Pursuing a career as an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife, can be rewarding and lucrative. Nursing specialties often require additional education and accreditation, but the career benefits of having advanced training can make the time and effort it takes well worth it.
Keep reading to explore the average nurse salary for the four top-paying specialties:
1) Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)
CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who provide anesthesia and pain management services to patients in hospitals, clinics, dental offices, and surgery centers. They work collaboratively with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals to deliver safe, efficient, and effective anesthesia care.
In the past, sufficient training for CRNAs included a master’s degree, national certification, and state licensure. However, by 2025 the requirement will also include a doctoral degree. Since these programs are often 36 months long, nursing students starting their studies in 2023 could be impacted by the change.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average CRNA salary as reported in 2022 was $205,770.
2) Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
NPs are trained to diagnose and treat various ailments either independently or as part of a healthcare team. They can order and perform various lab tests, such as X-rays, and are licensed to prescribe medication.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average NP salary in 2022 was $124,680.
3) Nurse Midwives (CNMs)
A CNM is trained in providing comprehensive healthcare services during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, and can also carry out routine gynecological exams, family planning, menopause care, and treatment of other common women’s health concerns.
To become a CRM, you must first obtain accreditation as an RN with a BSN degree. Then you can move on to a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP) before seeking certification through a nurse-midwifery program. Note that certification may change from state to state.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average 2022 CNM salary was $122,450.
4) Registered Nurses (RNs)
RNs are essential members of a healthcare team who provide patient care, educate patients and their families, and assist in preventative treatment and management.
RNs have a vast range of responsibilities, including administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals to create care plans for their patients. RNs can work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, and home health agencies. RNs are so important that their employment is projected to grow six percent by 2031.
You must meet the clinical nursing education requirements to become an RN, which may include an associate degree in nursing (AND) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and you must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn licensure in your state.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average RN salary was $89,010 in 2022.
Choosing a High-Paying Specialty
Nursing is a smart and lucrative choice for those wishing to pursue a fulfilling career in healthcare. These four nursing specialties offer competitive salaries as well as meaningful, life-changing work.
Keep in mind your pay may vary based on experience level, location, and specialty demand—but whatever path you choose could be a great option if you’re looking for high pay in your chosen field.
So, do nurses make good money? The answer lies in choosing the right specialty for your circumstances—with hard work and dedication, you could earn more for your time and effort.