Top 5 Highest-Paying Nursing Specialties in 2018


Top 5 Highest-Paying Nursing Specialties in 2018

By Tyler Faust, RN, MSN, PHN, Contributor

Nursing provides a vast number of nurse specialties you can pursue to advance your career or increase your pay. If you are considering furthering your education through nurse specialty certification or an advanced degree, consider one of the following top paying nursing specialties.

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Nursing Specialties to Consider


When it comes to pay, a nurse anesthetist, referred to as a CRNA, is chief among nursing specialties. With a median pay of $160,000 per year, this is a highly sought after position. With a Master’s degree or a Doctorate degree, you will be able to attain the highest paying nurse specialty. And with a projected 31 percent job growth expected between 2016 and 2026, job security is also good.

Nurse anesthetists consistently provide equal outcomes compared to anesthesiologists but at a much lower cost, making this nurse specialty one that’s in high demand. Experts predict that CRNA positions will increase in the future to help cut healthcare spending as healthcare organizations and reimbursement rates focus less on initials and more on quality metrics.


The nurse practitioner has long been one of the most recognized nurse specialties. This mid-level provider has the same privileges as a physician assistant, which include being able to order tests and procedures and prescribe medications. A nurse practitioner can expect to earn an average $100,000 annually.

Similar to nurse anesthetist, the nurse practitioner is in high demand due to the position being able to provide high-quality healthcare at a more affordable price (when compared to a physician). This nursing specialty ranked as the third best health care job for 2018 by U.S. News and World Report.


Do you love working with babies and women? If so, being a nurse midwife may be for you, as they assist with the birthing process. With a good job outlook and an average salary of over $90,000, getting paid to help mothers, babies, and families through the birthing process could be an appealing nurse specialty.

Complicated births are best left to doctors, but nurse midwives can be utilized for low-risk pregnancies and births. As part of this specialty, you also provide gynecological services, routine care, and peri/post-menopausal care.

Nurse Manager

The nursing profession is in desperate need of leaders and administrators in clinical practice. Nurses can specialize in nursing administration and become a nurse manager or even a nurse executive down the road. Nurse managers average between $80,000 and $120,000 annually. With some years of experience under your belt as a nurse manager, you could become an administrator and increase your earnings evermore.

Nurse managers or supervisors are needed to oversee staff in every setting. Nursing experience coupled with strong leadership skills makes you a valuable commodity for any healthcare setting. A significant increase in pay would be expected with this nurse specialty.

Nurse Educator

Teaching and education is a constant need in the healthcare environment. With higher than normal turnover rates and routine practice changes, a specialty nurse focused on educating staff is vitally important. With an excellent job outlook at an average salary of over $75,000 per year, why not specialize in nursing by becoming a nurse educator?

If the thrill of bedside nursing or patient care has worn off, you can still use your years of experience and clinical expertise to help other nurses develop into their role as effectively as possible. To do this, you can consider working in conjunction with a university to train and educate undergraduate nursing students.

What’s Right for You

In sum, nursing offers the perfect fit for everyone regardless of their background, natural gifts, or abilities. With the right license, you can search for jobs all over the country. Further your education by becoming a specialty nurse and enjoy the new experience as well as a pay increase.

Related:5 Ways to Find the Right Nursing Career Fit

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