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10 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs Above $100,000

Nursing is a hot career field, especially as the world continues to get through a global pandemic. More than ever, there's a need for quality healthcare workers to fill the void at hospitals, clinics, physician offices and other facilities.

Aside from being a high-demand profession, nursing is also a high-paying career field. Depending on the specific role or nursing specialty, nurses can often make well beyond $100,000, annually. If you’re looking for a lucrative profession, consider a nursing specialty.

10 Highest paying nursing jobs today

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook is decent for the nursing field. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 9% between 2020 and 2030, although that might not take into consideration recent staffing needs.

It’s important to remember that salary varies depending on where you live, your education, experience, and other factors. Below are ten of the highest-paying nursing jobs right now, some of which might require advanced degrees to qualify.

1. Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Average annual salary: $191,394

Certified registered nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia services to patients in almost most medical settings. They apply their craft during surgeries and other medical procedures requiring anesthesia. The job includes visiting patients before and after anesthesia, communicating with doctors and other staff, and documenting notes in patient charts.

CRNA is a particularly high-paying role, especially among nursing jobs. Depending on education and experience, CRNAs can make upward of $200,000+ annually.

Education requirements

To become a CRNA, you'll need a bachelor's degree in nursing or a parallel major. You'll then need a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program. In addition, you must also pass the National Certification Examination to become a CRNA, officially.

Typically, it takes seven to eight years to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Where to find jobs

CRNAs work in any medical setting where anesthesia is delivered. This includes hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, dentist offices, plastic surgery centers, outpatient centers, and other healthcare facilities.

2. Pain management nurse

Average annual salary: $129,060

Becoming a pain management nurse can be a lucrative career move. Plus, you can work in several healthcare settings.

Pain management nurses administer medications and other pain management treatments to patients. Their job also involves educating patients and their loved ones on pain management strategies and expectations. Pain management also involves sharing nonmedical treatment choices when available. Nursing homes and hospices often hire pain management nurses to administer end-of-life care for patients.

Education requirements

You can become a pain management nurse with either a two-year associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Depending on where you apply or the specific role, you might need a BSN to apply.

You’ll need to obtain your RN license to work as a nurse. A Pain Management Nursing Certification (PMGT-BC) isn't required but could be a valuable asset if you want to move up the ranks in pain management nursing.

Where to find jobs

You can find pain management nurse jobs in healthcare settings like hospitals, physicians' offices, and residential care facilities.

3. Neonatal nurse practitioner

Average annual salary: $128,290

A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) provides medical care to high-risk infants. These infants often deal with serious conditions such as premature births, low birth weights, heart abnormalities, infections, and other complications.

Common settings for NNPs include neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), emergency rooms, delivery rooms, and developmental clinics.

Education requirements

In addition to a BSN and being licensed as a registered nurse, neonatal nurse practitioners must also obtain a qualifying postgraduate degree and achieve Nurse Practitioner (NP) certification through an accredited certifying body.

Where to find jobs

Neonatal nurse practitioners can find employment in healthcare settings such as hospitals and outpatient clinics that provide follow-up care to infants.

4. Travel nurse

Average annual salary:  $113,630

Travel nurses are a hot commodity right now because of the pandemic. As healthcare facilities deal with staff shortages, traveling nurses can often fill much-needed vacancies. Travel nurses can come from a variety of nursing backgrounds. They’re assigned to designated facilities and departments as needed on a temporary basis.

Travel nurses aren't bound to one location, which is part of the appeal. If you enjoy exploring new places and having a flexible work schedule,  becoming a travel nurse might be a good fit.

Education requirements

Education requirements are similar to other nurses. You should either have an associate's degree (ADN) or a bachelor's degree (BSN) in nursing and be a licensed nurse. If you want to specialize in a particular area, you'll need to follow requirements related to that field. In some cases, medical facilities might require certain training and education to work there.

Where to find jobs

You can find travel nurse jobs through various nursing agencies. Popular options include Triage Staffing, Aya Healthcare, Axis Medical Staffing, FlexCare Medical Staffing, Advantis Medical, and Travel Nurse Across America.

5. Certified nurse midwife

Average annual salary: $113,552

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) provides medical care to women throughout various stages of life. This includes gynecological services, family planning services, pregnancy, childbirth, and related care. Duties often include annual exams, writing prescriptions, and advocating for patients. A CNM is also an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Education requirements

To become a CNM, you must already be a registered nurse. Then, you'll need to get a qualifying master's degree or complete a similarly recognized midwifery education program that's accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

Once completed, nurses must pass the national Certified Nurse-Midwife Examination and get licensed in the state where they practice.

Where to find jobs

Certified nurse midwives can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals and emergency rooms, birthing centers, and public health clinics.

6. Intensive care nurse leader

Average annual salary: $113,300

An intensive care nurse leader is typically a nurse administrator role. They are typically responsible for supervising staff and delegating responsibilities within an intensive care unit (ICU). Other duties include assessing, and evaluating staff, managing inventories of medicines, equipment, and supplies.

This role might also involve being a nurse educator. An intensive care nurse leader typically has been working in an ICU for a few years at least.

Education requirements

Like most nurses, you'll need either an ASN or BSN in nursing and be a registered nurse. Since it's a leadership position, you'll likely need several years of experience working in intensive care settings. Depending on the employer, you may also need prior supervisor experience.

Where to find jobs

Hospitals will be the primary place of employment for most Intensive care nurse leaders.

7. General nurse practitioner

Average annual salary: $112,868

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses with advanced training and education. NPs often have similar responsibilities to doctors. They might serve as a primary care provider and manage a patient's medical care. Nurse practitioners often specialize in servicing specific groups. Family nurse practitioner is a common career path for nurse practitioners. Many work exclusively with pediatric patients.

Education requirements

A qualifying master's or doctoral degree is required to become a nurse practitioner. Often you will also need to complete advanced clinical training.

Where to find jobs

Nurse practitioners work in various settings such as hospitals, clinics, physician practices, urgent care facilities, schools, colleges, mental health facilities, and public health departments.

8. Clinical nurse specialist

Average annual salary: $110,012

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an APRN that's received additional advanced training. One of the main roles of a CNS is to provide training and instruction to other nurses. A CNS is often involved in higher-level patient care, including prescribing medicine in some instances. Available roles may also include supervisor positions.

Education requirements

Clinical nurse specialists must complete an accredited MSN or DNP nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN to receive a license.

Where to find jobs

Clinical nurse specialists often work in facilities like hospitals, physicians' offices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, student health centers, and other medical facilities.

9. Registered nurse first assistant (RNFA)

Average annual salary: $100,580

A registered nurse first assistant (RNFA) is a perioperative registered nurse who works with patients before, during, and after surgeries. An RNFA works with surgeons, doctors, and other healthcare professionals and may help develop and carry out a treatment plan for patients. RNFA often have increased responsibilities in operating rooms.

Duties may include wound management, suturing, cutting tissue, providing homeostasis, and other crucial tasks.

Education requirements

You must be an RN or APRN and complete an AORN-approved RNFA nursing program to become a registered nurse first assistant.

Where to find jobs

Registered nurse first assistants primarily work in medical settings where surgeries are performed, such as hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.

10. Neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurse

Average annual salary: $99,711

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses work specifically with newborn infants dealing with various medical ailments. Conditions may include cardiac malformations, infections, congenital disabilities, and other serious to critical conditions.

Typically, neonatal nurses deal with infants within the first month after birth, but care can extend beyond that time until they are discharged from the hospital.

Education requirements

You must complete a qualifying ADN or BSN degree and pass national certification to become a licensed RN before you can become a NICU nurse. Hospitals may give preference to nurses who've completed a BSN degree.

Where to find jobs

NICU nurses work exclusively in the neonatal intensive care unit within hospitals and other medical facilities.

Student loan repayment options for nurses

Chances are you're still paying off student loans if you've completed nursing school. There are several federal repayment programs available beyond the standard 10-year plan.

  • Income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. An IDR plan helps lower your monthly payments depending on your salary and family size.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you work for a qualifying employer within the government or nonprofit sector, PSLF offers tax-free loan forgiveness. You must work full-time with a qualifying employer full-time for 10 years while making qualifying monthly payments through an IDR plan. The remaining balance after 10 years is forgiven.
  • Student loan refinancing. Another option, especially if you can score a lower interest rate, is refinancing your student loans. If you work for a for-profit hospital, you might want to hold off on refinancing, as PSLF requirements may change or expand in the future.

If you're unsure of the best repayment plan for your existing loans, consider booking a consultation with one of our student loan consultants. They've helped thousands of borrowers navigate student loan repayment and can come alongside to create a customized plan that fits your needs.