10 Nursing Specialties in Demand

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Nursing offers a wide range of nursing career options. Ten of the top nursing specialties in demand include critical care nursing, emergency nursing, medical surgical nursing, pediatric and neonatal intensive care nursing, telehealth nursing, travel nursing, advanced practice nursing, operating room nursing, cardiac nursing and home health nursing.

Closeup of nurse looking at an IV drip

Are you curious about what kind of nurse you want to be? Nursing is one of the most diverse careers available. That’s one of the key benefits of the profession. When you earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you can apply that degree to many types of nursing specialties. This means you’ll be able to find a specialty that aligns with your lifestyle, personality and interests.

Concordia University, St. Paul’s 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program provides students with a generalist nursing degree, opening the door for myriad nursing career options.

Launch your career with an Accelerated Nursing program - two nurses working together

How does an accelerated nursing program work? Learn what to expect in the ABSN program at Concordia St. Paul.

We’ll discuss 10 nursing specialties in demand today. These are only a few of the many types of nursing specialties you can pursue after graduating with a BSN.

1. Critical Care Nurse

Critical care or intensive care nurses work with critically ill patients in the intensive care unit of the hospital. These patients are often unstable and require significant health care interventions, such as ventilators, intravenous drips and cardiac monitoring.

Because of the high-risk nature of these patients, critical care nurses are highly skilled professionals who can think on their feet and handle stressful situations with a level head. If you’re passionate about working in an ever-changing environment where you can influence the patients who are in the most need, critical care nursing may be a great fit for you.

The average salary for intensive care nurses in the United States is $118,699 per year as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

2. Emergency Nurse

Emergency nurses work in the emergency department of a hospital, caring for patients with various medical conditions. These conditions range from serious trauma and accidents to broken bones and heart attacks. Patients range from children to adults and elderly populations, so emergency nurses see it all.

No two days are alike in the emergency department, and these nurses enjoy a fast-paced environment. Emergency nurses also tend to work with patients short-term; once patients are evaluated, they’re transferred to other units for the rest of their care. If you desire a fast-paced, diverse clinical environment, emergency nursing is worth exploring.

emergency nurses rushing patient in hospital

Emergency room nurses earn an average annual salary of $102,995 in the U.S. as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

3. Medical Surgical Nurse

Medical surgical nurses work in medical and surgical units of hospitals. They are essential to inpatient nursing care, caring for patients recovering from surgery or illness or receiving inpatient treatment.

Medical surgical nurses are the backbone of US healthcare. They care for patients who are medically stable enough to be in a traditional hospital unit rather than the ICU. These nurses need to have excellent skills and be comfortable balancing the needs of challenging and complex patient conditions. Medical surgical nursing is an excellent way to hone your skills in the hospital setting. Then, you can choose to specialize further after you gain this foundational experience.

The average yearly salary for medical surgical nurses is $103,229 in the U.S. as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

4. Neonatal or Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse

There are a few options for intensive care nursing in the pediatric realm, including neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care nursing.

Neonatal intensive care nurses work exclusively with newborn babies, often those born prematurely or with congenital conditions. These babies often need feeding tubes, breathing tubes and continuous monitoring. Nurses develop strong bonds with these babies and their families, and patients tend to stay in the unit for weeks or months until the baby is ready to go home. NICU nurses earn an average salary of $120,317 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

neonatal nurse holding baby

Pediatric intensive care nurses work in the pediatric ICU treating children in critical condition who need the highest level of care. Conditions may range from type I diabetes to organ failure to severe infections. These nurses work with children ranging from babies to teenagers. PICU nurses earn an average salary of $106,709 annually in the U.S. as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

5. Telehealth Nurse

With the new wave of remote working, you may wonder if there are opportunities to work remotely as a nurse. Telehealth nursing is a fantastic route to take if you want to enter a growing field that allows you more flexibility and the ability to influence care at hospitals across the country.

Telehealth nursing roles can vary, but they often provide support to more remote healthcare facilities by advising staff nurses on complex care situations. Telehealth nurses also monitor patient vitals to ensure they remain stable.

The average annual salary for telehealth nurses in the U.S. is $93,504 as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

6. Travel Nurse

Do you have a passion for exploring new cities? Travel nursing is an excellent way to hone your nursing skills in a range of facilities. Travel nurses are hired through outside agencies, and their contracts at each facility generally last between eight weeks and several months.

Travel nurses with specialty experience, such as ICU, labor and delivery, or NICU, are in higher demand than generalist nurses, and they have the potential to earn a competitive salary. The role of travel nurses mirrors that of the staff nurses, collaborating to manage the patients on a unit. The average yearly income for travel nurses in the U.S. is $118,400 as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

How does travel nursing work? Learn all you need to know about becoming a travel nurse.

Blue map of world with airplane routes mapped across countries

7. Operating Room Nurse

Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of an operating room setting? Operating room nurses have a unique role helping surgeries run smoothly by providing care before, during and after procedures. They work with a surgical team of surgeons, surgical techs and advanced practice nurses.

Surgical nurses can think on their feet, respond calmly to stressful situations and remain organized and meticulous when following protocols. If you enjoy the operating room and providing care and comfort to patients undergoing lifesaving procedures, surgical nursing may be an ideal fit for you.

Operating room nurses earn an average annual salary of $109,255 in the U.S. as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

8. Cardiac Nurse

Another one of the nursing specialties in demand right now is cardiac nursing. These nurses care for patients with heart conditions, such as heart attacks or heart failure. They also manage patients undergoing heart surgeries, such as bypass surgery.

Cardiac nurses provide essential care to patients, especially middle-aged and older patients who are more likely to develop heart conditions. The average annual salary for cardiac nurses in the U.S. is $100,890 as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

cardiac nurse checking patient heartbeat

9. Home Health Nurse

With the aging baby boomer population, increasing numbers of people need home health care. This is where home health nurses come in. These nurses visit patients in their homes to monitor symptoms, take vitals and provide treatment.

Home health nurses often provide care to the same patients for an extended period, visiting regularly for months or even years and forming strong bonds with their patients. If you value relationships and enjoy caring for patients in their own homes, it’s worth exploring home health nursing.

The average yearly salary for home health nurses in the U.S. is $86,940 as of July 2022, according to ZipRecruiter.

10. Advanced Practice Nurse

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) include several specialties, such as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives. These specialties require an advanced degree, a master’s or doctorate in nursing; to be eligible for these programs, you’ll first need to have a BSN degree.

APRNs have a wider scope of practice and more decision-making capacity than most nurses. They can diagnose conditions, provide treatments, prescribe medications and practice independently in many states.

APRNs make a competitive salary, averaging $123,780 in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Aim High. - Nurse taking patient's blood pressure

Interested in becoming a nurse practitioner? Learn the steps to become one.

Begin Your Nursing Journey at Concordia St. Paul

As you can see, nursing offers many nursing career options. In nursing, you’ll be able to find the right fit for you. The first step to beginning one of these nursing specialties in demand is earning your BSN. Concordia St. Paul’s ABSN program offers the opportunity to become a nurse in as few as 16 months, meaning the transition to a nursing career may be faster than you thought.

Are accelerated nursing programs worth it? Learn what you should consider to help you decide if the ABSN program is right for you.

CSP ABSN student standing outside

If you have at least 54 non-nursing college credits, a non-nursing associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible for the ABSN program. The accelerated nursing program, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon, offers three start dates each year so students can start nursing school sooner.

The curriculum combines online classes, skills labs and clinical learning experiences. CSP provides a well-rounded education that prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN® and start your career as a professional nurse.

To start your nursing school journey, fill out our online form to get in touch with an admissions counselor. We are here every step of the way to help you reach your goal of becoming a nurse.