If there was ever a time the United States needed more nurses, it's now. The latest forecasts received Dec. 30 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest as many as 21,000 new confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions by Jan. 25. As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, the country faces significant nurse and doctor shortages, with demand for travel nurses climbing 44% between November and December 2020. While Health Affairs reports some immediate steps to help fill the COVID-19 nurse gap, the ultimate resolution is for more nurses to enter the workforce.
Nursing roles are as diverse in pay as in specialty, with primary and preventative nurses often obtaining specializations in a wide variety of fields that includes nurse-midwives, flight nurses, and correctional facility nurses. The American Association of the College of Nurses (AACN) health care employers prefer nurses with a bachelor's degree or a minimum associate's degree.
NursingEducation.org used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (May 2019 data released in March 2020) to compile a ranked list of the seven highest-paid nursing roles in the United States based on average annual salaries. For each occupation, the U.S. average annual and hourly wages are provided, as well as 2019 employment numbers, and which states pay workers in this profession the most based on state average salary.
The American Association of the College of Nurses (AACN) anticipates more than 200,000 newly registered nurse roles forming annually between 2016–2026. The industry growth, which is faster than most occupations, is based on nurses' needs in acute and community settings.
Keep reading to see which nursing roles command the highest salaries.