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Top 10 High Paying Nursing Specialties Through AD 2024

Updated on April 1, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty has advanced degrees in preventive medicine and health psychology, with 35 years of work in allergy and other autoimmune treatment.

2003: Lt. Bob Hawkins, Nurse-Anesthetist administers a local anesthetic to an injured Marine prior to surgery aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The Kearsarge was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
2003: Lt. Bob Hawkins, Nurse-Anesthetist administers a local anesthetic to an injured Marine prior to surgery aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). The Kearsarge was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. | Source

Highest Demand Nurses: the Certified Nurse Anesthetist

Highest Demand, Highest Paid Nurses

According to, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook 2019 Edition, the following 10 high paid nursing careers are the most highly in demand across America.

The demand for these positions, including travel nursing in all of these job titles, will remain high through 2024 and far into the 21st century. Most of these high-paid careers require a master's degree or higher.

Positions and average yearly salaries:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Average salary aver $157,000 per year. Best hiring companies are: North American Partners in Anesthesia,US Department of Veterans Affairs, Novant, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Cleveland Clinic,Kaiser Permanente, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and the U.S. Army Medical Corps/United States Army Medical Department
  2. Nurse Practitioners, Average salary $110,930.
  3. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), $110,930.
  4. Clinical Nursing Specialists (CNS), $101,276.
  5. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, $101,148.
  6. Perioperative Nurses, $81,000; "travelers" earn $83,000 on average, plus perks.
  7. Orthopedic Nurses, over $76,000.
  8. Pediatric Intensive Care Nurses (PICN), $72,000.
  9. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses (PICN), $72,000
  10. Geriatric Nurses, $70,000.


Growing Nursing Specialties

Information Technology in Nursing

Given the rise in development of electronic prostheses, participial organs, and aerospace medicine, Information Technology is becoming a part of all areas of nursing, but most specifically at this writing in the position of Nursing Informatics Analyst.

Nursing Informatics Analyst

These professionals complete important work. They manage healthcare data and communicate it to other nurses, doctors, patients, insurance companies, medical foundations, and related entities such as the Veterans Administrations and State Bureaus of Workers Compensation. A Nationwide Medical Statistics Database would use their services. Aerospace Medicine in the 2010s opens a number of new IT related possibilities as well.

Requirements: A BSN with the RN license is the minimum educational requirement. An increasing number of hiring companies require the MSN or other master’s degree, such as in Health Informatics, Healthcare Management, or Quality Management. A Doctoral Degree is also available.

Requirements: The American Nurses Credentialing Center requires two years of continuous experience as a licensed RN, with 2,000 hours of experience in informatics for a Certificate in Nursing Informatics. Work involves large medical complexes such as hospitals, medical records storage companies, software companies, government agencies, and several others.

Median salary: $80,596.

Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)

The growing need for this position is clear, given the construction of stand-alone dialysis clinics in greater numbers across America:

In the late 1970s, my large city did not have enough dialysis machines for the patients in need of them. Some patients died in transport, attempting to travel from one hospital to another in order to use the next available kidney dialysis machine. By the early 2000s, this situation was solved with large Dialysis Centers in Columbus, Ohio, each fitted with dozens of dialysis machines.

No longer would these patients be stuck in heavy traffic and die. Given the increase of obesity and Diabetes Types I and II in some parts of America, the Certified Dialysis Nurse will come in greater demand.

The Job:

These nurses assist patients that require dialysis machines for elimination of the usual waste products the human body processes and expels through the renal system as urine. Certified dialysis nurse is one of the fastest growing nursing specialties in the US. Interestingly, these nurses are in high demand on cruise ships, because diabetic passengers must maintain their dialysis schedules, even on a cruises. Fortunately, the usual schedule for CDNs is day shift, although some might work other hours.


The professionals require the RN license, 2,000 hours experience caring for dialysis and nephrology patients during the most recent past two years, 15 hours of Continuing Education credits in nephrology, and success in the CDN certification test.

Median salary: $63,500.


Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC)

The professionals work not only within law practices, but for corporations, the government, and insurance companies. The CLNC consults on medical lawsuits and researches for discovery, standards of care, medical records accuracy, and other needs.

Requirements: RN license.

Wider Pay Range: $50,000 to $206,000 or more.

Nurse Case Manager

Many have heard of the Nurse Case Manager and might not know what their duties entail. They monitor and evaluate patients’ recovery and will suggest alternative treatments that may be more appropriate. They balance care between patient needs and cost savings for the medical care system. In fact, some work for insurance companies and advocate for cost containment.


A BSN or MSN is needed and some fast track education programs for RN-to-BSN are growing around the country. A Case Management Nursing Certificate exists as a credential, but is not always needed.

Media Salary: $64,000.

Most famous nurse researcher of the 20th century: Sister Elizabeth Kenny in 1950, aboard the Queen Mary.
Most famous nurse researcher of the 20th century: Sister Elizabeth Kenny in 1950, aboard the Queen Mary. | Source

Nurse Researcher Elizabeth Kenny: This Australian nurse discovered the treatment that prevented paralysis in polio, long before the term "nurse researcher" was official.

Nurse Researcher

Nurses have not always performed research, but have grown into this work especially since the 1990s. However, as early as the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Administration, some nurses involved themselves in Polio research.

For example, Nurse Sister Kenny in Australia found that when the limbs of polio-infected children were wrapped in warmed cloths, that paralysis did not occur. Slowly, nursing research began to gain credence and more rapidly developed in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Requirements: An RN license and a BSN degree. Many of the most successful have the MSN or a PhD of Nursing degree.

Median salary: $95,000

Sister Nurse Kenny and Polio

Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine
Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine
Sister Nurse Kenny in Australia found that when the limbs of polio-infected children were wrapped in warmed cloths, that paralysis did not occur. I find that this book goes beyond any documentary and fictionalized historical film about the story.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS


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