Nursing degrees are available at every level, from a diploma all the way up to a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), which is the gold standard for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) such as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.

Other common degrees for nursing professionals include the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and master of science in nursing (MSN)—the latter of which is available for a wide range of population foci such as pediatrics, adults, acute care, women’s health, and much more.

Discover what to expect from an accredited nursing program, including detailed information on each career’s expected education, experience, licensure, certification, and salary.

Certified Nursing Assistant or Aide

Many medical patients need basic day-to-day help but don’t require such an advanced healthcare provider. Often, these clients are cared for by certified nursing assistants or aides.  

Charge Nurse

Charge nurses are typically assigned to one specific unit and are subsequently responsible for all aspects of it, including staffing, overseeing patient care, and day-to-day operations. They are the ones who will assign daily responsibilities to other nurses.

Clinical Nurse Leader

The role of a CNL is not a management or administrative one. This new nursing career was first proposed in 2004 by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The goal was to develop a position that could address many of the healthcare industry’s concerns, particularly about patient safety and quality of care. As such, a CNL is a registered nurse with additional training and education at the master’s level to provide outcome-based care and to offer quality improvement strategies.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

To become a CNS, students must complete a general education nursing program and obtain an RN license from a state’s board of nursing. After gaining some work experience, they will need to earn a master’s degree or higher in nursing.

Community Health Nurse

A community health nurse is a registered nurse who promotes and protects the health of individuals, families, and communities. They work in various settings, including hospitals, schools, clinics, and public health agencies.

ER and Critical Care Nurse

ER and critical care nurses are a hospital’s first line of defense. They receive, respond, and provide immediate care for a wide range of injuries and ailments for any patient entering the ward.

Fertility Nurse

Fertility nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in fertility, typically in a clinical or hospital setting. Many begin their career working as a nurse in labor and delivery.

Flight Nurse

Flight nurses (FN) are registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees and special training to provide medical care to acutely ill and injured patients in an aircraft.

Forensic Nurse

A forensic nurse is a registered nurse with specialized education and training in forensics and victim care. Forensic nurses work with patients who have been assaulted or harmed and sometimes even with the perpetrators of the violence.

Labor and Delivery Nurse

More than 10,000 babies are born in the US each day. Having a baby can be a very exciting time for families. And while giving birth is a completely normal process, it can be very intense and stressful.

Legal Nurse Consultant

Before 1970, legal nursing consultant work did not exist in the country. In 1989, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) was established. These professionals are the bridge to the medical profession through the legal system. Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) scour medical documentation and provide critical testimony and expertise that play a significant role in many legal cases.

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses specialize in caring for newborns, and they play a crucial role in ensuring these delicate lives have the best chance of survival and positive metrics for long-term health.

Nurse Anesthetist

CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in administering anesthesia and are highly trained and experienced professionals who work closely with surgeons and other medical personnel to ensure that patients remain safe and comfortable during surgery.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators work in nursing degree programs directly or for clinics and hospitals, supervising the clinical portion of a nurse students’ education. The first step in this career is to complete a nursing degree and gain work experience as a nurse. Next, aspiring nurse educators can complete a master’s of science in nursing in nurse education, where they will gain the additional skills to train future nurses.

Nurse Informaticist

Nurse informaticists are registered nurses who have completed additional schooling and education in informatics, data analytics, records management, and advanced nursing. They work anywhere medical care is delivered to evaluate technology uses.

Oncology Nurse

Oncology nurses are registered nurses who work with cancer patients or those who are at risk of developing cancer. They have either received on-the-job training in oncology or completed additional education programs or both.

Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in working with patients under the age of 18. They work everywhere children receive medical care from hospitals to clinics, surgery centers, doctors’ offices, and outpatient centers.

Perioperative Nurse

Perioperative nurses are vital in maintaining a sterile operating environment, caring for patients, and supporting surgeons throughout the surgical process. However, they also have many responsibilities that extend beyond the operating room.

Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses are registered nurses who have the skills, training, and education to help individuals, groups, and families who need mental health care treatment.

Public Health Nurse

Instead of focusing on acute illnesses, public health nurses often have an eye toward long-term systemic diseases that can be mitigated.

School Nurse

Becoming a school nurse starts with completing a general nursing degree program. Next, aspiring school nurses can complete on-the-job training or may choose to complete additional education through a master’s or certificate program.

Travel Nurse

Any nurse can be a travel nurse as long as they hold a registered nursing license. Also, travel nurses can work in any specialty or with any population, although some are more in-demand than others.