Not everyone with a degree in nursing works directly in providing patient care. In fact, many of the highest paying jobs you can get with a nursing degree are in administration, leadership, education and research roles. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a graduate or doctoral degree, to get started in these profitable careers.
Nurse Management and Administration Roles
Unsurprisingly, some of the highest salaries for those with a nursing degree are found in leadership positions. The job responsibilities for nurses in these roles are demanding, and it takes a great deal of education and experience to move into these positions.
Perhaps the most lucrative career path open to a candidate with a nursing degree is medical administrator. Overall, health care administrators earn a median wage of $98,350, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, income potential depends a great deal on the job duties a nurse administrator fulfills and the health care organization for which he or she works. The highest paying nurse administrator positions can see salaries of up to $200,000 per year. A Chief Nursing Officer, for example, can earn as much as $210,204 annually.
A nurse administrator typically needs at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). However, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and registered nurse (RN) license can be sufficient credentials for attaining other nursing leadership roles, according to U.S. News & World Report. Nursing directors, for example, earn a median wage of $81,476 with a bachelor’s degree. Those with a master’s degree can anticipate an average salary of $134,611 per year.
The difference between nurse administrators and nurse managers is the scope of their responsibilities. Nurse managers oversee only nursing units, while nurse administrators supervise groups of departments or entire hospitals, The Houston Chronicle reported.
Did you know that you can earn a six-figure salary putting your expertise in nursing to work as a consultant? Nurse consultants work with a wide range of organizations to offer information about nursing as it pertains to policies in medical facilities, legal and insurance matters and management practices.
There are no specific educational requirements you will need to meet in order to land a consulting role. However, your education, experience and professional credentials must be extensive enough to convince the clients or organizations you want to work for that your knowledge of nursing can help them.
Nurse consultants earn a median wage of $125,000 per year.
If you would have an interest in teaching the next generation of nursing students, then a career as a nurse educator could be the right path for you. The average annual salary for nurse educators is $73,633 per year, but wages for those who move into high-level nursing education director roles are closer to $116,060.
Nurse educators typically need at least their MSN degree, often in a nurse education specialty. For certain positions or employers, you may need a DNP degree. Nurse educators train nursing students both in the classroom and in clinical settings. Nurse education directors are responsible for supervising curriculum development, instructor training and program compliance and performance. Nurse educators are in high demand at settings that range from community colleges and technical schools to prestigious hospitals and four-year universities. In fact, a lack of qualified nurse educators is among the main reasons why nursing school is so competitive.
A nursing education director typically needs at least five to 10 years of experience in addition to an advanced degree.
If you’re interested in the research aspect of nursing and health care, you could turn this passion into a well-paying career. Research nurses earn $75,000 to $95,000 per year. Nurses who work in research are responsible for everything from collecting and interpreting data to drafting grant proposals and writing articles to present their research findings.
There are many potential work environments for research nurses. Medical laboratories, health care organizations, nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies and universities all employ research nurses. The demand for this career is only expected to increase.
Some nurses who work at universities handle both research and academic job duties. A professor of nursing with these responsibilities earns an average salary of $87,590.
These jobs are only a handful of the most lucrative roles available to students who complete a nursing degree program. Of course, you can find high paying jobs in nursing that focus on providing patient care, as well. No matter what you choose to do with your nursing degree, you can look forward to a career that, though sometimes stressful, is rewarding financially and otherwise.