Are you ready to find your fit?

Nursing Degree Specializations

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Gerontological Nurse
  • Emergency Nurse

If you’ve decided to pursue a career in nursing, you can maximize your career opportunities by choosing a nursing specialty and obtaining a relevant academic degree. While there are more than a hundred worthwhile nursing specializations to consider, 5 nursing degree specializations stand out as being particularly rewarding.

1. Nurse Anesthetist

Many surgery patients and pregnant women request anesthesia or pain medication before undergoing their necessary medical procedures. Nurse anesthetists are responsible for safe administration of these substances to their patients. A significant part of this job description involves investigating possible conflicts between patients’ allergies, prescribed medications and the anesthesia that will be used. After administering the necessary substances, nurse anesthetists monitor the patient’s responses, react to any problems and continue to administer additional anesthesia if it is needed.

This is one of the best-paid nursing degree specializations in the United States. As of May 2016, nurse anesthetists earned annual median income of $160,270. Health care professionals deem this to be an advanced practice nursing position. As such, it does require graduate-level training and continuing education.

2. Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified nurse midwives fulfill some of the same roles that obstetrician gynecologists do. They’re healthcare providers for women. Some of their primary responsibilities include providing pregnant women with prenatal care, advising their patients about how to best meet their prenatal nutritional needs, ensuring that babies are positioned correctly for delivery, being on hand to provide support and care during labor, responding appropriately to any emergencies that arise during the childbirth process, delivering their patients’ babies and providing postpartum care.

This is another advanced practice nursing position that requires graduate-level training but pays accordingly well. As of May 2016, certified nurse midwives earned annual median income of $99,770.

3. Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses work in collaboration with pediatricians and primary healthcare providers. They are responsible for administering healthcare to babies, children, pre-teens and teenagers. They monitor their young patients’ health via regular checkups. They take temperatures and dispense shots, vaccines, medications, healthcare advice and sympathy.

This nursing specialization does not require an advanced degree. You can become a pediatric nurse by earning a nursing diploma, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. The majority of nurses specializing in pediatric care have earned bachelor’s degrees. Pediatric nurses earn average annual income between $36,000 and $47,000.

If this nursing degree specialization is one that appeals to you, you may be interested in checking out the US News list of best pediatric nursing schools.

4. Gerontological Nurse

Gerontological nurses specialize in providing healthcare services tailored to the needs of senior citizens. They’re responsible for helping their patients with preventative care; diagnosing health conditions and illnesses; facilitating routine checkups and laboratory tests; and helping unwell patients manage pain.

Gerontological nurses often earn advanced degrees and tend to command high annual salaries. A typical salary range for this nursing specialization is $63,000 – $83,000.

If becoming a gerontological nurse appeals to you, you may be interested in checking out the US News list of best gerontology and acute care nursing schools.

5. Emergency Nurse

There’s never-ending demand for nurses who specialize in emergency care and trauma care. The public counts on these level-headed professionals to staff emergency rooms, ambulances and trauma care facilities.

As an emergency nurse, you’re likely to make an average annual salary in the range of $44,000 – $57,000.

Plentiful career opportunities exist for skilled nurses who have academic credentials and work experience in any of these specializations. If a nursing career appeals to you, these are all outstanding nursing degree specializations to consider.

See also:10 of the Cheapest Nursing Degree Programs

Get prepared for your next steps

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.

The Impact of HBCUs and How to Support Them

The Impact of HBCUs and How to Support Them

June 10, 2021   |   Lena Borrelli

Historically Black colleges and universities, commonly known as HBCUs, are an incredibly important part of the higher education system in the United States. These schools, which of the nation’s colleges...

Guide to Higher Education as an Undocumented Student

Guide to Higher Education as an Undocumented Student

June 1, 2021   |   Lena Borrelli

It can be tough to narrow down higher education options after graduation for most students. There are state and private college options, trade schools, and community colleges to choose from, and each option offers a different price point, a different trajectory, and a different path. These choices become even more difficult when there are other […]

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.