In 2010, there were over two million registered nurses in the U.S. , making an annual average salary of just under $65,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Nursing is one of the most in demand careers, and depending on the person, one of the most rewarding as well. If you want to pursue a career in nursing, or thinking about returning to school for an advanced degree, selecting the best nursing specialty will seem like a daunting task.
Here are a few top choices for 2013, based on salary and demand.
Dialysis nurses have been in high demand in recent years, largely due to the growing number of senior citizens. Dialysis nurses oversee patients’ care when they are receiving routine treatment with dialysis machines. In most areas, to become a dialysis nurse, you will be required to pass a certification examination. Dialysis nurse’s average annual salary is $63,500.
Nurse Case Manager
For registered nurses who want to shift their concentration away from hands-on patient care, a career as a nurse case manager is an option, which is growing in both demand and popularity. A nurse case manager is responsible for evaluating and managing patient care. Typically, their duties include advocating for patients’ rights while finding the most cost effective treatment options for insurance purposes. The average annual salary for nurse case manager is $63,500.
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses
The hospital’s neonatal intensive care units (NICU) provide care for the tiniest of patients. Extremely sick newborns and premature infants usually have different medical conditions, and require skilled nursing care around the clock. The demand of the NICU tends to be extremely high, but the rewards are arguably some of the best in the nursing field. The neonatal intensive care units nurse earns an annual average salary of $74,000.
As the baby boomer generation reaches their golden years, the demand will far outpace the number of nurses available. Skilled nurses with a specialization in geriatric care may be in high demand. A gerontological nurse practitioner, or GPN, is responsible for managing and diagnosing the health needs of elderly patients. A GPN usually holds an advanced degree, and earns approximately $75,000 annually. Along with GPN, there are various nursing opportunities in geriatric and hospice home health care worth considering.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are a registered nurse with an advanced level of education or training that provides expert clinical leadership and practice. Clinical nurse specialists are usually in a management role and oversee a team of nurses in a long-term care environment or a hospital. The average annual salary for a clinical nurse specialist is $78,000. CNS who has experience with complex care is in high demand in most states.
Nurse Informatics Analyst
Nurse informatics analyst is one of the trending specialties. It involves providing statistics and data related to support staff, doctors, and patients, as well as ensuring computer applications in the field are working properly, and managing the healthcare data. This specialty requires a degree specializing in nurse informatics that only a handful of universities currently offer. The average annual salary for a nurse informatics analyst is $80,000.
Nurse practitioners are one of the most versatile specializations that a nurse may select. These skilled nurses are found in various environments, from hospitals to community health department. They can choose to work with seniors, children or specialize in a specific health disease or problem. Nurse practitioners are required to have an advanced degree in most states, and earn an average annual salary of $81,000.
Orthopedic nurses work with patients of all ages that are suffering from musculoskeletal health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, and joint replacement surgeries. They may be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and earn an annual average salary of $81,000.
Certified Nurse Midwife
As patients become educated about childbirth options, more parents-to-be are choosing to attempt natural childbirth. Typically, these parents seek the care of a certified nurse midwife, who tend to have a more holistic approach to childbirth and maternity care. Certified nurse midwife usually hold an advanced degree, and work alongside of an OBGYN, handling the low-risk patients in a practice. The average annual salary of a certified nurse midwife is $84,000.
Certified Nurse Anesthetist
Certified nurse anesthetist work alongside anesthesiologists, dentists, doctors, and surgeons in dental offices and hospitals. They are responsible for administering anesthesia for procedures and surgeries. Certified nurse anesthetists hold advanced degrees, and arguably one of the highest paid specializations at $135,000 in salary annually.