As a registered nurse, you have a wide array of career opportunities at your disposal. If you’re especially ambitious and would like to command higher pay and be eligible for more advanced positions, however, earning a Master’s of Nursing degree is the way to go. According to Nurse Journal, the concentration that you select will heavily impact your future career, so be sure to choose wisely by familiarizing yourself with the most popular options.
1. Family Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners have many of the same job duties as physicians. They largely work on their own, but many work under the supervision of physicians and others. In addition to being able to make diagnoses and develop treatment plans, nurse practitioners in many states are able to prescribe medication. Family nurse practitioners provide community-based health care to families, so they work with everyone from infants to the elderly. More than 205,000 family nurse practitioners practice in the U.S., and their average yearly salary is around $85,000.
2. Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
If you enjoy working with the elderly, earning a master’s in nursing with a concentration in gerontology is a great option. Gerontology nurse practitioners enjoy exceptional job security as the elderly population in the U.S. continues to skyrocket. These health care professionals are highly trained regarding topics like the effects of aging on the body and mind, so they are uniquely capable of assisting elderly patients with all manner of health-related issues. These advanced practice nurses earn around $94,500 per year, so compensation is exceptional too.
3. Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists prepare patients for surgery, administer anesthesia and assist doctors and other nurses during surgical procedures. They are employed everywhere from hospitals to specialty practices to ERs, and they also spend a lot of their time educating patients and their families about surgical procedures and aftercare. More than 36,000 nurse anesthetists work in the United States, and they command an average annual salary of around $95,000. If you enjoy working in fast-paced environments and want to work closely with patients, this could be the concentration for you.
4. Nurse Midwife
By opting for a concentration in midwifery, you can become a certified nurse midwife and enjoy many of the same responsibilities as OB/GYN physicians. Indeed, you will work closely with OG/GYN doctors and nurses to provide care to pregnant women and newborns. Nurse midwives assist during deliveries and throughout the postpartum period, ensuring that new moms and their infants are healthy and happy. Most work in hospitals, but some work in private practices. There are around 12,600 certified nurse midwives, or CNMs, in the United States, and they earn around $92,000 per year.
5. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
If you are interested in the field of mental health, earning a master’s of nursing with a concentration for psychiatric nurse practitioner may be a viable option. This will qualify you for employment as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, which means that you will have many of the same responsibilities and duties as psychiatrists. Psychiatric nurse practitioners diagnose and treat mental illnesses. In many states, they also prescribe medication to those who are suffering from mental health conditions. These professionals counsel and educate patients to help them overcome a wide array of issues. With an average yearly salary of $91,000, they are also very well-compensated.
Related Resource: 50 Best Online Masters Degree Programs 2015
Your Master of Nursing degree will take you far, but to make the most out of it, make sure to give plenty of thought to your long-term goals. By doing so, you will have an easier time choosing a concentration that suits your career objectives now and in the future.