The 28 Most In-Demand Nursing Jobs of 2022

The 28 Most In-Demand Nursing Jobs of 2022 - a picture of a nurse treating a young female patient with a broken arm.

Quite frankly, there are countless nursing jobs because there are many types of nurses and an impressive array of nursing specialties. As a result of COVID-19, a growing population, and healthcare trends that have emerged as technology advances, the healthcare industry has been driven to evolve beyond traditional care. Though this has brought change and new challenges, new opportunities have also arrived, and there are now more nursing jobs available than ever before. 

Now more than ever, the need for different types of nurses is significantly high. Communities and governments on the local and national levels have been hurrying to fill these roles. But the truth is, qualified RNs will be in high demand for the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster growth in nursing than any other profession.

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The 28 Most In-Demand Nursing Jobs of 2022

*Note: these jobs are in no specific order 

1. Registered Nurse

Overview: RNs provide crucial patient care, they are key players in developing and coordinating care plans with patients, their families, and fellow healthcare professionals. RNs are responsible for assessing patients’ health conditions, performing medical procedures, and understanding and maintaining medical records. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $77,600
  • 6% growth between 2021-2031

Education/Experience: Typical entry-level education: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

2. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse:

Overview: In June 2020, the CDC reported that since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, 40% of U.S. adults have suffered from mental illness or substance abuse. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses(PMHN) treat this large and growing population for illnesses including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. PMHNs must possess a depth of communication and empathic skills to assess and treat invisible diseases.

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $113,600
  • 58% increase in year-over-year psychiatric RN job openings

Education/Experience: RNs can earn a Certification in Psychiatric Nursing after accruing:

  • Two years of practice 
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours in clinical psych nursing practice within three years
  • 30 hours of continuing education in psych nursing within three years 

An Advanced trajectory may include an MSN/NP program that results in a PMHN becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).

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3. Telehealth Nurse: 

Overview: While nurses have been evaluating and assessing patients via phone for decades, the practice of telehealth nursing exploded in 2020. The CDC noted a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Since then, telehealth nurses have continued to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related conditions via video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teladoc, and Doctor on Demand. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $64,480
  • 9% growth through 2030

Education/Experience: Bedside experience is usually a prerequisite to becoming a Telehealth Nurse, as qualified candidates should possess advanced interpersonal skills that bridge the distance gap with patients. A telehealth nurse should be competent in ambulatory settings(outside of the hospital) and may be expected to achieve the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification(RN-BC). An ADN or BSN is required to become a telehealth nurse.

4. Critical Care Nurse: 

Overview: While critical care nurses may work in many environments and treat a wide range of issues, the common thread that binds them is their skills in dealing with life and death conditions that demand on-the-fly decision making and expertise.

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $73,300
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 12% growth in ICU (where many critical care nurses are based) RNs by 2028.

*Important to consider: The Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) reports, “Approximately 25 to 33 percent of critical care nurses manifest symptoms of severe burnout syndrome, and up to 86 percent have at least one of the three classic symptoms” that include stress and exhaustion. Many critical care nurses retire early or pursue roles away from the bedside, including nursing education, administration, and telehealth. In addition to the pressing need for more critical care nurses during the pandemic, high turnover may also contribute to more job openings.

Education/Experience: Critical Care hiring managers prefer RNs have a BSN due to the decisive critical-thinking skills needed to succeed. Experience in diverse nursing environments may also be a prerequisite.

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5. Pediatric Nurse 

Overview: Pediatric nurses work with children and adolescents to provide care and assess their development. A pediatric nurse’s responsibilities will vary based on the setting in which they work. Like an RN, a pediatric nurse is responsible for assessing and recording patients’ conditions, including administering medication, developing a care plan, and educating patients’ families about how to continue care at home, highlighting preventative care measures. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $91,925
  • Number of jobs: 1.9 million

Education/Experience: Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree in nursing

6. RN Case Manager:

Overview:  A specialized nurse who serves as a patient point of contact responsible for coordinating resources, monitoring progress, and evaluating options. Case Managers may function in different capacities, ranging from patient advocates in hospitals to care coordinators for insurance companies.

2022 Job Outlook

  • Median salary: $75,304
  • 32% through 2030

Education/Experience: RNs with some experience should target a role specializing in Case Management before pursuing one of several accredited certification options available, including:

  • The Commission For Case Manager Certification (CCMC) 
  • ANCC Nurse Case Manager Certification (RN-BC)
  • American Case Management (ACM) Certification
  • Certification in Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCCTM)

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7. Emergency Room Nurse

Overview: ER Nurses treat serious illnesses and injuries when patients arrive at the hospital. Many ER nurses have specializations like trauma, cardiac, pediatric, or geriatric emergency medicine – these specializations usually require grad school.

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $75,330
  • 7% growth until 2029

Education/Experience: Candidates must earn a BSN to hold most ER nursing jobs; however, there are a few jobs that only require an ADN. But make no mistake, a BSN is necessary to pursue advanced degrees such as DNP or MSN.  

8. Nurse Practitioner

Overview: Also referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $123,780
  • From 2021 until 2031, overall employment for NPs is projected to grow by 40%

Education/Experience: Master’s degree in one of the APRN roles; also, you will need licensure in your state of practice and to pass the national certification exam.  

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9. Nurse Educator

Overview: Nurse educators are teachers, professors, and postsecondary nursing professionals. Nurse educators instruct students who want to become nurses. These educators also teach nurses who are pursuing further education. As a nurse educator, you may be involved in research, but mostly you’ll be developing lesson plans, teaching, and assessing tests and assignments to determine students’ performances. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $75,470
  • 22% growth over the next ten years (for all postsecondary nursing instructors)

Education/Experience: RN licensure and a postsecondary degree are required to become a nurse educator. 

10. Oncology Nurse

Overview: These types of nurses treat cancer patients with medical care and emotional support. Your typical RN duties will be at play here: administering medication, chemotherapy, diagnostic tests, vials, and record-keeping of symptoms, conditions, and medical history. A large part of this role is educating the patients and their loved ones about managing their health during and after treatment. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $78,655
  • 9% growth expected between 2020 and 2030.

Education/Experience: You must have an RN license, and you can pursue oncology nursing at the graduate level. 

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11. Travel Nurse

Overview: Travel nurses are hired to fill the gap found in staff shortages. A travel nurse essentially has the same responsibilities as a typical RN. Travel nurses usually receive 13-week assignments, but assignments can be as long as 26 weeks or even as short as 8 weeks. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $88,400
  • 19% increase by 2023

Education/Experience: Travel nurses must have RN licensure and, in most cases, a BSN. 

12. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Overview: This role consists of RNs who specialize in caring for specific patient populations with specific health issues, for example, elderly patients with diabetes. CNSs are leaders among their staff, and they work closely with other medical professionals to analyze results, administer tests, and develop care-plans for patients. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $77,600
  • 9% growth expected over the next ten years

Education/Experience: 30% of CNSs have only their associate’s degree, while 52% have a bachelor’s degree. 10% have their masters, and only 2% have a doctoral degree. This means you can become a CNS without graduate school! 

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13. Operating Room Nurse aka Perioperative Nurses

Overview: These nurses prep and assist with surgical procedures by either circulating the operating rooms to keep them sterile or as an assistant to the surgeon. 

2022 Job Outlook:

Education/Experience: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing

14. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse (aka critical care nurses)

Overview: Working in the intensive care unit, these nurses work with patients who are at risk of dying from their injuries/illnesses. ICU nurses need to be able to respond quickly to emergencies, and they need to be able to communicate proactively with their fellow care team of healthcare professionals. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $75,330
  • 9% growth over the next decade

Education/Experience: Associate’s or Bachelors’s degree, RN licensure is required.

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15. Home Health Nurse

Overview: Home health nurses care for patients in their home setting and assist with daily living activities; this includes treatment and care for patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities.  

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $73,300
  • 7% growth from 2019 – 2029

Education/Experience: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing (ADN or BSN), although BSN is generally the standard. 

16. Certified Dialysis Nurse

Overview: These nurses treat patients with kidney diseases or any number of illnesses related to it. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $75,330
  • 7% growth through 2029

Education/Experience: A dialysis nurse must obtain an RN licensure, and the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) offers a program to become officially certified – which requires 2,000 hours of clinical work with patients on dialysis. 

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17. Cardiac Nurse

Overview: Cardiac nurses are either RNs or NPs who specialize in the care of the heart. Cardiac nurses provide care for patients with cardiovascular diseases. 

2022 Job Outlook:

Education/Experience: RN licensure and a bachelor’s degree is a must. However, to become a Cardiovascular Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, you’ll need to follow your bachelor’s degree with a postsecondary degree (master’s or doctoral degree).

18. Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse (PACU) 

Overview: PACU nurses treat patients recovering from surgery who have been placed under anesthesia. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $77,600
  • 9% growth from 2022 through 2030

Education/Experience: You will need an RN licensure and 1,800 hours of clinical experience as an RN. You will need to attain two certifications: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Adult Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). Then you will need to pass the certification exam, and then finally, upon passing, you will become a PACU nurse.

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19. Nurse Researcher

Overview: Nurse researchers study many aspects of health, illness, and healthcare systems. They work to provide healthcare organizations with evidence-based information that they can use to improve the quality of their care and their overall outcomes. These nurses’ discoveries are used to educate healthcare professionals, inform health policy, and progress how interventions and treatments are conducted.

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $81,500
  • 45% between 2020 and 2030

Education/Experience: A postsecondary degree is required to be a nurse researcher, typically a Ph.D. 

20. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Overview: Nurse anesthetists monitor their patient’s vitals and recovery from anesthesia in addition to administering anesthesia. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $195,610
  • 40% growth from 2021 – 2031

Education/Experience: This advanced nursing role will require you to attain a Bachelor’s in nursing, after which you will need to accrue at least one year of clinical experience working as an RN in the intensive care unit or the critical care unit. A master’s degree in nursing is required to become a CRNA, and you must pass the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). CRNA Licensure is possible after completing RN certification, an advanced degree, one-year work experience, and passing the board exam. 

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21. Certified Nurse Midwife

Overview: Certified nurse midwives provide patients with care primary care, family planning services, and gynecological care throughout pregnancy and birth, and their primary role is women’s health during and after these events.   

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $114,210
  • 45% growth from 2020 – 2030

Education/Experience: A bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing is required to become a nurse midwife and RN licensure, in addition to national certification. 

22. Gerontological Nurse

Overview: These nurses work with the elderly population and their families to monitor, measure, and record patients’ conditions, symptoms, and medical equipment.

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $73,054
  • 9% growth expected through 2030

Education/Experience: An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and RN licensure are required to become a gerontological nurse; however, postsecondary education is not. 

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23. Orthopedic Nurse

Overview: These nurses specialize in caring for patients with musculoskeletal problems, including broken bones, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, or osteoporosis. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $104,111
  • 16% through 2024

Education/Experience: An RN license is required, in addition to certification from the Orthopedic Nursing Certification Board, which provides credentials for orthopedic nurses who demonstrate proficiency.  

24. Public Health Nurse (PHN)

Overview: Public health nurses promote public health by working to improve healthcare services within communities. These nurses care for entire populations instead of individual patients. One of a PHNs primary role is to educate the public about health issues. Another primary role for PHNs is to advocate for community safety and increased access to care.

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $68,450
  • 15% growth through 2026

Education/Experience: You will need to attain an ADN or BSN, coupled with RN licensure to work as a public health nurse.

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25. Neonatal Nurse

Overview: Neonatal nurses provide care for babies and work with infants who require medical attention. 

2022 Job Outlook: 

  • Median salary: $70,775
  • 9% through 2030

Education/Experience: The minimum requirement for becoming a neonatal nurse is an ADN (associate degree in nursing), but most employers require a BSN. A CCRN (neonatal) Certification from the Nursing Certification Corporation is highly recommended but not required. 

26. Nurse Informatics

Overview: These are registered nurses who work with technology and specialize in an area that combines nursing experience, computer and information science, and communication. These nurses assess, analyze, and develop clinical healthcare settings. These nurses use data analytics to improve the overall healthcare system. 

2022 Job Outlook:

Education/Experience: Having a BSN is the minimum requirement, including your RN licensure. It is not required, but many nurse informatics have their master’s or doctoral degrees and specialize in nursing informatics

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27. Radiology Nurse

Overview: Radiology nurses provide care for patients undergoing radiation therapy or diagnostic imaging procedures. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $91,000
  • 19% growth over the next decade 

Education/Experience: To become a radiology nurse, you must have earned an RN licensure, a master’s or doctoral degree is unnecessary. The Association for Imaging and Radiologic Nurses certifies nurses who have already completed the RN licensure, 2,000 hours of experience in a radiology setting, and 30 hours of radiology education. 

28. Nurse Advocate

Overview: Nurse advocates help patients navigate the healthcare system and often act as the point of contact between patients and physicians. These nurses work to represent the patients, which includes maintaining the quality of care and protecting patients’ rights. 

2022 Job Outlook:

  • Median salary: $72,240
  • 7% growth through 2029

Education/Experience: No formal certifications are required; however, you will need to earn your nursing degree.

Bottom line

The need for BSN-educated RNs is at its highest point in recent history. As with any career, areas of practice should align with one’s interests, but now more than ever, there are more pathways forward for nurses pursuing both traditional and nontraditional paths

Aspen University can help you advance your career with our affordable online RN to BSNMSN, and DNP degree programs. Come check us out!

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