10 Fastest Growing Nursing Careers in 2018


10 Fastest Growing Nursing Careers in 2018

By Kelly Lanigan, RN

The healthcare industry continues to face an uncertain future due to unprecedented social, financial, and political pressures. But despite this, a nursing career can offer long-term job security. Individuals looking for careers in nursing as well as seasoned professionals seeking a potential change in their current nursing career will continue to appreciate great growth potential in a variety of specialties. 

These growing nurse careers offer unique challenges and benefits and successfully place professionals in positions of critical need. 

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Geriatric Nurse Careers

A 2016 article posted on Husson University Online notes that the population of senior citizens will increase by 75% between 2010 and 2030, making one of every five people a senior. The American Health Care Association reports that “two-thirds of all U.S. nurses have NO geriatric training and only 1% are board certified.” Making the need for Geriatric nurses higher than ever and a viable nurse career option. 

Nurse Practitioner

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job growth for nurse practitioners will rise by 36% by the year 2026. Given the ongoing demand for cost-effective primary care services, nurse practitioners across all healthcare settings will remain in high demand.

Nurse Educator

A 2016–2017 report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing noted that nursing schools in the United States turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in 2016 in part due to lack of faculty and clinical preceptors. 

However, the good news is that Norwich University concluded that 13,000 new nurse educator positions will be created between 2014 and 2024; which is welcome news for any nurses looking to pursue this career path. 

Nurse Manager/Nurse Executive

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for medical and health services managers is projected to increase 20% through 2026. Given the ongoing challenges and opportunities within the current nursing career landscape, there remains a continuous need for transformational nursing leadership at the organizational level as well as within the local, state, and national nursing infrastructure.

Mental Health Nurse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that there are approximately 65.9 million visits annually to physician offices with mental health disorders as the primary diagnosis. A 2016 article from HealtheCareers.com reported that psychiatric nurses are in high demand, with a 58% growth in job opportunities. 

Informatics Nurse

Technology continues to shift all aspects of the nursing role, leading to a rapidly increasing need for professionals with both clinical and information technology skills. A 2017 article by Forbes concluded, “demand is growing rapidly for nurse informaticists, a role that combines traditional nursing with expertise in systems, analysis, and design and has an average salary of more than $100,000.”

Medical-Surgical Nurse

Medical-surgical nurses provide a large portion of care in acute care hospitals and are considered the largest nursing specialty in the United States per The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. Job growth for medical-surgical nurses is expected to increase by 30% by the year 2020, per The Bestschools.org.

Emergency Room Nurse

Olivet Nazarene University reports that 30% of nurses in the United States are emergency nurses. As citizens struggle for adequate and consistent access to primary care services, emergency departments across the nation will continue to see increasing volume and demand. Additional emergency room nurses will be needed in all regions, but particularly in communities with a large elderly population.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment for nurse anesthetists is expected to increase 31% through 2026. This nursing specialty will continue to grow, particularly as non-emergent surgical care shifts to more cost-effective outpatient facilities.

Cardiac/Telemetry Nurse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Prevalence of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis will continue to rise given the rapid growth of the senior population. Additional cardiac nurses will be needed to care for this specialty population.


Related: 5 Ways to Find the Right Nursing Career Fit


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