If you’re a nurse and struggling to make ends meet, then you may have contemplated getting a master’s degree. And, this could end up being the best decision you’ve ever made in your life. If you feel like traveling while still having a job, try to look for travel nursing guide to get you started.”
Those with an advanced degree in nursing stand to make much more than their counterparts. As a matter of fact, those with a master’s can make as much as 9% more on average when compared to those with a BSN according to Medscape.
You may not know what makes the master’s such a high-demand credential and what you can do with it, however. Let’s take a look at some of the best positions you can get with a master’s degree in nursing.
Family nurse practitioners have one of the best jobs not only in nursing but in 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. There are plenty of Family Nurse Practitioner programs that will allow you to get your credentials while working in your current job. You could get an online Master of Science in Nursing or a Family Nurse Practitioner and Post-Master’s Certificate from a university like TWU that will be respected by all organizations. As a matter of fact, there is no way to tell if you received a degree online, just where you got it from.
NPs across all specialties can stand to 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, it’s the faculty shortage that is the real issue.
According to a 2019 AACN survey, there were 1,637 identified faculty vacancies across the 892 nursing schools that were surveyed. 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 not only be a chance to form the nurses of tomorrow but work at a much easier pace. You’ll enjoy stable work hours as well. This is perfect for a nurse that has given most of their lives 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 have the opportunity to start your faculty or offer academic services to nurses, such as preparation for exams or continued education.
Working on research is another great way to make an impact on the profession without working directly with patients. Research nurses play one of the most important roles in nursing and are central to the development of new medication and treatment. 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 great 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 the number of 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 the lives of patients in their hands and have to know exactly the type and amount of anesthesia a patient needs depending on the situation. They have to deal with complications, and it’s a very high-pressure job.
If you feel like you have what it takes, then 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 feel like you’re ready for something greater. As a nurse-midwife, you will not only help bring babies into the world but also 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 a wide variety of administrative positions. One of them is 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, but also 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 to embark on 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 provide support to 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 clinical nurse specialists to earn well into the 6 figures. A lot of 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. They will often be subject matter specialists in fields such as obstetrics, oncology, or pediatrics, for instance. They may also be asked to observe processes in an organization and look at 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 it’s difficult to get a base salary 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 very exciting 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 on 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 at around $73,985 per year according to PayScale. It is, however, one of the most interesting fields in nursing and a real chance to make an impact on 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 sorts of 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 make sure to look at what will be expected of you and the steps necessary to get the credentials.
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Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.