Clicky

The 20 Most Lucrative Nursing Careers and Degrees That Can Prepare You in 2022

Contents

It’s 2022 and right now the nurses are the heroes. Long gone are the days where the CEO is hailed king.  As a healthcare professional in today’s climate you may have found yourself working hard for less pay than you would have liked.  Luckily for you there are many opportunities to advance in your career when you are a nurse.  

Or, perhaps you’re watching the news and your heart breaks.  You have recognized in yourself years after college that you have always wanted to be a helper.  Perhaps you focus on a liberal arts education and have come to find yourself unable to gain employment or maybe you pursued a career in business and that didn’t for whatever reason work out for you.  

There are many reasons to pursue a career as a nurse. And there are always reasons to advance in your career.  Maybe you want to be able to write prescriptions for your patients or maybe you have recognized that you do great in administrative roles and want to pursue a career as a nurse administrator. Perhaps you have spent many years working as a nurse and are ready to pass that information along to others through a career as a nurse educator. Whatever your reason for looking into nursing right now the healthcare industry is so large and encompasses so many different areas that there’s bound to be something out there that fits you.

Which Nursing Careers Pay the Best? 

You may be wondering which nursing careers pay the best.  When it comes to nursing, generally speaking the higher your education the higher your pay. Your years of experience also increase your pay as a nurse as do specializations.  

Becoming a nurse practitioner is a great way to make an excellent living. Nurse practitioners are multi-faceted nurses that serve a lot of functions in a healthcare setting and in their community.  Often times nurse practitioners function as the primary care provider in a city or town and are in high demand across the US but particularly in rural areas where physicians are not often available. 

In most states, a nurse practitioner can also prescribe medications and therefore can readily substitute for a physician.  

As you will see, nure practitioners who specialize in a specific area of medicine are payed even higher salaries. This may requires some additional education but it is not uncommon for nurses with speciazliations to increase their pay by tens of thousands of dollars per year making the return on investment incredibly high!  

Psychiatric nurses make a lot of money and partially due to the high stress of their job but also because of the high level of specialization required to do the job well.  

All types of nurses are in high demand.  Not all nurses are paid as well as others. So who’s the head of the pack in nursing when it comes to pay?  We compiled a list of the top 20 most lucrative nurse careers. These nursing careers are varied and you might just find something in this list that catches you eye.  Are you inspired to up your game as a nurse but not really sure how to do that yet? Take a look at some of the options below:  

The 20 Most Lucrative Nursing Careers

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced practice nurse that administers anesthesia for medical procedures. A CRNA may be required to inject anesthesia, prepare anesthesia for inhalation, or prepare and administer anesthesia for oral ingestion. Take a look a few job duties of a CRNA: 

  • Determine the amount and type of anesthesia needed 
  • Ensure patients are comfortable before during and after a procedure 
  • Assess Patients
  • Offer patients some information about the surgery/procedure
  • Work with other medical staff to create programming 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetics make an average of $192,850 per year while others may make much more.  Your location and years of experience will determine your salary. This is a highly-skilled job that requires technical skills and strong people skills as CRNAs.

2. Doctor of Nursing Practice

A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is the pinnacle nursing practice career.  This career is a blend of skills that includes clinical nursing skills, leadership skills, and organizational skills. A DNP is responsible for a myriad of tasks.  Take a look at just a few: 

  • Provide direct patient care as a nurse practitioner
  • Develop health policy 
  • Manage patient care 
  • Manage population care 
  • Administrative duties 

The average salary for a DNP is $118,690. The doctor of nursing practice is the highest skilled nurse and should therefore already have years of experience in addition to a doctoral degree. This person will need to have leadership qualities, excellent communication skills, and of course the ability to work with patients. 

3. Nurse Attorney

A nurse attorney is a multi-faceted career that involved both nursing duties and attorney duties. This profession requires two degrees one in nursing and another in law. As you may have guessed, the job duties themselves are also multi-faceted. Take a look at just a few of them: 

  • Lobby for change in healthcare
  • Analyze insurance claims 
  • Teach staff about the rules of their job 
  • Write professional nursing legal documents 
  • Represent healthcare providers in malpractice lawsuits 

As a nurse attorney, you really have to be sharp. This career requires two specialized degrees which are a huge time commitment in themselves. If you enjoy arguing and have a passion for justice in healthcare then this may be the perfect job for you. It is high-paying as well. The average salary is listed as $83,534.  Your location and number of years spent on-the-job will change this number as well. If you are smart and passionate about health care justice consider a career as a nurse attorney.

4. General Nurse Practitioner

A general nurse practitioner or nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced general nurse with additional responsibilities to a registered nurse.  Like a physician, an NP can diagnose patients and provide treatment and in many states prescribe medicine. Take a look at some of their job duties: 

  • Provide care to patients 
  • Perform exams and observations 
  • Create a plan for patient care 
  • Adjust treatment plans when necessary
  • Educate patients on the best way to manage their illnesses

According to Indeed, the average salary for an NP is $81,168. The projected growth for this job between 2019 and 2029 is 31 percent which is much faster than the national average. 

5. Clinical Nurse Specialist

A clinical nurse specialist is an expert in a specific area such as gerontology or public policy who typically provides patient care as well as research and facility administration. As this role is multi-faceted a clinical nurse specialist is responsible for a wide array of duties: 

  • Research
  • Clinical practice
  • Teaching staff 
  • Managing Teams 
  • Analyzing data 

The average salary for a clinical nurse specialist is $111,021. This position is a great option for any individual who has specialized in a specific area of health care and believes they have what it takes to step into a leadership role. It is both specialized and multi-faceted meaning you are both the jack-of-all-trades (where teaching and managing are concerned) and the master (where your area of clinical expertise lie).  

6. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

A psychiatric nurse practitioner is a dual role involving psychiatric diagnosis as well as physical and mental well-being assessment. Additionally, a psychiatric nurse practitioner may choose to work with specific populations such as children or the elderly. The psychiatric nurse practitioner addresses the mental health needs of individuals and communities. Here are some of their other duties: 

  • Assess the mental-well being of patients 
  • Offers home-based care or outpatient care when necessary 
  • Perform a family risk analysis 
  • Conduct research
  • Analyze the effectiveness of treatments 

As you can see a psychiatric nurse practitioner is a versatile position. The average salary for this position is $146,243 and is expected to grow at a pace similar to that of a nurse practitioner which is 18% between 2019 and 2029.  If you have a passion for mental well being and a strong desire to make a difference in the area of mental health then consider a job as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. 

7. Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) provides care for women.  This includes helping a woman give birth, helping a woman with gynecological checkups, prenatal care, and planing her family. The CNM is a crucial job and though many people associate a CNM with birth, the CNM does so much more. Take a look at the job responsibilities: 

  • Provide primary care for women
  • Education and counseling around family planning
  • Help to treat STD 
  • Provide assistance during pregnancy and delivery
  • Assist with newborn care for the first 28 days

The average salary for a certified nurse midwife is $104,153 which is a profession projected to grow much faster than the national average. A certified nurse midwife should first and foremost care about women’s health and have a passion for quality of life for both but also for her family. As this role is very intimate it is important that a nurse midwife has excellent people skills. People who are successful in this position are generally drawn to it.  Do you feel drawn to midwifery? Certainly investigate this high-paying and deeply gratifying field. 

8. Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

A Neonatal Intensive Care Nures (NICU RN) sustains the lives of newborns. The NICU RN typically monitors the vital signs and provides vital medicines and nutrients to newborns.   Take a closer look at some of the NICU RN’s job duties: 

  • Ensure that premature newborns are breathing
  • Monitor the vital signs of a newborn baby 
  • Offer emotional support to parents 
  • Assist physicians to provide a treatment plan for the newborn
  • Educate parents on homecare and procedures 

The average salary for a NICU RN $95,132.  The outlook for a NICU RN is good growing at a rate much higher than the national average.  Generally speaking, people who work in a NICU typically feel drawn to this job. The type of person who is successful in a NICU is calm under pressure. 

9. Pain Management Nurse

A pain management nurse provides a vast array of mind-body interventions to help a patient who is living in severe or chronic pain. This person works as part of the pain management team to help heighten their quality of life. Take a close look at a pain management nurse’s job duties. 

  • Work as a member of a team 
  • Advocate for their pain patients 
  • Help pain patients obtain appropriate medications 
  • Educate patients about pain scales 
  • Administers medication to special populations 

The average salary for a pain management nurse is $100,491 and a job outlook of about 9%. This is higher than the national average which is 5%. A pain management nurse should be compassionate.  In these times when pain medicines are controversial and yet chronic pain patients on the rise, it is important to have the ability to discerning decisions. 

10. Nurse Administrator

A nurse administrator manages the nursing staff at a healthcare facility. A nurse administrator schedules the employees and trains the nursing staff. In fact, this role carries with it a number of different job duties and responsibilities. Here’s just a few: 

  • Supervise the nursing staff 
  • Implementing nursing procedures
  • Managing a budget
  • Creating the schedule for nurses
  • Conduct performance reviews 

The median salary for a nurse administrator is $95,876 and the average rate of growth projection is 18% between 2019 and 2029. This means that there is a much greater need for healthcare workers. If you are currently a nurse who has a desire to step into a leadership role then you may be perfect for a position as a nurse leader. 

11. Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) works with patients across the lifespan. They are licensed to diagnose and treat patients and many FNPs like to work in a specialty like oncology or cardiology. As an FNP you will have a number of ranging duties including: 

  • Manage chronic conditions
  • Provide health and wellness care to children
  • Provide health care for women during pregnancy
  • Offer specialty care in an area of health like neurology, endocrinology, psychiatry etc.
  • Provide end of life guidance and care 

The average salary for a family nurse practitioner is $114,310 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the growth rate for nurse practitioners is 45% a rate that is far higher than the national average (5%).  This position attracts individuals with a wide range of interests and is in high demand particularly as a family nurse practitioner, in many instances, fills the role as a primary care provider. 

12. Registered Nurse First Assistant

A registered nurse first assistant provides life-sustaining support during surgeries and other medical procedures.  This is a hands-on role that requires experience working in surgery and requires nurses to perform a wide array of duties. 

  • Control bleeding 
  • Administer medications
  • Monitor a patient’s respiration and pulse 
  • Care for patients before and after surgery 
  • Evaluate the patient’s condition

The average salary for a registered nurse first assistant is $98,000 and the projected job growth is 15% over the next decade. This position is a pressure-filled and attracts individuals who can stay calm and collected under pressure. Additionally, as surgeries are often several hours long a registered nurse first assistant should be comfortable on their feet for lengthy periods of time. 

13. Nurse Research

A nurse researcher is somebody who studies various aspects of health and seeks ways to provide better healthcare for individuals and groups.  These individuals also design and implement their own health care studies. Take a look at some of the job duties of a nurse researcher: 

  • Design and conduct scientific studies 
  • Identify areas for research
  • Write grants to fund their studies 
  • Partner up with other scientists to address complex questions 
  • Write articles

This position pays an average of $89,212 a year and is projected to grow at a rate of 19%.  To become a nurse researcher you must complete an extensive amount of school after graduation. You will likely start your career as a research assistant and work your way up. If you find yourself passionate about health care and especially how to improve it, consider looking into the nurse researcher role. 

14. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

An adult gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) cares for individuals from adolescence to adulthood through to advanced age. A AGNP diagnoses health conditions and develops treatment plans for patients just like any other nurse practitioner. There are a few differences when considering gerontology. Let’s take a look: 

  • Works with patients who are acutely ill
  • Practices in many areas of critical care 
  • Educating adults about maintaining healthy lifestyles 
  • Helps to manage chronic illness 
  • Work in a wide variety of centers to provide care

The average salary for a AGNP is listed as $172,645 annually. This profession is growing at a rate of 36% over the next decade one of the fastest rates of all of the professions we have reviewed thus far. If you are passionate about adult health with a strong belief that people of all ages deserve access to quality health care, then certainly investigate this lucrative job. 

15. Infection Control Nurse

An infection control nurse is in charge of controlling the spread of infectious viruses and bacteria. They work to keep areas sterilized to help contain an infection. Take a look at a few of the job duties of an infection control nurse: 

  • Teach others how to prevent outbreaks 
  • Prevent the spread of infectious contagions 
  • Isolate infected individuals 
  • Study the structure of a contagion 
  • Watch how an organism changes and grows

The average salary for an infection control nurse is $94,939 annually. The job projection for an infection control nurse is 15% but that may change depending on the current global climate.  This is a crucial job. In light of recent world events, this position is more crucial than ever. An infection control nurse will have the ability to remain calm in a crisis and possess excellent people skills as this position does involve a lot of communication with staff and with patients. 

16. Nurse Educator

Nurses are always learning on the job and before that go through quite a bit of schooling. Nurses are always learning. A nurse educator teaches aspiring nurses about patient care and has a multitude of job responsibilities.  Let’s take a look: 

  • Plan and teach the curriculum for both undergraduates and graduates 
  • Assign homework/grade papers 
  • Research current best practice in nursing 
  • Oversee students
  • Provide mentorship for students both for academics and for careers 

The average salary for a nurse educator is $78,072 and the job is projected to grow at a rate of about 26%. A nurse educator is a multi-faceted individual with expertise in nursing and in education. This position requires an intelligent and passionate person who is great at communication, leadership and of course teaching.  If you loved your career as a nurse and want to see others succeed in this profession then perhaps a career as a nurse educator in the next best step for you. 

17. Informatics Nurse

An informatics nurse is responsible for patient care and does so through technology. The informatics nurse manages patient care and uses technology to provide the best possible ongoing care for patients. Take a look at their job responsibilities: 

  • Analyze statistics
  • While focused on patient care communicates patient needs to IT professionals
  • Take part in system development 
  • Project management- train staff to use the system
  • Optimize the performance of that system 

The average salary of an informatics nurse is $102,230 and the rate of increase is 9% which is higher than the national average. The person who fits this job is interdisciplinary with a knowledge of IT and nursing and an ability to communicate both with nursing staff and the other IT professionals. Informatics nursing requires very specific skills.  

18. Clinical Trial Nurse

A clinical trial nurse (CNT) is a multi-disciplinary role that includes nursing, and clinical trials research. This person is responsible for finding participants to participate in research trials and more. Take a look at what else: 

  • Find participants for clinical research
  • Gather consent forms
  • Take data during trials
  • Continue to follow up with participants 
  • Analyze outcomes 

The average salary for a clinical trial nurse is $89,212 and the outlook is excellent with a projected job increase of about 19%. Are you scientifically-minded? Do you like to know the reasons behind treatment and furthermore have a passion for advancing medicine?  This is the career for you! With so many opportunities on the horizon, why not check out the certifications necessary to succeed as a clinical trial nurse. 

19. Critical Care Nurse

A critical care nurse which is interchangeable with an acute care nurse is responsible for a person with acute health conditions. Take a look at a few of their job responsibilities: 

  • Provide advanced nursing care across the lifespan
  • Provide care for complex and often chronic health conditions 
  • Identify areas for growth 
  • Advanced pharmacology 
  • Specialization in areas like ER/trauma, Oncology, etc.

The average salary for a critical care nurse is $79,100 and with expected job growth of 16%.  As a critical care nurse, you will need to be able to remain calm under pressure as well as provide expert care in acute situations. This person likely has a number of years on the job as a nurse and moves into a specialty area.  

20. Health Policy Nurse

A health policy nurse works researches healthcare laws and policy and makes revisions to them. The health policy nurse is concerned with patient outcomes and works to ensure that the healthcare provided is safe and effective. 

  • Review healthcare law
  • Revise healthcare  policy 
  • Ensure healthcare access is streamlined and effective
  • Monitor the health and safety of the patients 
  • Make adjustments to procedures to improve healthcare quality

A health policy nurse earns an average of $79,178 annually and this job is projected to grow at a rate of 12% over the next decade. This person requires a myriad of technical skills as well as soft skills.  If you are looking to move into a health policy nursing position you must be passionate about positive healthcare change and patient safety. This important jobs helps to ensure that patients always receive appropriate care. 

How Do I Become a Nurse? 

There are many ways and times in life to enter into a career in nursing and if you have some time to spare, then now it a good time to do it.  Whether you’re a high school senior of middle-aged professional who is looking to give back to society, you can become a nurse. 

Age is just a number and nursing is always a good idea. It is important to note, however that nursing can be a tiring profession.  Many times you are on your feet all day long running from patient to patient. There is a lot of information to keep in your head and this requires clarity of thought in addition to some energy and enthusiasm. Still at any age nursing is a wonderful career.  You have the opportunity to help sick people become well as well as save lives. If you enjoy caring for others then nursing may be the perfect career for you.

To become a nurse you must first become registered to be a nurse. You can become a registered nurse at a community college or you could become a registered nurse by way of a bachelor’s degree at a nursing school or university. After passing the NCLEX-RN examination you are eligible to apply for jobs to become a nurse.  

You may wish to go straight through a program to become a nurse practitioner or an advanced nurse.  After some years on the job you can head back to school to gain a specialization in the field or continue on to pursue a career as a nurse educator.  

If you’re thinking you may want to head back to school we have a list of the best schools in the country for nursing students. This ranking takes into consideration the academic rank of the university, the percentage of students who graduate, as well as the average salary of those who graduate from their programming.  Take a look! 

The 20 Best In-Person Nursing Schools in America

1. University of Pennsylvania

Premium Score:

98.00

Earnings at Graduation

$127,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

5

Visit Site

The University of Pennsylvania is a private ivy league university located in Philadelphia. The university enrolls 25,860 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. UPenn is a research university with the highest level of research activity according to Carnegie. The staff at UPenn are second-to-none with some of the best nursing educators on staff at their nursing school.  Undergraduates may pursue a BSN program which is hands-on offering clinical practice as well as nursing research opportunities. According to their site UPenn, “puts intense focus on community involvement”. If you are looking for hands-on learning in an academically rigorous setting then you will certainly want to investigate UPenn. Still not sure? Take a look at a few of the courses for the BSN: 

  • Biologically-Based Chemistry
  • The Nature of Nursing Practice 
  • Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness
  • Nursing of Women and Infants 
  • Nursing of Young and Middle Aged Adults 

UPenn also offers a number of fantastic graduate-level programs with a wide range of specializations including Neonatal, Psychiatric Mental-Health, Family, Women’s Health/Gender-Related and many more. As you can see whether you are just starting your academic career in nursing or continuing it there really is something for all at UPenn. 


2. Duke University

Premium Score:

94.75

Earnings at Graduation

$66,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

10

Visit Site

Duke University is a private 4-year university located in Durham, North Carolina. There are 16,606 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. According to the US News, Duke University ranks as the 10th best university in the nation, 8th best value school, 26th most innovative school, and 17th for best undergraduate teaching. The university offers four degrees in nursing: an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), and a Ph.D. The ABSN is a second degree program for individuals who have already completed another bachelor’s degree. It is a 16-month degree program. Here’s a sample of courses from their curriculum: 

  • Health Assessment and Foundations for Nursing Across the Lifespan 
  • Professional Nursing: Past, Present, and Future 
  • Physiologic Homeostasis and Principles of Pharmacology 
  • Nursing Care and the Childbearing Family 
  • Pathophysiology and Pharmacology 

If you are a BSN or already hold a master’s degree in nursing then check out Duke’s DNP program. This program is a blended program (both on-campus and online) and the DNP project may be completed at your work. There are several great options for individuals looking to either join the field of nursing or advance in their careers. 


3. Columbia University

Premium Score:

93.50

Earnings at Graduation

$59,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

9

Visit Site

Columbia University is an ivy league university located in New York City that enrolls over 30,000 students. The university has the highest research activity according to Carnegie and ranks as the 3rd best school in the nation according to US News. Additionally, Columbia ranks highly for value, innovation, undergraduate engineering, undergraduate research, writing and so much more. Columbia has been an academic powerhouse since 1754. The Columbia College of Nursing has in combination with the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing over 100 years of nursing education. The college offers small classes and no boasts no waitlists meaning you get to participate sooner and in smaller more intimate classroom settings. Even undergraduate students may study part-time and have the opportunity to transfer in up to 60 credits. Take a look at some classes from the undergraduate curriculum: 

  • Nutrition and Health
  • The Novice Nurse 
  • Apprentice in Practice 
  • Mental Health Nursing 
  • Nursing Care of Childbearing Families 
  • Community Nursing: Local and Global Perspectives 

Their master’s program is an MSN with a focus in clinical nurse leadership. The program is 17 months long and holds small classes and is blended meeting in person and online. These programs are specifically designed with the realities of working professionals in mind.  If you’re thinking of heading back to advance your career why not investigate the Columbia College of Nursing. 


4. University of California Los Angeles

Premium Score:

90.00

Earnings at Graduation

$61,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

22

Visit Site

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university that enrolls over 40,000 students. Their student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. According to US News, UCLA ranks as the 20th best university in the nation, 4th for best colleges for veterans, 27th for innovation and number 1 for top public schools. The UCLA school of nursing offers five degrees ranging from bachelor of science in nursing all the way to doctor of nursing practice. Take a look at a few of the courses from the BSN degree: 

  • Fundamentals of Professional Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing 
  • Medical-Surgical A-C
  • Nursing Care of Geriatric Patients and Families 
  • Public Health Nursing 
  • Physical Assessment 

UCLA offers two masters-level courses one of them for entry clinical nurses. This master’s program admits individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject area.  Upon completion, students are awarded the MSN and are prepared to sit for the NCLEX. Additionally, students may pursue a doctor of philosophy and a doctor of nursing practice. 


5. Samuel Merritt University

Premium Score:

90.00

Earnings at Graduation

$102,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

Samuel Merritt University is a 4-year specialty focus university located in Oakland, California. There are 2,054 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. The special focus is health and Samuel Merritt offers degrees in nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and podiatric medicine.   Their school of nursing offers 10 degrees including three bachelor’s degrees, 5 master’s degrees, and two doctoral degrees. Take a peek at a few courses from their accelerated bachelor’s program: 

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing 
  • Health Assessment
  • Health Aging 
  • Research
  • Community Health
  • Mental Health Nursing

There are a few great master’s and doctoral options as well and two of them work for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Samuel Merritt also offers online programming. 


6. Johns Hopkins University

Premium Score:

89.75

Earnings at Graduation

$56,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

11

Visit Site

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a private institution located in Baltimore, Maryland. There are 26,152 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. JHU ranks as the 10th best school in the nation and the 19th best value school as well as the 23rd most innovative school. When it comes to health JHU is well-known ranking among the best in the world for their medical degree. If you already have a bachelor’s either in nursing or another topic, you may want to check out the nursing degrees available at JHU. Here’s a sample of just a few of JHU’s nursing degrees and professional certifications: 

  • DNP Advanced Practice Track: Pediatric dual primary/ acute care nurse practitioner
  • DNP Advanced Practice/ PHD Dual Degree 
  • DNP Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • DNP Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • DNP Advanced Practice Track 
  • DNP Clinical Nurse Specialist Online
  • DNP Executive Track
  • MSN Entry Into Nursing
  • MSN Health Systems Management/MBA Dual Degree 
  • MSN Public Health Nursing/MPH Joint Degree 
  • And Many more degrees and certifications 

As you can see there is something for everyone seeking an advanced degree including individuals who have an undergraduate degree in another field. 


7. Georgetown University

Premium Score:

89.50

Earnings at Graduation

$60,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

27

Visit Site

Georgetown University (Georgetown) is a private university located in the District of Columbia. The university enrollment is 19,204 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. According to US News, Georgetown ranks as the 24th best university in the nation, 6th best college for veterans, 16th best undergraduate teaching school, 27th best value school, and 33rd most innovative school.  Georgetown made it to our ranking not only for their academic accolades but also the high percentage of students who graduate from their programming, and the high salary that students receive upon graduation. Georgetown offers bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees in the field of nursing. Their BSN is a traditional 4-year degree. Let’s take a peek at the curriculum:

  • Health Assessment
  • Nutrition and Disease Prevention
  • Human Growth and Development 
  • Mental Health Nursing Across the Lifespan
  • Care of the Older Adult 

There are a number of graduate programs offered at Georgetown including four online master’s degree programs. Their doctoral degrees include a post-BSN DNP, post-MSN DNP, and a nurse anesthesia program. 


8. Linfield College

Premium Score:

89.25

Earnings at Graduation

$79,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

The Linfield College School of Nursing is a four-year specialty focus school based in Portland, Oregon.  This is an all undergraduate school with 335 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Some of the highlights from their nursing program include “one-to-one time with faculty, small classroom sizes, and an “open-door policy.” We like this program for the high success rates and for the high salary students receive upon graduation.  Let’s take a closer look at their nursing curriculum: 

  • Foundations of Community-Based Nursing Practice
  • Evidence-Based Nursing 
  • Clinical Pathophysiology and Pharmacology 
  • Population-Based Nursing 
  • Nursing Leadership

The curriculum is comprehensive and rigorous and uses “clinical reasoning” as well as an evidence-based practice. The college offers an on-campus option as well as an online option. All of their programming is based on the wider context of the healthcare system. 


9. American University of Health Sciences

Premium Score:

89.25

Earnings at Graduation

$80,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

The American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) is a private four-year university located in Signal Hill California. The university enrolls 293 students and maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. This is a special focus four-year institution with three main sub-focus areas: nursing, clinical research, and pharmacy. The nursing school offers a BSN as well as and MSN. Here’s a look at a few of the nursing and clinical courses for the BSN: 

  • Physical Assessment Laboratory
  • Introduction to Nursing Health Care 
  • Clinical Studies 
  • Health Care Communication
  • Older Adult Health Nursing Care 
  • Human Life Cycle 
  • Women’s Health Nursing Care Clinical 
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Care 

If you are looking to pursue a master’s degree you have three options: the family nurse practitioner option, nurse educator, or the nurse leadership and management option. The family nurse practitioner degree requires 85 credits to complete whereas the others require 65. All of the programs are areas in high demand. 


10. SUNY Downstate Health Sciences

Premium Score:

89.00

Earnings at Graduation

$79,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is a special focus area 4-year medical school and center. There are 1,846 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1. We selected this program as it ranks highly academically for its nursing programming, nursing-midwifery program, and others. Additionally, SUNY Downstate graduates have a high success rate and on average a high salary upon completion. Their school of nursing offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as advanced certificates. Their accelerated BS in Nursing is a 15-month program for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s in any discipline ahead of the program. Here’s a list of their programs: 

  • Accelerated BSN
  • RN to BSN
  • MS Family NP
  • MS Women’s NP
  • MS Nurse Midwifery
  • Advanced Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Advanced Certificate in Nursing Education 
  • Advanced Certificate in Women’s Health Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 

Each of their programs are designed to fill a specific need for nursing professionals whether you’re heading back to school to initiate your career as a nurse or are heading back to advance your career there are many fantastic options at SUNY Downstate. 


11. MGH Institute of Health Professions

Premium Score:

87.50

Earnings at Graduation

$67,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

The MGH Institute of Health Professions (MGHIHP) is a private 4-year institution located in Boston, Massachusetts. This is a special focus four-year institution that enrolls 1,250 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. In addition to nursing programs, MGHIHP offers degrees in communication sciences, genetic counseling, health profession education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physical assistant studies. These are their nursing degrees: 

  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Nursing 
  • Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: For Advanced Practice Nurses 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: For Nurse Executives 
  • Master of Science in Nursing Post BSN Program 

Their accelerated bachelor of science in nursing is a 16-month immersive program in nursing. The program offers a 1:6 student-faculty ratio. The curriculum includes programming in health assessment, nursing practice, common problems of adult health, ethical issues in health care, maternal child nursing, and an internship. Are you ready to jump into the field of nursing? Try the accelerated program at MGHIHP. 


12. University of Virginia

Premium Score:

86.50

Earnings at Graduation

$56,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

39

Visit Site

The University of Virginia is a public research university that is the flagship of the University of Virginia schools. It ranks 28th in the nation according to US News as well as 9th as best colleges for veterans, 23rd for best undergraduate teaching, 32nd for best value school, 72nd for most innovative school, and 4th for top public schools. Their program made it to our list of the best nursing universities because its graduates are successful and have a high average starting salary. Their nursing school offers a strong, supportive and academically rigorous environment for students from a wide range of backgrounds. The University of Virginia school of nursing offers programs for bachelors, master’s and doctoral students. For those pursing an MSN there are seven areas of concentration: 

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care CNS
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (Direct Entry) 
  • Clinical Nurse Leader (For RNs) 
  • Family NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Pediatric NP- Acute Care
  • Pediatric NP- Primary Care 
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP 

So whether you are just starting off your career as a nurse or looking to specialize the programs as the University of Virginia are an exciting option. 


13. Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences

Premium Score:

85.00

Earnings at Graduation

$56,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

Saint Luke’s College of Health and Science is a special-focus four-year college that offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The university enrollment is 665 and the student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. The college boasts a 100% employment rate not to mention rigorous academics from a high-quality curriculum. We selected this program for the high graduation rate, the high salary, and the excellent curriculum. Let’s take a look at their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): 

  • Pathophysiology
  • Health Assessment and Promotion
  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Adult Health Nursing 
  • Foundations of Professional Nursing 
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing 
  • Gerontology

As you can see their entry-level program is well-rounded and provides an excellent foundation to nursing. With a 100% employment rate and high average salary, a BSN from Saint Luke’s is an excellent career option. If you are looking to advance in your career or specialize, their master’s degrees are an excellent option. You could study AGACNP, Family NP, or Nurse Educator. All three of these careers are in high demand. If you’re looking to initiate or further your career as a nurse the degrees from Saint Luke’s are a great place to start. 


14. Oregon Health and Science University

Premium Score:

85.00

Earnings at Graduation

$77,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) is a public four-year special focus university located in five locations across the state of Oregon.  The university enrolls 3,000 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. According to the US News rankings for the best graduate nursing programs in the nation, OHSU ranks 2nd for midwifery, 12th for family specialty NP, and 12th for pediatric primary care NP. OHSU offers many accelerated nursing programs including their accelerated bachelors to DNP program. This program includes a 15 month accelerated bachelor’s degree that goes straight into a three-year DNP program. The accelerated bachelor’s offers the following courses: 

  • Health Promotion
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Epidemiology 
  • Acute Illness 
  • And More… 

All of their program has the same focus- positive change for healthcare for all types of citizens in the state of Oregon and in the US. 


15. Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Premium Score:

84.00

Earnings at Graduation

$59,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is a private special-focus health professions school located in Peoria, Illinois. There are 607 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. The center offers BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees and their campus has a 600-bed major medical center. Their graduation rate is high and so are the average salaries of their graduates. Here’s a look at a few of the core nursing courses for the BSN: 

  • Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacological Basis of Nursing Practice 
  • Nursing and Healthcare Ethics 
  • Conceptual Basis of Nursing
  • Conceptual Basis of Nursing Clinical
  • Trends and Issues for Professional Nursing 

Their accelerated MSN is for students who have an associate’s degree in nursing with 59 credits of pre-nursing courses. Additionally, masters seeking individuals may pursue a degree in adult gerontology, family NP, Neonatal NP, nurse educator, nursing management leadership, psychiatric mental health NP.


16. University of Nebraska

Premium Score:

83.75

Earnings at Graduation

$58,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) is a public 4-year university with 4,000 students enrolled and a student-to-faculty ratio of 2:1. Their graduates have an extremely high success rate as well as high salary upon completion and UNMC ranks highly for multiple health-related programs according to US News. They rank 12th best medical school for primary care, 62nd for best medical school research, 61st for best nursing school master’s, 15th for best physician assistant programs and many more. The nursing school offers three bachelor’s options and three graduate degrees. Among these programs is their accelerated one-year BSN for individuals who have previously obtained a bachelor’s degree. Let’s take a look at what that program is like: 

  • 12 months
  • Challenging
  • Packed With Learning Opportunity
  • Cohort-Based 
  • Small Classes 
  • Full-Time
  • Rigorous

If you think you have what it takes, then heading back to UNMC for a career change is an excellent idea. 


17. Touro University Nevada

Premium Score:

83.50

Earnings at Graduation

$66,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250

Visit Site

Touro University Nevada is a private 4-year university located in Henderson, Nevada. There are 1,479 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. Their school of nursing features four main programs and RN-BSN, MSN Program, Post-MSN Graduate Certificate, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The RN-BSN program is designed with nurses in mind as a one-year degree with online classes. The Post-MSN program is for individuals looking to meet the requirements of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The RN-BSN program includes online courses in: 

  • Research
  • Healthy Delivery, Information Management, and Technology in Nursing 
  • Nursing Health Assessment and Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology for Nurses 
  • Family Community and Global Populations
  • Health Policy & Leadership in Nursing 

The Master of Science in Nursing focuses on advanced nursing practice across the continuum as well as treatment for disease and mental wellness.  If you are interested in advancing your career as a nurse the rigorous curriculum at Touro University Nevada can help you get there. 


18. Emory University

Premium Score:

83.00

Earnings at Graduation

$48,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

22

Visit Site

Emory University is a private university located in Atlanta, Georgia. There are 14,458 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. The US News ranks Emory as the 21st best school in the nation and Emory also ranks highly for value, innovation, and first-year experiences. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing offers BNS programming, accelerated nursing programming for students returning to school from a background other than nursing, MSN program, and doctoral programming. Take a look at the curriculum for the accelerated BSN: 

  • Social Responsibility and Bioethics in Nursing
  • Foundation of Nursing Practice
  • Pathophysiology for Nurses 
  • Health Promotion and Wellness 
  • Health Assessment 
  • Population Health
  • Pharmacology for Nurses 
  • Acute and Chronic Care 
  • Clinical Integration
  • Mental Health Nursing 
  • And Much More 

Their accelerated curriculum is also available online. If you are looking to advance your practice and specialize Emory offers a number of options including neonatal, gerontology, emergency nurse, family nurse practitioner, pediatric acute care, nurse-midwifery, and women’s health. 


19. University of Michigan

Premium Score:

83.00

Earnings at Graduation

$53000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

26.00

Visit Site

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor is the flagship university for the UM university system. There are nearly 50,000 students enrolled at this public university and the student-to-faculty ratio is still just 11:1. That’s because UM is exceptionally research-heavy. US News ranks UM as the 25th best school in the nation, 7th best college for veterans, 44th best value school, 12th most innovative school, and 3rd best public school in the nation. The University of Michigan school of nursing offers a BSN, MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. Here are a few of the courses for the BSN: 

  • Health Assessment 
  • Culture of Health
  • Pharmacology Foundations of Nursing 
  • Intro to Clinical Practice 
  • Evaluating Data Sources and Evidence for Nursing Practice 

Those with a BSN may wish to pursue their online master’s in nursing (MSN) and follow an area of specialization including adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, primary care, nurse midwifery, primary care family nurse, nurse-midwifery/primary care pediatric nurse among others. 


20. Boston College

Premium Score:

82.50

Earnings at Graduation

$54,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

48.00

Visit Site

Boston College is a private four-year university located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. There are 14,720 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Boston College ranks as the 37th best university in the nation, 52nd for most innovative school, 8th in service-learning, 31st in undergraduate research, and 34th in value. The Connell School of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Take a look at their curriculum for their bachelor’s degree program: 

  • Adult Health Nursing Theory
  • Childbearing Nursing Theory 
  • Nursing Assessment of Health
  • Principles of Nutrition
  • Child Health Theory 
  • Child Health Clinical 
  • Actualizing the Role of Professional Nurse 
  • Psyche Mental Health Clinical 

There are two doctors of nursing practice programs including one in nursing practice anesthesia.  We were excited to see Boston College’s accelerated DNP program for students with degrees in other areas. Their direct entry DNP program is a great fit for any individual looking to change careers and fulfill a role as a high-demand nurse practitioner. 

As you can see each program is worth investigating as each program has as different emphasis or focus. Not to mention each institution is decidedly distinct. If in-person education is not an option for you, then maybe you’re considering studying nursing online. 


Can I Study Nursing Online? 

As nursing is such a hands-on career you may be wondering if you can even study nursing online. The fact is, nursing is in such high demand that universities have created programs to match the fast-paced and hectic lives of modern day professionals. 

There are many programs that offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing online.  

There may be instances where students have to go in for some intensives once or twice a year of complete part of the program in-person utilizing a hybrid format.  More or less, however the majority of programming may be accessed online.  

If you are already a professional it is possible to use your place of work for your clinical experience.  

Before initiating your program you may want to ask yourself some of the following questions: 

  • How busy am I? Do I have time for any travel during this program? 
  • Do I like to learn in person with a class or is it okay to learn independently? 
  • Will I be able to get time with a professor? 
  • Can I afford to head back to school right now? 

It is important to note that online education is as rigorous as on-campus education. An online degree really shines for convenience,affordability, and access?  Are you ready to take a further look at some of the best schools offering online nursing programming? Here’s our ranking of the best. 

The 10 Best Online Nursing Schools in America

1. Duke University

Premium Score:

99.00

Earnings at Graduation

$66,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

10.00

Visit Site

Duke University ranks as the 10th school in the nation and is a private institution with a heavy focus on research and innovation. It is located in Durham, North Carolina. Duke started offering online education over two decades ago understanding ahead of the times the needs of professionals looking to advance in their career. They offer an MSN as well as a DNP. Their MSN offer eight advanced practice majors and students have an option to add a specialization certification to their degree. Their DNP program offers online courses and some with some time requires on campus. Your DNP project may be completed at your current place of work. The school of nursing at Duke University is renowned and if you’re looking to advance in your career as a nurse a degree from Duke is a sure-fire way to do it. 


2. Samuel Merritt University

Premium Score:

96.00

Earnings at Graduation

$102,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250.00

Visit Site

Samuel Merritt University is a private 4-year institution located in Oakland, California. There are 2,054 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. According to US News, Samuel Merritt University ranks highly for its nursing-anesthesia program, occupational therapy programming, physical therapy programming, and physician assistant programming.  Samuel Merritt offers undergraduate as well as graduate degree programs in nursing. Both their MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner program and their Doctor of Nursing Practice program are offered online. Their MSN in family nurse practitioner studies includes programming in health assessment, advanced physical assessment, advanced pathophysiology, and pharmacology among others.  Looking to advance your career? Check out the online nursing programs at Samuel Merritt. 


3. Johns Hopkins University

Premium Score:

97.00

Earnings at Graduation

$56,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

11.00

Visit Site

Johns Hopkins University is a private research institution located in Baltimore, Maryland. There are 26,152 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. JHU currently ranks as the 10th best school in the nation, 19th best for value, 23rd best for innovation, and 15th for engineering, and number one for nursing programming in the US among many other national accolades.  A nursing degree from JHU is a great advantage for any person looking to advance in their career. JHU offers 11 online degree programs including one online MSN with a combined MBA. The remaining 10 are DNP degrees with an area of specialization including the AGACNP, Family Primary Care DNP, Adult Gerontological Health Clinic Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, and others.  There are so many fantastic options at JHU be sure to check them out! 


4. Georgetown University

Premium Score:

98.00

Earnings at Graduation

$60,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

26.50

Visit Site

Georgetown University is a private university located in Washington DC. Currently, Georgetown ranks as the 24the best school in the nation according to US News, 6th for veterans 16th for best undergraduate teaching, 27th for best value school and 33rd for most innovative. The online nursing programs are a good fit for RNs looking to advance their career in nursing. You can pursue an online Master of Science in nursing in the following specializations: adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, women’s health nurse practitioner. If you wish to pursue a DNP you may enter as a registered nurse or post-master’s. Their online DNP program is a great fit for busy professionals looking to advance in their careers. 


5. Linfield College School of Nursing

Premium Score:

95.00

Earnings at Graduation

$79,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250.00

Visit Site

The Linfield College School of Nursing is a private 4-year university located in Portland, Oregon. There are 335 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Linfield College has a long lineage with nursing dating back to 1890. The school equips students to take on the challenges of nursing and does so in small classrooms and with a rigorous program. The online program is an RN to BSN so if you’re already a nurse and are looking to complete your bachelor’s degree this program is for you. This program is CCNE certified and Linfield makes it so that you can easily transfer in credits from your previous schooling no matter how long ago that was. The college works to ensure that the cost of programming is affordable. 


6. SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Premium Score:

94.00

Earnings at Graduation

$79,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250.00

Visit Site

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is a special focus four-year institution located in Brooklyn. There are nearly 2,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1. The college has been around since 1966 offering medical assistance and education to the community of Brooklyn. Today Downstate offers an online RN to BSN program opened to registered nurses or anyone who anticipates becoming a registered nurse by the time of entry. This is a one-year degree that is is “designed with working nurses in mind.” The courses change slightly each year but often include programming health across the lifespan, advocacy, pathophysiology, research and more. 


7. University of Virginia

Premium Score:

93.00

Earnings at Graduation

$56,500

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

39.00

Visit Site

The University of Virginia Main Campus (UVA) is in Charlottesville. They enroll 24,600 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. The University of Virginia currently ranks as the 28th best school in the nation, 9th best college for veterans, and 4th best public school.  Their RN to BSN program is a two-year part-time program that is mostly online. If you are living in either Charlottesville or Richmond and particularly if you are a graduate from a Virginia Community College system, this may be a great option. UVA guarantees admission to those who are qualified graduates from the VCC system. Are you looking to advance in your career as a nurse? The hybrid program at UVA is an amazing opportunity. 


8. Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Premium Score:

91.00

Earnings at Graduation

$59,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250.00

Visit Site

The Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing (SFMCCON) is a  private four-year university located in Peoria, Illinois. There are 600 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. SFMCCON offers both traditional and online degrees in the field of nursing. Whether you’re pursuing a BSN or an MSN, SFEMCCON has something for you. Their online MSN offers seven areas of specialization including the accelerated pathway to an MSN for individuals with a non-nursing degree, the AGACNP, FNP, NNP, nurse educator, nurse management leadership, the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree. Whether you’re starting off your career as a nurse or heading back to specialize the online options at Saint Francis Medical Center are a great idea. 


9. University of Nebraska Medical Center

Premium Score:

91.00

Earnings at Graduation

$58,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

250.00

Visit Site

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) is a public 4-year institution located in Omaha. The US News ranks UNMC as the 62nd best medical school for their research, 12th best for primary care, and 61st for best nursing master’s degrees. As a research university with its hand on the pulse, UNMC is also an innovative school offering innovative solutions to today’s puzzles. One such innovation is their online RN to BSN degree program. This is designed with the working nurse in mind. This course prepares you for a career as a leader in the field of nursing with courses like “population centered care” and “Leadership in healthcare delivery I and II.”  If you’re at the point where you’re ready to take your career in nursing to the next level you should definitely check out what UNMC has to offer. 


10. Emory University

Premium Score:

91.00

Earnings at Graduation

$48,000

Acceptance Rate

N/A%

National Rank

21.50

Visit Site

Emory University is a private four-year university located in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, Emory ranks as the 21st best school in the nation, 40th best for undergraduate teaching, 21st for best value school, and 42nd for most innovative school. One way that Emory continues to innovate their programming is through online education and they offer one of the best online nursing degrees out there. Their Distance- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a full-time program that takes one year to complete. This program does require two clinical intensives but otherwise is entirely online. If you are looking to switch careers and become a nurse this is one of the best options online. 


Some of the best universities in the world now offer online degrees. There are many opportunities to accelerate your path to a career in nursing. So, if you’re a compassionate person looking to earn a good living in a field that is always hiring why not try nursing? 

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor