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Nursing careers with six-figure salaries

Updated on January 12, 2015

 A career in nursing is much more complex than it was only a few decades ago,Today nurses have more responsabilities and career options than ever before.
As of 2010, the median salary of a registered nurse is around 60.000 USD per year, but nurses with advanced degrees or special training can earn way over 100.000/year.Careers in nursing that didn't even exist thirty or forty years ago, like nurse practitioner, nurse anesthestis, legal nurse consultant, can pay really good. The median salary of nurse anesthetists (CRNA) are even bigger than those of the primary care physicians'. Today a career in nursing can give fabulous opportunities.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

The job description of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is similar to that of an anesthesiologist. To become a CRNA , an RN must have at least one year experience working in critical care, and then complete a Master degree in Nurse Anesthesia. The entrance in this type of programs is very competitive, usually only people with very high GPAs being admitted. The CRNA programs consist in aproximately 2 years of intensive full-time training, but all this pays of in the end: the starting salary of a CRNA is around 130,000-140,000/year plus bonuses, generous vacation time (4-5 weeks) and benefits. CRNA's who are opened to relocation have the best earning opportunities: CRNA jobs with a starting salary of 250,000, relocation bonuses and all the bells and whistles are not unusual if you are willing to relocate.

Nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioner is another great career for a RN who wants to further her career and spend another 2-3 years in school. To become a nurse practitioner, a RN has to complete a master degree in nursing (starting with 2015 the requirement to entry this profession will be a doctorate in nursing practice). Before starting the training for nurse practitioner, a RN must choose in what she wants to specialize (for example there are geriatric nurse practitioners, adult nurse practitioners, neonatal nurse practitioners).

Being a nurse practitioner is a great career: a nurse practitioner can open her own practice and prescribe medication in most of the states,exacly like a doctor. Salaries are 80-90 k for the nurse practitioners who just entered the profession, those with more experience and who have opened their own practices can earn much more than that.

Nurse midwife

 Nurse midwifes are registered nurses who have an aditional 2-3 years of training usually in the form of a master in nursing midwifery.They assist and care of pregnant women, assist them at birth and perform postpartum care of the mother and child. Most career opportunities for nurse midwifes are in rural areas.They can work together with a gynecologist, or independently.Experienced nurse midwifes earn more than 100,000/year.

Legal nurse consultant

 Legal nurse consultants, or certified legal nurse consultants (CLNC) is an excellent career for RN's who don't want to work 12-hours shifts at the bedside, but also don't have the patience or time to put into another 2-3 years or more of schooling, because the training is short and even the nurses with only an associate degree are eligible.
CLNC's provide consulting services for attorneys in several types of cases, such as malpractice cases, product liabilities, all types of personal injury cases etc. Earnings can vary, but usually legal nurse consultants earn around 150-250$/ hour.


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      sarah 5 years ago

      I agree with you, CRNAs are best paid nurses

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      Barbara 6 years ago

      Good summaries of nursing careers. One other point to add for nurses considering going into a specialized area is that the legal nurse consultant positions have full time opportunities as well. You can make a little more than a regular nurse, around $80,000 if you aren't comfortable with the idea of being self employed and getting paid by the hour. I know several legal nurse consultants and a girl going through a course now. Hope this helps.