INFOGRAPHIC: 20 Types of Nurses Including Job Descriptions & Salary

Nursing is the fastest-growing profession in healthcare. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), nurses represent more than one-third of healthcare workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) estimated that there were 2.98 million registered nursing jobs in 2019. From 2018 through 2028, BLS estimated the field would grow by 12%, adding more than 370,000 positions, with opportunities to pursue more than 100 specialties ranging from school or camp nurse to cardiac care.

So many options can leave new nurses wondering which specialty is right for them. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 types of nurses employers are looking to hire, including information on salary, growth potential and required nursing degrees.

1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)NursingInfographicCNA

  • 2019 Median Salary: $29,660
  • New Jobs by 2028: 135,400
  • Education Required: State-approved education program, on-the-job training
  • Location: Nursing care facilities, hospitals and long-term care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Monitor vital signs, bathe and dress patients and assist with their repositioning and walking

2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

  • 2019 Median Salary: $47,480
  • New Jobs by 2028: 78,100
  • Education Required: Certificate/Diploma in approved educational program, often found in technical schools and community colleges
  • Location: Nursing care facilities, hospitals, physician offices, home healthcare
  • Responsibilities: Change bandages, monitor blood pressure, collect blood and urine samples and address patient concerns to RNs and doctors

3. Registered Nurse (RN)


  • 2019 Median Salary: $73,300
  • New Jobs by 2028: 371,500
  • Education Required: Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Location: Hospitals, ambulatory care services, nursing care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Assess patients, administer medications and treatments, assist in diagnostic testing and provide emotional support and health education to patients and their families

4. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)


  • 2019 Median Salary: $115,000
  • New Jobs by 2028: 62,000
  • Education Required: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Location: Physician offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers
  • Responsibilities: Diagnose patients, manage treatments, order tests and prescribe medications

5. Clinical Nurse Leader


  • Average Salary: $80,453
  • Education Required: MSN
  • Responsibilities: Improve patient care plans by working with social workers, doctors, nurse specialists and pharmacists, and occasionally provide bedside care to patients

6. Nurse Practitioner


  • 2019 Median Salary: $109,820
  • Education Required: MSN or a master’s degree in a specialty role
  • New Jobs by 2028: 53,300
  • Location: Physician offices, hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Examine patients, diagnose health problems, analyze test results and administer medicine and treatments

7. Nurse Educator


  • Average Salary: $75,695
  • Education Required: MSN, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Location: Academic settings, clinics, hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Develop continuing education programs, facilitate training, provide educational resources to staff and design educational initiatives to improve patient care

8. Informatics Nurse


  • Average salary: $77, 912
  • Education Required: BDN, Master's in Health Informatics, Health Care Management or Quality Management preferred
  • Location: Information Systems department of healthcare organizations
  • Responsibilities: Maintain medical hardware and software, train medical staff and ensure that electronic documentation meets accreditation and review organization standards

9. Nurse Case Manager


  • Average Salary: $72,244
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Location: Hospital, nursing home, industrial environment
  • Responsibilities: Work with patients, medical staff and insurance providers to find the most cost effective care plan, monitor progress, evaluate care and suggest alternative treatments

10. Critical Care Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $73,962
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Location: Intensive Care Units, specialty hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Provide complex care to those with serious illnesses or injuries

11. Medical/Surgical Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $58,238
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN preferred
  • Location: Hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Assist surgeons during procedures and care for patients before, during and after surgery

12. Travel Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $66,081
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Varies
  • Responsibilities: Fill temporary or seasonal shortages or provide care in remote areas where medical facilities do not exist

13. Emergency Room Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $76,713
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Emergency rooms
  • Responsibilities: Perform triage upon patient arrival, determine order of treatment, conduct examinations, record patient histories, monitor patient progress and consult with supervising physicians

14. Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $64,193
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Hospitals, private care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Assist mothers through labor and delivery, perform cognitive tests on newborn babies, help parents select a plan of care and assist in the post-delivery care of both mother and child

15. Home Care Registered Nurse


Average Salary: $65,870

Education Required: ADN, BSN

Location: Patient homes

Responsibilities: Prepare equipment, change dressings, administer medication and monitor conditions

16. Staff Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $65,663
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Location: Hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Provide the majority of direct patient care, monitor patient conditions, administer medication and answer questions

17. Per Diem Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $65,870
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing agencies
  • Responsibilities: Cover RN staffing shortages

18. Nurse Supervisor


  • Average Salary: $74,142
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN, MSN
  • Location: Hospitals, long-term care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Supervise nursing staff, schedule hours, hand out patient assignments, complete performance evaluations

19. Oncology Registered Nurse


  • Average Salary: $71,293
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Responsibilities: Provide care for patients undergoing treatment for cancer or patients who are at risk for developing cancer, administer medication and closely monitor patient conditions

20. Neonatal Intensive Care Registered NurseNursingInfographicNeonatalICU

  • Average Salary: $64,567
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Responsibilities: Provide care to babies who were born prematurely or with significant health issue and provide information and emotional support to the patients’ parents

There are Hundreds of Types of Nursing Jobs

If you’re still not sure what kind of career you want to pursue as a nurse, don’t worry. This list is just a slice of the hundreds of types of nurse you can become in your nursing career. Nurses are the most employed profession in healthcare and is the occupation with the third highest projected change in employment in the U.S. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS):

  • 1.71 million RNs work at hospitals
  • 197,890 work at physician’s offices
  • 177,790 work at home healthcare services
  • 151,300 work at skilled nursing facilities
  • 147,550 work at outpatient care centers

Advance Your Career in Nursing

Earning your bachelor's in nursing or master's in nursing provide you with an undeniable advantage in your nursing career.

Although it isn’t required for a registered nurse to have a BSN degree, according to the latest survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, more than 65% of RNs are now prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher. A BSN helps prepare you for the increased complexity of care, advances in technology and a shift from acute care settings to community based care, and many RN specialty certifications require a BSN as a minimum education requirement.

And, earning your BSN or MSN can help you at the outset of your career. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 43.2% of employers now require new hires to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, up two percentage points since 2015, and 82.1% express a strong preference for BSN program graduates.

Additionally, a 2019 AACN survey found that 75% of BSN students and 75% of MSN students had job offers at the time of graduation. Four to six months after the completion of their programs, the survey found employment to be 94% among entry-level BSN and MSN graduates.

Start Your Career in Nursing

Few careers have as much potential to positively impact people’s lives as nursing. According to the AACN, nurses are the primary providers of patient care in hospitals, deliver the majority of long-term care in the country and have a huge impact on patient satisfaction and treatment outcomes.

“People who want to work in the service of others, who want to aid in healing the whole person make excellent nurses,” said Southern New Hampshire University online BSN graduate Julie Antis.

According to a 2016 Medscape survey of more than 10,000 registered nurses in the United States found that 95% of respondents were glad they became a nurse.

Nursing is a career that allows you to create the life you want. While some nursing jobs follow a standard five-day workweek, many registered nurses work nights, weekends and even holidays, offering flexibility to fit your life. And, nurses are in demand all across the country, which means you can opt for a change of scenery without damaging your career.


Rebecca LeBoeuf ’18 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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