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30 Types of Nurses Employers are Hiring Right Now

30 Types of Nurses Employers are Hiring in 2020

Nursing is a popular choice for those wishing to enter the medical field with flexibility for schooling, salary, and work environment. 

Many aspiring nurses search for the best nursing jobs based on their unique interests, level of training, and expertise. As nurses continue to be in high-demand, you can prepare now for a role that’s perfect for your individual skills and passions. 

In addition to offering definitions about each type of nursing role, this guide will showcase the existing data and hiring projections for different specialities. This data will help you form realistic expectations while developing a life-changing career in nursing.

Different Types of Nursing Jobs and Salaries

Employment and medical data from 2019 illustrate a shortage in qualified nursing professionals. As a result, nursing students have the opportunity to explore many fulfilling roles that come with high-quality benefits and lucrative salaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 12 percent through 2028, which is much higher than most careers. Additionally, the number of available nursing jobs in 2018 was over 3 million, with the median salary of a full-time nurse being $73,000 in 2019.

Data for the following section was compiled from sources like the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional nursing organizations, and accredited schools and universities. 

30 Most In-Demand Nursing Jobs

The following list includes the most in-demand nursing positions available, along with salary information, job growth projections, and more. What’s important is that you choose the career that speaks to your unique interests and fits your desired level of education. 

1. Registered Nurse (RN)

RN's sitting around laptop discussing


A Registered Nurse (RN) is one of the most widely-recognized types of nurses.

There are several educational pathways to this role, including a minimum of a diploma in nursing, or an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, but more and more employers are requiring a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

These programs include classroom and practical training. RNs can serve in medical offices, hospitals, care facilities, and in many other locations. 

Additionally, candidates must register for and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become certified. 

This is the standardized test in all 50 states, and those seeking to become a RN must successfully pass.

The NCLEX-RN test is graded on a Pass/Fail scale.  A score of 0.00 logits is required to pass the exam.  A logit is a unit of measurement used to report relative differences between item difficulty and candidate ability.

Credential Requirements: RN license + NCLEX-RN passed test

Relevant Certifications: Not required, based on speciality fields

Expected Job Growth: Faster than average

Salary Range: Varies locally, $23-$36/hour, and up to $70,000/year

2. Cardiac Nurse

A cardiac care nurse typically has an advanced degree and works with patients who have heart conditions or disease. These nurses can combine continuing education credits and/or work experience to receive the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification to advance in their speciality.  

Eligibility Requirements: RN license plus work experience

Relevant Certifications: Board certification in cardiac care available

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $51,000-$121,000/year

3. Critical Care Nurse

Critical Care Nurses provide intervention and support to some of the most sick or unstable patients. In a hospital setting, these nurses often work in the ICU and must have RN certification as well as an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Nursing. 

Additionally, candidates are required to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Although not required, it is also recommended to have 1-2 years of nursing experience before working as a Critical Care Nurse. Salaries vary based on state and hospital system.

Education Requirements: Associate OR Bachelor Degree in Nursing

Credential Requirements: RN license plus Pediatric Advanced Life Support and/or Certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support

Recommended: 1-2 years nursing experience

Relevant Certifications: State licensure

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: Median salary of $71,000/year

4. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

A CNS is an advanced role with leadership responsibilities. Clinical Nurse Specialists are considered Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) because of their graduate level education credentials. 

CNS’s specialize in a specific area of focus.  These areas of specialization include: patient population, medical setting, type of disease, type of patient care needed, and type of patient problem.

If you are a CNS, you might oversee specific care systems to suggest improvements and professional insight. A CNS might also provide expert-level knowledge on a given medical issue. 

It is important to note that CNSs have varying powers and recognition in different states.  A full breakdown of the scope of practice for CNSs can be found here.

Education Requirements: Master’s Degree in Nursing

Credential Requirements: RN license plus 500 supervised clinical hours in specialization area

Expected Job Growth: 26% projected

Relevant Certifications: Completed clinical hours required

Salary Range: Average of $96,000-$117,000/year

5. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

A CRNA aids in the anesthesia process before surgical procedures. Regardless of practice setting, a CRNA administers anesthesia in all rural hospitals, as well as to the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Due to extensive training and certification, this role is reported to be one of the most lucrative in nursing. 

Education Requirements: Master’s or Doctoral (based on hospital and location)

Certification Requirements: RN licensure as prerequisite, NBCRNA certification

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase 

Salary Range: Median salary $157,000-$218,000/year

6. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

A FNP must obtain a higher degree and specialized training in order to serve patients in a family practice setting. If you enjoy working with both children and adults, this category provides flexibility in the type of patients and medical issues you treat.

Education Requirements: MSN

Relevant Certifications: RN licensure plus AANP or ANCC certification

Expected Job Growth: Projected to grow 19% above average

Salary Range: $94,000-$127,00/year

7. ER Nurse

ER nurses work in the Emergency Room at most major hospitals. While some two-year ADN degrees are accepted, many positions require a BSN. Due to the intense nature of an ER setting, these nurses should be able to handle unexpected problems while remaining calm, practical, and direct.

Education Requirements: ADN to BSN

Relevant Certifications: Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) available

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $86,000-$111,000/year, varies by location

8. Geriatric Nurse

Nurse guiding elderly man with walker

A geriatric nurse treats elderly patients. Aging patients may have a variety of medical needs, which can include administering routine medications or providing more acute care for disease.

Education Requirements: RN Licensure

Additional Certifications: RN-BC

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $58,000-$92,000/year

9. Public Health Nurse

A public health nurse works in a community (federal, state, or community level)  to provide insight, education, and large-scale medical decisions.

If you are passionate about promoting community wellness, this role could offer substantial personal challenges and growth opportunities.

Education Requirements: M.S. in speciality area

Relevant Certifications: Available for renewal every 5 years via American Nurses Credentialing Center

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $55,000-$72,000/year

10. Travel Nurse

Traveling nurses help hospitals fill the gaps in short-term staffing. Travel nurses often go where their specialized skills are most needed, and many choose this route to broaden their connections or advance their career. 

Education Requirements: ADN or BSN

Relevant Certifications: State licensure

Expected Job Growth: Continued growth

Salary Range: Average of $3,000/week, up to $100,000/year

11. Orthopedic Nurse

Many large hospitals prefer that orthopedic nurses hold at least a BSN in order to meet the demands of addressing problems related to bones, the musculoskeletal system, and chronic conditions. Orthopedic nurses assist with diagnosis, casting, and surgeries.

Education Requirements: Diploma, ADN, or BSN

Relevant Certifications: Available through the Orthopedic Nursing Certification Board

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase alongside RN job demand

Salary Range: $98,000-$126,000

12. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

While there are different types of nurse practitioners. In this role, you’ll help with basic medical care in long-term facilities or hospitals. An LPN gets hands-on experience collecting samples, taking vitals, and performing routine care.

Education Requirements: LPN diploma, completed training program

Relevant Certifications: Voluntary through professional associations

Expected Job Growth: Needs are expected to increase

Salary Range: $37,000-$69,000/year

13. Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A NP is licensed for specialized care in a specific setting such as family medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, etc. Because of an increasing need for primary care doctors, NPs can fill a unique role and meet a growing demand. NPs treat the whole person through holistic medical diagnosis, advice, and care. 

Education Requirements: MSN

Relevant Certifications: RN licensure plus certification as an NP

Expected Job Growth: Projected to grow 19% above average

Salary Range: $94,000-$127,00/year

14. ICU Registered Nurse

Female Nurse getting putting on mask and hair covering

An ICU Registered Nurse (RN) works with the most urgent or critical cases in a hospital. This may involve assisting in emergency surgeries, life-saving interventions, and patient monitoring.

Education Requirements: Minimum of ADN

Relevant Certifications: State licensure

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $61,000-$81,000/year, higher by location

15. Medical-Surgical Nurse

Often referred to as “Med-Surg,” these nurses can fulfill a number of different roles and responsibilities within a hospital environment. Most nurses in this role help treat a wide variety of conditions and ailments, which makes it a great way to discover a speciality or niche.

Education Requirements: Varies–certificate, ADN, BSN

Relevant Certifications: Optional Medical-Surgical Nursing Certificate

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $63,000-$120,000/year, dependent on state

16. Oncology Nurse

Oncology nurses assist in the treatment and care of cancer patients. Both the career outlook and average salary level are very promising, but this particular field can be challenging physically and emotionally. Oncology nurses have high interaction with patients and families.

Education Requirements: RN Licensure, Minimum of ADN

Relevant Certifications: Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), various pediatric certificates

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase alongside RNs

Salary Range: $60,000-$90,000/year

17. OR Nurse

Operating Room (OR) nurses help manage surgical procedures. Additional training may be required to prepare for emergencies, sterilization, discharge methods, and other interventions. 

Education Requirements: ADN, or BSN preferred

Relevant Certifications: State licensure plus individual certifications found here

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase alongside RNs

Salary Range: $62,000-$93,000/year


18. Nursing Administrator

Nurse Administrator talking on the phone

As a nursing administrator, you’ll likely have several years of experience and advanced educational training. Administrators provide leadership and management to a team of nurses.

Education Requirements: BSN required, MSN highly recommended

Relevant Certifications: Optional administration certifications

Expected Job Growth: Projected 18% increase for nurse service managers

Salary Range: $81,000-$138,000/year

19. Home Health Nurse

The demand for home health nurses is continuously growing, which makes this a great option if you prefer travel, variety, being mobile, and/or treating patients in their homes. 

Patients who require home health care could be suffering from a terminal illness, disabled, or recovering from a surgical procedure. 

Home Health Nurses have the opportunity to work one-on-one with their patients and develop a more personal relationship with those they serve. Pay ranges vary based on experience, training, and company. 

Education Requirements: LPN or LVN, at minimum

Relevant Certifications: State licensure

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase 

Salary Range: $45,000-$75,000

20. PACU Nurse

A post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse serves in the post-anesthesia care unit to help patients recover from surgeries and outpatient procedures. These nurses are specially trained to deal with side effects, unexpected events, and emergency situations. 

Credential Requirements: RN Licensure plus 1,200 hours of direct perianesthesia clinical experience

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase alongside RNs

Salary Range: $77,000-$97,000/year

21. Nurse Midwife

Nurse midwives specialize in maternity care and childbirth. Most midwives hold advanced degrees and certifications, and they may work independently or at major hospitals depending on the rules of practice. This role offers women an alternative to a traditional OB-GYN experience.

Education Requirements: MSN or higher

Relevant Certifications: Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME)

Expected Job Growth: 21% projected increase for all nurse midwives

Salary Range: $95,000-$127,000/year

22. Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

As mentioned above, a CNS specializes in large-scale health settings. For psychiatry, a CNS may have advanced training with anxiety, depression, grief, and other emotional or mental illnesses. With a growing need for mental health care, a CNS provides expert-level guidance. 

Education Requirements: MSN or higher

Relevant Certifications: 2 years of practice as a full-time registered nurse, 2000 hours clinical practice in psychiatric nurse-mental health nursing within 3 years, and 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric mental-health nursing within 3 years

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase with CNS roles

Salary Range: Average of $96,000-$117,000/year

23. Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A nursing aide or assistant typically helps with duties like dressing, grooming, eating, and exercising. This job role requires a more basic level of education, and many nurses begin their careers at this level while pursuing additional advanced training.

Education Requirements: Diploma or training program at minimum

Relevant Certifications: Dependent on state requirements

Expected Job Growth: Projected increase, although not as high as other nursing fields

Salary Range: $25,000-$38,000/year

24. Mental Health Nurse

With an increase in mental health services, this nursing category is promising for those who want to serve patients suffering from mental health issues. These nurses may need advanced training in areas like suicide prevention, psychiatric diagnoses, and medication.

Education Requirements: Licensure minimum or Advanced degree in Psychiatric NP

Relevant Certifications: 2 years of practice as a full-time registered nurse, 2000 hours clinical practice in psychiatric nurse-mental health nursing within 3 years, and 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric mental-health nursing within 3 years plus Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (Optional)

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase alongside RNs

Salary Range: $39,000-$52,000/year

25. Nurse Manager

A Nurse Manager is a supervisor for the nursing staff at a hospital or facility. This role requires knowledge and advanced training for case management, budgeting, recruitment, and other organizational responsibilities. As such, Nurse Managers often have higher salary levels.

Education Requirements: BSN to MSN

Relevant Certifications: Optional continuing education opportunities

Expected Job Growth: Projected increase

Salary Range: $73,000-$93,000/year

26. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse

NICU nurses provide around-the-clock care to premature or at-risk newborns. This requires at least a BSN, additional training, and knowledge of hospital protocols. There are several professional associations for NICU nurses to join in order to grow in their professional knowledge and sense of community.

Education Requirements: ADN to MSN, or BSN plus RN licensure

Relevant Certifications: Neonatal Resuscitation and/or Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Certifications plus optional neonatal training available

Expected Job Growth: Expected to increase in hospital settings

Salary Range: Varies by state, average of $71,000/year

27. Cardiovascular Nurse

A cardiovascular nurse often works alongside a certified cardiologist to provide care and testing for patients with heart disease. The salary range falls in line with other nursing roles, with some opportunities for higher pay and advancement depending on location and physician. 

Education Requirements: RN licensure at minimum, BSN is recommended

Relevant Certifications: Board certification in cardiac care

Expected Job Growth: Projected to increase

Salary Range: $51,000-$121,000/year

28. Radiology Nurse

A medical imaging or radiology nurse is specially trained to assist with diagnostic testing and imaging procedures for patients. Common diagnostic testing procedures include MRIs, ultrasounds, CT Scans, and x-rays.

Some radiology nurses also administer radiation treatment, but additional certification and credentials are required.

The difference between a radiology nurse and a radiology technician comes down to imaging, as that is the only thing radiology technicians are licnesed to do. The role of a radiology nurse  is usually beyond that of a radiology technician, who may have less general medical training. 

Education Requirements: ADN to MSN, depending on level of role

Relevant Certifications: State licensure plus ARIN licensure

Expected Job Growth: Expected to increase

Salary Range: National median salary of $65,000

29. School Nurse

School nurses are employed to help school-age children during the course of the normal academic year. They may provide quick diagnoses, health screenings for sports, or basic care for wounds and injuries. Education requirements vary by state.

Education Requirements: Minimum BSN

Relevant Certifications: Clinical experience, may vary by school district

Expected Job Growth: Projected increase alongside RNs

Salary Range: $31,000-$76,000, varies by district

30. Nurse Educator

Nurse educators may be current or retired nurses who help teach the next cohort of students about nursing and medicine. Most positions require advanced training and graduate degrees.

Education Requirements: MSN, or upper-level degree

Relevant Certifications: Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) or Clinical Nurse Educator (CNEcl) 

Expected Job Growth: Expected to grow, dependent on location

Salary Range: $82,000-$110,000/year

Which Nursing Job is Right for You?

With the above list in mind, we hope that you understand the extent to which nurses can use their knowledge to meet a variety of needs.

It’s important to choose a nursing role that not only aligns with your strengths, but that also allows you to resonate with the work you perform daily.

For more information on how to jump start your nursing career this year, explore Labouré College's Nursing Programs

Request more information today to take the first steps toward a rewarding nursing career!

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