Advice » Career Development» Getting Promoted » Advance Your Nursing Career
Advance Your Nursing Career

Advance Your Nursing Career

If you're an experienced nursing professional, there are a number of opportunities in advanced practice nursing you could pursue.

Advanced practice nurses fall into four categories: nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and clinical nurse specialists (CNSes). All require advanced education (typically leading to a master's degree) and clinical experience. After that, certification and state licensing requirements vary. So do salaries, which differ according to location, educational levels and practice setting.

Nurse Practitioners

The American College of Nurse Practitioners estimates that there were about 145,000 NPs in the US as of 2006. Even so, NPs are in short supply, especially since they are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines when it comes to providing primary healthcare. Among their responsibilities:

  • Conducting physicals.
  • Making diagnoses and providing treatment.
  • Writing prescriptions (in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia).
  • Managing patients' chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.

With such diverse duties, NPs, who must hold a master's degree and a state license as well as be knowledgeable about prescription medications, need to be versatile. They must also be self-reliant since it's not unusual for them to be an area's only source of primary care, especially in rural settings.

Salaries for NPs vary but continue to rise. The average NP salary is $90,583, according to a 2011 salary survey conducted by Advance for Nurse Practitioners. To boost income even further, consider higher-paying work settings, such as the ER, neonatal unit or retail health clinic.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

The nation's 30,000 CRNAs are among the most highly educated and highly compensated of advanced nurse professionals, earning median salaries of $147,000, according to PayScale. To further sweeten the income pot, CRNAs are now so well-trusted that their malpractice liability premiums are 39 percent lower than they were 15 years ago. In addition, some states are allowing CRNAs to practice without physician supervision.

CRNAs work in all settings, from hospitals to private offices. Most states require CRNAs to hold an MSN from an accredited program in the field. CRNAs must also be licensed and certified.

Certified Nurse-Midwives

Approximately 7,000 CNMs provide prenatal and gynecological care to women, deliver babies and provide postpartum care. In 2009, the most current year for which data is available from the National Center for Health Statistics, there were more than 313,000 CNM-attended births in the US.

While the majority of midwife-attended births still occur in hospitals, CNMs also practice in birthing centers and oversee home births. Many work as independent businesspeople, either as solo practitioners or in partnership with an OB/GYN or other CNMs. Most states require CNMs to be RNs, master's prepared.

Independent practices offer two major advantages, say CNMs. First, their generally well-educated patients tend to treat nurse-midwives -- whom they view as healthcare partners -- with confidence and respect. Second, the CNM can provide continuity of care into the postpartum setting. The downside? Some independent CNMs say they earn less than they would in a hospital. A 2007 salary survey by the American College of Nurse-Midwives estimates that full-time CNMs earn approximately $79,000 to $90,000 a year.

Clinical Nurse Specialists

CNSes are "expert clinicians in a specialized area of nursing," according to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS). CNSes can specialize in a specific disease (such as cancer), population (such as women or children), setting (such as an ER), type of care (such as rehab) or type of problem (such as pain).

The NACNS reports that almost 70,000 RNs have received the education (a master's or PhD) and certification to practice as CNSes, and more than 14,000 are also nurse practitioners. CNS salaries range from $65,000 to more than $110,000, according to the NACNS. The NACNS has information on state requirements and various specialty certifications.

If one of these opportunities appeals to you, interview colleagues currently practicing in your area of interest and check with professional associations to determine the next steps you must take to advance your career.

Article in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Accounting Principals
Posted: 05/30/2015
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33309
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
Houston, TX, 77027
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
San Francisco, CA, 94105
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
Houston, TX, 77027
Accounting Principals
Posted: 05/30/2015
Sylmar, CA, 91342

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-211