Top 7 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs For Continuing Education in 2021

You became a nurse because you had the passion to help others and to continue your nursing education. You are motivated to learn and further your education: here are some specialties that will climb the ladder with you, and are some of the highest-paying specialties. 

In this article, you will find the seven highest-paying nursing specialties that need nurses like you. Those specialties include: certified registered nurse anesthetists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, general nurse practitioners, pain management nurses, family nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives. Which one is best for you?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $171,340

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists or CRNAs are a critical component to any healthcare team and work in many different departments. This requires at the very minimum, a master’s level education. CRNAs work as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to administer appropriate anesthetic medications when patients undergo surgical procedures. 

The national average salary according to ZipRecruiter, is $171,340.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $134,702

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are doctorate degree-holding nurses that focus their efforts on assessing patients for mental health issues and risks, and studying pertinent medical records and patient history, according to Regis College

The national average salary for a psychiatric nurse practitioner is $134,702, according to ZipRecruiter.  

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – $110,249

Nurses can begin working in neonatal nursing as an RN and continue education to become neonatal nurse practitioners after 2 years of RN work. According to NursePractitionerSchools, there are four levels of care provided by nurses for neonatal patients and those include:

  •  Level 1: Generally reserved for healthy infants
  •  Level 2: For infants living with mild and moderate health problems
  •  Level 3: This is a specialty NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for infants that are born premature or need critical care/surgery
  •  Level 4: This is for infants that require 24-hour care

NNP’s assist with blood draws, taking vital signs, educating and guiding parents regarding care for their infant, and other duties regarding patient care. Nurses that want to become an NNP, are required to have two years of NICU experience and would either need a Master’s or Doctorate with a focus on neonatal nursing. 

The national average salary for a neonatal nurse practitioner is $110,249 according to ZipRecruiter.  

General Nurse Practitioner – $109,025

As a general nurse practitioner, you have more flexibility in terms of work settings and patient populations. At a minimum, GNP programs require a BSN and MSN level education, and further education is helpful. General Nurse Practitioners can prescribe medication (scope of care differs by state and where you work), performing physicals, and educating patients and their families, according to Unitek College

According to ZipRecruiter, General Nurse Practitioners make $109,025 as a national average salary.

Pain Management Nurse – $109,001

Pain management nurses are saviors in the healthcare community and serve an important purpose in any disease course. According to EveryNurse, PMN’s help patients to manage and assess pain, and to make sure that they receive proper medications and prescriptions, as well as education. 

A lesser-known part of pain management nursing consists of nonpharmacological solutions such as acupuncture and massage.

Once you have your BSN, it is important to build a resume with a heavy concentration and focus on practical skills revolving around pain management. Then you can get a pain management nurse certificate from the ANCC (American Nurse Credentialing Center) and utilize those skills. 

According to ZipRecruiter, most pain management nurses in the US earn $109,001 per year on average.

Family Nurse Practitioner – $105,898

Family nurse practitioners play a large role in primary care and assist/work with physicians in the office as well as other settings. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, FNPs work with a wide range of patient populations and ages, and have responsibilities including patient physicals, ordering tests, prescribing medications, and creating care plans. 

Once you obtain your RN, it is important to develop a foundation with clinical experiences that will provide you with the skills used as an FNP. Then you can begin the admission process into an MSN or DNP program with a focus on family primary care. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for a Family Nurse Practitioner is $105,898.

Certified Nurse Midwife – $98,455

Midwives have an important responsibility in helping to bring new infants into the world and assisting mothers in the labor and delivery process. Certified nurse-midwifery requires a master’s level education in nurse-midwifery at the minimum. It is helpful to have existing clinical and academic experience and knowledge. 

Some of the responsibilities include prenatal and postpartum care, checking up on patients throughout the duration of pregnancy, and assisting in the delivery process, according to

The national average salary for a nurse midwife, according to ZipRecruiter, is $98,455.

Where Do You Go From Here?

These are seven of the highest paying nursing jobs in the United States and have a wide range of patient populations and conditions that they work with. For those interested in furthering your education, these nursing specialties will move up the ladder with you, and reward you for your efforts. 

On the flip side, nurse practitioners and other higher-level nursing positions have enormous responsibilities and duties in tandem with the education required. Make sure that you pick a specialty that suits your interests and recognizes your value. 

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