For many years if you asked a young boy or girl what they wanted to be when they grew up, the answer would invariably be a doctor or lawyer. For as long as anyone can remember, that was because doctors and attorneys made a better than average salary and were thought by the lower socio-economic classes to be ‘rich’ when making a six figure salary. Actually, even nurses have made salaries comparable to family doctors in recent times, so many young men and women are opting for an advanced degree and a career in nursing.
Varying Pay Scales by Degree
It is well known that as you gain higher levels of education your pay scale rises accordingly. Therefore, an LPN or LVN, depending on where you live and work, would normally make less than an RN who would, in turn, make less than an RN with a master of science in nursing and a specialty. With that in mind, let’s look at the five best paying jobs in nursing.
5. Pain Management Nurse
Whether a patient has chronic pain or is dealing with post-surgical pain, a pain management nurse is an important part of a team that helps diagnose the cause of the pain and subsequent treatments. This position is typically held by an RN but if you want to be competitive, get your M.S. which will also qualify you for a higher pay rate as well as helping to secure the job. The average salary for a pain management nurse is $90,288 a year.
4. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Nurses with an interest in mental health can get a master of science in nursing with a specialization in psychiatry. The average pay for this career, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $90,376 a year and the outlook for job security is above average. Consider the fact that you can study online while working and at the end of your studies you will be making just slightly less than a first year doctor would be making!
3. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
It is not news that boomers are reaching their senior years by the millions and so gerontological nurse practitioners are in high demand. However, this specialty requires that an RN be a certified gerontological nurse practitioner with the average annual salary of $95,070 as of three short years ago when polled by the BSL.
2. General Nurse Practitioner
Increasing numbers of RNs are looking to study for their master of science in nursing online because they can continue working in their current position without interrupting their studies or their job. Once the degree is finished, most general nurse practitioners go into private practice under a doctor but some do stay on at the healthcare facility in which they are currently employed. The average salary for a general nurse practitioner is $97,990 per year.
1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Consider the fact that entry level physicians often have a beginning salary of anywhere from $120,000 to $140,000 and you will realize what a great position it is to have a master’s degree in nursing and a specialty of being a nurse anesthetist where the average salary is $133,000. The beauty of this is that it takes so much less time to gain this degree than it would be to become an anesthesiologist and the pay is just as good as an entry level GP.
So there you have the five best paying jobs in nursing. If you are considering advancing your career from an LPN/LVN or RN to a position requiring a masters of science in nursing, these would be the specializations to consider.