Skip to content

The Highest Paying Career Paths for MSN Graduates

 |  5 Min Read

There are a number of ways to advance and thrive in a nursing career, especially with a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree. Nurses in general are among the most in-demand workers in our country. If one of the goals of your nursing career is financially related, you will be interested in the high-paying careers available to MSN degree graduates.

Some nursing jobs and career paths are more financially lucrative than others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that RNs made a median salary of more than $75,000 in 2020. And those with an MSN earn more. For example, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners made a median salary of $117,670 per year.

Here’s a further breakdown of expected (but not guaranteed) salaries* in different positions:

MSN Salary Information

1. Nurse Educator Salary

A specialized MSN degree in nursing education allows graduates to go on to become instructors or professors of nursing in medical schools.

One of the most satisfying career paths for nurse educators is when hospitals hire them to provide continuous or enhanced instruction for their staff. However, from community colleges to universities to medical centers and even business schools, a range of educational opportunities is possible and they continue to grow.

The program at SHU fulfills the education certification requirement through the National League for Nursing. This track requires graduates to have practical, real-world experience as an educator in any of the above job locations.

Nurse educators made a mean annual wage of $82,040 in 2020. There is ample opportunity for nurse educators due to the increased need for well-educated nursing professionals, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

2. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary

One of the highest paying careers for MSN graduates is a path in anesthesia, even as an entry-level nursing job. In 2020, a nurse anesthetist made a median salary of $183,580.

These skilled nurses assist in inpatient and outpatient settings as well as emergency rooms and may assist anesthesiologists and surgeons as well as dentists. The nurse anesthetist typically prepares the patient for anesthesia and can also administer it.

Be advised that because of the high pay and desirability of this job, the market for it tends to be very competitive with an entry-level master’s in nursing. It’s worthwhile to seek a degree program that assists graduates in job placement through counseling and a lively Alumni Association.

3. Nurse Consultant Salary

A nurse consultant can assist the nursing field in a variety of areas. A consulting nurse provides informed advice and counsel to medical facilities, insurance companies or other organizations or entities.

Legal nurse consultants assist attorneys and insurance companies with considerations related to nursing or the health field pertaining to legal matters. Another nursing specialty is as a management consultant who works to improve processes, communication, risk management and cost within a facility.

Other specialty areas include consulting related to specific health conditions, occupational consulting and community consulting. To pursue this field, nurses should select their specialty area while in school for their degree. As for which degree to pursue, an RN-MSN bridge program is an excellent option and can prepare you to be a nurse consultant, as well as several other degree programs. Additionally, you can choose from five specializations at the MSN level: Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, Nursing Management & Executive Leadership and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. According to reports on Glassdoor, the total compensation for nurse consultants is more than $122,000.

4. Research Nurse Salary

An MSN with a clinical nurse leader specialization can ready you to impact the future of healthcare as a research nurse.

Research nursing is another rapidly growing field. Research nurses work in universities, medical labs, nonprofits, organizations and companies related to healthcare and can earn a total compensation of more than $105,000, per Glassdoor reports.

They may have to write grant proposals and articles for medical journals, so writing skills will be required. A research nurse can also have a clinical nurse position with a specialty focus on research and related tasks. They must gather and evaluate data, statistics and other key information to enhance the function of the organization. They may work as part of a team or independently in a lab. Their findings often influence changes in medical procedures and policies.

5. Nurse Administrator Salary

When you earn an MSN, you’ll obtain the skills you need for nurse administration roles. A nurse administrator can have many responsibilities, including overseeing departments, as well as entire facilities. They may lead teams of nurses toward a specific goal.

Their duties can range from scheduling to hiring and any number of management responsibilities. Medical administrators earned a median salary of $104,280 per year in 2020.

6. Family Nurse Practitioner Salary

Meet the demand for quality patient care with an MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner degree.

Family nurse practitioners often work closely with patients throughout their lifespan. They order tests, prescribe medications, develop and oversee treatment plans, and perform a variety of other important duties that contribute to high-quality primary care. The median salary of a nurse practitioner was $111,680 per year in 2020.

An online MSN program takes about two years complete, but the personal and financial rewards can be profound. It’s good to keep these roles in mind as you look ahead to the next steps to feel comfortable about your future as well as satisfied with your career choice. Students who obtain a Master of Science in Nursing have many opportunities for high pay and growth in up-and-coming nursing careers. If you’re interested in earning your online MSN, enroll now.


*All salary information, unless otherwise stated, was pulled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved: 5 April 2022

Recommended Articles

View All
Back to Top