5 of U.S. News & World Report’s 20 best jobs are nurses

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What is a certified registered nurse anesthetist?

One is also No. 9 overall on the list of best paying jobs

A lot has been written lately about how many nurses might leave their profession. Between critical staff shortages and the ongoing pandemic, few people would blame you.

Before you decide to change careers, however, check out U.S. News & World Report’s list of best jobs for 2022. Five of the top 20 jobs on the list are nurses or can be done by a nurse.

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“Careers are subjective. Creating high-profile marketing campaigns for hot products sounds like a perfect job to some people, while others dream of delivering healthy babies to excited new parents,” U.S. News staff wrote. “Yet some career qualities are desired fairly universally. Workers tend to prefer higher salaries, ample open positions and opportunities for promotion.”

To identify professions for its 2022 rankings, the news organization started with jobs that have the largest projected number and percentage of openings from 2020 to 2030, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The full methodology can be read here.

Here are the five nursing jobs that made the top 20:

Nurse practitioner

  • Projected jobs: 114,900
  • Median salary: $111,680
  • Education needed: master’s degree

The No. 2 job overall, nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education. They take patient histories, perform physical exams, order labs, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines, authorize treatments and educate patients and families on continued care.

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Physician assistant

  • Projected jobs: 40,100
  • Median salary: $115,390
  • Education needed: master’s degree

No. 3 overall, physician assistants diagnose illnesses, develop and carry out treatment plans, assist in surgeries, perform procedures and guide patients. Their work is very similar to that of a general internist or doctor, but in most states, PAs must collaborate with a licensed physician or surgeon to practice. Although the bridge from registered nurse to PA is uncommon, it’s not unheard of.

Medical and health services manager

  • Projected jobs: 139,600
  • Median salary: $104,280
  • Education needed: bachelor’s degree

No. 4 overall on the list, medical and health services managers are the planners, directors and coordinators who work behind the scenes to keep hospitals, nursing homes, group practices and other health care facilities running efficiently. In short, they are super-organized professionals. Although a nursing degree isn’t required, this could be a good pivot for anyone looking to get away from the bedside but stay in health care.

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Registered nurse

  • Projected jobs: 276,800
  • Median salary: $75,330
  • Education needed: bachelor’s degree

The No. 12 best job overall, registered nurses are responsible for monitoring a patient’s condition, performing medical procedures and administering medicine. They also chart a patient’s progress. RNs work with those who are healthy, those who are pregnant and bringing new life, and those who are nearing the end of life and hoping for a peaceful death.

Nurse anesthetist

  • Projected jobs: 5,600
  • Median salary: $183,580
  • Education needed: master’s degree

Although it’s No.19 overall, this the No. 9 best paying job. The difference between a nurse anesthetist and an anesthesiologist is education. Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses who specialize in anesthesiology with at least one year of critical care experience and a master’s degree. Anesthesiologists are physicians, and their education track includes four years of medical school, a one-year internship, three-year residency and sometimes an additional one- to two-year fellowship.

“Both anesthesia specialists use the same techniques and procedures to safely deliver the same types of anesthetic drugs for every type of procedure that requires the patient to receive anesthesia,” Frank Gerbasi, a certified registered nurse anesthetist and executive director of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, told U.S. News.

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