A master’s degree in nursing is becoming an increasingly attractive option for nurses. With the right degree, nurses can take their careers to the next level with opportunities to work in specialized areas of healthcare or even higher-paying positions.
This blog post will explore some of the best jobs with a master’s degree in nursing, including their potential salaries and career paths.
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Family nurse practitioners have one of the best jobs in nursing and healthcare. They get to assist patients at every stage of their life. They work as much on treatment as they do on prevention.
Not only that, but you could also operate your own clinic depending on where you are in the country.
Getting your master’s could be simpler than you might think too. Many Family Nurse Practitioner programs will allow you to get your credentials while working in your current job.
NPs across all specialties can make as much as $114,000 per year, according to the BLS, and family nurse practitioners are amongst the most well-paid in the field. This could be even higher if you decide to start your own clinic.
If you want to make a true impact on the field, know that it doesn’t have to be directly on patients. The field is also in great need of educators. While the nursing shortage is perplexing, the faculty shortage is the real issue.
According to a 2019 AACN survey, there were 1,637 identified faculty vacancies across the 892 nursing schools. Another study found that over 80,407 applicants had to be turned from nursing programs in 2019 not because they weren’t competent but because there wasn’t enough staff to teach them.
Becoming a nurse educator would be a chance to form the nurses of tomorrow and work at a much easier pace. You’ll enjoy regular work hours as well. This is perfect for a nurse that has given most of their life to the field and wants to pass that experience down.
According to the BLS, certified nurse educators can make $83,160 on average. Know that you also can start your faculty or offer academic services to nurses, such as preparation for exams or continued education.
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Working on research is another great way to impact the profession without working directly with patients. Research nurses play one of the most important roles in nursing and are central to developing new medications and treatments.
They will also have to seek out participants for research and interview them.
In addition, these nurses will be responsible for administering any medication and helping treat participants dealing with complications. They will be in charge of carefully monitoring participants, documenting side effects, looking at drug interactions, and assessing the efficacy of any drug tested.
Another significant part of being a research nurse is that you may be asked to speak on panels and do a lot of extracurricular work. This is a chance to make a name for yourself outside of the profession and could even be used to move into office.
According to Payscale, the average salary for research nurses was $72,199 in 2019. The BLS also expects openings to grow by 7% leading into 2029, making it one of the most promising fields in healthcare.
Nurse anesthetists are some of the most well-paid in the profession. The median income for nurse anesthetists in 2019 was $181,040, which is more than what some primary care doctors make. But nurse anesthetists have a very tough job that requires a very specific skill set.
Nurse anesthetists will often have patients’ lives in their hands and must know exactly the type and amount of anesthesia a patient needs depending on the situation. They have to deal with complications, which is very high pressure.
If you feel like you have what it takes, the demand for nurse anesthetists is through the roof right now, and is a great job if you’re looking for something more challenging.
This is another great choice if you’re ready for something greater. As a nurse-midwife, you will help bring babies into the world and look after the health of both mothers and babies.
You will work on educating mothers on the process as well as giving reproductive health advice. You’ll be very well paid to do so, too as the average income for nurse midwives was around $108,810 in 2020.
Another thing you shouldn’t forget is that a master’s degree could make you a prime candidate for various administrative positions. One of them is the nurse manager. If you’re great with people and are known for your sense of organization and leadership, this is the perfect role for you.
The job of a nurse manager is to supervise the work of nurses. Not only that, but you will also be in charge of interviewing and training new nurses. In addition, they might work closely with doctors on care plans. Another very important part of their job is managing records.
These could be patient records and employment records of the nurses working under them.
According to Indeed, the average salary for nurse managers is $84,735 per year. This is a great option if you’re ready for a leadership role and better pay.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists have to undergo special training to work in specific settings. They may be asked to work with a particular subset of the population. Or they may be asked to work on one disorder or disease. They will have to diagnose, manage, and treat patient populations.
As a clinical nurse specialist, you will also be asked to support non-specialized nurses working on direct patient care. Many will also work as advocates to make sure that evidence-based care is provided to patients.
The average base salary for clinical nurse specialists is around $91,678, but it’s not uncommon for them to earn well into the six figures. It depends on who they’re working with and their years of experience.
If you want to work closely with medical businesses and help them solve problems they may be facing, you could also work as a nurse consultant. For instance, they will often be subject matter specialists in obstetrics, oncology, or pediatrics.
They may also be asked to observe organizational processes and find ways to make them more efficient. They might help with things like compliance as well.
Another great benefit of being a nurse consultant is that you get to be your boss, so getting a base salary is difficult since you can charge as much as the market will pay you.
If you’re a CSI fan and would love to help solve crimes, working as a forensic nurse could be a fascinating job for you. Forensic nurses are often asked to participate in trials or help gather evidence.
You might even end up being the star witness in certain cases. Forensic nurses can also work as advisors for legal teams. This could be a great way to get consistently high-paying work.
With that being said, we’d like to say that forensic nurses are not the highest paid in the industry, with their average salary being around $73,985 per year, according to PayScale.
It is, however, one of the most interesting fields in nursing and a real chance to impact someone else’s life. Forensic nurses will routinely be asked to work on domestic violence or abuse cases, for instance.
Being a forensic nurse could allow you to work in all settings. Many end up working in psychiatric institutions, anti-violence programs, and with inmates.
Every day brings something new when you’re working as a forensic nurse, and this is a great option for those who like being close to the action.
These are some of the best positions anyone with a master’s degree in nursing can consider. These all have something to offer, and most are very well-paid, so look at what will be expected of you and the steps necessary to get the credentials.
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.