10 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs for MSNs

You can get a great job with a salary high enough to pay down your student loans and cover your other expenses with just a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but you can earn even more with your MSN. Also called a Master of Science in Nursing, this advanced degree can double your salary in the first few years after you graduate and increase the amount of opportunities available to you. Though it can take two years or longer to finish this type of degree, most programs and colleges will work around your already busy professional schedule. Before going back to school, check out the 10 highest paying nursing jobs for MSNs.

1. Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

As a nurse anesthetist, also called a CRNA, you’ll work directly with patients in the operating room and during surgical procedures. You usually need at least one year of experience in the nursing profession as well as a graduate degree, but those who work as medical anesthetists are doctors who need even more education and training. The outlook for this profession is quite high and expected to grow faster than average. A nurse anesthetist can make $150,000 or more in a single year.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Registered nurses generally complete a two-year program and have a license to practice in the state, but those working as nurse practitioners have much more experience. These nurses perform many of the same duties as a doctor, including ordering lab work, performing physical exams on patients, taking their medical histories and recommending treatments for patients. While you will need to spend at least two more years in school to earn your master’s degree, the median salary for nurse practitioners is more than $98,000 a year, which is significantly more than you can earn with a BSN.

3. Pain Management Nurse

Patients suffering from fibromyalgia experience chronic pain that can last for days at a time and pain that moves through their bodies. Pain management nurses often work with these patients and others struggling with pain. They use the orders issued by doctors to determine the amount of pain medication a patient receives, and they may work with those patients to teach them ways of monitoring and reducing their pain at home. Pain management nurses typically work in hospitals and clinics.

4. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric nurse practitioners also go by the name of mental health nurses because they work with patients suffering from mental health conditions and diseases. These conditions can include depression or anxiety as well as bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. A psychiatric nurse practitioner will work under the guidance of a doctor to both diagnose and treat these patients. Depending on where you want to work, you may need a PhD in nursing, which will require that you spend up to a full year or more working with psychiatric patients.

5. Nurse Midwife

As a nurse midwife, you have the chance to work with pregnant women and help them during their pregnancies and when they give birth, and some offer aftercare help for those women too. Once you obtain your MSN, you’ll need to take an examination that awards you certification once you pass. Many of the CNM programs available today help you meet all the requirements for taking that test before you graduate. With your certification, you can make an average salary of around $70,000 a year.

6. Informatics Nurse

One of the newer career opportunities open within the nursing profession today is something called nursing informatics. Sometimes called a nurse informatics specialist, this is someone who uses evidence gathered by other professionals to change the way medical facilities operate. Instead of working with patients, you’ll spend more time doing research on your own and looking at the research done by others. You can use that research to change the way nurses take patient histories in a hospital, the way a facility offers referrals to doctors or how quickly patients see doctors.

7. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Working as a clinical nurse specialist lets you work as a type of advance nurse who specializes in administration, nursing management or individual patient care. Many MSN programs now have a clinical nurse specialist concentration available that will help you pass your certification exam, and some of these programs help you gain more experience in your specialty area too. These nurses work in hospitals, for home care firms and in outpatient clinics. The median salary for these specialists is more than $62,000 a year.

8. Nurse Educator

After finishing your MSN, you can go back to school and work as a nurse educator to help foster the development of the next generation of nurses. Nurse educators use their own experiences to help students better understand what faces them in the future. They typically work from September to May or June and are responsible for creating lesson plans, evaluating the work students do in the field and advising students. Nursing educators can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

9. Neonatal Nurse

Not all infants born today are healthy, which is why neonatal nurses are so important. These men and women work with children born with medical conditions that makes survival difficult, including those born premature and those who are underweight at birth. In addition to working with those babies, they also work with parents and loved ones to update their families as to the children’s conditions. The National Association of Neonatal Nurses offers certification and resources for nurses working in this field.

10. Critical Care Nurse

If you appreciate the thrill and excitement of working in an emergency room setting, you might consider working as a critical care nurse. Critical care nurses work with patients in the midst of life-threatening situations, including those suffering from a heart attack or stroke. They must have good time management skills and the ability to think on their feet. Critical care nurses typically earn close to $100,000 a year, but the amount you can make will often depend on the need for these nurses in your area.

Related Resource: 10 Great Nursing Scholarships

Getting your MSN is the best way to increase your earnings and to help you land a job that is both rewarding a fulfilling. When you look at the 10 highest paying nursing jobs for MSNs, you can get a better idea of the opportunities out there and figure out which job in the nursing field is best for you.