If you’re thinking about starting a career in nursing or advancing your career by pursuing a nursing specialty, it’s only natural to wonder what your future salary might be. Several nursing specializations offer impressive earning potential, with annual salaries reaching $100K or more. To help you with your career planning, we’ve compiled a list of 12 high-paying nursing jobs, their area of specialization, and the qualifications needed for each position. 

The 12 Best-Paying Nursing Jobs 

Nurse Educator

Salary: $82,040

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: Nurse educators teach and provide continuing education for current and aspiring nurses. They typically work in classroom settings at universities and technical colleges. They can also work in healthcare settings to assist with staff development. 

Qualifications/Education: Most nurse educators have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, although some universities require their nurse educators to have a doctorate. Additionally, many nurse educators pursue advanced degrees or educational certifications to gain experience in curriculum development or lesson planning.

Emergency Room Nurse

Average Salary: $85,704

According to ZipRecruiter.com

Specialization: Emergency room (ER) nurses work in a fast-paced environment providing a wide range of treatments and care to patients who may have life-threatening medical conditions. Like urgent care nurses, they also assess patients and determine whether they need immediate, life-saving care.

Qualifications/Education: To work as an ER nurse, a person needs to be a licensed RN. After gaining two to three years of experience in the ER, emergency room nurses can advance their careers by earning certification as a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN).

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Salary: $92,392

According to indeed.com

Specialization: Clinical nurse specialists provide patient diagnoses and treatments in a variety of specialized areas. Due to their extensive experience, many clinical nurse specialists also work in research and administration capacities. 

Qualifications/Education: A master’s degree and 500 working hours in a preferred specialization are required to become a clinical nurse specialist. Qualifying fields include geriatrics, women’s health, and neonatal care. 

Urgent Care Nurse

Salary: $93,070

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: Urgent care nurses are RNs who care for patients in doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, or urgent care clinics. They examine patients, assess their condition, and determine whether their symptoms can be treated in the clinic or require more specialized care. 

Qualifications/Education: Urgent care nurses must have a current, active RN license and either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. They also must have documented experience working in urgent care facilities.

Surgical Nurse

Salary: $100,091

According to Salary.com

Specialization: Surgical nurses, also known as operating room (OR) nurses, are trained to assist with surgical operations and postoperative patient care. They may sterilize equipment, set up the operating room, assist during procedures, and monitor patients immediately following surgery. 

Qualifications/Education: To become a surgical nurse, a person needs to obtain a registered nursing license, get additional training in surgical settings, and earn their certification from an accredited institution. 

Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse

Salary: $101,727

According to ZipRecruiter.com

Specialization: A neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurse is someone who works alongside doctors and nurse practitioners to care for sick or premature babies or infants born with congenital disabilities. 

Qualifications/Education: NICU nurses must have a current, active RN license and experience with neonatal patients. While not required, having a NICU certification from a reputable institution is also helpful.  

Family Nurse Practitioner

Salary: $104,928

According to ClinicalAdvisor.com

Specialization: Family nurse practitioners (FNP) provide family-focused care. They work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. In most cases, their work focuses on providing long-term and preventative care for their patients.

Qualifications/Education: FNPs must first become an RN and then pursue an advanced nurse practitioner degree focusing on family care. They must also complete at least 500 supervised clinical hours and pass the FNP-BC primary care certification exam. 

Certified Nurse-Midwife

Salary: $114,210

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) care for and provide medical assistance to pregnant women during labor and delivery. They ensure that mother and baby are healthy and cared for before, during, and immediately following the birth.

Qualifications/Education: A Certified Nurse-Midwife must become a registered nurse (RN), earn an MSN or DNP degree with a focus on midwifery, and then pass the National CNM Certification Exam.

Nurse Practitioner

Salary: $118,000 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: Nurse practitioners can diagnose, treat, interpret medical tests, and prescribe medications for patients. They may work alone or with other medical professionals. Typically, they work in a professional medical setting like a doctor’s office, a hospital, or a medical clinic. 

Qualifications/Education: To become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), a person needs to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, become a registered nurse (RN), and earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from an accredited institution. They must also earn specialty certification and NP licensure in the state where they work.

Pain Management Nurse

Salary: $130,431 

According to Salary.com

Specialization: Pain management nurses care for patients who experience acute or chronic pain, and they work closely with doctors to assess conditions and create treatment plans. They also administer medications to provide pain relief. 

Qualifications/Education: Pain management nurses must have a current, active RN license, two years of experience as a full-time registered nurse, and a certification in pain management. 

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Salary: $131,830

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, also known as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP), specialize in mental health conditions and help patients with challenges related to their mental health. They assess, diagnose, and treat both adult and pediatric patients. 

Qualifications/Education: To work as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, you will need to earn a master’s degree from a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, receive clinical training, and pass the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification exam. 

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Salary: $202,470

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Specialization: A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is responsible for administering anesthesia and monitoring those who are under anesthesia during medical operations or procedures. CRNAs usually work in operating rooms, intensive care units, cardiac care units, and emergency rooms. They can also work in outpatient surgical clinics.

Qualifications/Education: CRNAs must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, be an RN, have at least one year of experience in an intensive or critical care unit, and receive a graduate degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia program. Following this, they must pass the National Certification Examination, administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Nursing Careers With Gale

If you are a nursing professional considering an advanced degree or certification, Gale can help you reach your career – and earning – goals. Pick up shifts when and where you want. This way, you can have a flexible work schedule that leaves room for your educational pursuits. Work only the shifts you want, earn same-day pay, and build a work-study balance that works for you. As a nursing professional with Gale, you have total control of your schedule and your career. Learn more today about becoming a Gale Clinician. Ready to apply? Click here.