The Best Paying Jobs In Nursing for MSNs

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Nurses with MSN degrees can look forward to numerous and varied job prospects, many of which offer substantial salaries as well as the chance to have an effect on nursing practice. Duquesne University’s MSN program offers the knowledge and skills that graduates can use to advance their careers.

Smiling nurse at laptop

Among the highest-paying employment options for nurses who hold an MSN degree are:

Nurse Consultants

Nurse consultants specialize in the business aspects of healthcare. As a resource for hospitals, clinics, or medical practices, they advise their clients on such issues as risk management as well as ways to streamline costs and improve communication within the organization.

One example of a nurse consultant is one that works in the legislative field. Legal nurse consultants may work for healthcare facilities, attorneys, government agencies, or other entities. Their primary function is to offer medical guidance on healthcare-related legal issues.

The position of nurse consultant is one of the most sought after in the nursing field, making up only .8 percent of the MSN workforce. The average salary of a nurse consultant is $125,000, and employment is projected to grow by 26 percent by 2020.

Research Nurses

Usually, clinical nurse specialists conduct research on various medical topics, collect and analyze data, as well as examine statistics. They work in numerous fields and are typically part of a research team. Research nurses are often directly responsible for providing data that affects medical policies and procedures.

Research nurses make up only .9 percent of employed MSNs. Also, like nurse consultants, employment for research nurses is projected to increase by 26 percent by 2020. The average salary of a research nurse is $90,000.

Nurse Educators

Nurse educators may hold a variety of positions. Some work as part-time clinical faculty while others may be the dean of a college of nursing. Typically they are responsible for designing curricula and developing either individual courses or entire programs of study for aspiring nurses. Other possibilities include clinical trainer positions with pharmaceutical companies or firms that manufacture medical devices.

Nurse educators also work in hospitals teaching patients and their families how to prevent illnesses or handle ongoing conditions, and in medical practices with diabetes or cardiac patients.

Nurse educators make up about 1.2 percent of the MSN workforce. Their salaries vary depending on the position and seniority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a nurse instructor as of March 2017 is $69,130.

Nurse Administrators

Nursing administrators may supervise entire healthcare centers or specific teams or departments within the facility. They may recruit, hire, and evaluate assistant administrators, nurses, and doctors for their facility or department. They might also develop and expand programs for scientific research, as well as assist in the education of new doctors if their facility is instructional.

The average salary for nurse administrators varies widely depending on the type of field they enter and can range from $60,000 to $200,000. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical and health services managers as of May 2016 was $96,540, averaging $46.41 per hour. The median annual salary specifically for managers of hospitals (state, local, and private) was slightly higher, at $104,340.

Employment is predicted to grow by 17 percent by 2024. Nurse administrators make up 2.9 percent of the MSN workforce.

Advanced Nurse Practitioners

Advanced nurse practitioners have a post-graduate degree and specialize in a specific field. Many choose to become family nurse practitioners (FNP) while others focus on working with children or in the fields of maternity or obstetrics/gynecology. They commonly work directly for physicians as primary healthcare providers.

Many advanced nurse practitioners choose to pursue Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) training. FNPs coordinate and provide patient care, but also focus heavily on patient education. Because FNPs often see the same patients on a regular basis, they usually develop a relationship with them, providing advice and support to the patients and their families. They often advise their patients about how to manage chronic conditions.

Advanced nurse practitioners are some of the most respected and well-paid professionals in the field of nursing. According to the BLS, the mean annual wage of nurse practitioners as of May 2016 was $100,910. The employment of nurse practitioners as a whole is projected to grow by 31 percent by 2024. Advanced nurse practitioners account for about 4 percent of employed MSNs.

Financial Benefits of an MSN Degree

An MSN degree makes sense for nurses who want to further their careers. It opens the door to a number of managerial and high-paying positions and offers nurses an opportunity to make a difference in their field.

About Duquesne’s Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

The Duquesne University School of Nursing is top-ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The online Master of Science in Nursing program offers registered nurses the opportunity to advance in their careers and play an even greater role in providing healthcare services. MSN specializations include forensic nursing, nursing education, and faculty role, and family nurse practitioner.


Nurse Journal, “5 Best Paying MSN Degree Nursing Jobs and Careers”
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary”
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Medical and Health Services Managers”
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Nurse Anesthetists Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners”