Nursing Degree Careers

The medical field is growing and offers a wide range of rewarding nursing careers for experienced practitioners. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for nurse practitioners, midwives, and nurse anesthetists is growing an estimated 31 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Many popular nursing job concentrations can require additional licenses and certifications, such as a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or even a post-master’s certificate. As a result, many who pursue careers in nursing also seek advanced degrees to broaden their expertise and expand their choices of nursing careers. Other prerequisites for landing a nursing job may include additional licenses and certifications, work experience, and notable job performance — and these requirements can often vary from state to state.

Understanding how each of the above factors into the overall nursing job outlook is essential to making an informed career selection. The available data regarding different types of nursing jobs lends insight on performance expectations, starting salary, and growth statistics. This data can be used to evaluate the viability of pursuing an advanced degree in each field.

female nurse holding a clipboard

Registered Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) Degree Careers

With the addition of proper training, work experience and any required certifications, those who achieve an RN to BSN may pursue job opportunities that involve directly working with patients and their families. Due to the frequent family interactions that define this career track, a passion for hands-on patient care is critical. The following information takes a more detailed look at five potential careers that are frequently chosen by RN to BSN graduates.

Nurse Manager

A nurse manager is responsible for recruiting and training a team of nurses. That includes making decisions that can impact their entire team, including creating schedules and determining patient care delivery. Because of their role, nurse managers must stay focused regardless of what medical or non-medical activities may be going on around them. According to the compensation authority PayScale, the starting salary for a nurse manager in the United States is $74,000 per year.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators are responsible for educating those who aspire to enter the field. Job duties can include developing a curriculum and teaching it through hands-on labs and clinicals, giving lectures, mentoring students, and promoting in-class discussions. The average starting salary for a nurse educator is $67,000 according to PayScale

Genetics Nurse

Genetics nurses work with patients who are at risk of, or are already afflicted with hereditary diseases. For genetics nurses, conducting research, analyzing gene histories, and educating families about disease prevention and treatment are all part of the job description. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the average salary for a genetics nurse is approximately $62,450 per year.

Critical Care Nurse

A critical care nurse works with patients who are suffering from life-threatening conditions. Critical care nurses work in high-intensity environments such as emergency rooms, so interpersonal skills and the ability to work well under pressure are crucial. Entry-level critical care nurses make an average of $56,000 a year, according to PayScale.

Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses provide care to patients in under-served areas. Through research and targeted outreach, public health nurses provide immunizations, education, and disease prevention to patients who may not otherwise have access to this type of care and other health services. According to PayScale, the average salary for a public health nurse is $51,000 a year.

Careers for Those with a Master of Science in Nursing

For those with the proper work background and certifications, a  Master of Science in Nursing can open a new realm of exciting professional opportunities. Forbes reports that, “Nurse practitioners are more in demand than all but two categories of physicians,” and the median salary for nurse practitioners is $103,880 per year, according to BLS. The five career-specific nursing specializations below discuss in more detail some of the most common career paths available to nurse practitioners.

Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner diagnoses and treats patients of all ages, often taking care of duties delegated by a supervising physician. The daily tasks of a family nurse practitioner can include administering diagnostic exams, referring patients to specialists, prescribing medications, and educating patients about preventative care. This role often requires students to complete an internship or residency in addition to obtaining their DNP-NP. According to PayScale, the average entry-level salary for a family nurse practitioner is $90,000.

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner works with the full range of adult patients, from adolescents to the elderly, in clinical settings. In addition to helping patients manage chronic health conditions, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners perform similar job duties to those of a family nurse practitioner. To become an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, students must complete an internship and achieve state certification, as well as earn a DNP degree. While factors such as certification and experience come into play, the average annual salary is $89,338, according to PayScale.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners specialize in helping adult patients — young and old — manage acute or chronic illnesses. They often work in inpatient settings, providing patients with diagnostic care and working collaboratively to provide ongoing treatment plans for chronically ill patients. After receiving their AGACNP license, students often need to complete clinical hours and achieve state certification before practicing. Nurse Practitioner Schools reports that the average annual salary for this position is around $90,050

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

A pediatric nurse practitioner specializes in the treatment of children and teens, which can include performing tests and screenings, diagnosing patients, prescribing medications, and treating short-term and ongoing illnesses. Students who are pursuing becoming pediatric nurse practitioners must earn their DNP with a PNP concentration in addition to completing a clinical internship and achieving state licensing. The yearly base salary for entry-level pediatric nurse practitioners is $85,000 according to PayScale.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners provide diagnostic care and patient treatment covering a wide range of mental health disorders. Working within an inpatient or clinical setting, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners might also work with patients’ families and communities, as well as performing general NP duties such as diagnosing medication. This nursing concentration requires students to complete clinical hours in addition to achieving their MSN and state licensing. The entry-level salary for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners is $97,000, according to PayScale.

Careers for Those with an Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

A DNP degree can open doors to new possibilities for nursing students, including different types of nursing jobs that are not limited to clinical settings. The list of potential careers for those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice range from government positions to academia, and can represent a significant salary increase for the skilled practitioner. Keep in mind that the sampling of nursing careers detailed below require students to put in a minimum of 500 clinical hours, as well as achieve their DNP degree and state certifications.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric nurse practitioners work alongside psychiatrists to treat and diagnose mental health disorders. Since psychiatric nurse practitioners often work directly with mentally ill patients, empathy and great communication skills are an essential part of the job description. Entry-level psychiatric nurse practitioners earn a starting salary of $97,000 per year on average, according to PayScale.

College or University Professor

Those with a passion for education may pursue becoming a professor. Professors have the opportunity to conduct research and share their findings, as well as prepare curriculums and advise nursing students. According to PayScale, the average salary for a college or university professor of nursing is $67,737 per year.

Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

A chief nursing officer (CNO) oversees nursing-related hospital operations. Duties may include managing staff, conducting treatment plans, creating budgets, making recommendations, and maintaining communication between hospital staff and the organization’s CEO. Chief nursing officers earn a starting salary of $113,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Health Care Organization CEO

CEOs of this type direct all operations of a hospital or health care organization. They work directly with company stakeholders and hospital representatives to achieve financial objectives as well as have final say in hospital administration decisions. According to the PayScale, hospital CEOs can earn an average salary between $187,500, depending on the size and location of their organization.

Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse midwife guides patients through the labor and birthing process. From family planning and prenatal care, to the delivery room and advising patients on newborn care, certified nurse midwives help patients through every step involved in welcoming their babies into the world. The average salary for an entry level certified nurse midwife is $85,000 according to PayScale.

Earning an advanced degree in nursing can provide students access to a whole catalog of personally and financially rewarding nursing careers. Maryville University’s nursing degrees can take you through every step of the process toward achieving your nursing education. Whether you are pursuing an RN, BSN, MSN, or DNP certification, the skilled educators at Maryville University are ready with all of the information you need to help you pursue your dream nursing career.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare Occupations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Midwives

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nursing Instructors and Teachers

Chron, The Average Salary of a CEO of a Large Hospital

Forbes, “Nurse Practitioner Demand Surges As Insurers Push Retail Care”

Glassdoor, Critical Care Nurse Salaries in United States

Glassdoor, Mental Health Practitioner Salaries

Glassdoor, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Glassdoor, Public Health Nurse Salaries in United States

Maryville University, Career Opportunities for Nurses: Opening Doors with a BSN

Maryville University, The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing – Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Maryville University, DNP Careers for Advanced Nurse Practitioners

Maryville University, Master of Science in Nursing Online

Maryville University, Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Maryville University, Online Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certification

National Human Genome Research Institute, Genetic Nurse

Nurse Practitioner Schools, Adult-Gerontology NP Salary

PayScale, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Salary

PayScale, Clinical Nurse Manager Salary

PayScale, Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary

PayScale, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary

Salary, Professor – Nursing in the United States