Nursing Careers Stay Firmly in ‘100 Best Jobs in America’ Rankings

Nursing remains to be an excellent career choice according to the US News’ annual career rankings for 2019—with registered nurses coming in at #19 and other nursing specialties much higher.

The rankings are not only based on pay and the availability of jobs, but also on other qualities such as opportunities for advancement, job satisfaction, stress levels, and work-life balance.

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Nurse anesthetists and practitioners remain at the top

Nurse anesthetist was ranked as the best nursing job. It regained its position as #5 after having dropped to #22 in the 2018 rankings. Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses who have obtained at least a master’s degree in this field, after having had at least one year of experience in critical care.

Their median salary was $165,120 with an unemployment rate of only 0.4%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 16.2% growth in nurse anesthetist jobs by 2026—that is 6,800 new jobs.

Nurse practitioners still featured in the top 10 as #7, although it dropped 2 places from last year. Nurse practitioners, also called advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), qualify with at least a master’s degree to work in extended nursing roles in a specific field of health care—for example, primary health care, pediatrics or oncology.

Nurse practitioners earned an average salary of $103,880 and the unemployment rate is low at 1.1%. The demand for nurse practitioners is increasing, especially in more rural areas, as fewer qualified doctors go into family practice or primary health care. The BLS projected a growth rate of 36% by 2016, or an estimated 56,100 new jobs, for qualified nurse practitioners.

Nursing jobs retain high rankings

Nurse Midwife ranked as the 16th best nursing job. Nurse midwives also qualify for advanced practice with at least a master’s degree after registration as a nurse. They provide maternity care for normal, uncomplicated, births and increasingly also woman’s health care—annual examinations and support during menopause.

The demand for nurse-midwives is also growing as more-and-more women are embracing natural births with minimal intervention. Even in the US, there are areas that have no specialized maternity care providers. The BLS projects a 20.7% growth in nurse-midwife jobs. Their median salary is $100,590 with a low unemployment rate of 1.2%.

Top 19 in the rankings are the registered nurses with a median salary of $70,000 and only a 1.4% unemployment rate. The BLS projects that by 2026, a massive number of 438,100 new registered nurse jobs will be created—a growth rate of 14.8%. The licensed practical/vocational nurse job ranked at #73.

Top jobs are in healthcare

It is interesting how the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution—the increasing direct impact of technology and digitization on our lives—is reflected in the job rankings.

19 of the top 25 jobs are in health care

First, the fact that 19 of the top 25 jobs are in health care, a field in which technology could never completely replace human intervention. Second, that the two top jobs are that of Software Developer in the #1 spot and Statistician—the person who has to analyze the generated data so that it can be put to use—at #2. One could predict that the growing job of Nurse Informaticist, which straddles nursing and technology, will make it into the top jobs soon.

Registered nurses make up the largest group in the U.S. workforce, and nursing is the fastest growing career industry in the country. So with as many nurses and nursing students as there are, what will the future hold for this versatile, ever-expanding career?