Best Paying Nursing Jobs

Updated on February 23, 2024

The field of nursing offers a wide range of career paths with varying levels of responsibility, specialization, and, importantly, compensation. Whether you are just starting your nursing career or looking to advance and maximize your earning potential, understanding the landscape of high-paying nursing positions is crucial. This guide explores the top ten nursing jobs that stand out for their attractive salary packages, alongside their roles, responsibilities, and educational requirements.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

  • Average Salary: $203,090
  • Job Description: These advanced practice registered nurses are specialized in anesthesia care, providing pain management and anesthesia during surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetric procedures.
  • Responsibilities: Their primary duties include assessing patients prior to anesthesia, administering anesthesia, monitoring patient vitals during procedures, and providing post-anesthesia care.
  • Required Education: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), along with certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

  • Average Salary: $136,592
  • Job Description: NICU nurses care for newborns who are born premature or with various health issues such as birth defects, infections, or heart malformations.
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring newborns’ vital signs, administering medications, using medical equipment to provide respiratory care, and educating parents on their newborns’ conditions.
  • Required Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a registered nurse (RN) license, with additional certification in neonatal care recommended.

Pain Management Nurse

  • Average Salary: $124,006
  • Job Description: These nurses help manage patients’ pain post-surgery or those suffering from chronic conditions by using medication, alternative therapies, and other pain relief methods.
  • Responsibilities: Assessing patient pain levels, creating pain management plans, educating patients about pain management techniques, and monitoring effectiveness of pain management strategies.
  • Required Education: BSN or higher, RN license, with certification in pain management nursing beneficial.

General Nurse Practitioner

  • Average Salary: $121,610
  • Job Description: General NPs provide primary and specialty care to patients of all ages, focusing on disease prevention, health management, and patient education.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, and managing overall patient care.
  • Required Education: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and certification as a Nurse Practitioner (NP).

Certified Nurse Midwife

  • Average Salary: $120,880
  • Job Description: CNMs provide healthcare services to women, including gynecological exams, family planning services, prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting exams, providing prenatal care, delivering babies, offering nutritional counseling, and supporting mothers during the postpartum period.
  • Required Education: MSN or DNP with a specialization in midwifery and certification as a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Health Policy Nurse

  • Average Salary: $120,333
  • Job Description: These nurses combine healthcare and public policy to advocate for and implement changes in healthcare policy, administration, and practice.
  • Responsibilities: Researching policy, writing policy proposals, working with government or non-profit organizations, and educating professionals and the public on health policy issues.
  • Required Education: Master’s degree in Nursing or Public Health Policy, with a strong background in healthcare policy preferred.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Average Salary: $117,870
  • Job Description: Specialized in mental health care, these practitioners diagnose and treat individuals with psychiatric disorders, providing therapy and prescribing medications.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting psychiatric evaluations, providing psychotherapy, prescribing medications, and developing treatment plans.
  • Required Education: MSN or DNP with a specialization in psychiatric-mental health and certification as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

Registered Nurse First Assistant

  • Average Salary: $106,176
  • Job Description: RN First Assistants work directly with surgeons in the operating room, assisting with surgical procedures by controlling bleeding, suturing, and ensuring patient safety.
  • Responsibilities: Providing direct surgical care, assisting with surgical procedures, and collaborating with the surgical team.
  • Required Education: BSN, RN license, and completion of an RNFA program, with certification as an RN First Assistant.

Nursing Administrator

  • Average Salary: $104,830
  • Job Description: Nursing administrators oversee the nursing staff and the daily operations of nursing departments within healthcare facilities.
  • Responsibilities: Staff management, budgeting, policy development, and ensuring high-quality patient care.
  • Required Education: BSN or MSN with a focus on healthcare administration, and extensive experience in nursing leadership.

Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Average Salary:$102,107
  • Job Description: FNP’s are advanced practice registered nurses who work with families to implement healthcare plans, conduct exams, and treat a wide range of conditions.
  • Responsibilities: Diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, managing overall family healthcare, and educating patients on disease prevention and health management.
  • Required Education: MSN or DNP with a specialization in family practice and certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Final Thoughts

The nursing profession offers a variety of paths that not only allow practitioners to make significant impacts on patient care but also achieve substantial financial rewards. The roles highlighted above represent the pinnacle of nursing in terms of compensation, each requiring a unique blend of skills, specialized knowledge, and advanced education. Pursuing one of these top-paying nursing jobs could be a fulfilling career move that combines the intrinsic rewards of nursing with financial stability and professional recognition.


For further information, please refer to the following URLs:

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist