If you are interested in attending nursing school, then it is important to learn more about the types of nurses who experience the most successful, fulfilling and well-paying careers. In doing so, you will learn more about various nursing fields and gain a better idea of the type of nurse you may enjoy being. 

Depending on the type of nurse you find yourself interested in, it could take up to seven years at minimum to earn the correct degrees and certifications. Therefore, it is important to decide what kind of nurse you want to be before you begin school in order to ensure that you get started on the correct path. 

#1. Nurse Anesthetist

A Nurse anesthetist, also known as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), is responsible for providing patient’s care during their greatest periods of need. These types of nurses are assist in administering anesthesia before surgical procedures and oversee the recovery of patients following their surgeries. 

Becoming an anesthetist will take time, dedication and hard work. However, this nursing career has one of the best job outlooks and highest paying salaries. It will likely take you a minimum of seven years to become a CNRA with necessary steps including: 

  • Earn a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. 
  • Earn an RN certification. 
  • Obtain acute care experience. 
  • Earn a Master’s degree in nurse anesthesia. 
  • Earn a CRNA certification. 
  • Obtain state licensing. 

Becoming a nurse anesthetist can lead you to a fulfilling career. As an anesthetist, your day-to-day job duties will likely include preparing and administering anesthesia, performing spinal, epidural or nerve blocks and responding to emergency situations. 

Nurse Anesthetist Schooling

When searching for nurse anesthetist schools, it is imperative that you ensure that your chosen school has been approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COACRNA). If you do not graduate from a nursing program that has been accredited, you will not be eligible to take the certification test. 

Accredited nurse anesthetist schools require you to complete studies within the following areas: 

  • Anesthesia pharmacology. 
  • Chemistry, physics and biochemistry. 
  • Pathophysiology, anatomy and physiology. 
  • Anesthesia technology and equipment. 
  • Pain management. 
  • Professional and legal aspects of nurse anesthesia practice. 

The program you attend will allow likely include supervised clinical practice, which will provide you with invaluable hands-on experience with a variety of procedures. 

Nurse Anesthetist Salary Outlook

A career as a nurse anesthetist is one of the most financially rewarding across all fields of nursing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the average annual salary of CRNAs as $169,450. It is estimated that the top 10 percent of nurses within this field earn more than $200,000 each year. 

Not only does this nursing career currently have high salaries, but it is estimated that CRNAs will likely see a job growth of up to 16 percent through 2026. 

#2 Oncology Nursing

As an oncology nurse, you would be responsible for caring for cancer patients who are critically or chronically ill. Oncology nurses are advanced practice registered nurses (ARPNs) that work with patients of all ages that are afflicted with any stage of cancer. 

Oncology nursing involves several day-to-day tasks, including: 

  • Caring for patients diagnosed with cancer.
  • Administering chemotherapy treatment. 
  • Managing the side effects of chemotherapy within patients. 
  • Offering support and education to patients and their families. 

If you are interested in becoming this type of nurse, it is important to learn more about the education and certification that you must commit to before you can be an ARPN. Generally, it will take a minimum of six or seven years to become an oncology nurse, but a career in oncology nursing can be incredibly fulfilling on a personal and financial level. 

Getting an Oncology Nurse Certification

To earn an oncology nurse certification, you must complete several steps, including in education and clinical practice. Therefore, it is recommended that you complete the following steps: 

  • Earn a 4-year Bachelor’s of science in Nursing (BSN) degree. 
  • Earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. 
  • After gaining enough knowledge about this nursing field, successfully pass the exam to become an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN). 
  • Complete at least 500 hours of supervised clinical practice within the oncology field to meet eligibility requirements for the certification exam that will allow you to become an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP).

Oncology Nurse Salary Outlook

An oncology nurse salary averages about $71,730 per year. Additionally, the demand for oncology nurses is expected to grow over the next decade as most cancer patients are over 55. As the baby generation ages, oncology nurses will only become more necessary. 

#3 Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Psychiatric and mental health nursing involves working with patients who are experiencing psychiatric disorders, including depression, dementia, psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. As a psychiatric nurse, your day-to-day tasks may include tasks such as: 

  • Crisis intervention and counseling
  • Assisting patients with self-care activities, including eating, dressing and bathing. 
  • Assisting patients in improving or regaining coping skills and abilities. 
  • Accessing mental health needs and developing care plans.

Psychiatric nurses are needed in numerous locations and facilities, including hospitals, long-term care centers, health departments, outpatient facilities and mental health agencies. 

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

If you are looking for offline or online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, it is essential that you learn more about the type of degrees and certifications that you must acquire in order to be a psychiatric nurse. This includes: 

  • Earning a 4-year degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, you may begin your career with a 2-year associate’s degree. 
  • Becoming certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing after successfully completing the exam. 
  • Earning a 2-year Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. 

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Salary Outlook

Psychiatric and mental health nursing has experienced a significant increase in demand within the last few years. Experts predict that this type of nursing will only continue to become more necessary over the next decade. 

While the salary of mental health and psychiatric nurses can vary, careers in this field average a $71,730 annual salary. However, nurses that have additional degrees, certifications or skills generally make above this average amount.