Show Me the Money: Highest Paying Specialties in Nursing

Group of Czech Nursing StudentsPhoto Courtesy: JD Lasica

The majority of nurses enter the profession because they have a passion for serving people. Even though men and women become nurses because they have good intentions, we can’t ignore the fact that the salary can play a large part in the decision.

If you want to enter nursing, there’s nothing wrong with looking for the money. Here are the highest paying specialties in the field:

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

As a CRNA, you will administer anesthesia to patients as they undergo procedures. The average salary for this position is $135,000. You will work side-by-side with anesthesiologists, surgeons, podiatrists and other health professionals as they perform minor and major surgeries for the patients under their care. While this is one of the most important jobs in nursing, you may want to consider that you won’t have much hands-on time with your patients, such as the time a registered nurse spends. If you want to provide direct care, this position may not be for you.

2. Nurse Researcher

If you love to spend your time researching, writing papers and presenting information, a position as a nurse researcher will be personally fulfilling. The average salary for a nurse researcher is $95,000. In this position, you will conduct research that relates to nursing practices, pharmaceutical products and various medical issues. You will write reports based on your research and publish them through various organizations.

3. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

As an advanced practice nurse with a concentration in psychology/psychiatry, you will be giving care to those patients who are suffering with psychiatric and mental health disorders. The average salary for this position, like that of a nurse researcher, is $95,000. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you may work in general hospitals, hospitals specializing in psychiatric care, or private clinics. If you have an interest in mental health, this can be a wonderful position for you.

4. Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified nurse midwives have one of the most rewarding careers in the field. The average salary for CNMs is $84,000. As a midwife, you will provide gynecological care, prenatal care, family planning advice and assist in labor and delivery. You will also help new mothers learn how to care for their infants, provide direct care for infants, and help families adjust to their new addition.

You may work in a clinic, a hospital or even operate your own practice. With an interest in holistic medicine, a desire to work with women and children and a passion for women’s health, you will excel as a midwife.

5. Orthopedic Nurse

Orthopedic nurses have an interest in the musculoskeletal system. The average salary for this position is $81,000. As an orthopedic nurse, you will care for patients dealing with arthritis, diabetes, scoliosis, and those who have undergone joint replacement. You will also provide care for anyone suffering from any musculoskeletal ailment not already listed.


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be compensated well in your career. If you have a passion for serving people and want to make a higher-than-average salary, these five nursing specialties should be at the top of your list. Before you choose a speciality based on its salary, make sure that the job conditions and requirements are those that appeal to you; careers in nursing can vary widely and you want to be happy with the path that you choose.


Eryn Greene is an avid blogger. Interested in advancing your nursing career? You may want to consider a master’s degree in nursing such as those offered by the University of San Francisco or John Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *