A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed healthcare professional trained to provide patient care in various healthcare settings. RNs are in high demand and have many career opportunities, including working in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community health settings. Additionally, RNs can advance their careers by pursuing additional education.

In this article, you can explore eleven alternative careers for RNs and learn about their salaries and job outlook. So, let’s first find out what else a registered nurse can do.

11 Alternative Careers for Registered Nurses (RNs)

Alternative careers for registered nurses offer a variety of benefits, including the ability to work in different settings, the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of healthcare, and the potential for career advancement and higher salaries. For example, nurses pursuing careers as nurse practitioners or educators can work in clinics, hospitals, and universities, specializing in pediatrics, geriatrics, or mental health.

Additionally, nurses who become health administrators or healthcare consultants can take on leadership roles and have the potential to earn higher salaries and have more control over their work schedules.

So, alternative careers for registered nurses offer these professionals the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge while positively impacting the healthcare industry.

1. Medical and health services manager

Salary: $101,340 per year

Medical and health services managers, known as healthcare administrators, are responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing healthcare services within a specific facility or organization. They are also responsible for budgeting, quality assurance, and staffing.

Medical services managers usually have a background in healthcare or administration and may hold a master’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field. They must have strong leadership and management skills and knowledge of healthcare regulations and trends.

2. Public health nurse


Salary: $92,048 per year 

A public health nurse works in the field of public health and is responsible for promoting and protecting the health of communities through preventative care, education, and intervention. They work in various settings, including clinics, schools, community centers, and government agencies, to identify and address health concerns and provide care for individuals, families, and groups.

They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals and community partners to develop and implement programs and services that promote health and prevent disease.

3. Healthcare representative

Salary: $58,946

A healthcare representative is responsible for promoting and selling medical products and services to healthcare professionals and patients. They work closely with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to educate them on the benefits of the products and services they represent and answer any questions or concerns.

Additionally, they can provide training and support to healthcare providers and assist with implementing new products and services. Further responsibilities include:

  • Collecting and analyzing market data
  • Attending industry events and conferences
  • Working with other organization members to develop sales strategies and goals, etc.

4. Holistic /alternative medicine


Salary: $85,779 per year

A holistic or alternative medicine practitioner is a healthcare professional who uses natural and non-invasive methods to promote wellness and healing in their patients. Their work includes techniques such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling.

They can also educate patients on preventative measures and self-care techniques to maintain optimal health. A holistic or alternative medicine practitioner may work in a private practice, wellness center, or hospital setting.

5. Nurse lobbyist

Salary: $64,429 per year

A nurse lobbyist is responsible for representing the interests of nurses and the nursing profession to government officials and legislators. They work to influence laws and policies that affect nursing, such as funding for education and training programs, patient safety regulations, and healthcare reform. They may lobby for specific nursing groups, such as advanced practice nurses or nurse practitioners.

6. Insurance nurse

Salary: $99,036 per year

An insurance nurse is responsible for reviewing and assessing medical claims for insurance purposes, determining the validity of the claims, and making decisions on coverage and reimbursement. They may also work with clients to gather medical information and help them navigate the insurance process.

The insurance nurse must know medical terminology and have strong analytical and communication skills to effectively review and evaluate medical claims.

7. Quality and safety nurse

Salary: $87,422

A quality and safety nurse ensures that patients receive safe and high-quality care under a healthcare facility’s supervision. As such, their responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring and evaluating patient outcomes
  • Identifying and addressing potential safety hazards
  • Implementing quality improvement initiatives

Additionally, they may be responsible for educating staff on best practices and providing quality and safety measures training.

8. Healthcare recruiter


Salary: $50,154 per year

A healthcare recruiter’s primary duty is identifying and recruiting qualified candidates for healthcare positions within a hospital, clinic, or other healthcare facilities.

The recruiter will typically work with hiring managers to understand the specific needs and qualifications required for each position and will use various recruiting techniques such as job postings, networking, and referrals to find potential candidates.

In addition to sourcing candidates, the healthcare recruiter may also be responsible for conducting initial interviews, checking references, and assisting with the hiring process.

9. EMR implementation specialist

Salary: $68,119 per year

An electronic medical records implementation specialist is responsible for successfully integrating electronic medical records systems within a healthcare organization. They work closely with stakeholders to understand their needs and requirements, configure the EMR system to meet those needs, provide training and support to users, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the implementation process.

The EMR implementation specialist must also stay up-to-date with the latest developments in EMR technology and ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards.

10. Substance abuse nurse


Salary: $66,988 per year

These nurses are responsible for supporting and guiding individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction. They work with clients to identify the underlying causes of their addiction and develop a treatment plan to help them overcome it. Their work may include individual and group therapy, support groups, and other resources.

The counselors work with family members and loved ones to give them the tools and support they need to help their loved ones recover. The ultimate goal of these counselors is to help clients achieve lasting recovery and improve their overall quality of life.

11. Pharmaceutical sales representative

Salary: $149,053

Pharmaceutical sales representatives are responsible for selling pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals. They work for pharmaceutical companies and are responsible for building relationships with healthcare professionals and educating them about the benefits and features of the products they are selling.

Successful pharmaceutical sales representatives must effectively communicate the benefits of products and build trust with healthcare professionals. The role requires a high level of organizational skills and the ability to manage time effectively. Such a challenging and rewarding career is best for those interested in the healthcare industry and who enjoy working with others.

The Bottom Line

The choice of switching careers depends on the individual’s specific circumstances and career goals. RN nursing alternatives, such as becoming a medical and health services manager or a nurse educator, can offer additional opportunities for career advancement and higher earning potential. However, it is essential to consider the necessary education and training requirements for these alternative positions.

So, consider these great alternative careers if you want to change your work environment, expand your skill set, or simply pursue a new career path.