7 Career Paths You Can Take With A Nursing Degree

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A nursing degree prepares students for a variety of careers outside the traditional roles associated with bedside care. The growth in the demand for skilled nursing professionals has opened up new opportunities for them—from education to research, and everything in between. Nurses’ unique blend of clinical expertise and compassionate problem-solving skills makes them excellent candidates for many different kinds of careers.

This article explores the many career options available to nursing school graduates. While some of these jobs are directly related to the core nursing curriculum, others provide opportunities for growth and development in alternative fields. Read on:

Career Paths For Nursing Degree Holders

Whether you’ve acquired a Master’s degree, Bachelor’s in Nursing Degree or are still a student in any of these two, you can build and choose your career paths across many health-related fields. Also, employers finding quality health care employees in various areas can seize the opportunities to employ the expertise of the nursing degree holders. The career paths for nursing degree holders include the following:

1. Nurse Educator

Average Salary Range: USD$89,296-$119,272 

A nurse educator teaches and trains future and current nurses, creating educational programs and materials to aid learning and skill development. They work in academic institutions, healthcare organizations, or community settings and contribute to developing nursing curriculums, evaluating program effectiveness, and identifying areas for improvement.

They may also mentor and supervise nursing students and new nurses as they transition. Nurse educators require an advanced nursing degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. This career path lets nurses combine teaching with clinical expertise and significantly impact the future of the nursing profession.

2. Nurse Midwife

Average Salary Range: USD$109,488-$134,969

A nurse midwife is an advanced practice nurse specializing in women’s health, particularly during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. They provide comprehensive healthcare services, including prenatal care, gynecological exams, and family planning. Nurse Midwives can prescribe medications, order tests, and perform various medical procedures.

They also assist women in managing reproductive health concerns such as menopause, infertility, and sexually transmitted infections.

To become a nurse midwife, one must complete a BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, gain experience as a registered nurse, and pursue an MSN or DNP degree specializing in Nurse Midwifery. After graduation, they must pass a national certification exam to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). 

3. Public Health Nurse

Average Salary Range: USD$58,753-$78,311

Public health nurses work to promote and protect community health through disease prevention and health education. Their work includes:

  • Conducting health assessments
  • Providing counseling
  • Developing and implementing health promotion programs
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals and community organizations. 

Public health nurses also monitor health trends and data to identify emerging health issues and plan appropriate interventions. 

For instance, public health nurses may collaborate with local schools to provide health education to students and staff, develop vaccination campaigns to prevent the spread of infectious diseases or work with community organizations to address environmental health hazards. They may also research to identify community health trends and risk factors and develop programs to address these issues.

4. Nurse Anesthetist

Average Salary Range: USD$193,052-$224,151

Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice nurses who provide anesthesia and related care to patients undergoing surgical or other medical procedures. They collaborate with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure the safe and effective administration of anesthesia during surgery or other medical procedures.

Nurse anesthetists are responsible for assessing patients’ medical histories and current health status and determining the appropriate type and dosage of anesthesia. They monitor patients’ vital signs during procedures and adjust anesthesia levels to ensure optimal patient comfort and safety. They’re also trained to manage potential complications and emergencies related to anesthesia administration.

5. Medical Transcriptionist

Average Salary Range: USD$45,008-$56,322

A medical transcriptionist is a healthcare professional responsible for converting voice-recorded medical reports into written documents. They listen to audio recordings made by doctors and other medical professionals and then transcribe them into written reports, which are added to patients’ medical records. This job requires strong listening skills, excellent typing speed and accuracy, and medical terminology and procedures knowledge.

A nursing degree provides a solid foundation for becoming a medical transcriptionist, as nurses already know medical terminology and procedures. Therefore, a nursing degree can serve as an excellent stepping stone toward a career in medical transcription.

6. Pharmacy Technician

Average Salary: USD$34,303-$42,438

A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who assists pharmacists in dispensing medications and providing customer service to patients. They work in various settings, such as retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Pharmacy technicians receive prescriptions from patients, measure and count medications, and label and package them for distribution.

They also maintain patient profiles, process insurance claims, and manage inventory. With a nursing degree, a graduate can leverage their pharmacology and medication administration knowledge to become a pharmacy technician. This enhances their understanding of medication management and gives them a different perspective on patient care.

7. Sonographer

Average Salary Range: USD$72,846-$85,550 

Sonographers use ultrasound technology to capture images of internal organs and tissues to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions. They work with physicians and radiologists, requiring a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy, proficiency in using ultrasound equipment, and the ability to maintain patient records and communicate findings.

Sonographers can specialize in obstetric, gynecologic, cardiovascular, or neuro-sonography and work in hospitals, clinics, or private medical practices. Due to the growing use of ultrasound technology in healthcare, sonographers are in high demand, with salaries varying based on experience, location, and specialization.

Conclusion

As the demand for highly skilled healthcare professionals continues to grow, nurses are uniquely positioned to make a lasting difference in a variety of roles. By pursuing a career in nursing, individuals can not only find personal fulfillment but also play a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare. So, if you have a passion for helping others and making a positive impact, consider exploring the vast array of career paths that a nursing degree can offer.