Nursing is a diverse and dynamic field with a wide range of specialties. From emergency room nurses who thrive in high-pressure situations to psychiatric nurses who provide critical mental health support, each role requires unique skills and expertise.

Whether you’re interested in caring for newborns, helping people recover from surgery, or working with patients facing serious illnesses, there’s a nursing specialty for you. So stay with us as we explore the different types of nursing specialties.

20 Types of Nursing Specialties

Nursing is a highly specialized and beneficial career, with various specialties you can choose from depending on your interests, skills, and personal preferences. If you are looking for answers to which specialty is best in nursing or how much different types of nurses earn, look no further.

This article will explore 20 nursing specialties, from critical care to palliative care, highlighting each specialty’s unique challenges and rewards. Read on!

1. Psychiatric and mental health nurse

Education requirements: 

-Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)

-Master’s degree in nursing (MSN)

-Clinical experience


Salary: $70,678

A psychiatric and mental health nurse works in various healthcare settings and is responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with mental health disorders. They administer medications, provide counseling and therapy, develop treatment plans, and monitor patients for potential side effects or complications.

2. Geriatric nursing

Education requirements:  

-Obtain an ADN or BSN

-Pass the NCLEX-RN

-Obtain gerontological nursing certification

Salary: $66,108

Geriatric nurses care for elderly patients in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. They assess patients’ health conditions, monitor their vital signs, administer medications, and provide primary medical care. These nurses also help patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.

Geriatric nurses may collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop care plans and coordinate care for elderly patients.

3. Registered nurse (RN)

Education requirements: 

-Graduate from an accredited RN program or BSN

-Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)

Salary: $77,600 

One of the primary responsibilities of RNs is to provide patient care. This includes assessing patients’ health needs, developing and implementing care plans, administering medications and treatments, and monitoring patients’ progress.

RNs work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, to ensure patients receive the best care. In addition to providing patient care, RNs also play an essential role in patient education.

4. Family nurse practitioner (FNP)


Education requirements: 

  • Obtain an MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree
  • Pass the NCLEX Examination
  • Obtain licensure

Salary: $100,421

A family nurse practitioner provides primary care services to individuals across their lifespan, including conducting health assessments, diagnosing acute and chronic health conditions, prescribing medications, providing counseling, referring patients to specialists or other healthcare providers when necessary, and participating in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.

5. Cardiac nurse

Education requirements:  

-A registered nursing license

-BSN degree

-Additional training and certification in cardiac care

Salary: $118,712

Cardiac nurses have specialized skills and knowledge in cardiology that allow them to deliver exceptional patient care. Their responsibilities include monitoring patients, administering medication, providing education, managing patient care, performing diagnostic tests, and assisting with procedures.

6. Pediatric nurse


Education requirements:

-Earn your BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Additional training and certification in pediatric nursing may be required

Salary: $60,885

A pediatric nurse provides medical care to children from infancy through adolescence. They are responsible for monitoring and assessing patients’ health conditions, administering medications and treatments, and communicating with patients and their families to educate them about health and wellness.

Pediatric nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and schools. Their primary goal is to ensure their young patients’ physical, emotional, and developmental needs are met.

7. Orthopedic nurse

Education requirements:

-Obtain an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or BSN

-Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Gain hours of experience in orthopedics

Salary: $104,111

An orthopedic nurse takes care of patients with musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. They work closely with orthopedic surgeons to deliver the best patient care before, during, and after surgical procedures and may also assist with casting, splinting, and other forms of immobilization. Orthopedic nurses are responsible for assessing patients’ conditions and developing care plans. They also administer medications and treatments and monitor patients’ progress.

8. Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

Education requirements:

-RN degree, license, and certification

-Master’s, postgraduate, or doctoral program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

-Clinical practice

Salary: $96,056

A CNS provides expert patient care, collaborates with healthcare teams, develops and implements healthcare policies, and educates patients, families, and staff. They may also be responsible for conducting research and participating in quality improvement initiatives to enhance patient outcomes.

9. ER nurse


Education requirements:

-Earn an ADN or BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX Exam

-Gain experience in emergency nursing

-Obtain certification

Salary: $119,076

An emergency room (ER) nurse is a healthcare professional who works in the emergency department of a hospital or medical facility. ER nurses are responsible for providing immediate medical care to patients who arrive at the ER with various medical conditions, including trauma, injuries, and acute illnesses. They often work alongside physicians, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals.

10. Nurse administrator

Education requirements:

-Obtain an ADN or BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX Exam

-Acquire practical experience

-Obtain professional certification

Salary: $90,577

A nurse administrator’s primary responsibility is to oversee the operations of a healthcare facility, ensuring that high-quality patient care is delivered efficiently and effectively. They are responsible for managing staff, including hiring and training, and developing policies and procedures to improve patient outcomes and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Additionally, they work closely with other healthcare professionals to create and implement strategies to improve patient care and safety and manage costs.

11. Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Education requirements:

-Earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing

-Earn your master’s degree in nursing

-Obtain your RN license

-Gain clinical experience

Salary: $174,000

A CRNA is a specialized advanced practice registered nurse who administers anesthesia and provides care before, during, and after surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures. CRNAs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental offices, and military facilities.

12. Nurse midwife


Education requirements: 

-BSN degree

-RN license

-Nursing experience

Salary:  $112,830

Midwife nursing is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on providing comprehensive care to women throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. These professionals offer both medical and emotional support to their patients. They are critical in ensuring women feel safe and healthy during this period.

13. Critical care nurse

Education requirements:

-Earn a BSN degree

-Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)

-Earn an MSN

-Obtain certification

Salary: $84,362

A critical care nurse provides specialized nursing care to critically ill or unstable patients who require constant monitoring and medical attention. They work in intensive care units (ICUs), emergency rooms, and other critical care settings. They are responsible for administering medication, monitoring vital signs, performing diagnostic tests, and providing emotional support to patients and their families.

14. Nurse manager


Education requirements:

-BSN degree or ADN

-Bedside experience

-Continuing nursing education

Salary: $91,992

A nurse manager oversees the nursing staff and ensures they provide high-quality patient care. They typically work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or other healthcare settings. Some of their key responsibilities include:

-Managing nursing staff

-Planning and organizing

-Monitoring patient care

-Budgeting and financial management

-Liaising with other healthcare professionals

-Recruiting and training, etc.

15. Perioperative nurse

Education requirements:

-Obtaining a BSN degree

-Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Gaining work experience as an RN

-Obtaining certification

Salary: $144,076

A perioperative nurse cares for patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure the safety and comfort of patients throughout the surgical process.

16. Nurse anesthetist

Education requirements:

-Earn a BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX-RN

-Gain clinical nursing experience in critical care

-Enroll in a graduate nurse anesthesia program

Salary: $162,517

A nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia during surgical or medical procedures under the supervision of an anesthesiologist. They are responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs and adjusting anesthesia levels. Nurse anesthetists must have extensive knowledge of pharmacology and physiology and excellent communication and critical-thinking skills.

17. Nurse educator

Education requirements:

-Become an RN and gain experience

-Enroll in a nurse educator program

-Pass the CNE Certification Exam

Salary: $80,707

A nurse educator is responsible for teaching and training nursing students or current nurses in various healthcare settings. They develop curricula, facilitate classroom and clinical instruction, and evaluate student progress. Additionally, they may mentor and support nurses seeking to advance their careers.

18. Oncology nurse


Education requirements:

-Obtain an ADN or BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Pass the Oncology Certified Nurse Board Exam

-Gain 1,000 hours of experience and ten contact hours in oncology

Salary: $80,345

An oncology nurse is a healthcare professional caring for patients who have or are at risk of getting cancer. Oncology nurses play a critical role in helping manage their patients’ symptoms, providing education on treatments and medications, and advocating for their patient’s needs.

19. Public health nurse

Education requirements:

-Obtain an ADN or BSN degree

-Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Gain experience in nursing

-Get certified

Salary: $68,857

A public health nurse promotes and protects the health of a population. They work in various settings, such as schools, community health clinics, and government agencies, to educate individuals and communities on healthy behaviors, prevent and control the spread of disease, and provide health screenings and immunizations. Public health nurses collaborate with different organizations to develop and implement public health programs and policies.

20. Travel nurse

Education requirements:

-Obtain an ADN or BNS degree

-Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

-Gain clinical experience

Salary: $106,030

A travel nurse is a registered nurse hired to work temporary assignments in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities nationwide. Their job description includes providing patient care, administering medications, performing diagnostic tests, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals. Travel nurses are expected to adapt quickly to new environments and follow local and federal regulations for patient care. By becoming a travel nurse, you can experience the best of both worlds – traveling and helping others.

Start Your Nursing Career Path at AIAM!

Are you ready to make a real difference in people’s lives and pursue a rewarding career in nursing? The American Institute of Alternative Medicine (AIAM) offers comprehensive nursing programs that prepare you for success in the healthcare industry. Take the first step towards your future by applying now and joining our community of dedicated healthcare professionals.