What Jobs Can You Get with a Nursing Degree? A Comprehensive Guide

A nursing degree unlocks a plethora of career opportunities. With an array of jobs you can get with a nursing degree, choosing your path might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

This article aims to simplify your search for nursing degree jobs, shedding light on various nursing roles. While focusing mainly on traditional patient care-related positions available with a nursing degree, we will also delve into diverse prospects for those pondering what you can do with a BSN besides nursing.

Whether you are a recent nursing school graduate looking to forge a career path or an experienced nurse who wants to consider transitioning to new and exciting work opportunities, this guide will explore what you can do with a nursing degree.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Nursing Degree?

If you’re contemplating, “What can I do with a nursing degree?” this section is tailored for you. Our overview highlights a variety of the most desired jobs you can get with a nursing degree, designed to align with your interests, personality, lifestyle, and financial goals.

Travel Nurse

If you like to travel, meet new people, and explore different areas of medicine, becoming a travel nurse might be a perfect fit. Due to nurse shortages in some areas of the country, traveling nurse careers are among the best-paid and, according to many in the field, the most fulfilling ways to leverage your nursing degree.

When you’re a traveling nurse, you have many choices regarding how long and where you want to work. You can choose short-term or long-term contractual assignments and pick from various settings, from small-town clinics to large teaching hospitals and everything in between. Even though you’ll be moving around, as long as you work through a reputable traveling nurse agency, you’ll be assured that all the details—such as onboarding, scheduling, and payment—are taken care of seamlessly. 

Traveling nurses are paid by the hour and can work for a few days, weeks, or months at a particular job. While the average pay for a traveling nurse is $38.47 per hour or $80,000 per year, according to Payscale.com, the right agency can help you find traveling nurse jobs that pay much more. Realize that this likely does not include the tax-free stipends that are often bundled into an hourly rate, increasing your take home pay.

Oncology RN

Oncology nurses work exclusively with cancer patients, developing patient care plans and monitoring all aspects of their care, including administering medication. This role, while emotionally demanding due to the nature of the patient population, appeals to those drawn to the specialty’s unique aspects. Oncology nurses value establishing lasting relationships with patients and their families. They also find deep fulfillment in assisting patients through the complexities of their cancer journeys, from diagnosis to treatment.

The median pay for an oncology RN is $36.11 per hour or about $75,000 per year. 

Nurse Manager

Wondering, “What other jobs can you do with a nursing degree that can also leverage your administrative skills?” You might consider becoming a nurse case manager. This position requires medical knowledge and keen insights into today’s complicated healthcare system. It’s up to the nurse manager to create care plans for chronically ill patients and those with serious conditions. The job of a nurse case manager is to advocate for patients to find the best care possible while acting as a liaison to help patients navigate between providers and insurers to ensure continuity of care. 

As a nurse case manager, you can expect, on average, an annual salary of just under $79,000, or $37.79 an hour. 

Labor and Delivery RN

Labor and delivery registered nurses care for women and their newborn babies throughout the stages of childbirth and recovery, from just before birth (antepartum) through labor and delivery (intrapartum) through postpartum. They are also a support for the mother and baby following birth.

L&D RNs work with physicians and patients to create and implement a plan of care tailored to each mom’s and newborn’s needs. Their care goes beyond medical as they are often called upon to provide psychosocial and emotional support to patients and their families. 

Today’s L&D nurse might work in a hospital L&D unit, a physician’s office, or a maternity or birthing center. 

If you have well-honed critical thinking skills, consider yourself quick on your feet, and love supporting moms and newborns, becoming an L&D nurse might be for you. 

An L&D nurse makes an average hourly wage of $33.93, which comes out to about $70,500 a year. 

Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses support patients facing terminal illnesses. Along with performing all the duties required of an RN—like monitoring vital signs and administering medication—hospice nurses offer patients emotional, psychosocial, and even spiritual support. It takes a certain kind of inner strength to work with patients and families as they navigate an end-of-life transition.  

Hospice nurses might work in a hospital setting, a patient’s home, a nursing home, or other long-term care facility. 

Typically, a hospice nurse will earn an average of $67,640 or $34.93 an hour. 

ER Nurse

Emergency room nurses work in hospital ER departments, treating injured and ill patients when they arrive in a hospital’s ED. Often, ER nurses will specialize in cardiac, trauma, geriatric, or pediatric emergency cases. 

To succeed as an ER nurse, you have to be able to perform under intense pressure and adapt quickly in response to urgent issues. It takes a lot of stamina mixed with empathy to do this difficult job well. 

Emergency room nurses earn, on average, $34.93 an hour, or an annual salary of $72,655. 

Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses specialize in child healthcare, providing compassionate care from infancy through adolescence. Their calm, nurturing demeanor is crucial in creating a comforting environment for young patients. Recognizing that medical settings, be it a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic, can be intimidating for children, these nurses skillfully alleviate fears, ensuring a more positive healthcare experience for their young patients.

While some pediatric nurses specialize in cardiology, trauma, or neonatology, which could command higher salaries, the average hourly wage for a pediatric nurse is $31.08. This comes to a little more than $64,500 yearly for a 40-hour work week. 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Psychiatric mental health nurses work with patients who need specialized psychiatric care. Psych RNs work at in-patient facilities like psychiatric hospitals and physicians’ offices. They also perform in-home evaluations and care. The best RNs who work with patients under psychiatric care are compassionate, empathetic, and patient. They also excel at conflict resolution.

The average annual salary for a psychiatric RN working 40 hours a week is just under $73,000  or $35.08 an hour.

Nurse Anesthetist

If you’re looking for a lucrative career and are prepared to invest time and effort in advanced training, consider becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). This path requires a graduate degree and up to three years of experience but offers significant financial rewards for those who meet these demanding prerequisites.

As an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with specialized anesthesia training, you’d be responsible for administering anesthesia and monitoring patients during surgery. It would also be your job to care for patients recovering from anesthesia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse anesthetists make an average of $200,000 a year.

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nursing involves caring for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of elderly patients. The focus of geriatric nursing is often to help older adults maintain as much independence as possible while ensuring a good quality of life. 

Because these nurses specialize in caring for a more aging and often vulnerable population, empathy, patience, and the ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally are essential to succeed in this job. 

Typical duties of a geriatric care nurse include providing care and treatment for chronic conditions that affect this population, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also the nurse’s job to help patients with various activities of daily living, develop treatment plans, administer medications, and monitor their patients for any signs of elder abuse. 

Geriatric nurses are found in multiple healthcare settings, including traditional hospitals, in-home care, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living facilities. 

The average hourly wage for a geriatric nurse is $33, which translates to an annual salary of approximately $69,000.

Jobs with a BSN Besides Nursing

Now that we’ve covered what jobs you can get with a nursing degree that are more patient-centric, you may be contemplating what to do with your nursing degree if you want to venture beyond the realms of direct patient care. Some options include:

  • Becoming a nurse/medical writer
  • Writing medical-related grants
  • Working in healthcare recruiting
  • Becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Working in politics as a nurse lobbyist
  • Becoming a nursing educator
  • Offering your services as a medical transcriptionist
  • Entering the field of health services management

Each career path through a job with a nursing degree not only leverages your nursing expertise but also allows you to shape the future of healthcare in unique and impactful ways. With a nursing degree, the possibilities for a meaningful and varied career are as boundless as your ambition.

Find Your Next Assignment with Triage 

Still wondering, “What can you do with a nursing degree?” Discover a world of possibilities that extend far beyond the conventional. A nursing degree isn’t just a credential but a passport to diverse disciplines and dynamic fields, opening doors to many fulfilling career paths.

Enter the exciting realm of travel nursing. Embrace the freedom of the open road, the versatility of short-term assignments, and the richness of diverse nursing experiences. With Triage, your journey as a travel nurse is not just a job; it’s an adventure in various parts of the country, an opportunity to grow, and a chance to see your career in a new light. Dive into the array of high-quality, well-compensated travel nurse jobs available through Triage. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of new environments or the flexibility to explore different clinical settings, we’re here to guide you.