What Nursing Careers are the Most In-Demand?

It’s no secret that nursing is a hot career, even though many nursing programs have strict requirements for entry. The demand for nurses overall through the year 2026 is expected to be greater than the supply, meaning that competent graduates will have their choice of lucrative positions with a good salary.

For some of the most in-demand nursing careers, the pay is even greater. If you’re thinking about nursing, look to these five specialties to find some of the best career choices.

Certified Nurse Anesthetist

Nurses who administer anesthesia to patients under the supervision of an anesthesiologist are in the highest demand and also have the highest annual salary at approximately $135,000 annually, as noted by Nurse.org. Individuals interested in this career should pursue a master’s degree. Nurse anesthetists commonly work with surgeons, dentists and podiatrists and help oversee that anesthesia is administered safely.

Gerontological Nurse Practicitioner

With the number of baby boomers entering retirement age, becoming a gerontological nurse practitioner is a wise career choice. Older patients have unique health care needs that require specialization. Obtaining a certification in this specialty helps prepare nurses to work with specialized care for arthritis, heart conditions, decreased mobility, dementia and other issues experienced by an aging population. These nurses can work in a variety of settings including hospitals and home-based care.

Certified Nurse Midwife

For nurses who love to help deliver babies, becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife is an ideal career path. These specialized nurses provide obstetric care, family planning and postnatal care to female patients who have uncomplicated pregnancies. A Master of Science degree is necessary along with passing an exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Most work in OB/GYN clinics or offices as well as hospitals, but some midwives also open their own practices. Growth outlook is excellent, with demand expected to increase by 29 percent by 2022.

Critical Care Nurse

One of the most-in-demand specialities affecting by the current nursing shortage is critical care nurses. Critical care encompasses a number of subspecialties such as pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, adult intensive care units, emergency rooms and post-surgical care. These are high-stress jobs, so candidates should make sure they can handle pressure well and be able to think quickly on their feet. Critical care nurses must first become regular nurses first and work a required number of hours before applying for this designation. Individuals interested in this specialty need to pass the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) exam.

Pain Management Nurse

Pain management is a relatively new specialty that helps patients find ways to cope with chronic pain as well as pain after surgery. These nurses also educating patients about addiction and dependence on prescription medications. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation and nursing center and generalized practices. Candidates must pass a specialized licensing exam.

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Specialized nursing careers are ideal for students who want a more involved career in medicine, but don’t want to become medical doctors. Students who want to pursue the most in-demand nursing careers should earn an advanced degree to become successful in their chosen field.