What Is the Best Nursing Field for 2023? 12 Fastest Growing Nursing Specialties (2023)

Nursing is an ever-changing profession, but one thing is very clear. Nurses continue to be in demand with no signs of slowing. And nurses have greater opportunities for specialization than they used to with many interesting and fast-growing nursing fields to choose from. Here are some you’ll want to learn more about.

Is Nursing a Good Career Choice in 2023?

What Is the Best Nursing Field for 2023? 12 Fastest Growing Nursing Specialties (1)The nursing field is ever-evolving. Most job roles are high-paying and in demand. The AMN Healthcare survey found an astounding 81% of nurses surveyed are satisfied that they made the right career choice for themselves.

As with any career choice, some people are more suited than others to the nursing field. But generally speaking, nurses have the following nurse skills, in addition to nursing know-how. They’re excellent at managing stress and are energetic. They’re strong communicators, detail-oriented, and problem-solvers. They work well with others to make exceptional patient care possible.

The nursing field can get very confusing with titles being used interchangeably and nurses having several titles.

This is in part because nursing is currently undergoing some significant evolution, creating some overlap. But it’s also because certain nursing qualifications can open up a variety of nursing jobs and specialization opportunities.

Is the Nursing Field Growing?

The nursing field has grown and diversified over the past 20 years so much that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has had to divide nursing up into categories to show how individual nursing fields are growing.

According toBLS.gov, the need for registered nurses (RN) is expected to grow 6% over the next 10 years, as fast as average. On the other hand, the need for Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, and Nurse Midwives is expected torise by 40% during the same time period.

The need for entry-level nursing, licensed practical and vocational nurses (LPN), is also growing but has slowed a little in the past five years. A person can train to become an LPN in 12 to 24 months, making it an easier place to start.

Since nurses often progress from entry-level to more advanced nursing, this shows strong job prospects for both entry, intermediate, and advanced nursing careers.

How Many Fields of Nursing Are There?

This will depend on the country where you practice, and new fields are likely to emerge as the medical fields push toward greater and greater specialization. Since nursing is ever-changing, it’s hard to pin down a number. But here’s a good look at the diversity of nursing.

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Vocational Nurse
  • Registered Nurse (RN) (Medical Nurse)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)

More advanced Nurse Certifications include:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

What Are Nursing Fields?

Nurses can obtain additional education and/or specialization to earn additional credentials and titles like these. When someone is speaking of nursing fields, they’re talking about nursing specialization, such as:

  • Cardiac Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • ICU Nurse
  • Oncology Nurse
  • Trauma Nurse
  • Nurse Educator – Professor of Nursing, Nurse Instructor, etc.
  • Clinical Nurse Leader – Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Manager, Director
  • Other Administrative Roles – You might be handling prior authorizations at an insurance company or helping a non-profit develop community health programs.

Specializing and getting advanced education typically increases earning potential. It can also help a nurse get into a nursing role they really love.

Which is the Highest Type of Nurse?

What Is the Best Nursing Field for 2023? 12 Fastest Growing Nursing Specialties (2)The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is the highest type of nurse. This is an RN that has a Master’s Degree in Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Ph.D. called Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). They can both become Nurse Practitioners (NP) after passing their licensing exams.

So they will be able to diagnose, treat, and prescribe to patients similar to a Medical Doctor but within a defined scope of practice. But they’re likely to hold more advanced roles and specializations that allow them to take on high positions:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
  • Nurse Researcher
  • Nursing School Professor / Nurse Educator

These open up higher pay for the RN that may not be attainable if they stay exclusively in an NP clinical role.

What Is the Best Nursing Field for RNs?

The best nursing field is one where you can thrive in your nursing role. If it’s not a good fit for you, then it’s not the best. Factors like pay, hours, responsibilities, level of physical fitness required, where the nursing jobs are located, and more can influence whether it’s the best.

With that said, according to NurseJournal.org, the best based on pay alone are the top 10 as follows, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Informatics Nurse
  2. Nurse
  3. Nurse Anesthetist
  4. Psychiatric Mental Health
  5. Nurse Practitioner
  6. Nurse Midwife
  7. Family Nurse Practitioner
  8. Clinical Nurse Specialist
  9. Travel Nurse
  10. Nurse Researcher

What Type of RN is Most in Demand & What Do They Do?

Various nursing fields are taking off. Some of the fastest-growing nursing roles include these specialties.

1. Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist will administer pain medication including those that “put people to sleep” for a procedure. They work closely with an anesthesiologist (a medical doctor) who determines how much anesthesia a person needs. The anesthetist monitors patients’ vital signs during surgery and in the recovery room, similar to an Anesthesiologist. They may also educate the patient about the types of anesthesia, risks, and what to expect. A nurse Anesthetist will need an RN license and a minimum of an MSN that specializes in anesthesiology. They must acquire a license to become Nurse Anesthetists. This nursing professional consistently ranks as the highest-paid nurse with an average base pay of $168, 241 per year, according toPayscale data.

2. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

This nurse can do anything a nurse practitioner can do but in a mental health setting. They often work with people with dementia, mood disorders, and addiction. You need at least an MSN and an RN license. You’ll need to complete a nurse practitioner program that focuses on mental health.

3. Trauma Nurse / Critical Care Nurse

You’ll work with an emergency response team caring for someone who is in critical condition or unstable. You’ll be trained to treat a trauma patient. You may administer pain meds, wound care, and blood transfusions.

To become a trauma nurse, you need an associate degree or BSN before obtaining your RN license. After two years, the RN can become a certified emergency nurse or similar critical care credential.

4. Acute Care Nurse / Critical Care Nurse

Acute Care Nurse is a broad team of nurses who specialize in caring for patients with acute illnesses. These patients usually have chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, or kidney disease. They’ve either had a significant episode or the condition has worsened to the point that they need specialized medical care.

Some sub-specialties within this nursing field include neonatal, cardiac, cardiac surgery, pediatric, geriatric, dialysis, telehealth, and nursing administration.

5. Family Nurse Practitioner

Like a family practice doctor, a family nurse practitioner is a general practice nurse who supports patients through wellness, routine screening, preventive care, and routine sick care from birth to advanced age. Approximately65% of nurse practitioners choose this field of nursing. They are required to have an MSN and have completed a BSN. However, bridge programs are available. These allow people who got their bachelor’s or associate’s degree in something else to take some pre-requisite courses and then start an MSN program.

6. Nurse Midwife

A nurse midwife specializes in childbirth and pre/post-partum care but also women’s reproductive health from puberty through menopause. A Midwife who is a Nurse Practitioner can do almost anything an OB-GYN can.

They don’t perform surgery such as C-sections. They also can’t provide epidurals, although a nurse anesthetist on staff could. An anesthesiologist (medical doctor) would need to order it, however, so nurse midwives often work with doctors and other medical professionals to provide comprehensive care.

Nurse midwives usually specialize in natural childbirth methods and would refer women to an OB-GYN if the mother was at high risk of complications.

7. Nurse Researcher

A nurse researcher organizes and conducts studies. They analyze data and report their findings. There are a variety of opportunities for nurse researchers to work for pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, regulatory agencies, hospitals, and not-for-profit organizations.

8. Travel Nurse

Travel nurses can have various levels of qualifications and can be in any one of the fastest-growing nursing fields. The defining factor is that they move around where they’re needed. Travel nurses may come in so another nurse can take maternity or extended sick leave. They often work in rural communities that may struggle due to extended vacancies. For nurses who have a “free spirit”, this can be a great way to see the US or the world and try different nursing fields to find one that really interests them. An assignment could be anywhere from six weeks to a couple of years.

Travel nursing is part of the gig economy, so you’re often self-employed. But you usually work through an agency that keeps jobs lined up and manages some logistics.

9. Informatics Nurse

Informatics nurses help healthcare companies analyze and manage health-related data and communications. They combine nursing with computer science, analytics, and technology. Generally, their goal is to build and manage diagnostic and other technologies to enhance patient care, cut costs, detect disease earlier, etc.

An informatics nurse has at least an RN with a minor in computer science/information technology.

10. Nurse Educator

A nurse educator teaches future nurses and nursing assistants in an academic setting or in the form of refresher courses for a healthcare company. They may also spend time doing research or writing grants.

11. Infection Control/Prevention Nurse

An infection control nurse specializes in identifying, monitoring, and preventing infectious diseases. This is typically someone with an RN who obtains certification in infection prevention and control (CIC).

12. Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses work closely with caseworkers, families, social workers, nursing homes, carers, hospices, and other healthcare professionals to care for and treat the elderly.

Nurse practitioners are usually preferred for this role because of the complexity involved in coordinating geriatric care. But those in the field often start as LPNs or RNs working with geriatric patients. They then obtain additional education and certification to enter this role.

What is the Easiest Nursing Field?

Nurses often rank these nursing fields as having the lowest levels of stress:

  1. Travel Nursing
  2. Clinic Nurse
  3. Nurse Educator
  4. School Nurse
  5. Nurse Administrator

With that said, “easiest” probably depends on who you ask.

What Education Do Nurses Need?

Tobecome an RN, you need a minimum of an Associate’s in Nursing (ASN or ADN). But getting a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) is generally preferred. You will then need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN.org) to become a licensed RN. ASN typically takes two to three years, while BSN is a four-year program for those going full-time.

As demonstrated above, greater opportunities often open up with higher levels of education. To become a nurse practitioner, one of the most common paths is to start as an RN who already has a BSN and enroll in a nurse practitioner graduate program.

Continuing Education Credits and Certifications

In addition to earning advanced degrees, nurses are required to complete continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. Some of these courses may be specific to their nursing field. For example, a cardiac nurse may take a course like Heart Failure Lifestyle and Self-Care. Other credits… everyone should take because they apply in almost any setting where a nurse would work.

  1. Basic Life Support (BLS)Certification
  2. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)Certification
  3. Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)Certification
  4. Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Life Support (PALS)Certification
  5. CPR, AED, and First AidCertification

These courses align with the most up-to-date ILCOR guidelines and best practices, are 100% online, and count asAMA Category 2 Continuing Medical Education Credits (CME). In addition to being CME, these are also additional certificates that every nurse should have on their resume. They demonstrate dedication to continually learning advanced methods for supporting exceptional patient care, regardless of the nursing field you choose. Let us know how you have used your knowledge while caring for your patients – share in the comments below or in our online community.


What Is the Best Nursing Field for 2023? 12 Fastest Growing Nursing Specialties? ›

1. Nurse Anesthetist. A nurse anesthetist will administer pain medication including those that “put people to sleep” for a procedure. They work closely with an anesthesiologist (a medical doctor) who determines how much anesthesia a person needs.

What is the fastest growing field of nursing? ›

Fastest Growing Nursing Fields in the US

According to the recent BLS list of the fastest-growing occupations, nurse practitioners (NP) are at the top with a whopping 46% growth rate for 2021 to 2031. Furthermore, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) also see an increased growth of 12% in this decade.

Which nursing field is in highest demand? ›

Neonatal Nurse

In addition to becoming an RN, a neonatal nurse must pursue studies in pediatric care as well as that of premature infants.. Most receive ongoing training so that they are able to use the latest technology to provide the highest quality of care. Neonatal nurses are in high demand.

What is the highest-paid nursing specialization? ›

What is the highest-paid nurse? Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists! Earning $195,610 annually, CRNAs earn significantly more than any other type of nurse or nursing specialty.

What is the best specialization in nursing? ›

1 | Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

A family nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)-level role caring for patients across the lifespan. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), nearly 70% of nurse practitioners choose this specialty.

What is the easiest nursing specialty to get into? ›

Occupational Health

One of the easiest nursing jobs to get into is in the field of occupational health. Occupational health nurses work in large industries, HMOs, and factories to treat work-related injuries and onsite illnesses. This type of nurse is employed to keep the workers on the job.

What is the future demand for nursing? ›

Why Is There a Nursing Shortage? For years, experts in the healthcare field have sounded the alarm on the high demand for nurses nationwide. Based on projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the country will need additional 203,200 registered nurses (RNs) each year from now through 2031.

How to make 7 figures as a nurse? ›

  1. Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) ...
  2. Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) ...
  3. Become a Nurse Midwife. ...
  4. Advance in Nurse Leadership. ...
  5. Begin travel nursing assignment. ...
  6. Change Nursing specialties. ...
  7. Relocate to a higher paying state. ...
  8. Make sacrifices.

Where is the highest paid nurse in the world? ›

Switzerland: Nurses in Switzerland have some of the highest salaries in the world, with an average annual salary of around $85000. Canada: Nurses in Canada earn an average annual salary of around $75000. Germany: Nurses in Germany have an average salary of around $65000.

What is the hardest class for a nursing major? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Where do the smartest nurses work? ›

Case in point, within all general areas of nursing, the Medical ICU, Trauma ICU, Peds ICU, Neonatal ICU, are perceived to require the highest skill set of nurses.

What nurse makes the least money? ›

Licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) are some of the lowest-paid nursing roles, but that is due to the fact that the educational requirements are less than most other types of nurses.

Which state is easiest to become a nurse? ›

Easiest states to become a nurse – Length of licensing process
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.

What is the least common nursing degree? ›

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP is the highest possible degree for nursing practice, what is called a terminal degree. As of 2025, new certified registered nurse anesthetists must have a DNP. This is the least common degree for RNs.

What are the future trends in nursing 2023? ›

More Nurses Will Earn a BSN.

As health care systems work to increase the number of nurses with bachelor's degrees (BSN), nurses seeking higher degrees through online nursing programs will remain a popular nursing trend in 2023.

Is nursing a good career 2023? ›

Is Nursing a Good Career Choice in 2023? The nursing field is ever-evolving. Most job roles are high-paying and in demand. The AMN Healthcare survey found an astounding 81% of nurses surveyed are satisfied that they made the right career choice for themselves.

Is nursing still in demand in 2025? ›

Based on 2012 health care delivery and staffing patterns and assuming the current RN demand equals the current RN supply of approximately 2.9 million, the demand for RNs is projected to reach 3.5 million in 2025, an increase of 612,000 RNs.

Can a nurse make $500,000 a year? ›

Reeves said new nurses can make up to $500,000 by the age of 27, if they follow her step-by-step guide to success. “Want your life to look like mine? Then listen up,” she said on TikTok.

How can a nurse become a multi millionaire? ›

Here are some ways for nurses to make extra money:
  1. Work the night shift.
  2. Pull an occasional extra shift.
  3. Keep up with your certifications.
  4. Add additional certifications to your resume.
  5. Work in critical care areas (ER or ICU)
  6. Work as a travel nurse.
  7. Earn an advanced degree.
  8. Move into management.
Jul 27, 2021

Who makes more money than nurses? ›

While both nurse practitioners and doctors can enjoy the benefit of great incomes, doctors make almost twice as much as nurse practitioners. In fact, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctors typically earn an average annual salary of about $200,000 or more.

Where is the best RN pay in the US? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Which country has the happiest nurses? ›

In Denmark, nurses report extremely high levels of job satisfaction and are happy with their roles. EU nationals do not need a visa to work in Denmark but nurses from the U.S. will need to apply for the right to work in the country.

Who do nurses marry the most? ›

Female registered nurses are most likely to marry male managers or female registered nurses. Male registered nurses are most likely to marry female or male registered nurses. Nurse practitioners and midwives are most likely to marry miscellaneous managers, physicians and surgeons.

Which nurses have the highest burnout? ›

Critical care nurses suffer the highest rates of burnout.

This is mainly due to the nature of the job, as critical care nurses work specialize in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). As such, their work environment is constantly fast-paced, meticulous, and demanding.

What is the hardest nursing unit? ›

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses

ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. Unstable patients require lifesaving interventions and once stabilized, are transferred to a different unit.

What is the hardest nursing certification to get? ›

Emergency nursing is considered one of the most difficult fields of nursing, and certification in this specialty is highly desirable.

Which is the toughest degree in the world? ›

What are the hardest degrees in the world? Ranked by Experts
  • Chartered Accountancy.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Quantum Mechanics.
  • Law.
  • Aerospace/ Aeronautical Studies, Engineering.
  • Biomedical Studies, Neurosciences, Biochemistry.
  • Nursing.
  • Dentistry, Medicine.
Dec 16, 2022

What is harder paramedic or nursing? ›

Paramedics are more highly trained than LPNs, however, the 1,200 to 1,800 hours of schooling a paramedic receives is lower than the two to four years it usually takes to become an RN. The paramedic's duties are mainly concerned with delivering emergency care to patients prior to arriving at the hospital.

What is the most qualified nurse? ›

What is the highest level of nurse? The highest level of clinical nursing is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), which is a nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist.

What is the fastest growing fields in healthcare? ›

Fastest-growing health care jobs
  • Physical therapist.
  • Dental hygienist.
  • Respiratory therapist.
  • Advanced practice registered nurse.
  • Speech language pathologist.
  • Radiation therapist.
  • Pharmacist.
  • Optometrist.
Mar 16, 2023

What is the closest career to nursing? ›

Similar Professions to Nursing
  1. Medical Assistant. A medical assistant is a certified healthcare professional that takes on both administrative and clinical tasks in a medical practice. ...
  2. Dental Hygienist. ...
  3. Histology Technician. ...
  4. Respiratory Therapist. ...
  5. Occupational Therapy Assistant.
May 8, 2020

Where is it easiest to become a nurse? ›

Easiest states to become a nurse – Length of licensing process
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.

Which job is best in 2023? ›

Best jobs of 2023
  • Full stack developer.
  • Data engineer.
  • Cloud engineer.
  • Psychiatric nurse.
  • Senior product manager.
  • Back-end developer.
  • Site reliability engineer.
  • Machine learning engineer.
May 18, 2023

What is the #1 best healthcare job? ›

According to U.S. News, the 10 best jobs in healthcare for 2023 are:
  • Nurse practitioner.
  • Physician assistant.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Dentist.
  • Veterinarian.
  • Physician.
  • Orthodontist.
  • Registered nurse.
Jan 12, 2023

What is the fastest growing specialty? ›

Cardiology is the fastest growing ASC specialty, according to Avanza's "2022 Key ASC Benchmarks and Industry Figures" report.

Where is the highest paying nursing jobs? ›

Highest-paying states for registered nurses

California tops our list of the highest-paying states, where registered nurses make $124,000 per year on average. Following it is Hawaii, at $106,530, and Oregon at $98,6300.

What is the shortest nursing career? ›

Certified Nursing Assistant

A CNA program is a fast-paced program that only takes a couple of months to fully complete. After graduation, students can enter the field right away, assisting nurses with patient work in a wide variety of settings.

Where is the hardest place to work as a nurse? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

What state is the hardest to get a nursing license? ›

  • OHIO. Surprised California doesn't top the list? ...
  • CALIFORNIA. Ah, California—a bucket-list destination for many travel nurses. ...
  • MARYLAND. ...
  • MAINE. ...


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