Top 5 nursing jobs of 2016 based on salary and demand

Nursing jobs can be incredibly diverse and take you around the country or around the world. As a registered nurse, choosing where and how you would like to make a difference can be difficult, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that thousands of new nursing jobs will be added in 2016, and from now until the mid-2020s, the field is expected to grow by 16 percent each year.

According to U.S. News and World Report, registered nurses and nurse practitioners are some of the most well-compensated individuals in healthcare, and the BLS stated that the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics survey found that the median income for registered nurses was just shy of $70,000. 

Best cities by compensation
U.S News and World Report also found that different nurses may have very different salaries based on where in the country they live. Again, this may change depending on a specific facility, network or specialty, but here are the top 5 paying cities for registered nurses by average salary.

  1. Santa Clara, California: $123,070
  2. San Francisco, California: $122,750
  3. San Jose, California: $121,820
  4. Vallejo, California: $114, 290
  5. Sacramento, California: $105,390

There are a number of complex reasons why the highest paying jobs are located in California. On the East Coast, compensation is slightly lower. In Boston, for example, Glassdoor stated that the average salary for a registered nurse was $70,598. In Chicago, that number is $62,650, which is below the national average. 

"The highest paying jobs are located in California."

Even if your city does not rank among the top places for nurse compensation, there is still a wide range of salaries available depending on where you chose to work and what field you enter.

You should be sure to reach out to peers and mentors to make the best decision possible when considering a new field or specialty.

Best nursing jobs by salary
According to the BLS, nearly two-thirds of nurses work at a local, state or private hospital. Other jobs, like being a school nurse, will always have openings.

In 2016, the website found that some of the most in-demand jobs in the coming year will also be among the highest paying.

5. Certified Midwife
Working closely in OB/Gyn offices or clinics, becoming a certified nurse midwife is a great choice, especially if you love prenatal care or family services. stated that in the next 5-7 years, this field will grow by nearly 30 percent each year, making it one of the fastest growing occupations in the country.

Average Yearly salary: $89,600

4. Psychiatric Nurse Practioner
As the country becomes more aware of the complexities surrounding mental health, the field will continue to grow. Working with a psychiatric physician will likely require a specialty degree. Regardless, stated that this will be one of the fastest growing areas of nursing in the coming years.

Average Yearly Salary: $90,376

Nurses have a lot of options in choosing what field they serve.Nurses have a lot of options in choosing what field they serve.

3. Pain Management Nurse
The demand for this job will always remain strong because the skills can be applied to everything from out-patient therapy in the OR to treating chronic illnesses. Pain management therapies are critical for patients to avoid drug abuse and other fallout from immense pain.

Average Yearly Salary: $90,288

2. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner reported that becoming a Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner is a great way to expand your career options as the American population ages. This job may be done at a traditional practice, at a patient's home or at an assisted living facility.

Average Yearly Salary: $95,070

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist 
CRNA's are the highest paid nurses in the country, and according to, this field is expected to also see high growth in the next few years. For that reason, any nurse looking for job security and generous compensation should consider taking the National Certification Examination for anesthesia.

Average Yearly Salary: $133,000

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