Six Career Paths for Nurses in 2022


Registered Nurses (RNs) provide healthcare and facilitate nurse administration in different work areas. With today’s increasing number of novel diseases and pandemics, the demand for nurses is higher than ever. Perhaps no other healthcare professional can provide the kind of services that nurses offer. They help improve people’s lives by educating and empowering them to take better care of themselves and monitoring and caring for patients who underwent surgeries or harsh treatments. 

With a higher degree in nursing, you can work in multiple capacities. There is especially a rising demand for nurse educationists and researchers in the field. Both professions contribute to expanding the field’s horizon by delving into the latest research and presenting their findings in the nursing course curriculum to build the future generation of nurses. That is how there is progression within the field of nurses jobs

Moreover, travel nurse practitioners contribute to the global health crisis by working in poverty-stricken areas, pandemic-hit zones, warzones, etc., where there is a lack of medical provision. The increased demand and higher education criteria mean that such nurses get reasonable compensation for their hard work. 

Let us look at some top career paths for registered nurses to pursue in 2022, with higher growth progression. 

Clinical Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

CNPs provide acute and specialty patient care independently or collaborate with other healthcare workers. In addition, they use evidence-based practice and IT to help improve Medicare. 

The role of CNP requires MSN online graduate degree that helps them specialize in clinical nursing. They can work in the capacity of Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). They work in doctors’ clinics like pediatricians, chiropractors, school and university clinics, hospitals, and specialized schools. Clinical Nurse Practitioners earn a median annual salary of $111,680. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this figure to grow as CNP demand will increase by 52% until 2029. 

Nurse Educator 

The nursing education schools are experiencing a drain as nurse educationists are retiring. It reflects the demand for nurse educators to groom the next generation of nurses. Their work setting typically includes nursing trade schools, junior colleges, and universities where there are higher employability chances. Registered nurses often transition from clinical to educational settings and teach students on academic and practical grounds, depending on the level of education. 

The candidate must be a Registered Nurse (RN) with an advanced nursing education level to enter the nursing education field. With a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), you can teach advanced courses than a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). According to Payscale, nurse educators’ average annual base salary with MSN is $78,594. It can even go up to $117,000 with a DNP, depending on job location and experience. 

Clinical Nurse Researcher (CNR)

CNRs are the pinnacle of groundbreaking research in the nursing world. They help bring real innovative solutions and advancements in the field. Without them, nursing would not be as advanced afield as today. That is why they are high in demand by medical research institutions, university research departments, laboratories, etc. They influence and help introduce legislative policies and nursing procedures. It also plays a considerable part in multidisciplinary collaborative research and execution of hospital policies for the nursing staff and nursing education and mentoring. 

In addition, their clinical research helps execute novel and effective patient treatments. In clinical trials, they first identify patient treatment problems and then use their research to help administer the proper procedures. During this, they keep recording and updating data on treatment effectiveness. Clinical professionals use their research to integrate it into their patient treatment plans. 

According to Payscale, CNRs earn $72,100 to $95,000 a year. 

Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

CNOs work as nurse administrators, coordinating and directing nurse activities according to hospital policies and procedures. They execute patient safety policies and work with the hospital management to coordinate the nursing department with other departments. In addition, they devise adequate patient care plans and develop efficient strategies for existing programs. 

Their other administrative tasks include putting together the nursing staff’s budget, overseeing inventory and supply of medical equipment, managing and motivating the nursing staff, and planning and executing emergency care plans. 

The essential requirement for becoming a CNO is an MSN degree. However, a DNP might increase their chances of starting with higher pay. CNOs earn an average of $124,000 a year. However, BLS expects a growth of 32% in the nursing administrative roles from 2022 to 2029. 

Advanced Practice Nurse (APN)

APNs take on advanced healthcare and organizational responsibilities with minimal supervision. They usually have more autonomy in their work due to their advanced training and education level. Their autonomous practice helps them jump up the hospital hierarchy quicker than other nurse positions. They also oversee hospital operations and nursing pools. They work with other nurses and mentor them in providing high-quality care. They also run in-home facilities and can run community clinics and urgent healthcare facilities like setting up medical camps in a health crisis zone. 

APN’s average yearly median income is $91,000. However, their pay increment has been moderate compared to other nursing professions.

Travel Nurse

It is a relatively new area in the nursing field. Usually, the nurses who want to provide global healthcare enter this area of nursing. They may work with the government, which can send a travel nurse to a critical healthcare zone or where they want to locate to care for certain patients. Once they finish their job, they relocate to another area. Typically, the State sends them to a site where there is a lack of nurses with their education, experience, and field of expertise. When they go to such medically deprived areas, they coordinate with relevant teams and departments to provide adequate medical care to the community. They also help set up and run the facility smoothly until it is stable with enough resources. 

Travel nurses can be experts in any field but must have relevant administrative skills to create an impact outside of their hometown. Their average yearly income is $100,000, which increases over the years of experience and demand.


Nursing is a highly advanced and in-demand field, with higher salary packages than other professions. Due to their education and expertise, they can work in multiple capacities. Some nurses often switch from clinical to academic fields, as the demand for nurse educators is higher in the US. 

An MSN degree is an essential requirement for working in an administrative capacity. However, a DNP can land you higher up in an organization’s hierarchy with higher pay and growth prospects. Therefore, the field may not be easy, but it is gratifying and worthwhile, not to mention high in demand. 


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