15 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs 2024 (Inc Salaries)

Stephen Ramotowski
May 24, 2024 · 16 min read

Find the top 10 highest paying jobs in nursing for 2024, including salaries, to plan your high-paying career in nursing.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the highest-paying nursing jobs in 2024, including what they do, how much they make, and how to get them. 

The World Health Organization declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. And when the COVID-19 pandemic came along with all the other public health crises we have experienced in the past few years, the urgent need for more nurses in the United States has become quite apparent.

This demand has led to a significant increase in nursing salaries over the past few years, gaining them the 20th spot in Investopedia's 25 highest-paid occupations in the US.

Nursing may not be a glamorous or glorious job, but it's a job that pays the bill and offers much more.

If the nursing sector's bright future has caught your attention and you're considering starting or furthering your nursing career, here are the 20 high-paying nursing jobs to consider.

Top 15 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs (Inc Salaries)

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

A nurse anesthetist is an advanced practice registered nurse with additional specialized training in administering anesthesia for minor procedures and major surgeries.

Some of the responsibilities of a certified registered nurse anesthetist include the following:

  • Monitoring and caring for patients who are recovering from anesthesia

  • Overseeing the patient’s vital signs during procedures

  • Preparing the patient before the operation (i.e., obtaining required consent forms, educating the patient with regards to the expected postoperative and pre-operative effects and the potential side effects of anesthesia, and conducting appropriate laboratory tests)

Due to their in-demand specialization, a CRNA can work in different parts of the hospitals and other medical settings, including but not limited to: Operating Rooms (OR), Emergency Rooms (ER), Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Medical and Dental Clinics, Respiratory Therapy Departments, Psychiatry Clinics,  and Outpatient Care Centers.

How to become a CRNA?

In addition to having a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and other related field, you’d also need to have:

  • A valid US nurse license,

  • At least one year of experience in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU),

  • A degree from an Accredited nurse anesthesia educational program, which is equivalent to a doctorate

  • A certification from passing the National Certification Examination for Nurse Anesthetists

How much does a CRNA make?

According to the data from Glassdoor, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists make an average median salary of USD 124,643 per year. 

2. Family Nurse Practitioner

This type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse specializes in delivering primary, urgent, preventative, and specialty medical care to patients of all ages—from infancy to older years.

This type of nurse has the following responsibilities: 

  • Gathering patient information and maintaining their records

  • Ordering and conducting laboratory diagnostic tests

  • Performing physical exams

  • Prescribing medications

  • Developing care or treatment plans

Because they cater to patients across their lifespan, nurse practitioners work in different medical settings, including private and school clinics, hospitals, community health centers, and hospices. They can also build their private practice.

How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

On top of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree and a valid nursing license, you also need to:

  • Earn a Master's degree in Nursing, preferably with a specialization in Family Nursing

  • Obtain a Family Nurse Practitioner- board certification or FNP-BC from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or a Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP-C) from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

How much does a Family Nurse Practitioner make?

As per Salary.com, family nurse practitioners earn a median salary of USD 123 460 per year, making it one of the highest-paying nursing professions.

3. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

A mental health nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) trained and certified in assessing, diagnosing, and treating the patient’s mental health needs.

Their area of expertise covers all mental health issues, including mood and trauma disorders, substance use issues, anxiety and depression disorders, psychotic disorders, suicidal tendencies, neurodevelopmental disorders, and many more.

Their day-to-day tasks include:

  • Devise and implement treatment plans, including medications, lifestyle adjustments, and therapies

  • Patient evaluation and medical history taking

  • Educating both the patients and their guardians about management and care

  • Provide both psychotherapy and crisis intervention

How to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?

After attaining your degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLE), you need to take these extra steps to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner:

  • Gain at least 1 to 2 years of clinical experience

  • Pursue a Doctor of Nursing or Master of Science in Nursing degree

  • Obtain a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse- Board Certification (PMNHP-BC)

How much does a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner make?

The annual median wage of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is around USD 119,447.

4. Health Policy Nurse

Nurses in the health policy department help shape the healthcare system by providing public health and nursing advice and insights to policymakers and advocacy organizations.

In addition to patient care and nursing knowledge, this position would require added policy-making, implementation, and evaluation skills, system thinking, advocacy, and research.

The other responsibilities they have include:

  • Evaluating and analyzing the proposed changes to healthcare policies and their impact on public health

  • Being advocates of certain health policies

  • Developing, proposing, and implementing new healthcare policies

Aside from government agencies, they can also work in non-governmental health organizations.

How to Become a Health Policy Nurse?

On top of a Bachelor's degree and a valid US license, you also need:

  • A MSN or DNP with a focus on Health Policy

  • Health Policy Nurse Certification

To stay ahead of the game, getting a BBA degree is recommended.

With this degree, you can cultivate your professional and intercultural communication skills. Additionally, you’ll get to attain in-depth micro and macroeconomics knowledge, which are vital to policy making.

How much does a Health Policy Nurse make?

Based on the data from ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a Health Policy Nurse is about USD 117,469.

5. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Gerontological Nurse Practitioners are APRNs who specialize in providing the highest quality of care, treatment, and management of age-related illnesses of patients in late adulthood to end-of-life stage.

They also perform the following tasks on a day-to-day basis:

  • Performing the necessary exams and procedures to assess the patient's health condition properly

  • Formulating and implementing the appropriate care and treatment plan and providing detailed information to the patient and his guardians

  • Offering psychosocial care and emotional support to patients dealing with loneliness and depression

How to Become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner?

Apart from a BSN, added qualifications to be a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner include:

  • MSN, preferably a specialization in geriatric care

  • 500 clinical hours as required by the American Nurses Credentials Center

  • Passing the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam

How much does a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner make?

Gerontological Nurse Practitioners earn an average salary of approximately USD 111,760 annually.

6. Pain Management Nurse

Pain management nurses are registered nurses who are experts in providing medical interventions to patients suffering from chronic or debilitating pain.

Their main goal is to ensure that the patient receives the proper pain medication while minimizing or eliminating the risk of over-dependence and abuse.

To do this, they are also in-charge of:

  • Evaluating the cause and severity of pain and assessing the patient’s medical and psychosocial needs

  • Administering pain medications and assisting the physician in performing invasive pain management techniques

  • Educating the patient about the medication’s potential side effects and providing them with an alternative form of pain management to prevent the formation of addictive habits

How to Become a Pain Management Nurse?

To qualify as a PMN, you need to:

  • Have a BSN and active RN license

  • Have at least 2 years of RN experience

  • Have a minimum of 2000 hours of experience in pain management nursing

  • Complete at least 30 hours of pain management education

  • Earn the Nurse Practitioner Certification for pain by passing the Pain Management Nursing Certification (PMGT-BC) exam

How much does a Pain Management Nurse make?

They make an annual median wage of around USD 109,423.

7. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Just like Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists are APRNs who specialize in their choice of practice. But what makes them different from NPs is that they also play other roles in providing direct care to patients.

Typically, the primary roles that CNS takes on include being an expert clinician, researcher, educator, and consultant.

Aside from performing the common clinical nurse duties, they are also experts in:

  • Identifying and addressing the gaps in the hospital or healthcare system

  • Researching methods on how to optimize patient care and experience in their area of specialty

  • Collecting and analyzing patient feedback and medical records to optimize nursing services and systems

How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

In addition to BSN and a nursing license, the added steps to becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist include:

  • An MSN or DNP

  • At least 500 supervised clinical hours in your choice of specialty

  • A Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center

How much does a Clinical Nurse Specialist make?

Clinical Nurse Specialists make an average of USD 106,342 annually.

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8. Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified Nurse Midwives are APRNs with comprehensive training in providing pregnant women and their babies with the medical care they need during pre-conception, pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Additionally, they also offer family planning services and postpartum and newborn care.

Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Pre-natal, pregnancy, and postpartum nutrition counseling

  • Delivering both general and preventive care

  • Prescribing contraceptive treatments, devices, or medications

  • Detecting any possible pregnancy complications and identifying and providing the appropriate intervention accordingly

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Here are some of the requirements for becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing

  • At least 2 years of clinical experience

  • Either a master's degree in Nursing or a higher nurse-midwifery program accredited by Accreditation for Midwifery Education (ACME)

  • Certification from American Midwifery Certification Board by passing the Certified Nurse-Midwife Licensure Examination

How much does a Certified Nurse Midwife make?

Nurse midwives make an average of USD 106,310 per year.

9. Nurse Educator

Simply put, the primary job of a nurse educator is to inspire and mentor the next generation of nurses to uphold and maintain high-quality patient care.

They teach prospective nursing professionals patient care techniques, clinical and scientific skills, and hospital practices.

In addition to equipping students with skills and knowledge for the nursing profession, a nurse educator is also responsible for:

  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to deliver a positive educational experience for students

  • Supervising students on their clinical rotations

  • Evaluating and designing the nursing curriculum

Aside from universities, a nurse educator can also teach professional development training at hospitals or facilitate health and wellness seminars at companies.

How to become a Nurse Educator?

An MSN is the minimum educational requirement for a nurse educator. However, most universities are looking for candidates with a DNP.

Other credentials that can help enhance your application and boost your earning potential are:

  • Certified Nurse Educator (CNE-CL) certification to demonstrate your teaching and clinical skills

  • BBA/ MBA to show your unparalleled communication and collaboration skills

How much does a Nurse Educator make?

Nurse Educators receive an average salary of USD 103,502 per year.

10. Informatics Nurse

An Informatics nurse combines his patient care knowledge with technology and data to support patient care.

Their main job is to work with EHR and EMR systems to gather vital data, which they can use to minimize errors and costs, promote more efficient healthcare processes, and improve patient outcomes.

To do this, Informatics nurses do these tasks daily:

  • Monitoring, managing, optimizing, and implementing data-related processes

  • Training the team on how to utilize and maximize existing and new data systems

  • Analyzing, validating, and interpreting the collected data

How to become an Informatics Nurse?

To get this position, you need to have:

  • A BSN and MSN in Nursing Informatics

  • At least 30 hours of nursing informatics education

  • An Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC) from ANCC

How much does an Informatics Nurse make?

As per Glassdoor, the average annual salary of an Informatics Nurse is around USD 97,378.

11. Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse

A Neonatal Nurse is a type of nurse who specializes in delivering round-the-clock care and supervision to newborns with acute and critical health conditions. They also cater to the medical needs of infants less than a month old with long-term health issues.

Their tasks would depend on the infants' medical needs, but they usually include:

  • Providing the infant’s basic needs

  • Inserting, monitoring, and managing IV lines

  • Administering and regulating tube feedings

  • Delivering updates and offering psychosocial care to parents or family members

How to become a Neonatal Nurse?

Aside from a college degree and a state-issued license, you’d also need:

  • At 1 to 2 years of experience in the NICU

  • A CCRN (Neonatal) certification from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses

  • Other subspecialty certifications like Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)

How much does a Neonatal Nurse make?

A neonatal nurse practitioner has an average salary of USD 97,345 per year.

12. Registered Nurse First Assistant

An RNFA acts as the surgeon's assistant during a surgical procedure. They assist the surgeon in developing treatment plans and providing preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative management to patients.

Some of their general duties include:

  • Intraoperative tasks like hemostasis, surgical site exposure, and wound suturing

  • Preoperative functions like administering medications, performing diagnostic and tests, and educating the patients about potential risks and complications

  • Providing and discussing surgery after-care

How to Become a Registered Nurse First Assistant?

To enter this field, licensed nurses must:

  • Have at least 2 years of perioperative nursing experience

  • Complete an accredited RNFA program

  • Attain an RNFA certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Assisting.

  • Get a Nurse Operating Room certification

How much does a Registered Nurse First Assistant make?

  • An RNFA earns an annual median wage of USD 96,000.

13. Intensive Care Unit Nurse

ICU Nurses are registered nurses with specialized knowledge and training in providing round-the-clock care and close supervision to patients with life-threatening diseases and critical conditions.

Some of their day-to-day tasks include:

  • Attending to and notifying doctors about any medical emergencies

  • Constantly monitoring the patient's condition to determine and implement any necessary changes in the treatment plan

  • Providing patient’s progress updates to the medical team and family members regularly

How to become an Intensive Care Unit Nurse?

Here are the steps you need to take to become an ICU Nurse:

  • Obtain a nursing degree.

  • Get a state licensure.

  • Gain at least 2 to 5 years of ICU experience.

  • Pass the AACN exam to get Certification for Critical Care Nurses.

How much does an Intensive Care Unit Nurse make?

The average annual salary for an ICU Nurse is around USD 94,913.

14. Nursing Administrator

Nursing Administrators take on managerial and leadership roles. Their job description differs from most nursing positions because they need more patient interaction.

Instead, they work closely with the hospital administrator and CEO to make staffing, scheduling, and other managerial decisions that keep the hospital workflow in check.

The nursing administration responsibilities include:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and training nurses

  • Explaining and setting the department’s performance goals and evaluating his team’s performance

  • Acting as a liaison between nurses, other healthcare teams, and the executives

How to Become a Nursing Administrator?

To become a certified nurse manager and leader, you need:

  • A minimum of Master of Science in Nursing, but a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is preferred

  • At least 5 years of nursing experience and 1 year of management experience

  • Nurse Executive- Board Certification (NE-BC) from ANCC

While it isn’t required, getting a BBA/ MBA degree is recommended to showcase your managerial, leadership, and communication skills.

How much does a Nursing Administrator make?

Data shows that Nurse Administrators make an average of USD 94,445 yearly.

15. Travel Nurse

From their title, they are nurses who travel to and work short-term in different medical settings to fill in their employment gaps.

Even though they perform the same tasks as a hospital nurse, their position differs because they work for a nurse staffing agency instead of working directly for a specific medical facility.

Their work is also much more complicated than a regular nursing job because the tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on the available assignments. 

Because of the unique nature of their position, the job comes with many perks, including competitive pay, an opportunity to travel and explore different living environments, bonuses, and work and schedule flexibility.  

However, it may also come with a few cons, like needing to apply for different state licenses and file multiple tax returns, an inconsistent work environment, and homesickness.

How to Become a Travel Nurse?

The process of getting this position is simple compared to the other high-paying nursing jobs on the list.

You only need the same credentials as a registered nurse: a BSN or ADN degree and a valid RN license.

How much does a Travel Nurse make?

Travel nurses make an average salary of USD 89,928 per year.


Conclusion

There are currently 3,172,500 nursing job openings in the US, and statistics show that there will be an additional 193,100 job openings yearly for over a decade.

However, the labor shortage in the nursing industry is both a blessing and a curse for prospective nurses.

The high demand indeed resulted in a big bump in nurses' compensation. However, this attracted many prospective nurses and made the industry more competitive now than ever.

To land the highest paid nursing jobs, you need a sparkling resume demonstrating your in-depth knowledge and practical skills in the healthcare industry.

An online BBA or MBA degree from a reputable university like Nexford can provide you with advanced nursing knowledge and specialized learning in your area of discipline, positioning you as an expert in the nursing field.


FAQs

What will be the highest-paying nursing job in 2024?

The highest paid nurse is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Professionals in this field earn as low as USD 101,000 and as high as USD 174,000, with an average salary of USD 124,00.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which nursing jobs are projected to have the highest growth in 2024?

As per BLS, demand for nursing services will remain high until 2032.

Job growth is expected to increase in all types of healthcare services and nursing positions, especially for the nurses working at nursing homes or in residential care facilities since these are the preferred healthcare settings of older people.

Is nursing a good career path?

Yes, nursing is an excellent career option if you're interested in medical science, passionate about caring for others, and love to work in a fast-paced environment.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Higher-than-average pay (the 2022 median pay for nurses is USD 81,220 per year)

  • High demand (BLS projects jobs for medical and health, especially nursing, will grow by 6% growth until 2032) 

  • Exciting work environment

  • Diverse career options due to a wide range of nursing specialties and positions

  • Excellent opportunities for career advancement since you get to work in the wards, specialty areas, other medical settings, offices, and even universities.

What skills or expertise is required for high-paying nursing jobs?

The professionals in these highest-paid nursing jobs must undergo rigorous training to be considered fit for their roles. To do their jobs well, they need to have an extensive set of hard and soft skills, which include:

  • Critical thinking and time management skills to develop and implement the right treatment plan

  • Resilience, adaptability, and stress management skills to stay on top of their unpredictable and fast-paced work environment

  • Empathy and good listening skills to deliver psychosocial care and emotional support to both patients and family members

  • Communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills to collaborate with other members of the healthcare team

  • Technical skills like clinical nursing skills, primary and urgent care knowledge, patient safety techniques, Medication administration skills, and many more.

To ensure you get the soft and hard skills needed to start and build a lucrative Nursing career path, download our free report today!

What qualifications are required for high-paying nursing jobs?

To qualify for these high-paying nursing jobs, the minimum requirement would be attaining an MSN, completing a specific number of years of clinical experience, and getting your specialized certification from the American Nursing Credentialing Center.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you take a few more degrees or programs, like an MBA, BBA, and other specialty-related nursing certifications, that can improve your marketability and increase your job opportunities.

Why is it beneficial for a nurse to gain a BBA/ MBA degree?

An ADN, BSN, or MSN degree can teach and help you develop the core technical and nursing skills you need to land a good nursing job.

But when it comes to attaining top high-paying nursing jobs, getting an online MBA or BBA degree is recommended.

A BBA or MBA degree is a significant tool in furthering your nursing career because it will equip you with an in-depth understanding of the complex business principles that will allow you to formulate solutions to the complex issues you'll encounter in healthcare.

It will also help you develop the soft skills you need to deliver a higher level of patient care and become a better healthcare team player. 


To ensure you get the soft and hard skills needed to start and build a lucrative Nursing career path, download our free report today!

About the author
Stephen Ramotowski
Stephen Ramotowski

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