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20 Exciting Career Paths With a Masters in Nursing

If in the search for a master’s in nursing, students can come across many questions such as how long will it take and which states have the most job demands? However, those wondering what happens when the degree is earned may be surprised to learn of all the career options available to them as well.

For those who think that the only option is to work for a hospital, doctor, or nursing home, they are selling themselves short. Although many jobs in nursing can take that path, there is far more to a future in nursing than the usual nurses we see and hear about. To prove it, we have listed 20 exciting career paths with a master’s in nursing below. Some of them are far outside the box-of-nursing and can even pay past the six-figure mark.

Exciting High Paying Career Paths With a Masters in Nursing

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
    They work mostly alongside surgeons in operating rooms. However, there is an increased need for qualified CRNAs in labor and delivery units and other areas of anesthesia. Although pay differs by area, practice, location, etc., the average salary range for a certified registered nurse anesthetist is from $110,000 to $200,000 and even more as they gain experience according to the Anesthesia Zone.
  2. Chief Nursing Officer
    Be the CEO of your nursing department with this job. A graduate degree and loads of experience is usually required. However, the salary can range from $71,425 all the way to $183,009 per year according to Payscale.
  3. Nurse Researcher
    Use your love of science and nursing to get to this career path. Nurse researchers are scientists who study various aspects of health, illness, and health care. The salary range can be from $95,000 to $100,000 per year according to Explore Health Careers.
  4. Nurse Practitioner
    With a license, master’s degree, and certification often required of nurse practitioners, it is one of the most well-known career paths. And there are many areas of practice available for NPs. But as reported on by Paul Levesque, one of the best paying is the psychiatric and psychological nurse practitioner at $95,000 a year in average salary.
  5. Clinical Nurse Specialist
    The main role a CNS plays in hospitals is to increase patient outcomes, lower the length of stays, and decrease the costs of care. They receive advanced training which can help reduce mistakes and deliver precise care. As reported on by Harry’s Smart Deals, the average salary for a Clinical Nurse Specialist is about $90,000 a year.
  6. Legal Nurse Consultant
    Vickie L. Milazzo is an LNC and has been a pioneer of the practice since 1982. These nurses are used in medical cases for their expertise, to explain medical items to the court, etc. With hourly fees ranging well past $50, this can also be one of the best paying career paths with a master’s in nursing.
  7. Nurse Consultant
    Use your skills outside of the legal realm in this nurse consultant career. They advise hospitals, schools of nursing, industrial organizations, or public health groups on problems related to nursing activities and health services. Average annual pay is $87,760 but can range well past the $100,000 mark for those with the right experience.
  8. Director of Nursing
    This director fills the void between chief nurse officers and unit based managers. According to eHow, the average pay for this director can be from $54,953 to $75,354 per year for the very first year. Those with more experience can earn much more and bonuses can also come in to play in this career path.
  9. Nurse Manager
    They work for private companies, clinics, research facilities, and large hospitals in support of other directors and administrators. The average salary for all nurse managers from those just starting out to those with loads of experience is $82,000 per year.
  10. Union Nurse
    Do you live somewhere where there is a union for nurses? The pay can be much better. According to Dr. Salary, aka Dr. Al Lee, a non-union nurse in Michigan makes an average salary of $45,438, while union nurses in the same area make about $60,000.

Other Exciting Career Paths With a Masters in Nursing

  1. Camp Nurse
    Students attending summer camps and the like are often looked after by nurses. Check out the Association of Camp Nurses to learn more about a career as a camp nurse. You can also use the site to fund jobs in the U.S. and beyond, as well as other resources.
  2. School Nurse
    If being nurse to kids only for a summer isn’t enough, check out this career. Schools also have nurses on staff full time. Nurse Nancy is such a person and has more on the career in her blog.
  3. Correctional Nurse
    Think the above career paths are tough? Then learn more about a nursing career in prison. This blog entry by Corrections.com details the everyday duties and risks of being a correctional nurse.
  4. Nurse Ethicist
    Combine the role of nurse and philosopher in this career. Nurse ethicists help define standards and practices for nurses. This is a profile of Douglas P. Olsen, a real life nurse ethicist for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  5. Nurse Mentor
    Although it is a volunteer opportunity, nurse mentors can help students and those just starting out in a career by sharing their expertise. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a program for both mentor nurses and students who would like to be paired up with one. They also have an essay contest that is related.
  6. Forensic Nurse
    When you hear about this career path, you think of shows like CSI. Kathleen is an actual forensic nurse and blogs all about the career and what it is really like. She also has entries on her blog on forensic nurse items in the news.
  7. Patient Advocate
    If your focus is patient care, why not check out this career path? The patient advocate strives to improve the health of individual patients by functioning as a liaison for patients and healthcare providers. Karen Mercereau is an actual nurse patient advocate and writes all about her career here.
  8. Missionary Nurse
    If you have a spiritual call to be a nurse, check out this career path. Allison of Nurse Missionary Blog is an operating room nurse who has a passion to serve those in need. Read about her previous missions, as well as her new one in Sierra Leone.
  9. Military Nurse
    Those who want to serve their country as a nurse can look into this career. Beth is an actual military nurse and shares all about it on her blog. There are even military programs that can help you pay for an education in nursing.
  10. Travel Nurse
    No matter what your nursing specialty is, chances are they need it somewhere else. This nurse career path has nurses going where they are needed most and on a temporary basis. Check out this blog from Mark, who has loads of tips for travel nurses.

And the above 20 exciting career paths with a master’s in nursing are just some of the careers and salaries available.

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