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62 Types of Nurses: The Most In-Demand and Highest-Paying Nursing Specialties

June 17, 2021

Nursing is a lucrative and opportunity-heavy career field. With the right credentials, you can work in a number of settings and focus on a particular specialty, such as senior care or oncology. It's helpful to have an idea of what kind of nursing you want to do and what salary you're hoping to make so you can make the best choice for your career. In this article, we share a list of 62 types of nurses, including the most in-demand career paths and those with the highest national average salary.

10 fast-growing nursing jobs

The nursing field is constantly evolving, with certain specialties becoming more in-demand as health care needs change. If you're considering a nursing degree or already have one but are in the process of looking for a new position, here is a useful list of types of in-demand nursing jobs to consider along with how much demand has increased since 2019 (Indeed data)::

National average salary: $158,336 per year

Primary duties: A telemetry nurse is responsible for monitoring and taking care of critical care patients. They administer diagnostic tests and use advanced medical equipment to monitor patient vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. Telemetry nurses also assist doctors with procedures and educate patients as needed.

Demand: 65% growth since 2018

Related: What Is a Telemetry Nurse?

National average salary: $108,994 per year

Primary duties: A travel nurse is a registered nurse (RN) responsible for the basic tasks of a nurse but who travels to fill in temporarily at hospitals, clinics and other health care environments. Travel nurses are in high demand when nationwide shortages occur—due to demographic shifts or epidemic crises—and are often offered housing, relocation pay and higher wages to fill the health care need.

Demand: 14% growth since 2018

Read more: How To Become a Travel Nurse

National average salary: $63,936 per year

Primary duties: A home health nurse is responsible for visiting patients' homes to provide medical care. They usually do not work under the supervision of a medical doctor in these settings, but typically communicate with one to make sure their assessments and route of care get approval. A home health nurse may take vitals, assess the patient and their surroundings and recommend they obtain transport to a hospital if their condition worsens.

Demand: 10% growth since 2019

Read more: Learn About Being a Home Health Nurse

National average salary: $79,969 per year

Primary duties: A hospice nurse is responsible for assisting and caring for terminally ill patients and making the end-of-life process as comfortable for the patients as possible. Daily responsibilities include administering medication, assessing patient needs and comfort, communicating status to family members, recording changes in treatment and condition and consulting with doctors and other medical staff.

Demand: 6% growth since 2019

Related: How To Become a Hospice Nurse

National average salary: $140,079

Primary duties: An intensive care unit nurse is an RN that evaluates, monitors and administers care to patients in intensive care units. They are responsible for a high level of supervision and treatment as often these patients are in critical condition. Basic duties include monitoring and evaluating patient vitals and progress, identifying condition changes, monitoring dosage, creating and implementing patient care plans and coordinating with doctors and other medical staff.

Demand: 6% growth since 2019

Read more: How To Become an ICU Nurse (Plus Areas for Specialization)

National average salary: $36,962 per year

Primary duties: A nurse’s aide assists doctors, nurses and other medical staff with patient and administrative tasks. Common duties include helping patients eat, change clothes and clean themselves, checking vitals, recording medical histories, transporting patients to different parts of the hospital and cleaning and ensuring hygiene in patient rooms.

Demand: 3% growth since 2019

Related: Becoming a Nurse Aide

National average salary: $90,822 per year

Primary duties: A director of nursing is responsible for supervising and leading a nursing or medical unit. Common duties include creating and implementing policies and procedures; directing employees on daily tasks; coordinating patient and resident care plans; hiring, firing and training employees; creating and maintaining an administrative budget; keeping employees and facility is legally compliant with all laws and communicating with medical staff, families and patients.

Demand: 8% growth since 2019

Read more: How To Become a Certified Director of Nursing

National average salary: $88,137 per year

Primary duties: An acute care nurse is responsible for treating patient acute conditions such as heart attacks and respiratory conditions. Common responsibilities include helping patients prepare for and recover from operations and other medical situations where patients need critical care, such as in the ER. Often, acute care nurses specialize in specific fields, such as geriatric, oncology, cardiac care or surgery. They check and monitor vital signs, provide medications and track and record patient progress.

Demand: 16% growth since 2019

National average salary: $47,186 per year

Primary duties: A licensed practical nurse, or LPN, works under doctors and registered nurses (RNs), taking direction from them for various duties in a health care setting. They are responsible for taking vitals, giving medication to patients, comforting the patient as needed, performing lab draws and reporting their shift details to the next nurse on duty.

Demand: 14% growth since 2019

Read more: Learn About Being a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

National average salary: $56,097 per year

Primary duties: A private duty nurse is responsible for caring for patients, checking vitals, monitoring medical status, cooking and cleaning, bathing and washing and administering medications. Private duty nurses often choose a specialty type of care to work in such as diabetes, traumatic brain care, wound care and hospice care.

Demand: 13% growth since 2019

Related: Your Guide To a Career in Private Duty Nursing

More in-demand nursing positions

Here are more nursing positions also growing in demand to consider:

National average salary: $49,074 per year

Primary duties: A school nurse is responsible for taking care of children in a school setting through performing medical assessments on a child's physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. They may take temperatures, give approved medication for common ailments and contact a child's guardian to provide updates.

Read more: Learn About Being a School Nurse

National average salary: $59,542 per year

Primary duties: An office nurse usually works in a medical office or clinic rather than a hospital and is responsible for performing assessments on patients, updating vitals, recording patient information, answering patient questions about medical procedures and scheduling follow-up appointments. They may do some data entry and help patients understand the doctor orders.

Related: How To Become a Doctor’s Office Nurse in 5 Steps

National average salary: $61,371 per year

Primary duties: A triage nurse is responsible for quickly assessing patients and determining how much and what time of medical need they have. They may work with others in the hospital setting to get the patient to the area of the hospital where they need to be.

Read more: What Is a Triage Nurse?

National average salary: $63,635 per year

Primary duties: An emergency room (ER) nurse is responsible for handling crisis situations in an emergency room at a hospital. They typically take care of patients who are suffering from trauma or severe injury and need immediate treatment from a professional. An ER nurse must be able to quickly assess and stabilize a patient.

Read more: Learn About Being an ER Nurse

National average salary: $63,831 per year

Primary duties: A cardiac nurse is responsible for providing care to patients with cardiovascular disease and other cardiac issues. They may monitor patients' hearts, administer medications, perform stress tests and assist cardiac patients in understanding how to better care for their heart.

National average salary: $63,945 per year

Primary duties: A bone marrow transplant nurse is responsible for caring for patients who are receiving a bone marrow transplant. They may explain the procedure, recovery details and any risks to the patient and their family, as well as take vitals and otherwise prep the patient for the transplant procedure to make sure they are still a viable candidate.

National average salary: $64,737 per year

Primary duties: A registered nurse (RN) is responsible for providing medical care to patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, medical clinics, patient homes and more. They are medical professionals who observe patients, administer medications, perform assigned procedures, take vitals, support patients in their medical prognosis, assist with treatment plans and chart their shift details for the next nurse on duty.

Read more: Learn About Being a Registered Nurse (RN)

National average salary: $66,800 per year

Primary duties: A community nurse is responsible for working with whole communities, which typically includes the underserved, diverse and poor populations, with obtaining the education and medical resources they need. They may administer vaccines and other immunizations, assist women with pregnancy tests and perform basic vitals.

Related: How To Become a Community Nurse

National average salary: $66,913 per year

Primary duties: A utilization review nurse is responsible for reviewing cases, medical records and care plans to make sure that a patient is getting everything they need. They may also work with a patient's insurance plan to make sure their care is financially covered.

Read more: Utilization Review Certifications for Nurses; A Guide

National average salary: $68,827 per year

Primary duties: A public health nurse is responsible for identifying disease in a population, administering screening tests and immunizations and tracking how widespread a disease or infection is in a particular community. They may also educate the community about general wellness and connect members of the community with valuable resources.

Related: How To Become a Public Health Nurse

National average salary: $71,323 per year

Primary duties: A registered nurse case manager is responsible for evaluating a patient's circumstances and diagnosis and making sure they have the best care possible. They may implement health care plans while also trying to manage the cost of their treatment.

National average salary: $72,502 per year

Primary duties: An occupational health nurse is responsible for treating workplace-related injuries or illnesses. They may also help investigate these occurrences and put plans into place to prevent them from occurring again. An occupational health nurse often works with a safety manager to identify workplace hazards.

National average salary: $75,335 per year

Primary duties: A charge nurse is responsible for overseeing the nurses in a particular hospital unit or other health care facility. They may assign registered nurses to patients, create schedules, approve time off, admit patients and discharges and monitor the medicines available in the unit.

Read more: Learn About Being a Charge Nurse

National average salary: $78,474 per year

Primary duties: A psychiatric nurse is responsible for providing individual care to patients in a mental health facility or unit. They may develop treatment plans alongside a doctor, provide counseling to patients, evaluate conditions, develop policies and perform other nursing tasks.

Related: What Is a Psychiatric Nurse?

National average salary: $78,719 per year

Primary duties: A wound care nurse is responsible for caring for patient wounds, which may include burns, ulcers and other injuries. They may create care plans for patients that will help wounds heal and prevent them from occurring again.

Read more: What Is a Wound Care Nurse? (And How To Become One)

National average salary: $80,564 per year

Primary duties: A clinical nurse is responsible for the same tasks as a registered nurse, except clinical nurses have advanced experience in leadership and other practical nursing skills. They may also have more involvement in developing care plans for patients.

Related: What Is a Clinical Nurse?

National average salary: $82,810 per year

Primary duties: A registered nurse manager is responsible for managing nursing staff in a hospital unit or other medical facility. They provide patient care, create work schedules for their team, schedule training and update meetings, hire nurses, adhere to a budget and provide professional development to the nurses they supervise.

Read more: Learn About Being a Nurse Manager

National average salary: $83,837 per year

Primary duties: A clinical nurse educator is responsible for training nursing staff on procedures and various duties in a health care setting. They may work with new hires to get them acclimated to the role they'll have at the organization.

Read more: Learn About Being a Nurse Educator

10 high-paying nursing jobs

If you’re interested in nursing opportunities with a higher earning potential, here are 10 high-paying positions to consider:

National average salary: $85,489 per year

Primary duties: Medical surgical nurse managers are responsible for providing direction and administrative oversight to medical surgical care teams, and planning and leading nursing care within a hospital setting. They may oversee staffing and training of more junior health care employees such as registered nurses (RNs), monitor and respond to changes in patient volume and ensure the care team adheres to all hospital policies and procedures.

National average salary: $89,105 per year

Primary duties: A nursing home administrator combines experience and education in health care with business skills to supervise and manage administrative and clinical activities within nursing home facilities. They may be responsible for hiring and training staff, handling the budget and other financial matters and assisting in patient care as needed.

National average salary: $89,799 per year

Primary duties: Nurse consultants evaluate both a hospital’s overall health care delivery system and individual patient cases. Hospitals may ask a nurse consultant to assess a patient's care and treatment plan and make recommendations. A clinical nurse may consult by teaching other staff members, researching or offering actual clinical practice.

National average salary: $90,558 per year

Primary duties: An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is an RN who has pursued advanced training in a specialized area. They may work as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives or other advanced roles. APRNs are authorized to diagnose patients, prescribe medication and develop patient care plans.

Related: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Career Guide

National average salary: $100,097 per year

Primary duties: Pain management nurses often work within hospital oncology units, palliative care or hospice programs to help identify the cause of a patient’s pain and assist in preparing a care plan. They may also work as advocates to help obtain the patient's medication, or as liaisons for vocational programs to help patients manage pain while returning to work.

Read more: What Is Pain Management Nursing?

National average salary: $114,935 per year

Primary duties: A nurse practitioner is a health care professional who assists in nearly every aspect of patient care including conducting and interpreting diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and lab work, diagnosing conditions, creating treatment plans and consulting with patients and their families. They may work as part of a clinic or hospital treatment team or independently as part of a private practice.

National average salary: $118,471 per year

Primary duties: Family nurse practitioners deliver family-focused care. They diagnose and treat acute and chronic patient illnesses from childhood through adulthood. They often conduct and review diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and treatment plans and consult with patients and their families.

Related: What Is a Family Nurse Practitioner? Definition, Salary, Sub-Specialties and Career Guide

National average salary: $115,628 per year

Primary duties: A clinical nurse specialist is an APRN who cares for patients as a part of a variety of health care specializations. They typically work with nursing staff and patient care managers to provide education and optimize patient care efforts. They may review and evaluate patient care plans, complete research to find alternatives and provide recommendations to help improve patient outcomes.

National average salary: $133,642 per year

Primary duties: Psychiatric nurse practitioners, also called “mental health nurse practitioners,” are APRNs who evaluate patients to diagnose mental illnesses, assist in treatment planning and prescribe medication. They also work to educate patients and their families about their mental illness diagnosis and treatment options. They may work as part of a hospital’s mental health unit or for an independent practice.

Read more: What Is a Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner?

National average salary: $160,149 per year

Primary duties: Certified registered nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who deliver anesthesia and pain care services such as epidurals and nerve blocks. They may work with surgeons, anesthesiologists, podiatrists, dentists and other health care professionals to help prepare a patient for a procedure, assist in stabilization and monitor patients during post-operation recovery.

More types of nurses

Here are 23 other nursing jobs that qualified nurses may apply for:

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