With modern advancements in science, the healthcare industry has experienced rapid growth in the past few decades alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this development will increase employment by 15% through 2029. This high demand for healthcare services has also accelerated an expansion of specialized nursing careers for professionals.
The constantly evolving nursing field has opened up several avenues for the type of nurse you can be. Previously, the role of a nurse was only restricted to helping patients eat, rest, and move. But today, their responsibilities go way beyond the scope of direct patient care. Emerging nursing careers offer other worthwhile benefits besides a shift in duties, like better opportunities, lucrative salaries, and more fulfillment. By meeting specific educational requirements and receiving the relevant certifications, you can work in a nursing specialization of your choosing.
Although having so many nursing specialties offer opportunities in multiple fields, it can be hard to choose the kind of nurse you want to be. Below, we have outlined five fast-growing nursing specialties’ roles, salaries, and educational requirements. Explore these to see which one suits you best.
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
With soaring mental health illnesses in the country and worldwide, there is an immediate demand for mental health professionals. A psychiatric nurse practitioner is someone who has received special training to work with mentally ill individuals. Their primary responsibilities include assessing patients, studying their medical history, and conducting appropriate mental health tests. Before we learn how to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, let’s first look at how much they earn.
According to the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics, an average psychiatric nurse practitioner’s salary is $126,390 annually. Those nurse practitioners specializing in mental health earn more than NPs in most other fields.
To become a psych nurse practitioner, you must first earn an undergraduate in nursing and become a registered nurse. Next, apply for a graduate degree in a psychiatric nurse practitioner program and receive a PMHNP license to practice in your state.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist is responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients under their care. However, their role isn’t all about patient care. Instead, it often extends to other areas such as healthcare management and research as well. Their education and training equip them with the ability to identify any shortcomings or gaps in a healthcare setting. They may offer consultation to patients and their families to improve patient outcomes using their knowledge and expertise.
If you want to become a clinical nurse specialist, you must have an undergraduate and a graduate degree in nursing, an active registered license, and a specialist certification. You must also have the appropriate number of supervised training hours under your belt before applying for this job. According to PayScale, a clinical nurse specialist receives $93,736 per year.
- Nurse Midwife
The job responsibilities of a nurse-midwife primarily focus on providing care for patients from labor through delivery. As a midwife, you may also offer general services for women like preventive healthcare and gynecological or reproductive care. If you want to work with pregnant women or in prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum recovery, a career as a nurse-midwife might be for you. PayScale estimates that an average salary for a certified midwife nurse is around $100,409. This amount may grow even more lucrative depending on your experience, skills, and where you work.
Once you have your undergraduate degree in nursing and a registered nurse license, you can enroll in a graduate degree program for nursing. After completing your education, you must earn a certified nurse-midwife that the American Midwifery Certification Board administers.
- Public Health Nurse
The role of public health nurses is vital in marginalized and underprivileged communities as they improve access to healthcare and screen individuals for disease risk. Typically, nurses care for one patient at a time. But a public health nurse cares for entire populations simultaneously. They work with whole communities to educate and raise awareness regarding specific health issues.
In contrast to other nursing professionals, a public health nurse usually works out in the field rather than in a healthcare setting. On average, they earn $59,430 and make significant contributions to improving public healthcare. To become a public health nurse, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. After gaining at least five years of experience and clearing the exam conducted by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, you can work as a public health nurse.
- Nurse Anesthetist
A nurse anesthetist is responsible for administering medicines and anesthesia to patients undergoing surgeries. As one of the highest-paid nurses, they earn an average salary of $189,190. This nursing career is perfect for those individuals who want more autonomy when working with patients in intensive care units or operating rooms.
Becoming a nurse anesthetist requires an undergraduate in nursing, a registered nurse license, and a graduate degree specializing in anesthesiology. You must also have the relevant hours of clinical experience and get certified as a nurse anesthetist before starting working.
As a prospective nurse, there is a broad range of nursing careers you can choose from. Each specialization has its pros and cons, and so you must figure out which of these best aligns with your professional goals. Do your research, talk to other professionals around you, and identify your personal interests before making a final decision.