community. It is a growing area with the advances in technology.

Nurses working in informatics usually have a MS in Nursing (MSN) degree with a specialty in Informatics or a MS in Health Informatics.

They can be expected to earn an average salary of $100,717 with job growth due to this expanding field of nursing.

10. Nurse Educator

After working as a nurse you might want to pass on what you know to others. By becoming a nurse educator you can have a role in training the next generation of nurses.

As a Nurse Educator you must earn a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (PhD) degree instead of a DNP while also fulfilling your state requirements and licensure.

You can expect to earn on average $90,097.

These are only a some of the best paying jobs in nursing but might help you in your career progression. The figures show average earnings for the United States – but be aware there can be a big pay gap between individual states and of course the working location. What are you waiting for – get to work making your nursing CV!

Remember to have a good look around the site – we cover a wide range of nursing salaries by state and nurse career guides. We also cover some general interest nursing topics – Nurse Symbol – meaning and background – or perhaps you are looking for some quality nursing magazines to help keep up to date. I hope you give those a read!