Exploring the Fast-Growing Nursing Fields of Today (2023)

The nursing profession is ever-evolving with various nursing specialties. Nursing remains one of the most rapidly growing and in-demand fields in the United States. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that registered nursing jobs ‌are keeping pace with the overall growth of other occupations. Yet, certain nurse specialties will experience accelerated growth. Read on to learn more about some of the fast-growing nursing fields of today.

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.

Job growth for registered nurses (RN) is on par with other jobs. Yet, the change in the US population’s health has caused an increase in using primary and specialty healthcare services. In no particular order, these are some of the fastest-growing nursing specialties.

  • Nurse Practitioner: As advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), NPs provide primary care services. Their specialized training allows them to conduct health examinations and treat different patient populations, from psychiatric/mental health to geriatrics.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: CRNAs care for patients while safely administering anesthesia and monitoring their progress throughout the perioperative period. They work closely with other qualified healthcare providers.
  • Critical Care Nursing: Critical care nurses care for the sickest patients in medical, neurological, and surgical intensive care units (ICU). They provide highly specialized care to patients with severe injuries and complicated illnesses.
  • Cardiac/Cardiovascular Nursing: Cardiac nurses have specialized knowledge and skills to care for patients with various cardiovascular diseases. RNs who want to advance in this specialty may consider becoming a cardiac NP.
  • Telemetry Nursing: Telemetry nurses care for patients with cardiac illnesses or medical conditions requiring round-the-clock heart monitoring.
  • Emergency Medicine: Emergency room (ER) nurses work in fast-paced environments, caring for patients ‌with medical‌ emergencies that need immediate, sometimes life-saving interventions.
  • Telehealth Nursing: A telehealth nurse provides remote care by using technology. Telehealth nurses can provide care from call centers, ambulatory care facilities, or at home.

While this is not an exhaustive nursing specialties list, thousands of open positions exist in fast-growing nursing fields. If you’d like to know more about open nursing positions, check out the job resources at Health eCareers.

Health Trends Contributing to Fast-Growing Nursing Fields

Nurses need to prepare for the current and future state of healthcare. Segments of the population are sicker, with some having more than one long-term medical issue. Additionally, technology changes how healthcare professionals deliver patient care. Thus, the demand for fast-growing nursing specialties.

Chronic Disease Management and Comorbid Conditions

According to the CDC, six out of ten people in the US have at least two chronic conditions. People with multiple chronic diseases or comorbidities may need more services, such as psychological care, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medication management, and preventative care. The most common chronic conditions include

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Technological Advances in Healthcare

Advances in healthcare technology have made telehealth nursing possible. Nurses and other health providers see their patients by setting up virtual appointments. All the patient needs is internet access and video conferencing software. Nurses can triage and perform remote monitoring while the patient remains in the comfort of their own home.

What Training Do Nurses Need to Enter One of These Fast-Growing Nursing Fields?

The education requirements for an RN include classroom and clinical training from an accredited nursing program. There are a few pathways to getting a registered nursing license for prospective nurses. Many accrediting nursing programs offer a bachelor’s or associate’s degree or a diploma.

Once you complete an accredited nursing program, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. You get your license to practice when you pass the exam.

While not required, an RN in a fast-growing nursing field can earn a certificate in their specialty. Specialty organizations offer several board certifications. Certifications have different time limits for renewal, and you can check the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) website or other certifying organizations to learn more.

APRNs need a minimum of a master’s degree in their specialty field from an accredited program. Yet, some APRNs may choose to earn a DNP in their practice area. Also, some CRNA programs require additional science coursework, such as critical care nursing experience.

The licensing and certification requirements of NP and CRNA vary by state. Besides having an RN license, APRNs must complete a master-level nursing program in their specialty. After graduating, they must pass a national certification exam. If you’d like to know the specific requirements for APRN licensing in your state, check with your state board of nursing.

What Skills or Qualifications Do Nurses Need for Success in These Fields?

RNs must master some basic nursing skills besides a specialty skill set. For example, nurses can perform patient assessments and beside procedures, document their care and medication administration, practice nurse care planning and patient teaching, and interpret clinical data.

APRNs’ skills may vary by state. While graduate-level clinical education trains NPs to provide primary care to patients by diagnosing, ordering treatments, and prescribing medications, each state has laws that govern an NP’s scope of practice.

CRNAs work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. They safely give anesthesia to patients in the same manner as an anesthesiologist. The only difference is that when a CRNA administers anesthesia, it is the practice of nursing instead of the practice of medicine.

To ensure success in fast-growing nursing fields, nurses can adopt a holistic approach as their nursing care philosophy. Moreover, clinical skills and expertise are essential attributes. For example, a telehealth nurse must be technologically savvy to triage or monitor a patient remotely.

Since the aging population may have comorbid health conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis, NPs and CRNAs must have clinical expertise in their respective nursing specialties. The following list of other valuable soft skills will ensure success regardless of your nursing specialty.

  • Communication skills
  • Lifelong learning
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Decision making
  • Leadership
  • Emotional support

Job Prospects for Nurses in These Fields

The job prospects for fast-growing nursing fields will continue to rise over the next decade. NPs will enjoy an explosion of open positions with 46% job growth. Between 2021 and 2031, the number of NP openings will be 112,700. The job outlook for CRNAs is also promising, with a gain of 12% for a total of 5,300 new jobs. Finally, the job prospects for RNs will increase, too. The BLS estimates job growth of 6% for RNs, with over 200,000 open positions each year through 2031.

Salary Expectations for Fast-Growing Nursing Fields

Salaries vary widely depending on the state. According to the pay data from the BLS, the median wage for registered nurses is $77,600. RNs who work for Government employers earn a median annual salary of $85,970. For RNs who work in hospitals, the wage is $78,070.

Furthermore, NPs have a median annual salary of $120,680, and CRNAs earn $195,610. NPs and CRNAs working in outpatient care clinics and hospitals earn the most. For more details on salaries by state, check out the Health eCareers salary center.

A significant benefit of the nursing profession is the variety of specialties available. As a result, the job outlook and salaries for APRNs and RNs continue to grow with demand. In addition, shifts in the population’s general health and technological advances may introduce more fast-growing nursing specialties.

Author Bio

Kimberly Madison, MS, RN, is a freelance health content writer with over 13 years of experience as a registered nurse. She creates high-quality blog content, health news articles, web copy, infographics, and patient education materials for hospitals and healthcare brands.


Exploring the Fast-Growing Nursing Fields of Today? ›

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.

What is the fastest growing field of nursing? ›

Some of the fastest-growing nursing roles include these specialties.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Nurse Midwife. ...
  • Nurse Researcher. ...
  • Travel Nurse. ...
  • Informatics Nurse. ...
  • Nurse Educator. ...
  • Infection Control/Prevention Nurse. ...
  • Geriatric Nurse.
Dec 23, 2022

What is the growth in the nursing field? ›

Nurses comprise the largest component of the healthcare workforce, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow by 6% each year from 2021 to 2031.

What is the outlook for nursing today and in the future? ›

Nursing jobs outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for nursing employees may grow by as much as 6% between 2021 and 2031. This job growth is a little faster than the growth for all occupations in the United States, which is estimated to be 5% from 2021 to 2031.

Which nursing field is in highest demand? ›

Neonatal nurses are in high demand. Individuals who pursue this type of career can find work in almost any area that has a staffed NICU. They can expect to earn an average yearly salary of approximately $125,000 if they have a few years of experience.

What is the easiest nursing job that pays well? ›

Easiest Nursing Jobs Availabile
  • Nurse Educator. Average Annual Salary: $62,000. ...
  • Nurse Blogger. Average Annual Salary: N/A. ...
  • Clinic Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $65,000. ...
  • Traveling Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $70,000. ...
  • School Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $50,000. ...
  • Summer Camp Nurse. ...
  • Nurse Administrator. ...
  • Public Health Nurse.
Aug 31, 2022

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

What do you see as the future of nursing? ›

Nurse retirements: Nurses are part of the aging population, and many plan to retire in the next several years. A report in the American Journal of Nursing says nearly 5 million nurses around the globe are expected to retire by 2030.

What is the importance of growth to nursing? ›

A basic understanding of growth and development enables the nurse to recognise the needs of each individual and, thus, to provide appropriate care. Human growth and development are orderly processes that begin at conception and continue until death.

Is the nursing career expected to grow? ›

Job growth for nursing careers is expected to be particularly robust at long-term healthcare facilities. There is also expected to be significant job growth at outpatient care centers, residential care facilities and home healthcare agencies.

What are the future trends in nursing 2023? ›

2023 nursing healthcare trends will be led by the fallout of a momentous nursing shortage and growing technological changes. 2023 should also bring a renewed focus on nurses' mental health, wearable medical devices, and a rise in virtual medicine.

What is the future of nursing education heading for a major crisis? ›

More than one million nurses will reach retirement age in the next 10-15 years. The Future of Nursing report calls for increasing BSN degree nurses to 80% which falls short today with only 55% BSN prepared. The U.S nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 RNs by 2025 due to the rapidly aging nursing workforce.

What are the four challenges facing the nursing workforce in the United States? ›

Four challenges face the nursing workforce of today and tomorrow: the aging of the baby boom generation, the shortage and uneven distribution of physicians, the accelerating rate of registered nurse retirements, and the uncertainty of health care reform.

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 do RNS make the most money? ›

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 nursing specialty is most competitive? ›

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses. ...
  • Operating Room Nurses. ...
  • Emergency Room Nurses. ...
  • Pediatric Nurses. ...
  • General Nurse Practitioners. ...
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists. ...
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. ...
  • Surgical Nurse Practitioner.
Aug 27, 2021

Who is lowest paid nurse? ›

For starters consider the main types of nursing careers. These include nurse practitioner (NP), registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and nursing aides or nursing assistants. Nursing aides make the least amount of money, and these jobs require the least amount of education and training.

What is the least stressful type of nurse? ›

Institutional Nurses

These nurses administer more basic care and typically don't have to work long hours and overnight shifts, so this field of nursing tends to be low-stress. Even with less excitement, these nurses find fulfillment in providing basic and family care to those in need.

What is the easiest job for an RN? ›

Low-Stress Nursing Careers
  1. Nurse Educator. This is one of the least stressful nursing jobs available. ...
  2. School Nurse/Summer Camp Nurse. If you love children, this might be the perfect opportunity for you. ...
  3. Nurse Administrator. ...
  4. Public Health Nurse. ...
  5. Nurse Researcher. ...
  6. Nurse Informaticist. ...
  7. Case Management Nurse. ...
  8. Home Health Nurse.
Sep 30, 2020

What can I do if I don't want to be a nurse anymore? ›

Nurses who have completed the required training and no longer want to work in a clinical nursing career may find these non-nursing professions to be desirable:
  1. Medical Biller.
  2. Health Writer.
  3. Nutritionist.
  4. Health Service Administrator.
  5. Health Researcher.
  6. Medical Sales Executive.
  7. Nurse Consultant.
  8. Clinical Nurse Educator.
Mar 16, 2023

What is the shortest nursing career? ›

ADN and Related Programs

The way to become an RN with the lowest level of education is to go through an associate's degree in nursing, or ADN program. Most ADN programs are two years long and held at community colleges. There are numerous options to choose from, including part-time and full-time programs.

What is the outlook for nurses in the next 10 years? ›

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 203,200 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

What nursing and nurse leaders will need to focus on in 2030? ›

The National Academy of Medicine Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 will explore how nurses can work to reduce health disparities and promote equity, while keeping costs at bay, utilizing technology, and maintaining patient and family-focused care into 2030.

How do you know if nursing is the career for you? ›

Nurses are the ones who care for patients directly, often giving them more attention and treatment than doctors. If you want to make a difference in your community, and you have the patience required to work with people, then this might be the tell-tale sign that you are meant to become a nurse.

What are the characteristics of growth and development in nursing? ›

Growth is the physical changes that are measured and that occur in a steady and orderly manner. Growth is measured in weight, height, and changes in appearance and body functions (Fig. 11-1). Development relates to changes in mental, emotional, and social function.

Why is it important to study growth and development? ›

The top reasons for studying human development are to gain an understanding of your own life experience, help others understand what they're going through, understand the relationship of society and individual growth, lead more effectively, and support the physical and mental health of others.

What is the most important nursing process? ›

The planning stage is where goals and outcomes are formulated that directly impact patient care based on EDP guidelines. These patient-specific goals and the attainment of such assist in ensuring a positive outcome. Nursing care plans are essential in this phase of goal setting.

What are the benefits of being a nurse? ›

Benefits to Pursuing a Career in Nursing
  • Paid sick time.
  • Paid vacation and holidays.
  • Health and life insurance.
  • Tuition reimbursement.
  • Wellness programs.
  • Paid family leave.
  • Retirement benefits.
  • Reimbursement for certification fees.

What is the projected need for nurses 2025? ›

Researchers estimated that the US will have a 10 to 20 percent nursing gap by 2025 as the number of patients needing care exceeds the number of nurses. The RN supply could potentially see a low of 2.4 million, while the RN demand could be a low of 2.8 million nurses.

What is innovation in nursing? ›

Innovative ideas and practices offer new solutions to old problems. Innovation disrupts the status quo by transforming our experience; it is not about working harder or faster, but working smarter to shape the future of care.

What are the new roles in nursing? ›

New job titles and roles are emerging, particularly in population health management, patient coaching, informatics design and analysis, geriatric care, and managing patient care transitions. Nurses are increasingly employed as “boundary spanners,” connecting patients with services in health and community settings.

What are 5 current strategies to address the nursing shortage? ›

  • 1 | Listening to Nurses Concerns. ...
  • 2 | Prioritizing Workplace Culture Increases Retention. ...
  • 3 | Prioritizing Nurse Retention Levels. ...
  • 4 | Increasing Diversity in the Nursing Student Body. ...
  • 5 | Addressing the Need for More Nurse Educators. ...
  • 6 | Using Innovation to Address the Nursing Shortage.

What will be the biggest challenge transitioning from student to RN? ›

The main difficulties include role expectations, a lack of confidence, workload, fear, and orientation concerns, while other elements like the physical environment, responsibility, support, and professional development make nursing professionals feel unsatisfied.

What should nursing education in the future focus on? ›

Nursing schools will need to ensure that nurses are prepared to understand and identify the social determinants of health, have expanded learning experiences in the community so they can work with different people with varied life experiences and cultural values, have the competencies to care for an aging and more ...

What new nurses struggle with? ›

All these new nurse struggles I have listed – exhaustion, anxiety, and feeling like nursing is too hard – are common to the nursing profession. You might even say that they are nothing more than the “signs and symptoms” of being a new nurse. The key is to never let these feelings defeat you.

What is the biggest challenge in the nursing program? ›

The National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) is one of the most important and difficult milestones for a nursing student. Passing this exam requires a lot of preparation and it is different from other tests you take as a nursing student.

What is the most challenging cultural barrier the nurse faces? ›

One of the most common cultural issues that arise for nurses involves faith and religious beliefs. Certain religious groups might refuse prescription medications, blood transfusions, surgeries, or other potentially life-saving treatments because of their religious beliefs.

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.

Why do nurses make so much money? ›

High demand, the high cost of living and union power underlie the higher salaries of California's registered nurses. Burger said the nurse's union has also played a role in assuring that nurses have access to pension plans and that they retire with health benefits.

What state pays nurses the lowest? ›

The lowest-paying states are South Dakota ($60,540), Alabama ($61,920), Mississippi ($63,130), Iowa ($64,990), and Arkansas ($65,810).

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.

What state pays school nurses most? ›

The highest-paid school nurses work in California and Hawaii where the cost of living is respectively 50 percent higher and 77 percent higher than it is throughout the U.S. as a whole.

Which nurses have the most 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 field in nursing? ›

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 is the most stressful RN job? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

What is the best type of nurse to become? ›

The top 4 highest paying nursing jobs
  • Legal nurse consultant. ...
  • Forensic nurse consultant. ...
  • Public health nurse. ...
  • Occupational nurse. ...
  • Medical writer. ...
  • Physical therapist. ...
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner. ...
  • Medical or pharmaceutical sales.

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.

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.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

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

Which type of nurse has the lowest salary? ›

Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) have the least education requirements among nurses and therefore tend to make lower incomes than other nursing specialties. LVNs and LPNs can increase their income by getting an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Which field of nursing has the highest burnout rate? ›

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.

Who are the highest paid nurses? ›

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) earn a nationwide average of $202,470 per year according to the BLS; this makes CRNAs the highest-paying type nursing job by a significant margin.

How will nursing change in the next 50 years? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nursing job growth of 12 percent through 2028—much faster than the average occupation. That's around 200,000 new RN positions that will need to be filled every year through 2026.

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

ALASKA. The Last Frontier is calling! While that may be the case, a nurse interested in working in Alaska must first go through the (on average) 8-week nursing license process. Alaska, like all the aforementioned states, requires fingerprints and a background check from nurses applying for a license.

Who has the easiest BSN program? ›

15 Easiest BSN Programs to Get Into – 2023
  • RN-to-BSN Capella University. ...
  • BBA - Human Resource Management Strayer University. ...
  • BS - Business Administration: Human Resource Management Southern New Hampshire University. ...
  • Bachelors: Social Work Simmons University.


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