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By Rachel Schneider

From travel nursing to working as an OBGYN nurse or a vocational nurse, nursing offers a meaningful and exciting career of changing and saving lives. With a registered nurse license, you can pursue many different nursing roles based on your ideal setting and clients, along with your career aspirations and level of education.

Read on for a list of available nursing careers at each level of education and certification.

Popular Nursing Careers


Certified Nursing Assistant   →


Median Salary

$29,640

Focus

After obtaining certified nursing assistant certification, CNAs provide basic help to patients, working with them to carry out activities of daily living. They also maintain and clean treatment areas.

Minimum Degree Needed

Professionals who want to learn how to become a CNA should note that certified nursing assistants typically must complete a state-approved education training program in the discipline.


Clinical Nurse Specialist   →


Median Salary

$90,431

Focus

Responsible for clinical care and nursing practice, a CNS works in a specialized clinic as an advanced practice registered nurse. These nurses also focus on managing and improving nursing care.

Minimum Degree Needed

A CNS must hold a master of science in nursing (MSN) from a clinical nurse specialist program.


Flight Nurse   →


Median Salary

$70,904

Focus

Flight nurses help transport injured or sick patients. These nurses track and document their patients' conditions and respond as needed. They also coordinate assistants for care.

Minimum Degree Needed

A flight nurse must hold an MSN from an accredited institution.


Labor and Delivery Nurse   →


Median Salary

$64,046

Focus

Nurses who work in labor and delivery help expectant mothers through the delivery process and provide post-delivery care, ensuring and managing the health and well-being of mothers and their newborn babies.

Minimum Degree Needed

A labor and delivery nurse holds an MSN.


Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse   →


Median Salary

$47,480

Focus

Working under the direction of doctors and registered nurses, LPNs and LVN nurses administer basic patient care and maintain patient records.

Minimum Degree Needed

LPNs and LVNs should complete approved certificate or diploma programs.


Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse   →


Median Salary

$$64,046

Focus

NICU nurses oversee care for newborn babies born prematurely or with an illness that requires intensive care. These professionals assess, plan, evaluate, and implement care for patients.

Minimum Degree Needed

A NICU nurse must hold an MSN from an accredited institution.


Nurse Anesthetist   →


Median Salary

$181,040

Focus

CRNAs specialize in administering anesthesia and monitor their patients' vital signs to help anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other physicians during routine and emergency procedures.

Minimum Degree Needed

A CRNA must hold a minimum of an MSN.


Nurse Educator   →


Median Salary

$75,399

Focus

Nurse educators monitor continuing education and evaluation of nursing staff members. These professionals often work with hospital administrators to create continuing education programs and evaluations for staff members.

Minimum Degree Needed

A nurse educator must earn an MSN.


Nurse Practitioner   →


Median Salary

$111,840

Focus

The nurse practitioner (NP) role allows professionals to diagnose and treat chronic, acute, or episodic illnesses. These nurses often focus on disease prevention and health promotion across patient populations.

Minimum Degree Needed

An NP must hold an MSN and a registered nurse license.


Mean Annual Salary: $

Focus:

Minimum Degree Needed:

Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurse   →


Median Salary

$60,908

Focus

OBGYN nurses evaluate and document patients' progress in reaching established goals. They specialize in the treatment and care of expectant mothers and their newborn babies throughout pregnancy and delivery.

Minimum Degree Needed

An OBGYN nurse must possess an MSN.


Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner   →


Median Salary

$106,787

Focus

Psychiatric nurse practitioners treat patients with anxiety, mood disorders, and substance abuse challenges.

Minimum Degree Needed

A psychiatric nurse practitioner must hold an MSN.


Registered Nurse   →


Median Salary

$73,300

Focus

Registered nurses provide patient care and assess their patients' conditions. These nurses educate the public and patients about health conditions and offer support to patients and their families.

Minimum Degree Needed

A registered nurse can pursue licensure with an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), but most employers prefer a candidate with a BSN.


School Nurse   →


Median Salary

$46,917

Focus

School nurses address problems with student health and educate students about health risks. These nurses also design programs to address certain health conditions, educating students.

Minimum Degree Needed

A school nurse must hold a BSN.


Travel Nurse   →


Median Salary

$78,604

Focus

Working in certain areas on a temporary basis, travel nurses visit remote areas that lack sufficient medical facilities to provide care. These nurses assess, evaluate, and diagnose patients.

Minimum Degree Needed

A travel nurse must possess a BSN and a registered nurse license.


Which career has the most satisfied nurses?
Read the State of Nursing in 2016-2017 report to find out.

The State of Nursing 2016

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