In some industries, there’s little room for specialization. However, nursing professionals have several tracks they can pursue — based on the type of care they wish to provide and their preferred work environment.
Registered nurses (RNs) pursuing higher education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, have even more career possibilities. BSN-prepared nurses also typically earn higher salaries than RNs with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).
The following represents a handful of positions BSN-prepared nurses may consider. The salaries included below reflect the latest figures from career resource Indeed.
1) Nurse Manager
A nurse manager’s primary role is to keep the unit or department running smoothly for nurses and patients. Nurse managers oversee medical staff in their operations. They are often tasked with coordinating schedules, keeping tabs on budgets and enforcing safety guidelines. Nurse managers typically do not attend to traditional bedside care, except in emergencies or if the unit is understaffed. To rise to this position in a Magnet-designated hospital, nurses must have a BSN degree.
Average salary: $88,455 per year
2) Nurse Consultant
Nurse consultants operate in a few different environments. Many serve as advisors for patients who require long-term care, either in a clinical or home-care setting. They develop close relationships with their patients, advise care strategies and monitor their patients’ health progress. Nurse consultants may also work in hospital settings, serving as a manager who provides recommendations to other staff and ensures every patient receives prioritized care.
Average salary: $91,512 per year
3) Travel Nurse
These nurses travel to different geographical locations to fill temporary roles. They serve in the same capacity as a traditional nurse — performing health assessments, administering medication and documenting health records. Travel nurses became a precious asset during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many areas nationwide were unequipped to handle the rapid rise of patient cases. The travel nurse role is a great opportunity for individuals who enjoy diverse experiences and can acclimate quickly to new situations. It also offers a lucrative salary, likely due to the nature of “uprooting” one’s life continuously.
Average salary: $121,705 per year
4) Health Educator
Many nurses are very knowledgeable about the field and prefer to use that knowledge in an educational capacity. Health educators often focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and preventative health measures. They may create and implement wellness programs and visit various facilities (schools, public health centers, corporate offices) to disseminate important health information. It’s important to note the difference between a health educator and a health coach. The latter typically focuses only on health aspects like nutrition, exercise, sleep and overall lifestyle changes. The salary potential also reflects the skill level between the two.
Average salary: $58,246 per year
5) School Nurse
School nurses are sometimes “underestimated” in the duties they perform. The career involves much more than monitoring a sick child until their parents collect them. School nurses have a unique opportunity to identify chronic illnesses — such as asthma, food allergies, diabetes and seizure disorders — because they are in daily contact with students.
They also play an integral role in health education for students and families, such as advising on vaccinations or highlighting the importance of healthy eating, proper sleep and regular exercise. Like the nurse manager position at a Magnet facility, school nurses must have a BSN degree from an accredited university. While the salary isn’t as high as some jobs for BSN-prepared nurses, school nurses benefit from a more stable schedule.
Average salary: $60,456 per year
6) Clinical Nurse Researcher
Advancements in healthcare could not occur without the dedication of researchers, including clinical nurse researchers (often referred to as just “nurse researchers” or “research nurses”). These professionals work towards developing new medications and vaccines and exploring how to optimize medical procedures.
Starting out, nurse researchers may act as research assistants or focus primarily on collecting data. As they gain more experience, they can move into more in-depth research activities. The overall goal of this nursing specialty is to improve every aspect of the healthcare experience.
Average salary: $112,218 per year
Career Advancement Is Within Reach
There’s no doubt opportunities for BSN-prepared nurses exist. The RN to BSN online program at the University of South Carolina Aiken is excellent for RN-prepared nurses looking to further their career potential on an accelerated timeline. Students can complete the fully online program in as few as 12 months.
In that time, nurses will benefit from the robust coursework. Classes cover everything from basic health assessments and nursing research to legal/ethical issues and management practices. Upon graduation, nurses will have the knowledge and skills to enter any of the above positions and more. As the program’s website page states, “this RN to BSN program challenges students to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively and learn independently in any healthcare setting.”
Learn more about the University of South Carolina Aiken’s RN to BSN program.