INFOGRAPHIC: 16 Types of Nurses Including Job Descriptions and Salary

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Nursing is the largest profession in health care, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) estimate that there were nearly 2.99 million registered nursing jobs in 2020. The field is projected to grow by 7% through 2029, BLS reported, adding more than 220,000 positions with opportunities to pursue more than 100 specialties ranging from school or camp nurse to cardiac care.

So many options can leave new and seasoned nurses wondering which specialty is right for them. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the 16 types of nurses employers are looking to hire, including information on salary, growth potential and required nursing degrees.

Infographic piece with the text Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Provide basic care and assist in daily activities. A circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $30,850. A mortarboard icon with the text Education State-approved program; on-the-job training 1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

  • 2020 Median Salary: $30,850
  • New Jobs by 2029: 116,900
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). Provide basic care under direction of RNs & doctors. A circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $48,820. A mortarboard icon with the text Education Certificate or Diploma in approved program2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

  • 2020 Median Salary: $48,820
  • New Jobs by 2029: 65,700
  • Education Required: Certificate/Diploma in an 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Registered Nurse (RN). Provide care, health education & emotional support. A circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $75,330. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN or BSN 3. Registered Nurse (RN)

  • 2020 Median Salary: $75,330
  • New Jobs by 2029: 221,900
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). Coordinate care including diagnosis, treatments & testing. A circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $117,670. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN4. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

  • 2020 Median Salary: $117,670
  • New Jobs by 2029: 117,700
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Clinical Nurse Specialist. Improve patient care plans through collaboration. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $109,054. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN5. Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • 2021 Average Salary: $109,054
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Nurse Practitioner. Examine, diagnose & administer medication & treatments. A circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $111,680. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN or a master’s degree in a specialty role.6. Nurse Practitioner

  • 2020 Median Salary: $111,680
  • New Jobs by 2029: 110,700
  • Education Required: MSN or a master’s degree in a specialty role
  • Location: Physician offices, hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Examine patients, diagnose health problems, analyze test results and administer medicine and treatments
 

Infographic piece with the text Nurse Educator. Develop continuing education programs & facilitate training. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $100,968. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN or DNP7. Nurse Educator

  • 2021 Average Salary: $100,968
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Health Informatics Nurse Specialist. Maintain medical hardware & software and provide staff training. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $90,990. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BDN, Master’s in Health Informatics, Health Care Mgmt or Quality Mgmt preferred8. Health Informatics Nurse Specialist

  • 2021 Average Salary: $90,990
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Nurse Case Manager. Find cost effective care plans & suggest alternative treatments. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $64,689. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN9. Nurse Case Manager

  • 2021 Average Salary: $64,689
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Critical Care Registered Nurse. Provide complex care to those with serious illnesses or injuries. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $78,000. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN10. Critical Care Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $78,000
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Location: Intensive Care Units, specialty hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Provide complex care to those with serious illnesses or injuries
 

Infographic piece with the text Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse. Care for patients before, during & after surgery. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $99,400. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN preferred11. Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $99,400
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN preferred
  • Location: Hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Assist surgeons during procedures and care for patients before, during and after surgery
 

Infographic piece with the text Home Care Registered Nurse. Administer medication & monitor conditions in patients’ homes. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $51,900. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN12. Home Care Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $51,900
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Patient homes
  • Responsibilities: Prepare equipment, change dressings, administer medication and monitor conditions
 

Infographic piece with the text Emergency Room Registered Nurse. Perform triage, determine treatment order & conduct examinations. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $77,400. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN 13. Emergency Room Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $77,400
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Labor and Delivery Nurse. Assist mother & child through labor, delivery & post-delivery care. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $74,700. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN 14. Labor and Delivery Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $74,700
  • 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
 

Infographic piece with the text Clinical Nurse Supervisor. Supervise nursing staff, distribute assignments & complete performance evaluations. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $74,391. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN, MSN 15. Clinical Nurse Supervisor

  • 2021 Average Salary: $74,391
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN, MSN
  • Location: Hospitals, long-term care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Supervise nursing staff, schedule hours, hand out patient assignments, complete performance evaluations
 

Infographic piece with the text Oncology Registered Nurse. Provide care for cancer patients & closely monitor their conditions. A circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $77,520. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN 16. Oncology Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $77,520
  • 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
 

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 nurses you can become in your nursing career. Nurses are the most employed professional in healthcare and are in the occupation with the fifth-highest projected change in employment in the U.S. 

According to BLS:

  • 1.72 million RNs work at hospitals
  • 192,300 work at physician’s offices
  • 169,630 work at home healthcare services
  • 143,250 work at skilled nursing facilities
  • 150,380 work at outpatient care centers

Advance Your Career in Nursing

Earning your bachelor's in nursing or master's in nursing provides 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 a 2020 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 AACN, 41.1% of employers now require new hires to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and 82.4% express a strong preference for BSN program graduates.

Additionally, a 2020 AACN survey found that 76% of BSN students and 74% 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 92% 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 '17.

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.

Access the "16 Types of Nursing" infographic in full here to learn more about the careers available to nurses.

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

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