10 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs That Don't Need an Advanced Degree in 2023

Do you need an advanced Nursing degree for a high-paying Nursing job? The short answer is no! Nurses Career Support Knowledge

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10 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs That Don't Need an Advanced Degree in 2023

As a nurse, money probably isn't your number one goal. Getting into this profession means you probably care about helping others and finding fulfillment in your career. But no one says nurses can't make good money, too! The good news is there are lots of high-paying Nursing Jobs that don't require an advanced degree.

Although an advanced degree is necessary for certain paths to advancing your career (like becoming a nurse practitioner), these aren't for everyone. Many nurses can't stomach the thought of going back to school for another degree. That's okay!

If you love what you do as an RN but want to see a bigger paycheck, these high-paying nursing jobs might be interesting. When in doubt, don't be afraid to make a change. Who knows, you might even find a unique role that takes your career in an exciting new direction!

Do You Need an Advanced Degree for a High-Paying Nursing Job?

The short answer is no! You can absolutely make good money as a nurse without an advanced degree. You just need to know where to look. Although there is always talk about nurse practitioners and CRNAs making the most money, plenty of nursing jobs offering excellent pay don't require an advanced degree.

Even so, many people still believe you need a master's or doctoral degree in nursing if you want a high-paying job. It's true that an advanced degree can open doors to more pay. But you can also find high-paying nursing jobs even if you just have a bachelor's degree.

How Much Money Does a Staff Nurse Make?

Before exploring some of the highest-paying nursing jobs that don't require an advanced degree, we need something to compare them to. Staff nurses make up the bulk of the healthcare workforce and are an essential part of any hospital. But how much do they make?

According to data from ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for a staff nurse is just under $78,000 per year. That number equals $37 per hour and doesn't include overtime or bonuses.

And if your salary as a staff nurse isn't the same, remember this number varies greatly by location. Nurses in Washington and New York make significantly more than those in states like North Carolina or Georgia. Factors like years of experience and specialty also have a big impact on salary (as you'll see shortly).

10 Highest-Paying Nursing Jobs for RNs

Now that we've looked at the average a staff nurse can expect to make, you're probably ready to find out just how much you can earn without an advanced degree. Keep in mind these ten jobs are only a fraction of what's out there. But if you're looking for a bigger nursing paycheck and don't want to go back to school, they could be worth considering.

10- Informatics Nurse

If you've got a knack for technology and are the person everyone on the unit turns to for help with charting, you might be interested in nursing informatics. With the current technology boom, this job is in high demand. Healthcare systems need people who understand both technology and the role it plays in patient care. Don't expect to just be confined to a hospital, either. Informatics nurses can often find jobs with tech companies, medical record companies, and even research institutions.

National Average Salary: $78,350 per year

9- Nurse Researcher

If you enjoy diving deep into case studies and policies, a career as a nurse researcher could be a good fit. Many nurse researchers step away from the bedside and hands-on care. But you may also find yourself in a hybrid role that involves both research and clinical time. If you plan to make a career out of nursing research, you may need to get your master's or Ph.D. eventually. But you can certainly find a high-paying nursing job without an advanced degree in this field and get started.

National Average Salary: $85,499 per year

8- Unit Nurse Manager

Do you like having your finger on the pulse of your unit? Do you thrive in a leadership role while managing a team of people in high-pressure situations? Nurse managers are often the backbone of their units. In this role, you'll have an opportunity to create a positive culture, improve patient outcomes, and find ways to brighten the work environment for your peers. This isn't a job for everyone, but if you're up for a challenge and like the idea of leadership, becoming a nurse manager can be a highly fulfilling career path.

National Average Salary: $87,904 per year

7- Operating Room Nurse

If fast-paced life on the unit isn't your speed, the OR may have something to offer. An OR nurse works with patients before, during, and after surgery. You'll spend lots of time communicating, answering questions, and providing home-going education. Nurses working in the OR can also expect to see a wide variety of surgical cases and work with a diverse team of providers.  

National Average Salary: $89,390 per year

6- Oncology Nurse

Caring for those at their most vulnerable is at the heart of what nurses do. Oncology nursing takes this to the next level. You'll provide care to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families. This is a great opportunity for nurses who like to build relationships with their patients and work with them over a longer period of time. Although oncology nursing can be emotionally taxing, you'll also enjoy some of the best moments the human spirit has to offer.

National Average Salary: $90,088 per year

5- Nurse Educator

If you're ready to step away from patient care, becoming a nurse educator can be a great career move. This allows you to share your nursing knowledge with the next generation of nurses and continue having a positive impact. Of course, this doesn't just mean teaching classes at a university. You can also work as a nurse educator in the hospital and help train nurses on the latest in evidence-based practice and new equipment.

National Average Salary: $96,932 per year

4- Travel Nurse

This one is more flexible since you can find travel nursing jobs in many different specialties. The title "travel nurse" is more of a starting point than an all-inclusive description. But if you want a high-paying nursing job without an advanced degree, look no further. With a nationwide nursing shortage, you'll have plenty of opportunities to pack your bags (and secure the bag) while helping patients in exciting locations across the country.

National Average Salary: $106,030 per year

3- Emergency Room Nurse

If you've built up strong clinical nursing skills and can think on your feet in a fast-paced environment, the ER might be a good fit. You'll also need to be good at dealing with stress and balancing several important tasks at once. For those who fit the mold, ER nursing is a great way to advance your career and make more money in the process. You'll also find plenty of fulfillment as you're often the first person helping a patient in their time of need.

National Average Salary: $114,970 per year

2- ICU Nurse

Working with critically ill patients isn't something all nurses want to do. In fact, many nurses are just as reluctant about taking a job in the ICU as they are about going back to school. But if you're up for a challenge and love caring for patients with complex and serious diagnoses, a career in the ICU can be incredibly rewarding. Since ICU nurses need lots of training and experience, these roles come with a higher salary.

National Average Salary: $119,473 per year

1- NICU Nurse

Topping our list of the highest-paying nursing jobs that don't require an advanced degree is NICU nursing. Much like the regular ICU, you'll be caring for critically ill patients in a high-pressure environment. The catch? Your patients are all babies. NICU nurses work with premature infants and newborns who have other serious conditions. You'll also work closely with parents and families as you teach them how to be involved in their baby's care.

National Average Salary: $129,142 per year

What Comes Next?

If you want to take your nursing career to new heights, remember there are plenty of ways to do so. Higher-paying jobs are always out there if you know where to find them. No matter your interests, skills, or specialty, you can land a job you love that doesn't require an advanced degree.

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Specializes in Home Health,Peds.

I'm not a fan of these lists. 

Specializes in ICU & NICU.
Googlenurse said:

I'm not a fan of these lists. 

At allllllllll LOL

Specializes in NICU.

Where are the hospitals that pay NICU nurses more than other nurses in the hospital? I get paid the same as any other RN with the same experience.