Nursing has always been one of the most sought-after and best-paying jobs in the healthcare industry.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses are among the highest-paid professions in terms of median annual wages among all occupations.
With advancements in medical technology and increased demand for healthcare professionals, this trend is only expected to continue in 2023 and beyond.
As nurses become increasingly valued members of the healthcare team, many are finding that their job opportunities and salary potential have greatly increased.
In addition, nursing has become one of the most versatile and flexible professions to pursue, with a wide range of specialties available from neonatal intensive care to trauma nursing that can be pursued depending on one’s interests and skills.
With such a diverse field of job opportunities available, many nurses are choosing to specialize in certain areas to maximize their earnings potential and career satisfaction.
So which nursing jobs pay the highest salaries? In this article, we provide an overview of the best paying jobs for nurses in 2023.
10 Best Paying Jobs for Nurses in 2023
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are advanced practice nurses with specialized knowledge and skills in administering anesthesia to patients before and during surgery.
CRNAs work in close collaboration with doctors to provide safe, comfortable, and efficient care for their patients.
In addition, they may also use their expertise to help manage labor pain, diagnose and treat chronic pain, and provide other forms of anesthesia for medical procedures.
With the increasing demand for CRNAs in hospitals and healthcare centers across the country, these professionals can expect to earn lucrative salaries in 2023.
Becoming a CRNA requires extensive training and education. Most CRNAs have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing and must complete an accredited advanced practice nurse program.
In addition, they must also pass a certification exam administered by the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
Those interested in becoming CRNAs should be aware that the job is very demanding and requires strong communication and problem-solving skills, as well as a high level of knowledge in physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, and other medical sciences.
In terms of job prospects for CRNAs in 2023, the outlook is very positive. With an increased emphasis on providing quality care to patients within the healthcare system, there will be ample opportunities for skilled CRNAs who are passionate about their work.
According to indeed.com, the average income for a CRNA in the United States of America is $213,839. This makes it one of the best paying jobs for nurses in 2023.
2. General Nurse Practitioner
General Nurse Practitioners (GNPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who hold a wide range of responsibilities and play a significant role in patient care.
Boasting expertise in various fields such as primary care, pediatrics, geriatrics, and mental health, these healthcare professionals work in diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and community health centers.
Before the end of 2023, the demand for GNPs is predicted to be strong, driven by an aging population, an increasing emphasis on preventive care, and a growing number of individuals with chronic conditions.
As integral members of the healthcare team, GNPs are responsible for performing comprehensive assessments, diagnosing and treating acute and chronic diseases, prescribing medications, and offering health education to patients and their families.
They often serve as primary care providers, managing and coordinating healthcare services for patients across their lifespans.
This unique position enables GNPs to develop long-term relationships with their patients, fostering trust and ensuring continuity of care.
To become a GNP, aspiring professionals must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on a specific patient population or healthcare discipline.
Additionally, they must pass a national certification exam through bodies such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) to be recognized as a certified nurse practitioner.
As with any nursing profession, GNPs must possess strong clinical, communication, and critical thinking skills to excel in their chosen field.
The earning potential for GNPs is anticipated to be favorable this year.
Factors affecting income may include years of experience, level of education, geographic location, and the specific healthcare setting in which they work.
It’s worth noting that, in some states, GNPs are granted full practice authority, which enables them to practice independently without the need for physician supervision. This autonomy can further enhance their career growth and earning potential.
Regarding job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for nurse practitioners, in general, will grow by 52 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
This significant growth can be attributed to an increased focus on preventive care, a shift towards value-based healthcare, and a shortage of primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas.
As such, GNPs are well-positioned to fill this gap and serve as vital contributors to the healthcare system. By honing their skills and expertise, general nurse practitioners can look forward to abundant opportunities and rewarding careers in the years ahead.
General Nurse Practitioner is one of the best highest paying jobs for nurses in the United States of America.
The average income for a general nurse practitioner is $131,543 per year.
3. ICU Nurse
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses are highly skilled and specialized registered nurses who provide critical care to patients with life-threatening illnesses and severe injuries.
These healthcare professionals work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment where they closely monitor the condition of patients, administer treatments, and collaborate with other members of the healthcare team.
Before 2023 comes to dawn, the demand for ICU nurses is predicted to remain strong, as the need for advanced care continues to grow in response to an aging population and advancements in medical technology.
As of June 28, 2023, the average salary for an ICU nurse is $117,538, with factors such as experience, education, and location influencing their income potential.
To become an ICU nurse, individuals must first complete a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain their nursing license.
Following licensure, aspiring ICU nurses typically gain experience working in medical-surgical or telemetry units before transitioning to the intensive care setting.
In addition, some healthcare facilities may require ICU nurses to complete specialized training programs or obtain certifications in critical care nursing, such as the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).
ICU nurses possess a unique set of skills and competencies that enable them to excel in their challenging roles. They must be adept at assessing and reacting to rapidly changing patient conditions while employing critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
Moreover, they must maintain a deep understanding of various medical devices and technologies, such as ventilators, intravenous infusion pumps, and central venous catheters.
Strong interpersonal and communication abilities are also essential for ICU nurses, as they must effectively collaborate with other healthcare professionals, provide emotional support to patients and their families, and relay vital information regarding a patient’s status.
In terms of job outlook, the need for ICU nurses is expected to grow in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment for registered nurses, in general, will increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
However, the demand for ICU nurses, in particular, maybe even greater, given the complex nature of critical care and the ongoing challenges posed by chronic diseases, an aging population, and emerging health threats, such as pandemics.
As healthcare organizations continue to invest in expanding and improving their critical care services, well-trained and experienced ICU nurses will be highly sought after, presenting ample opportunities for career advancement and professional development.
4. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses (NICU nurses) are specialized registered nurses who provide comprehensive care for newborn infants who are critically ill, premature, or require specialized medical attention.
These dedicated healthcare professionals work within neonatal intensive care units, collaborating closely with neonatologists, and other medical specialists to ensure the best possible outcomes for their fragile patients.
NICU nurses play a critical role in the early stages of an infant’s life, as they monitor vital signs, administer medications, and provide crucial support to both the infants and their families during this challenging time.
To become a NICU nurse, individuals must first obtain a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing, followed by successfully passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to gain licensure.
After obtaining their nursing license, aspiring NICU nurses typically gain experience in pediatric or maternity settings before making the transition to neonatal intensive care.
In some cases, healthcare facilities may require NICU nurses to complete specialized training programs or obtain certifications such as Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Certification (RNC-NIC) offered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
NICU nurses must possess a unique skill set, which includes in-depth knowledge of neonatal physiology, advanced assessment techniques, and the ability to operate specialized equipment, such as incubators, ventilators, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines.
Additionally, they must be skilled in providing developmentally appropriate care, as the needs of premature and critically ill infants differ significantly from those of older children and adults.
NICU nurses must also demonstrate exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, as they serve as vital liaisons between the medical team, the infants, and their families, providing emotional support and guidance during an often difficult and emotional period.
By fostering a supportive and nurturing environment, NICU nurses not only contribute to the physical well-being of their patients but also to their overall development and long-term outcomes.
As of June 28, 2023, the average income for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse is $84,115, according to comparably.
NICU nurses who obtain advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree in nursing, or hold specialized certifications may have the opportunity to command higher salaries and assume leadership roles within their organizations.
In terms of job outlook, the demand for NICU nurses is expected to grow steadily in the coming years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses, in general, will increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
However, the need for NICU nurses, in particular, may be driven by factors such as advances in neonatal medicine, an increase in multiple births, and a continued focus on improving the quality and accessibility of care for high-risk infants.
As a result, well-prepared and experienced NICU nurses can look forward to a wealth of opportunities for career growth and professional development.
5. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
For nurses with an interest in mental health, becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) may be the ideal career choice.
PNPs are advanced practice registered nurses certified to diagnose and treat behavioral, emotional, and psychological disorders in patients of all ages.
Not only do PNPs provide direct support to their patients, but they also work collaboratively with psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address the mental health needs of individuals.
To become a PNP, individuals must first acquire a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by a master’s degree in psychiatric or mental health nursing, which will qualify them for certification as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
Most PNPs obtain their educational credentials from accredited nursing schools, and many states require them to complete additional coursework in pharmacology and medical ethics before certification.
In addition, most PNPs must have at least two years of experience working under a licensed psychiatrist or certified psychiatric nurse practitioner’s supervision before becoming independently certified.
PNPs play a key role in helping patients manage mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
To provide the best possible care to their patients, PNPs must be knowledgeable about different types of psychiatric medications and other treatment modalities and be able to assess the medical history of their patients to create effective treatment plans.
PNPs also work closely with families and caregivers to help them understand the mental health needs of their loved ones and provide support throughout the treatment process.
Job prospects for PNPs are expected to remain strong in the coming years, as the demand for qualified mental health professionals continues to grow due to advances in psychiatric treatment and an increase in mental health awareness.
Thus, PNPs can look forward to a wealth of opportunities for career advancement and professional development.
Overall, becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is an excellent way for nurses with a passion for mental health to advance their careers and have a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and their families.
With the right training, experience, and certification, PNPs can actively contribute to improving the quality of life of those struggling with mental illness while also enjoying a rewarding and fulfilling profession.
The average income for a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is $113,995 per year, making it one of the best paying jobs for nurses in the United States of America.
6. Certified Nurse Midwife
For RNs who love obstetrics, pursuing a career as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice.
CNMs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in providing comprehensive care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
In addition, CNMs play a crucial role in promoting women’s health by providing gynecological care, family planning services, and preventative health screenings.
As expert care providers, CNMs work autonomously or in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare professionals, ensuring that their patients receive the best possible care throughout all stages of their reproductive lives.
To become a CNM, individuals must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited midwifery program.
Upon completion of their education, candidates must pass a national certification exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
The educational journey for CNMs typically includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and midwifery practice, as well as clinical rotations that provide hands-on experience in various healthcare settings.
CNMs are known for providing patient-centered, holistic care that emphasizes the importance of evidence-based practices, shared decision-making, and individualized support.
They care for women with low-risk pregnancies, guiding them through prenatal care, labor, and delivery, and offering postpartum care to ensure the health and well-being of both mother and baby.
In some cases, CNMs may also attend high-risk pregnancies and births, working in collaboration with obstetricians to provide specialized care as needed.
Additionally, CNMs promote health education and disease prevention by counseling women on topics such as nutrition, exercise, and reproductive health.
In terms of job outlook, the demand for CNMs is projected to grow steadily in the coming years, due in part to the increasing popularity of midwifery care, a focus on preventive healthcare, and a growing need for healthcare providers in rural and underserved areas.
As a result, well-prepared and experienced CNMs can anticipate a wealth of opportunities for career growth and professional development.
The average income for a Certified Nurse Midwife is $119,710 per year, according to salary.com. This makes it one of the best paying jobs for nurses in 2023.
7. Clinical Nurse Specialist
Those who wish to work in a specialized unit or clinic should consider the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) path, as it offers numerous opportunities for nurses to excel in their chosen specialties while providing advanced care and consultation to patients.
CNSs are highly trained and educated advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), who focus on a specific area of nursing practice, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, or critical care.
They are experts in their chosen specialty, with in-depth knowledge and skills that allow them to provide evidence-based care, educate and mentor other nurses, actively engage in research, and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to improve patient outcomes.
To become CNS, nurses must first obtain their bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by a master’s or doctoral degree in their chosen area of specialization from an accredited nursing program.
This advanced education typically includes coursework in pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and specialized nursing practice, as well as clinical rotations that provide hands-on experience within the chosen specialty.
After completing their education, CNS candidates must pass a specialty certification exam offered by a recognized certifying body, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).
CNSs play a vital role in the healthcare system, contributing to the overall quality and safety of patient care through their expertise and leadership.
They work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and home health agencies, providing direct patient care, consultation, and education to both patients and healthcare professionals.
As experts in their fields, CNSs are often responsible for developing and implementing evidence-based protocols, guidelines, and policies that promote best practices in patient care and ensure adherence to quality and safety standards.
One of the distinguishing features of the CNS role is its emphasis on mentorship and professional development.
CNSs often serve as educators and preceptors for nursing students, new graduates, and experienced nurses, sharing their knowledge and skills to help others grow and advance in their careers.
They also contribute to the nursing profession through research and scholarly activities, such as conducting studies, publishing articles, and presenting at conferences.
By disseminating their findings and staying current on the latest research and innovations in their specialty, CNSs can actively influence nursing practice and help shape the future of healthcare.
In addition to their clinical expertise and leadership skills, CNSs are strong advocates for patients and their families.
They work closely with interdisciplinary teams to develop and implement individualized care plans, ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate and effective care for their unique needs.
CNSs also support patients and families in making informed decisions about their care, providing education and guidance on treatment options, navigating complex healthcare systems, and addressing any concerns or barriers to care.
Job prospects for CNSs are favorable, with the demand for these highly trained professionals expected to grow as healthcare becomes increasingly specialized and complex.
This growth can be attributed to an aging population, advances in medical technology, and a continued emphasis on patient safety and quality improvement.
With their advanced skills and knowledge, CNSs are well-positioned to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape and make a lasting impact on patient care and the nursing profession.
Clinical Nurse Specialist is one of the best paying jobs for nurses in the United States of America.
The average income for a professional in this career is $137,063 per year as of June 28, 2023.
8. Pain Management Nurse
Pain Management Nurses help patients who are suffering from chronic or acute pain, working closely with physicians, patients, and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement comprehensive pain management plans.
These specialized nurses utilize a variety of strategies and techniques, including medication management, physical therapy, and alternative methods such as acupuncture, to alleviate and manage pain.
In addition to providing direct patient care, Pain Management Nurses educate patients and their families about effective pain management strategies, empowering them to take an active role in their care and improve their quality of life.
To become a Pain Management Nurse, one must first obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
After gaining clinical experience, nurses interested in pain management can pursue further education and training in pain management techniques, such as in-service training programs, continuing education courses, and certification programs.
Nurses with expertise in pain management may also choose to pursue advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), with a focus on pain management.
Once they have acquired the necessary education and experience, Pain Management Nurses can apply for certification through the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN).
The Certified Pain Management Nurse (CPMN) credential is awarded to RNs who demonstrate competency in pain management nursing through a combination of clinical experience, education, and successful completion of a certification examination.
This certification serves as validation of the nurse’s expertise in pain management and can enhance career prospects and earning potential.
Pain Management Nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, pain management clinics, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies.
They collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, including physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other healthcare professionals, to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care.
Pain Management Nurses also play a crucial role in patient advocacy, ensuring that their patients’ pain is adequately managed and their voices are heard.
By specializing in pain management nursing, professionals can make a significant difference in the lives of countless patients who struggle with chronic or acute pain, helping them to regain control over their lives and enjoy a higher quality of life.
The average income for a pain management nurse in the United States of America is $121,921, making it one of the best paying jobs for nurses in 2023.
9. Registered Nurse First Assist
A Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA) is a highly skilled nursing professional who assists surgeons during surgical procedures.
They play an essential role in providing optimal patient care throughout the perioperative period, from preoperative assessment and planning to intraoperative assistance and postoperative care.
RNFAs perform various tasks, including providing exposure to the surgical site, handling tissues, using instruments and sutures, controlling bleeding, and ensuring a sterile environment.
In addition to their technical expertise, RNFAs are strong advocates for their patients, ensuring that their needs are met and that they receive the highest quality of care possible.
To become an RNFA, one must first complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
After gaining clinical experience and demonstrating competency in perioperative nursing, aspiring RNFAs must complete an accredited RNFA program, which typically includes didactic coursework, hands-on clinical experiences, and a comprehensive examination.
Graduates of these programs are eligible to apply for certification through the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) as a Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant (CRNFA).
This certification serves as validation of the nurse’s expertise in assisting with surgical procedures and can enhance career prospects and earning potential.
RNFAs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and private surgical practices.
They collaborate closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other members of the surgical team to provide seamless, patient-centered care.
In addition to their intraoperative responsibilities, RNFAs may also be involved in patient assessment, preoperative teaching, and postoperative care, making them an integral part of the surgical team.
Furthermore, RNFAs are often involved in quality improvement initiatives, such as developing and implementing evidence-based practice guidelines and participating in research to advance the science of perioperative nursing.
By specializing in the role of an RNFA, nursing professionals can make a valuable contribution to the surgical team, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care throughout their surgical experience.
Additionally, the high degree of technical skill and specialized knowledge required for this role makes RNFAs an attractive option for nurses seeking to advance their careers and secure higher-paying positions within the nursing profession.
With their unique combination of clinical expertise, patient advocacy, and leadership skills, RNFAs are well-positioned to thrive in today’s complex and dynamic healthcare environment.
The average income for a Registered Nurse First Assistant is $114,343 per year. This makes it one of the best paying jobs for nurses in the United States of America.
10. Nursing Administrator
A nurse administrator deals with the overall management and coordination of nursing services within healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and public health agencies.
They are responsible for overseeing the nursing staff, developing and implementing policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards, managing budgets and resources, and promoting a culture of safety and excellence in patient care.
This role requires a unique combination of clinical expertise, leadership skills, and business acumen, making it one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in nursing.
To become a nursing administrator, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a valid Registered Nurse (RN) license are typically required.
However, many organizations prefer candidates with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree, as these programs provide advanced knowledge and skills in nursing leadership, healthcare management, and organizational development.
Some nursing administrators also opt to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing, which can further enhance their career prospects and earning potential.
In addition to their formal education, aspiring nursing administrators must also gain extensive clinical experience and demonstrate strong leadership skills.
This often involves working in a variety of nursing roles and settings, as well as participating in leadership development programs and professional organizations.
Many nursing administrators also choose to pursue certification through organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), which offer credentials such as the Nurse Executive-Board Certified (NE-BC) and the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP).
These certifications serve as validation of the nurse’s expertise in nursing administration and can enhance career prospects and earning potential.
The role of a nursing administrator is both challenging and rewarding, offering numerous opportunities for professional growth and career advancement.
Nursing administrators play a vital role in shaping the future of healthcare, fostering a culture of excellence, and ensuring that nursing staff have the support and resources they need to provide the highest quality of care.
With their unique combination of clinical expertise, leadership skills, and business acumen, nursing administrators are well-positioned to thrive in today’s complex and dynamic healthcare environment, making this an attractive career choice for ambitious and talented nursing professionals seeking to make a difference in the lives of patients and their communities.
The average income for a Nurse Administrator is $99,525 per year.
FAQs on Best Paying Jobs for Nurses in 2023
Q: What types of nursing jobs are the highest paying?
A: In 2023, some of the highest-paying nursing jobs include Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Nursing Administrators.
These roles require advanced education and specialized skills and often offer competitive salaries and generous benefits packages.
Q: What are the educational requirements for nursing jobs?
A: The educational requirements vary depending on the type of nursing job. Most entry-level roles require a minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, while more advanced positions such as Nurse Anesthetists and Nurse Practitioners typically require a Master’s Degree in Nursing, as well as extensive clinical experience.
Q: What certifications are required for nursing jobs?
A: In some cases, additional certification may be required for certain nursing roles. For example, to become a Nursing Administrator, many organizations prefer candidates with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree, as well as certification through organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL).
Q: Is there a large demand for nurses?
A: Yes, there is an increasing demand for nurses in 2023 due to factors such as an aging population, increasing healthcare complexity, and an emphasis on patient safety and quality improvement.
By specializing in nursing administration, professionals can make a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare services and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Q: What is the average salary for nurses?
A: The average salary for nurses in 2023 depends on factors such as experience, education, and certification.
According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a nursing administrator is approximately $93,000. However, earning potential can vary depending on experience, education, certification, and geographic location.
In conclusion, the nursing profession offers a wide range of career opportunities and attractive salaries. Nurses with advanced education and specialized skills are well-positioned to take advantage of these lucrative opportunities in 2023.
With their unique combination of clinical expertise, leadership skills, and business acumen, nurses can make a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare services and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Thus, nursing is a rewarding and lucrative career choice for ambitious and talented professionals seeking to make a difference in the lives of patients and their communities.