Career & Finances | Finances

Top 10 Best Paying Nursing Jobs: 2022 Projections

  • Looking to make a career change in the next year?
  • Wondering what your current nursing specialty and its salary are going to be for 2022?
  • Check out our 2022 projections and the current, top 10 best paying nursing jobs!

*All salary information was collected from ZipRecruiter national data and was updated as of Oct. 19, 2021. Please note that each salary range will vary from state-to-state.

NCC News & Content Team

October 29, 2021
Simmons University

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $171,340

A CRNA is not only one of the best paying nursing jobs in the U.S., but also, one of the most sought after for 2022! 

As the first healthcare provider solely dedicated to the administration of anesthesia, the role of a CRNA is invaluable in modern medicine and nursing.  

Although the road to earning this certification can seem quite long, the autonomy, expertise as an advanced practice provider, and salary make it one of the most competitive specialties in nursing! 

2. Labor and Delivery – $171,340

From monitoring an expecting mother’s progress and vital signs to aiding in inducing labor and coaching throughout labor, the role of an L&D nurse is irreplaceable and always in high demand.  

In most cases, L&D nurses will assist an OB/GYN or certified nurse-midwife (CNM) with any tasks that pertain to the health and well-being of the mother and her baby.  

It is important to note that this average salary will vary on both the state and type of facility in which the L&D nurse works in. 

nurse practitioner with patient

3. Nurse Practitioner (NP) – $109,025

An NP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) that focuses on diagnosing, treating, preventing, and managing health conditions.  

This role allows a clinician many opportunities to specialize in whatever field they choose, and the salary for each can vary. A few examples include: 

  • Psychiatric ($123,607)  
  • Family ($105,898)  
  • Pediatric ($105,395) 
  • Geriatric ($172,645) 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage of healthcare providers has significantly worsened, and the need for clinicians with prescriptive authority has increased; creating more autonomous opportunities for NPs to join the field and practice! 

With that being said, an NP role is also one of the most sought-after and best paying nursing jobs for 2022.  

4. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) – $106,407

A CNS is an advanced clinician that can specialize in various areas of nursing, and will play a vital role in both healthcare delivery methods and advocation for organizational changes.  

As healthcare facilities nationwide continue to explore methods of providing efficient and effective care amidst the significant staffing shortages, it is evident that this career will become highly-desirable over the next year! 

nurse informaticist

5. Nurse Informaticist – $102,230

This beyond the bedside career has the ability to influence healthcare institutions and the way in which care is delivered through deep analyzations of patient and provider data.  

Nurse informaticists not only have bedside nursing expertise, but also possess an ability to monitor and analyze data from multiple healthcare technologies at once.  

The overarching goal for this career in nursing is to work with administrators and the healthcare team to establish efficient, effective, and safe protocols that both benefit the patient and providers within a facility. 

6. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – $101,727

A NICU nurse is responsible for providing care to infants with various illnesses, diseases, and birth defects.  

This career is not for the faint-hearted, however, the gratification of discharging patients to begin their lives with their families seems immeasurable.  

As this position has been one of the best paying nursing jobs for many years, interest in this field continues to grow every year, and the interviewing process for open positions has become increasingly challenging, so preparation is essential in landing a NICU nurse role.  

nurse midwife in training

7. Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) – $100,932

The role of a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is essential for enhancing maternity and family planning care experiences. 

Frontier Nursing University outlines the main focuses of a CNM being: 

  • Gynecologic and family planning services 
  • Preconception, 
  • Pregnancy, 
  • Childbirth, 
  • Postpartum, 
  • Newborn care 

CNMs often are confused with OB-GYNs, however, they share many of the same duties and responsibilities when it comes to women’s health and pregnancy care.  

Of course, the salary alone is attention-grabbing, so if this is a career you are interested in learning more about, be sure to do your research on what requirements and certifications you may need to practice in your state! 

8. Pain Management – $100,523

A pain management RN is responsible for offering care and education to patients with acute or chronic pain.  

According to researchers with The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, over 20% of Americans reported living with chronic pain, and this number is continuing to increase each year; therefore, the need for more pain management providers will increase concurrently.  

ICU nurse with patient

9. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) – $95,000

The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example that highlights the necessity of ICU nurses. 

Now more than ever before, healthcare institutions have experienced tremendous influxes of severely ill patients and the ability to stay afloat has been an uphill battle.  

ICU nurses are an invaluable asset to the continuity of care with critically ill patients. From performing various assessments in one sitting, assisting staff in various patient care delivery methods, and maintaining a sense of calmness during even the most high-stress situations, it is evident that ICU nurses are going non-stop.  

As the need for more nurses in the ICU continues to rise, the pay does as well, resulting in this career being one of the best-paying nursing jobs for 2022.  

10. Medical-Surgical – $86,567

Med-surg is the largest specialty in the nursing profession, accounting for one-sixth of all currently-practicing nurses in the U.S.  

From hospitals, private practices, surgical centers, and more, there are countless opportunities for a nurse who is looking to pursue a med-surg career.  

The role of a nurse in this field revolves around providing bedside care during both pre- and post-op surgical procedures, educating patients regarding upcoming procedures, and monitoring vital signs and any potential adverse drug reactions. 

Along with any required certifications that vary state-to-state, med-surg nursing is one of the best paying nursing jobs that solely requires an RN degree.  

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