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INFOGRAPHIC: 16 Types of Nurses Including Job Descriptions and Salary

An infographic with 16 of the most popular types of nursing as well as their salaries, expected job growth, required education, job location and responsibilities.

Whether you want to assist surgeons during procedures in a hospital or work with patients in their homes, there are nursing careers available at nearly every educational level that come with a variety of salaries, locations and responsibilities.

Nursing is the largest profession in healthcare, 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 3 million registered nursing jobs in 2020. The field is projected to grow by 9% through 2030, BLS reported, adding more than 276,000 positions with opportunities to pursue more than 100 specialties ranging from school or camp nurse to cardiac care.

What Are the Different Types of Nurses and Their Salaries?

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 from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A blue section with the text Provide basic care & assist in daily activities. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $30,290. A mortarboard icon with the text Education State-approved program; on-the-job training

1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

  • 2021 Median Salary: $30,290
  • Projected Job Growth by 2030: 8%
  • 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 from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). A blue section with the text Provide basic care under direction of RNs & doctors. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $48,070. A mortarboard icon with the text Education Certificate or diploma in approved program.

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

  • 2021 Median Salary: $48,070
  • Projected Job Growth by 2030: 9%
  • 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 health care
  • Responsibilities: Change bandages, monitor blood pressure, collect blood and urine samples and address patient concerns to RNs and doctors

3. Registered Nurse (RN)Infographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Registered Nurse (RN). A blue section with the text Provide care, health education & emotional support. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $77,600. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN or BSN

  • 2021 Median Salary: $77,600
  • Projected Job Growth by 2030: 9%
  • 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 from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse. A blue section with the text Care for patients before, during & after surgery. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $101,700. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN preferred

4. Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $101,700
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN preferred
  • Location: Hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Assist surgeons during procedures and care for patients before, during and after surgery


Infographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Home Care Registered Nurse. A blue section with the text Administer medication & monitor conditions in patients' homes. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $53,000. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN,BSN

5. Home Care Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $53,000
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN
  • Location: Patient homes
  • Responsibilities: Prepare equipment, change dressings, administer medication and monitor conditions

  

Infographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Emergency Room Registered Nurse. A blue section with the text Perform triage, determine treatment order & conduct examinations. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $79,300. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN ,BSN

6. Emergency Room Registered Nurse

  • 2021 Average Salary: $79,300
  • 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


7. Labor and Delivery NurseInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Labor and Delivery Nurse. A blue section with the text Assist mother & child through labor, delivery & post-delivery care. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $76,400. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN

  • 2021 Average Salary: $76,400
  • 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


 

8. Clinical Nurse SupervisorInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Clinical Nurse Supervisor. A blue section with the text Supervise nursing staff, distribute assignments & complete performance evaluations. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $76,145. A mortarboard icon with the text Education ADN, BSN, MSN

  • 2021 Average Salary: $76,145
  • Education Required: ADN, BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Location: Hospitals, long-term care facilities
  • Responsibilities: Supervise nursing staff, schedule hours, hand out patient assignments, complete performance evaluations


 

9. Nurse Case ManagerInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Nurse Case Manager. A blue section with the text Find cost effective care plans & suggest alternative treatments. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $66,155. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN

  • 2021 Average Salary: $66,155
  • 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 NurseInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Critical Care Registered Nurse. A blue section with the text Provide complex care to those with serious illnesses or injuries. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $79,800. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN

  • 2021 Average Salary: $79,800
  • Education Required: BSN
  • Location: Intensive Care Units, specialty hospitals
  • Responsibilities: Provide complex care to those with serious illnesses or injuries


 

11. Oncology Registered NurseInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Oncology Registered Nurse. A blue section with the text Provide care for cancer patients & closely monitor their conditions. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $79,320. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN

  • 2021 Average Salary: $79,320
  • 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



Infographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Health Informatics Nurse Specialist. A blue section with the text Maintain medical hardware & software and provide staff training. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $93,390. A mortarboard icon with the text Education BSN, master's in health informatics, health care mgmt or quality mgmt preferred

12. Health Informatics Nurse Specialist

  • 2021 Average Salary: $93,390
  • Education Required: BSN, 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 from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). A blue section with the text Coordinate care including diagnosis, treatments & testing. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $123,780. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN13. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

  • 2021 Median Salary: $123,780
  • Projected Job Growth by 2030: 45%
  • Education Required: MSN
  • Location: Physician offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers
  • Responsibilities: Diagnose patients, manage treatments, order tests and prescribe medications


Infographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Clinical Nurse Specialist. A blue section with the text Improve patient care plans through collaboration. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $111,982. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN

14. Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • 2021 Average Salary: $111,982
  • 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


 

15. Nurse PractitionerInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Nurse Practitioner. A blue section with the text Examine, diagnose & administer medication & treatments. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Median Salary $120,680. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN or a master's degree in a speciality role

  • 2021 Median Salary: $120,680
  • Projected Job Growth by 2030: 52%
  • 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


 

16. Nurse EducatorInfographic piece from top to bottom. A yellow box with the text Nurse Educator. A blue section with the text Develop continuing education programs & facilitate training. Below a white divider line, a circle salary icon with the text Average Salary $103,448. A mortarboard icon with the text Education MSN or DNP

  • 2021 Average Salary: $103,448
  • 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


How Many Types of Nurses Are There?

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 small sample of the hundreds of types of nursing jobs you can pursue in your nursing career.

Nurses are the most employed professional in healthcare and are in the occupation with the sixth-highest projected change in employment in the U.S. according to the BLS occupational outlook. 

BLS found that:

  • 1.75 million RNs work in hospitals
  • 199,130 work in physician’s offices
  • 173,790 work in home health care services
  • 131,320 work in skilled nursing facilities
  • 147,720 work in outpatient care centers
A six-piece pie chart with the title Where Are Nurses Working? Clockwise from the top right, a light blue chunk with the text 31.32% General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; a yellow chunk with the text 7.39% Offices of Physicians; a purple chunk with the text 9.33% Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) ; a green chunk with the text 11.47% Home Health Care Services; an orange chunk with the text 14.97% Outpatient Care Centers; a black chunk with the text 25.52% Other Medical Facilities

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 the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, about 42% of nurses said the baccalaureate degree was their first nursing license. A BSN is slightly different than an RN as it helps prepare you for the increased complexity of care, advances in technology and a shift from acute care settings to community-based care. 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, 40.6% of employers now require new hires to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and 77.4% express a strong preference for BSN program graduates.

Additionally, a 2021 AACN survey found that 76% 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 93% among entry-level BSN and 94% 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.

Although COVID-19 challenged nurses in many ways, a 2020 American Nurse Association survey found that, despite the pandemic, 85% of respondents would become a nurse again if they had to do it over.

“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.

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.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU online nursing program that can best help you meet your goals.

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

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, institutionally accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.