The 5 Highest Paying Nursing Careers for 2012

 cc licensed flickr photo shared by University of Salford

Nurses are often seen as the first line of defense when it comes to combating an illness or disease. It is a rewarding career with enormous growth potential. In fact, The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the registered nursing field to grow 26 percent by 2020. Once a nurse receives their license to practice, they typically focus on choosing a specialty. Many of these specialties require individuals to earn special certifications or advanced degrees. Below are the five highest paying nursing careers for 2012 according to Nursinglink.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Median Salary: $135,000

As the highest paying nurse specialty, certified registered nurse anesthetists have more responsibilities and also require special certifications to practice. They work together with surgeons and anesthesiologists to safely administer anesthesia to patients. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists states that those who are interested in this career path must first earn their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and must also be a licensed registered nurse. In addition, they should have at least one year of acute care experience, will need to complete a CRNA program and pass the national certification examination. A CRNA program typically takes 24-36 months to complete.

Nurse Researcher

Median Salary: $95,000

Nurse researchers are scientists who research various aspects of the health care industry. They create studies, analyze their data and report their findings. Their goal is to improve the nursing field and healthcare services provided to patients. Nurse researchers may work for private companies, or they may work for a non-profit organization, such as a university or research organization. Many researchers write reports or articles for medical journals. To become a nurse researcher, an individual must first earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and also be a licensed registered nurse. Most researchers hold a MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) or a Ph.D.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $95,000

Psychiatric nurses offer consultation and care for patients who are suffering from a mental health or psychiatric condition. They work with the patient and their family to create and carry out a plan for the patient’s care. They also diagnose patients and evaluate how well the treatment plan is working. Psychiatric nurses hold a RN license, a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree and have also received a NP certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Certified Nurse Midwife

Median Salary: $84,000

A certified nurse midwife provides a wide range of primary healthcare services for women. These services include primary care, family planning, gynecological exams, pregnancy care and assistance with labor and delivery. They may also assist new mothers with caring for their infant during the postpartum period, which may extend up to 28 weeks after delivery. Individuals who are interested in a career as a certified nurse midwife must first earn their Master’s of Science in Nursing and must also receive a CNM or CM certification.

Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse

Median Salary: $81,000

A pediatric endocrinology nurse specializes in the care of young patients (infants to adolescents) who are suffering with diseases of the endocrine system. These patients experience difficulties with sexual development and growth and often suffer from diseases like diabetes or hypoglycemia. Some patients may have endocrine gland disorders that affect the adrenal, pituitary or thyroid glands. Those who are interested in pursuing a career as a pediatric endocrinology nurse must be a licensed registered nurse and should have some experience in pediatrics or endocrinology. Earning a Master’s of Science in Nursing may also provide greater career opportunities in the field.


Valerie Staple is a pediatric nurse and guest author at, a site with tools and resources to assist prospective nursing students in evaluating top-rated degree programs.


  1. […] are often seen as the first line of defense when it comes to combating an illness or Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  2. pharmacy technician salaries on August 28, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I am sure that your information will help many nursing student to decide which specialty they should follow to get high pay in this profession. Very beneficial information shared by you.

  3. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner on September 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Great information…It’s good to know the different courses of nurses and their starting salary after certification. It will helps nursing student to chose their carrier

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