10 Nursing Specialties That are Booming

By Caroline Ortiz - November 5, 2021

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses continues to rise. In addition, the call for specific nursing professions may be much higher depending on the specialty. If you are considering a nursing career, you should learn about the different nursing vocations that are now in great demand.

Certain specializations in the nursing field represent some of the fastest-growing healthcare jobs in the world. Consider these 10 nursing specialties in demand right now, along with the education requirement and average salary for each.

1. Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Nurse practitioners (also known as advanced practice nurses or APNs) hold, at a minimum, a master’s degree in nursing (MS or MSN) and board certification in their specialization. A pediatric NP, for example, has extensive education, abilities, and training in caring for infants, children, and teenagers.

The need for NPs is growing for a number of reasons, including an expanding senior population and the growth of retail clinics that often employ nurse practitioners. There are many other causes for this high demand, but two stand out — a growing physician shortage and, more pressing, uninsured Americans seeking access to health care. Those two factors leave many, especially the underserved and in rural areas, in need of primary care. Nurse practitioners can fill that role.

Nurse practitioners can perform many of the same tasks as a physician, including physical exams, ordering tests, and making diagnoses, along with developing and monitoring treatments. They also typically work under the supervision of a doctor, so one physician can treat more patients.

Education requirement: Master’s degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree (DNP).

Median annual wage: $117,670

2. Certified Dialysis Nurse

Dialysis nurses, also known as nephrology nurses, are trained to care for patients with renal illness. They assist individuals who require dialysis treatment, which eliminates toxins typically discharged by the renal system.

Dialysis nurses find employment in a variety of locations, including dialysis clinics, hospitals, and outpatient clinics. Many dialysis nurses travel to patient homes to deliver treatment, which is especially important in rural areas where patients may not have frequent access to hospitals or clinics. In addition, acute dialysis nurses work in intensive care units and other chronic care settings.

Education requirement: RN licensure plus a minimum of 2,000 hours experience working in nephrology, including two years prior to applying for the specialty. They must complete an additional 20 contact hours of continuing education in nephrology nursing from an approved program.

Median annual wage: $59,150 entry level

3. Diabetes Nurse

This is a nurse that works with patients diagnosed with diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as many as 34 million people in the U.S. may have diabetes.

A diabetes nurse teaches patients and family members how to control the condition with diet and medications and by monitoring blood sugar levels.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN), 500 hours in diabetes nursing, and Advanced Diabetes Management certification for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Median annual wage: $73,655

4. Critical Care Nurse (CCN)

CCNs give direct, hands-on care to critically ill or injured patients in pre-and post-operative medical settings. These healthcare professionals are responsible for weighing the risks and benefits of suggested medical interventions, providing life-saving care in emergencies, and nursing patients back to health.

They work in hospitals, intensive care units (ICUs), progressive care units, coronary care units, telemetry units, burn units, step-down units, nursing homes, hospices, outpatient clinics, and trauma center emergency departments. In addition, they can find employment in both private and governmental health care facilities.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN), two years on the job, and relevant certification.

Median annual wage: $77,143

5. Cardiac Nurse (Cardiac Care Nurse)

Cardiac nurses operate under the supervision of cardiologists and perform a variety of activities in the treatment of both acute and chronic heart diseases. For example, they employ defibrillators for patients with acute heart failures, such as heart attacks or cardiac arrest. Cardiac nurses may also aid surgeons with heart surgery.

Cardiac nurses may monitor and analyze heart problems in patients with chronic illnesses. They provide or assist with a variety of procedures, such as advanced cardiac life support or catheterization laboratories. Cardiac nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, intensive care units, medical clinics, and rehabilitative or long-term care facilities.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN) with at least 2 years of professional nursing experience. You must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience in cardiovascular care within the past 3 years and 30 hours of cardio-related continuing education within the last 3 years.

Median annual wage: $70,000

6. Travel Nurse

Travel nurses are registered nurses who temporarily work at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions worldwide. Travel nurses assist in filling gaps in regions where there is a nursing shortage.

Instead of working for a single hospital, they are employed by an independent nursing staffing service. This allows them to travel as far as another nation or work at local hospitals in need of temporary nurses.

Because of the nationwide nursing shortage, travel nursing is an intriguing career option for both full-time and part-time nurses. Even if a hospital or healthcare institution is fully staffed, seasonal shortages may occur as the local population varies or nurses take leave. As travel nurses, they get to work at a job they enjoy and see the country at the same time.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN).

Median annual wage: $76,360

7. Nurse-Midwife

In addition to supporting women during childbirth, a qualified nurse-midwife provides comprehensive care to women at many other phases of life. They perform physical examinations, diagnose, and treat medical ailments, and may even issue prescriptions in some cases. Nurse-midwives also provide advice and counseling to expectant mothers.

A certified nurse-midwife is a registered nurse qualified to provide treatment during the pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods. They can provide women a more low-tech approach to delivery by guiding them through safe, natural birth practices.

Education requirement: At least a Master of Nursing Science degree.

Median annual wage: $117,700

8. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists are nurses trained to deliver anesthesia, or pain-relieving treatments, to patients undergoing surgery or other medical operations. They are also known as certified registered nurse anesthetists or nurse anesthesiologists (CRNAs).

CRNAs provide anesthesia for surgeries ranging from minor procedures like ear tube installation to complex operations like hip replacement. They may also cover dental and cosmetic procedures. They give sedatives for medical procedures such as colonoscopies, which would otherwise be painful.

Education requirement: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

Median annual wage: $117,700

9. Legal Nurse Consultant

Legal nurse consultants research aspects of nursing and medical malpractice and many other areas of health care claims, such as worker compensation and product liability. Some legal nurse consultants specialize in a single area of practice, such as obstetrical nursing malpractice.

Legal nurse consultants work in a variety of settings, including private consulting, law firms, solo legal practices, insurance corporations, and health care organizations. They may also work in risk management in health care organizations.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN). They may also take additional courses to become certified as a legal consultant.

Median annual wage: $78,070

10. Nurse Case Manager

A case manager is a trained Registered Nurse (RN) who collaborates with patients and providers to assess the type of care needed and the best options for that care. Case managers guarantee that the patient receives quality medical care by collaborating with multiple disciplines.

Because the needs of the patients differ based on their underlying chronic health condition, each patient’s case is examined individually. Case Managers serve as patient advocates, ensuring that the patient’s needs are handled effectively and promptly.

Working with those who require continuing medical care, RN case managers monitor their long-term care plan and create rich, fulfilling connections with these patients.

Case management nurses are frequently found in traditional healthcare settings such as hospitals and managed care facilities. Still, they can also be found in government-sponsored programs, home health agencies, private medical offices, and outpatient facilities.

Education requirement: A nursing degree (ASN, BSN, or MSN).

Median annual wage: $73,300

This is just a handful of specialties available to nursing graduates. If you are interested in learning more about the online nursing degree program offered at Pacific College of Health and Science, visit admissions or contact us today.

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Caroline Ortiz

Caroline E. Ortiz is a board-certified nurse coach and an associate professor in the Pacific College of Health and Science’s Holistic Nursing Programs. She has developed holistic health programs for healthcare providers and general audiences, participated in clinical research of integrative medicine, and created a Spanish-language guided meditation library for Health Journeys. She is active with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses-NY Chapter and the Integrative Health Project’s work in Guatemala. Caroline is also a curandera (f., traditional healer) apprentice and curanderismo (traditional medicine of Mesoamerican roots) researcher.

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