May 7, 2024

15 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs in 2024

Guide to the Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs in 2024

Are you interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN)? Or, are you already a nurse but want to enhance your salary potential? If so, you're likely wondering how you can earn the highest nurse salary. We've compiled the highest-paying nursing jobs of 2024 to help you make money moves in your nursing career. 

Not only will we discuss which nursing careers pay the most, but we'll also detail each job's education requirements, career outlook, and where you can work in these roles. Read on to learn more about how to make the most money as a nurse in 2024.

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.

Highest-Paid Nursing Jobs:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - $212,650
  2. Certified Nurse Midwife - $129,650
  3. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse - $128,211
  4. General Nurse Practitioner - $126,260
  5. Clinical Nurse Specialist - $124,374
  6. Pain Management Nurse - $121,916
  7. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - $119,801
  8. Health Policy Nurse - $117,469
  9. Nursing Administrator - $110,680
  10. Registered Nurse First Assistant - $108,267
  11. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner - $107,530
  12. Family Nurse Practitioner - $103,803
  13. Nurse Educator - $86,530
  14. Intensive Care Unit Nurse - $85,205
  15. Informatics Nurse - $84,574

How Much Do Nurses Make?

The median annual RN salary in the United States is $86,070, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. But that figure spans all types of nurses, including the lowest and highest-paying nursing jobs, with some of the highest-paid nurses earning over $200K annually!

The Highest Paid Nurses in 2024

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) - $212,650 Per Year

CRNA salary

What is the highest-paid nurse? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists! This highly skilled profession involves preparing and administering anesthesia to patients in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary: $212,650 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 9% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: BSN and a minimum of two years of relevant critical care experience. Graduation from an accredited CRNA program and successfully passing the National Certification Examination.
  • Where Can You Work as a CRNA? CRNAs work in hospitals, operating rooms, ambulatory centers, outpatient surgery centers, private physician offices, and pain management centers.

>> Show Me CRNA Programs

2. Certified Nurse Midwife - $129,650 Per Year

For RNs who love obstetrics, labor and delivery, and prenatal care, becoming a certified nurse midwife is the perfect career path. CNMs mostly work in OB/GYN offices, clinics, or hospital settings, but many open their own practices depending on their state of practice. 

  • Certified Nurse Midwife Salary: $129,650 annually 
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited CNM program, passing the national certification exam, and state licensure.
  • Where Can You Work as a Certified Nurse Midwife? Employers include hospitals, freestanding birthing clinics, government facilities, academia, private practice clinics, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Nurse Midwife Programs

3. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse - $128,211 Per Year

NICU nurse salary

If you love caring for babies, consider becoming a NICU nurse. This specialty commands a strong salary, especially for advanced practice nurses.

  • NICU Salary: $128,211 annually or $62 an hour
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: BSN. Nurses who wish to earn certification without an advanced practice degree can earn their RNC-NIC.
  • Where Can You Work as a NICU Nurse? Employers include hospitals, private practice, birth centers, neonatal intensive care units, well-baby units, newborn nurseries, private consultants, private duty baby nurses, pediatric outpatient clinics, and staffing agencies.

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.


4. General Nurse Practitioner - $126,260 Per Year

nurse practitioner salary

As a general nurse practitioner, you can choose to open an independent practice or work in a variety of primary care settings. You can also advance your nursing skills and your earning potential along the way. General NPs can later specialize in a field if they wish. 

  • Nurse Practitioner Salary: $126,260 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 45% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited NP program with either an MSN or DNP, successfully passing the national certification exam, and state licensure.
  • Where Can You work as a Nurse Practitioner? Employers include hospitals, clinics, urgent care, academia, freestanding surgery centers, outpatient clinics, private practice, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

5. Clinical Nurse Specialist - $124,374 Per Year

Those who wish to work in a specialized unit or clinic should consider the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) path. As a CNS, you won't just get to diagnose and treat various conditions - you'll also get the satisfaction of being an expert within your healthcare team. 

Clinical nurse specialists focus on improving the status of nursing as a given healthcare facility. They conduct research and enhance the care provided at their workplaces.

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Salary: $124,374 annually 
  • Career Outlook: Because clinical nurse specialists offer specialized care at a lower cost than physicians, more and more hospitals and institutions will be seeking to add these professionals to their teams.
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited CNS program with an MSN and completion of the required national certification.
  • Where Can You Work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist?  Employers include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, private practices, prisons, government facilities, academia, research companies, pharmaceutical companies, and staffing agencies.

6. Pain Management Nurse - $121,916 Per Year

Pain management nurses help manage a patient’s pain post-surgery or work with patients who have chronic pain issues. They work within a healthcare team to help determine the cause of the pain and the proper course of treatment while also educating patients about pain management and avoiding addiction or dependence on prescribed medication.

  • Pain Management Nurse Salary: $121,916 annually or $52.35 an hour
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: BSN. Nurses should obtain a minimum of two years of bedside experience first before specializing.
  • Where Can You Work as a Pain Management Nurse? Employers include hospitals, drug counseling centers, drug dependency clinics, rehabilitation centers, oncology clinics, sports rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, fitness centers, and staffing agencies.

7. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - $119,801 Per Year

For nurses with an interest in mental health, working as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) allows you to work with psychiatric physicians and counsel patients regarding mental health disorders. PMHNPs also work with patients who suffer from a combination of mental health disorders and substance abuse issues.

  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner  Salary: $119,801 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 45% from 2022 to 2032 - The need for improved mental healthcare continues to gain national attention, and the demand for adolescent psychiatric services is increasing. Therefore, we expect PMHNPs to be highly sought-after healthcare professionals for years to come.  Additionally, as substance abuse continues to rise throughout the country, PMHNPs will need to become well-versed in both mental health and addiction issues.
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited PMHNP program with either an MSN or DNP, successfully passing the national certification exam, and state licensure.
  • Where Can You Work as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner? Employers include hospitals, mental health units, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, addiction centers, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

>> See the Top 10 Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

8. Health Policy Nurse - $117,469 Per Year

If you are passionate about health and public policy, becoming a health policy nurse will let you take on the tasks of advocacy, research, analysis, policy development, implementation, and evaluation.

  • Health Policy Nurse Salary: $117,469 annually
  • Career Outlook: Grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: After earning your MSN, you’ll have to complete a 10-week health policy residency program in government offices, advocacy organizations, or community groups.
  • Where Can You Work as a Health Policy Nurse? Employers include hospitals, occupational health, case management offices, infection control, international health organizations, research, private practice, government offices, law practices, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Public Health Programs

9. Nursing Administrator $110,680 Per Year

nurse administrator manages the backstage operations of nursing, from budgeting and staff management to HR functions. They can manage an entire nursing department or a specific unit. They are also in charge of hiring, scheduling, payroll, and the orientation process. 

  • Nurse Administrator Salary: $110,680 annually or $53.21 per hour
  • Career Outlook: 28% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: Master’s degree in healthcare administration, business, or a related field. Depending on the level of administration, a terminal degree (DNP) will be required.
  • Where Can You Work as a Nurse Administrator? Employers include hospitals, private practice, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, residential facilities, government facilities, healthcare companies, clinics, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Nursing Leadership Programs

10. Registered Nurse First Assistant - $108,267 Per Year

Registered nurse first assistant salary

registered nurse first assistant (RNFA) is a perioperative nurse who functions as a first assistant during surgical operations. The role and responsibilities of an RNFA will vary greatly based on the institution.

  • Registered Nurse First Assistant Salary: $108,267 annually
  • Career Outlook: With the overwhelming number of outpatient surgical centers opening across the country, the need for well-trained RNFAs is rapidly growing. Therefore, the career field outlook is positive.
  • Requirements: To become eligible for RNFA programs, you must have a BSN, active RN license, and CNOR certification. Most RNFA schools require at least two years of perioperative nursing experience as well. The Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant credential requires RNFA program graduates to have at least 2,000 hours of RNFA working experience.
  • Where Can You Work as a Registered Nurse First Assistant? RNFAs can work in ambulatory surgical centers, hospitals, outpatient same-day surgery centers, private offices, research, staffing agencies, and product development. Large academic teaching hospitals might not employ as many RNFAs due to the presence of residents and fellows. 

11. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) - $107,530 Per Year

adult-gerontology nurse practitioner salary

Older patients have a unique set of health issues requiring specialized care. RNs who prefer working with elderly patients should look no further than the adult-gerontology nurse practitioner career.

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Salary: $107,530 
  • Career Outlook: 45% from 2022 to 2032 (all NPs). The aging population, longer life spans, and more access to long-term care options mean there will be a greater need for nurses who specialize in caring for older patients. With the Baby Boomer generation reaching the age where this kind of care is necessary, there has become a sudden surge in the need for AGNPs.
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited AGNP program with either an MSN or DNP, successfully passing the AGNP certification exam, and state licensure.
  • Where Can You Work as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner? Employers include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, academia, private practice, urgent care, nursing homes, retirement communities, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Adult-Gerontology NP Programs

12. Family Nurse Practitioner - $103,803

Family nurse practitioner (FNP) roles are most similar in function to a primary care physician. FNPs typically perform many of the same functions as an MD -- working in a medical office, hospital, clinic, or nursing facility. Their responsibilities include patient consultations, assessments, prescribing medications and treatment, and more.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner Salary: $103,803 
  • Career Outlook: 45% from 2022 to 2032
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited FNP program with either an MSN or DNP, successfully passing the FNP certification exam, and state licensure.
  • Where Can You Work as a Family Nurse Practitioner? Employers include hospitals, clinics, freestanding ambulatory centers, academia, urgent care, government facilities, private practice, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

13. Nurse Educator - $86,530 Per Year

At some point, you may wish to transition from patient care to nurse education. If working directly with other nurses to train them or facilitate continuing education sounds appealing, becoming a nurse educator could be a good fit.

  • Nurse Educator Salary: $86,530 annually
  • Career Outlook: Nurse educators are experiencing shortages that experts predict to continue. As the need for more educators grows stronger, you'll find plentiful opportunities to transition from the hospital floor to the head of a classroom. Currently, there are thousands of open nurse educator positions at undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Requirements: Graduation from an accredited MSN Nursing Education program and specialty certification. Some jobs may require a terminal degree, such as a DNP or Ph.D.
  • Where Can You Work as a Nurse Educator?  Employers include hospitals, private practices, hospital-based nursing programs, universities and colleges, healthcare companies, clinics, and staffing agencies.

>> Show Me Online Nurse Educator Programs

14. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse - $85,205 Per Year

ICU nurses deal with life-and-death cases every shift, which means that being one requires a specialized skill set. They often work in hospital ICUs, but you may also find them in other areas of nursing. Critical care roles are coveted nursing positions because you must excel at nursing, critical thinking, and staying calm under pressure to get them.

  • ICU Nurse Salary: $85,205 annually
  • Career Outlook: 6% from 2022 to 2032.
  • Requirements: ADN or BSN and successful completion of the NCLEX-RN exam. Some ICU units will require a minimum of two years of med-surgical nursing experience. Specialty certification as a CCRN is possible for ICU nurses with the required experience.
  • Where Can You Work as an ICU Nurse? Employers include hospitals, managed care facilities, outpatient surgical centers, administration, research committees, cardiac catheter labs, post-anesthesia care units, emergency departments, cardiac centers, urgent care clinics, short-term stay hospitals, and staffing agencies. Critical care nurses can specialize in adult critical care, pediatric critical care, or geriatric critical care.

>> Show Me Critical Care Nursing Programs

15. Informatics Nurse - $84,574 Per Year

Nursing informatics is one of the most in-demand nursing fields with unlimited growth thanks to the ongoing implementation of electronic medical records.

According to the American Medical Informatics Association, nursing informatics integrates nursing with the management of information and communication technologies to promote public health.

  • Informatics Nurse Salary: $84,574 annually or $37.29 an hour
  • Career Outlook: The AMIA estimates a growing need for nursing informatics and specialists. They predict the field may grow by up to 70,000 new analysts in the next five years.
  • Requirements: BSN and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Some positions may require an MSN in Nursing Informatics and specialty certification.
  • Where Can You Work as an Informatics Nurse?  Employers include hospitals, healthcare technology companies, medical record companies, clinics, academia, research companies, pharmaceutical companies, and staffing agencies.

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.


BONUS! 5 More High Paying Nursing Careers

In case you didn't find what you were looking for in the list above, here are five more high-paying nursing jobs to consider.

  1. Surgical Nurse: Surgical nurses are on the front lines of the nursing profession. Because so much is required of them, those who excel and decide to advance are considered to have entered a specialty area. According to Salary.com, the average annual surgical nurse salary is $106,902.
  2. Legal Nurse Consultant: Legal nurse consultants work with different law professionals and perform a variety of different services for them. They will often assist in medical malpractice cases, toxic torts, insurance fraud cases, personal injury cases, worker's compensation cases, and criminal cases, among others. Payscale reports legal nurse consultant salaries of $88,126 per year, but nurses in this field can charge upwards of $150 per hour.
  3. Nurse Researcher: Nurse researchers are in charge of designing and implementing research studies, writing grants for federal and private funding, observing patient treatments and procedures, collecting data, and reporting the data to the nursing community and the public. Glassdoor lists an average salary of $97,332 for nurse researchers. 
  4. Strike Travel Nurse: Travel nursing is one of the hottest and most in-demand careers for nurses who want to explore the country, help save lives, and earn premium pay. The average salary for a strike nurse, according to ZipRecruiter, is $80,321
  5. Per Diem Registered Nurse: Per diem nurses are registered nurses who work on an as-needed basis. These nurses are employees of a hospital or healthcare system and are paid a premium for working hard-to-staff shifts such as evenings, nights, and weekends. They may also be compensated for on-call pay and paid at a higher rate if they are called in to work. According to ZipRecruiter, per diem nurses can earn over $33 an hour, with an average annual salary of $69,311. 

Highest-Paying States for Nurses

State

Hourly Pay 

Annual Salary 

California

$66.20

$137.690

Hawaii

$57.55

$119,710

Oregon

$54.54

$113,440

Washington

$53.38

$111,030

Alaska

$52.51

$109,210

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses

City

Hourly Pay

Annual Salary

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

$83.83

$174,370

Vallejo-Fairfield, CA

$82.51   

$171,620

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

$82.11  

$170,780

Napa, CA

$79.89  

$166,180

Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA

$74.29    

$154,510

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Industries for Nurses

Industry

Hourly Pay

Annual Salary

Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding State and Local Government Schools and Hospitals and the U.S. Postal Service (OEWS Designation)

$55.22

$114,860

Employment Services

$53.00 

$110,230

Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing

$52.23

$108,640

Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing

$51.19    

$106,470

Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods 

$49.97    

$103,940

Source: BLS

Not interested in nursing? Check out the highest-paying medical jobs!

FAQs

  • What Is the Highest Paid Nurse?

    • The highest-paid nursing specialty is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), averaging an annual salary of $212,650. However, travel nurses of any specialty may be able to make close or more than that, depending on the specifics of their contracts.  
  • Can a nurse be a millionaire?

    • It is possible for a nurse to become a millionaire, but they would need to take on a high-level leadership position and/or other income streams, such as becoming an entrepreneur.
  • How can a nurse make $100K?

    • An RN can make $100K in an advanced practitioner position, such as becoming a CRNA, NP, or CNM, becoming a nurse manager, travel nurse, or taking on a second income stream. 
  • What nurses are the happiest?

    • Advanced practice nurses, including nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and CRNAs, all report the highest levels of job satisfaction.    
  • Can Nurses Earn $400K Per Year?

    • Yes, it is possible, especially for nurse administrators or even CRNAs. A salary alone would make this difficult but with overtime, bonuses, and additional sources of income - it is feasible. 

Infographic detailing the highest paying nursing careers

*Salary Disclaimer: 

The salaries listed are highly generalized. Nurses can expect to see major variances based on geography, experience, and a number of other factors. 

When calculating hourly wages for nurse salaries, we used the following formula: For a nurse working 40 hours a week, we estimated 52 of those would be working weeks. 40 hours/week multiplied by 52 weeks/year = 2,080 hours per year. The hourly wage is equivalent to an Annual Salary of / 2,080 for a position with a 40-hour workweek. The same formula was applied for careers with a 36-hour workweek.  

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