If you are a registered nurse, chances are that you have had a tough time already because of the pandemic. Overflowing hospitals, PPE and the constant fear of contracting the disease has been hard on all healthcare professionals, but nurses and doctors have faced the worst of it. However, even amidst the crisis, one aspect of the nursing job became significantly more prominent than it was before; nurses are not going to be out of employment anytime soon and their employment rates are only going to increase for the foreseeable future.
While employment rates have already skyrocketed for all nurses in general recently, the highest paid jobs will be reserved for those with higher qualifications. If you are a working nurse who wants to capitalize on the increasing employment opportunities, we highly suggest considering any of the five specialties that we are going to discuss in detail next.
Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Program
CPNs or certified Pediatric Nurses are well paid, and they enjoy a very high rate of employment throughout the United States. On average, a pediatric nurse gets paid roughly $71,500 per year, but for many, the ability to help children, and the opportunity to work with them is an added bonus as well. Senior CPNs can earn as much as $100,000+ per year, but that is not applicable in all cities or states. Florida and Seattle remain the two top states where pediatric nurses more than the national average.
Although the requirements may vary a bit, in accordance with the state laws, an RN license, Certified Pediatric Nursing (CPN) license and preferably a decent bit of experience in working with children are required to apply for the post of a pediatric nurse. If you like children and you are already a working nurse, a CPN specialty course and the consequent CPN exam would be the way to go.
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Course
RNs, aka registered nurses, are can instantly open their careers to a new prospective path of professional progress by completing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. However, with an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN), they can do the same in just about a year’s time! Considering that the traditional BSN programs take about four years to complete, the advantage here is not just evident, it’s tremendous. On top of that, Pennsylvania accelerated nursing programs are online courses, which makes it easier for even the busiest RN to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The following specialties come highly recommended for the ABSN program, because of both their suitability to the accelerated structure of the BSN, as well as for their potential impacts on a nursing career and salary.
- Nurse Educator
- Clinical Development Specialist
- Infection Control
- Labor and Delivery Nurse
- Geriatrics Specialist
Nurse Midwifery (CNM) certification Course
To become a certified nurse midwife, you need to complete both your BSN and your MSN, alongside getting certified from the American Midwifery Certification Board as a registered nurse midwife. Safe to say, that is a long career path, but thanks to the growth of accelerated online programs in nursing, the road can be a lot shorter. Also, busy RNs do not have to take a break from their regular work, because pursuing those multiple certifications and exams which lay in between an RN and a certified midwife can now be completed almost entirely over the internet. It’s all worth it though because on average, Nurse Midwives get paid between $102,400 and $126,189 per year, depending on their location, education, and seniority.
Midwives play roles that go far beyond just helping to deliver children, although that is the focus here. They guide patients and their immediate family members through every step of the process, from pregnancy to childbirth. Their tasks will include, but will not be limited to:
- Educating the mother-to-be and her immediate family about the pregnancy, care, and associated factors that ensure the safety of both the mother and the child
- Helping an obstetrician to deliver a child, or delivering a child completely on their own
- Providing emotional support during pregnancy, to all women under her care
- Handling emergency situations in relation to the pregnancy, if and when they arise
- Guiding new mothers with all the advice follow-up care that they need, post-childbirth
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program (PMHNP)
Nurse practitioners, in general, earn some of the highest salaries in this field, but most importantly, they are usually the ones who hold leading positions in healthcare facilities as well. We are going to focus on the PMHNP specialty in this section, given that they have one of the highest employment rates, even among nurse practitioners. The mean salary of a PMHNP is roughly $109,000 or more, depending on the state. What makes the PMHNP programs ideal is the fact that certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners enjoy high employment rates in both rural and urban areas, whereas some nurse practitioners find themselves to be the most useful in the rural healthcare segment.
In order to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, an individual must have:
- An RN certification
- Significant experience as an RN
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN/ABSN) degree
- A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree
- Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- Optional Doctorate degree for a better salary, position, and employability
Their main function is to treat or assist in treating mental health disorders, under the supervision of a Psychiatrist. In some states, experienced PMHNPs and PNPs do not even need the supervision of a psychiatrist, and they can operate an independent clinic. When working independently, PNPs and PMHNPs usually work with the whole family, and sometimes even an entire community. They can also work with individual patients, counseling them back to better mental health.
There are plenty of other specialties for nurses that you can also consider, of course, but a lot depends on your present education and experience. For example, in order to pursue graduate degrees that can help them earn an even bigger salary, nurses would first need to complete their Bachelor’s, and as previously mentioned, an ABSN course is perfect for skipping the hurdle faster than usual. The point is, higher qualifications will eventually lead to higher pay, but it is also important to map out a plan of education so that your precious time and money is not wasted on degrees that will have little to no impact on your future prospects as a professional nurse.