5 Specializations in a Master’s in Nursing Program

5 Master's in Nursing Specializations

  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Critical Care Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist

Registered nurses (RNs) who have the Master's in Nursing and nursing specializations are typically referred to as clinical nurse specialists (CNSs). Although RNs are expected to see a 15 percent job growth from 2016-2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical nurse specialists typically see more and even better career opportunities. To work as a CNS, you must have a Master's in Nursing, at least one year work experience in the area of specialization, a nursing license and certification. Although there are many more, here are five specializations a nurse with a master's degree might pursue.

Related Resource: 50 Best Graduate Nursing Schools in America

1. Certified Nurse Midwife

Although midwives got their start back in ancient days, they continue to have a booming career. Working closely OB/GYN doctors, they assist with the pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery care of both the mother and baby. Although midwives are certified in their specialty, they must also have several years' experience working as an RN. Nurse midwives earned a median annual wage of $99,770 as of May 2016, according to the BLS, and it's predicted that certified midwives could experience a 31 percent job growth in the next ten years.

2. Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses are knowledgeable in the area of critical care and often spend much time working with patients that are critically ill or injured. Critical care nurses must have experience working in the ICU. Because of the aging population, more people are in need of critical care, which makes critical care nurses highly in demand. As of a March, 2018 report by Salary.com, critical care nurses earned a median annual wage of $71,430.

3. Family Nurse Practitioner

Also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (ADPNs), family nurse practitioners work with patients and family members through all states of their lives. They perform exams, assess the patient and make diagnoses. They often travel throughout the community to see patients and promote good health. Family nurse practitioners earned a median annual wage of $100,910, according to a May 2016 BLS report, which also reported that nurse practitioners could see a job growth of 31 percent through the next 10 years.

4. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Gerontological nurse practitioners work mostly with the elderly and continue to be in demand as the population continues to age. In addition to having a MSN degree, these professionals must also have a specialization in elder care. They can obtain licensure through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. According to a March, 2018 report by PayScale, Gerontological nurse practitioners earned a median annual wage of $82,424.

5. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists spend a great deal of their day assisting anesthesiologists both before and during surgery. When the surgery requires only local anesthetic, the nurse practitioner may work independently. Nurse practitioners must have experience working in the emergency room or ICU. Although a Master's in Nursing is required to become a nurse anesthetist at the present time, this will change in the future, at which time you may need to have a Ph.D in Nursing. According to the BLS, nurse anesthetists earned a median annual wage of $160,270 and could expect a growth in employment of 31 percent from 2016-2026.

Pursuing a specialization in a Master's in Nursing has many potential benefits. It not only increases a RNs career choices and wage potential but also gives them the opportunity to focus on a specific area of interest. Earning specializations in an area of interest will make the job even more rewarding.

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