With an MSN, there are four career paths you can consider – nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. From there, you can specialize further, working with a certain age group, working with a certain part of the body, or working in a certain environment. No matter where you go in the United States, you can find job openings, but you can increase your success rate when interviewing, as well as your salary, if you start by applying with top employers.
Four Career Paths for Nurse Practitioners
- General Nurse Practitioner: A nurse practitioner (NP) offers patient care in various sub-specialties such as cardiology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, primary care, pediatric oncology, among other areas. NPs serve as the primary care provider and can stand in for physicians.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist: A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced-practice nurse who provides care to a specific age group or health concern. These nurses work closely with physicians and healthcare teams to ensure comprehensive patient care.
- Certified Nurse Midwife: A certified nurse mid-wife (CNM) provides prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal maternity care to expectant mothers. CNMs offer gynecologic examinations and often prescribe medication.
- Nurse Anesthetist: A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is a trained expert with advanced skills in the organization and management of anesthetic agents. A CRNA works with surgical teams and their support staff to control patient safety and minimize pain.
Largest Employers of Nurses
Across the country, there is a nursing shortage, and most hospitals and private practices are in need of nurses of all skill levels. And, when you get an advanced degree in the nursing field, you become more marketable, which means you are more likely to get a job when you apply. In the United States, these are the largest employers of nurses, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: 1,458,520 nurses hired
- Offices of Physicians: 218,110 nurses hired
- Home Health Care Services: 130,860 nurses hired
- Nursing Care Facilities: 124,590 nurses hired
- Employment Services: 91,980 nurses hired
Highest Average Salary with Top Employers
As a nurse practitioner in an in-demand field, you may want to look for work in industries that pay the highest salaries. For nurses, the highest average salaries are found with the following types of employers:
- Motion Picture and Video Industries: $77,690
- Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations: $77,330
- Federal Executive Branch: $74,460
- Investment Pools and Funds: $73,380
- Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing: $70,970
Factors to Consider When Job Searching
A top employer is not necessarily just measured by the number of nurses they hire or the starting salary you are offered. As a nurse with an MSN, you are likely to be offered a number of positions when you start applying for jobs; many facilities have a vast shortage of nurses at all times, so they hire anyone qualified for the position. The best employer for you might not be the best employer for everyone, so when you are job hunting make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- What benefit packages are available to you?
- What is your desired location?
- What will your hours be like? Will you be on call?
- What are you responsibilities in the position?
- Does the employer offer tuition reimbursement for nurses who want to get a doctorate degree?
- Are there options for advancement in your career with this employer?
Types of Facilities to Consider When Job Searching
Another way to classify employers of nurses holding MSNs is by type of facility. By far, one of the largest types of employers of workers with MSN degrees is always the general hospital. In general, mid- to large-sized hospitals pay slightly better than smaller hospitals, and location also makes a difference; hospitals in cities typically have better average salaries for their employees than hospitals in more rural areas. Your salary and the job openings available also depend on the department in which you want to work. Some of the top employers, in terms of both salary and number of nursing employers, include:
- Extended Care and Nursing Home Facilities
- Ambulatory Care Centers
- Community Organizations and Home Health Services
- Health Insurance Companies
- Physician’s Offices
Many hospitals are, for example, hiring more and more nurse anesthetists, since they can do jobs that could once only be performed by licensed doctors. There is also a high demand for women’s health nurses in the OB/GYN or prenatal departments of many hospitals, as well as in geriatrics, as the population is getting older with advanced medical treatments, and finally nursing informatics, as advanced technologies continue to become more ubiquitous in healthcare settings.
The top employer for you is not necessarily the top employer for every nurse. As you job-hurt with your master’s degree, apply to as many positions as possible so that you have your pick of positions, rather than having to take the only one you are offered. Visit our list of accredited schools and degrees to find a MSN program that meets your needs, and begin your career training today.