5 highest paying nursing jobs of 2022

RNs earn a median annual salary of $75,330, but one specialty pays close to $200K

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Most people don’t become a nurse for the money. But since money is needed to get by in life, some of you might be considering a more lucrative career path.

If you’re wondering how much you can make or how you can earn the highest salary as a nurse, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has the data to help make up your mind.

Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $75,330 as of 2021 — in Georgia, it’s $71,510 — but that’s just an average across all specialties. The highest paying specialty currently earns about $183K annually.

To help you decide which career direction is right for you, Nurse.org analyzed specialties for RNs to determine which are the highest paying. Salaries will vary based on location and employer, so the earnings listed are just a baseline.

1. Certified registered nurse anesthetist

CRNAs earn significantly more than other nursing specialties. CRNAS are highly skilled professionals who prepare and administer anesthesia to patients in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists and other qualified health care professionals, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

  • Salary: $183,580 average annually. CRNAs typically work 40 hours per week, making the hourly wage average out to about $88.26 an hour.
  • Career outlook: Expected growth is 45% from 2020 to 2030
  • Requirements: a degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program and passing the National Certification Examination. The Council on Accreditation has announced a doctoral degree as a requirement by 2025.

2. Certified nurse midwife

If you’re an RN who loves obstetrics, labor and delivery, and prenatal care, becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife might be career path. This is a good choice if you want to be you own boss, or you can work in OB/GYN offices, clinics or hospitals.

  • Salary: Mean average salary is $115,540. CNMs typically work 40 hours a week, making their hourly wage about $55.55.
  • Career outlook: Openings are expected to grow 45% during the 2020-30 decade.
  • Requirements: Nurses can go through the American Midwifery Certification Board to get a certified nurse-midwife and certified midwife designation.

3. Psychiatric nurse practitioner

A psychiatric nurse practitioner works with psychiatric doctors and counsels mental health patients. They also work with patients who suffer from a combination of mental health disorders and substance abuse issues.

  • Salary: $112,196 average annual pay, as of February 2022, according to Payscale. Psychiatric nurse practitioners typically work 40 hours a week, making their hourly wage about $63.28.
  • Career outlook: According to Nurse.org, the increased need for better mental health care, and the increased demand for adolescent and child psychiatric services, will make PNPs highly sought after.
  • Requirements: A Master of Science in Nursing is the minimum degree requirement, followed by earning psychiatric nurse practitioner licensure as specified by your state.

4. General nurse practitioner

General nurse practitioners can open their own practice or work in a primary care setting. You can also advance your skills and your earning potential by later specializing in a field.

  • Salary: $111,680 mean annual salary, according to the May 2020 BLS report. General nurse practitioners typically work 40 hours a week, making their hourly wage about $53.69.
  • Career outlook: Jobs are expected to grow 45% through 2030, according to the BLS.
  • Requirements: A Master of Science in Nursing is the minimum degree requirement, followed by earning Nurse Practitioner licensure.

5. Clinical nurse specialist

In addition to diagnosing and treating various conditions, clinical nurse specialists are seen as experts within a health care team. They are also involved in research and bettering care in the health care setting

  • Salary: between $90,861 and $131,477 annually, with Salary.com putting the average annual salary at $111,215. CNSs typically work 40 hours a week, making their hourly wage about $53.47.
  • Career outlook: Because CNSs can offer specialized care at a lower cost than a doctor, Nurse.org says more and more hospitals and institutions will be adding them to their teams.
  • Requirements: a Master’s of Science in Nursing, with a specialization in clinical nursing

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