Last Updated on January 18, 2024
As we enter a new year, many nurses may find their thoughts turning to the future of their careers, and what they can do to improve it. The good news is that there’s never been a better time to earn more and level up in the new year! Let’s explore today’s most promising nurse advancement opportunities to make the most money as a nurse in 2024.
Why ‘Level Up’ with Nurse Advancement Opportunities?
Thanks to the current demand for nurses of all types, LPNs, LVNs, and RNs all have plenty of ways to advance their careers. They also have some very good reasons for pursuing those nurse advancement opportunities — for instance:
Nurse Advancement Opportunities = More Control
Yes, most nursing jobs involve twists and turns of some type. On the other hand, though, a more specialized career usually gives you more control over your day-to-day-life. For instance, working in a school or research setting usually means working regular a nine-to-five schedule. On the other hand, working as an overnight charge nurse leaves your days free for family, school, or other needs.
A Change of Scenery
Sometimes, doing the same job every day for years on end can start to feel stagnant — or even worse, overwhelming. When you level up your career, you give yourself the chance to refresh by doing a new type of work, in a new setting, with a different group of people.
Better Job Satisfaction
Nursing is hard work, and usually comes with long hours. And if you’re not satisfied with the pay or recognition you’re getting, then it’s natural to want to explore other options. Working in a different type of facility, or with different types of patients or residents, can renew your love of nursing.
Make More Money as a Nurse
Exploring how to make more money as a nurse? Moving into a job that’s more specialized, or that requires leadership or other special skills, can also result in a bigger paycheck! And since nurses are in such high demand, simply taking a new job in your current specialty could also boost your take-home pay with sign-on bonuses or other incentives.
Nurse Advancement Opportunities to Level Up Your Pay
Thanks to huge demand pretty much everywhere, high-paying nurse advancement opportunities are up for grabs across the entire United States — such as:
#1: Continue Your Education
For nurses early in their careers, consider advancing from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) or from an LPN to a Registered Nurse (RN). By taking on these new roles, you’ll gain enhanced skills and responsibilities and increase your earning potential too! For example, CNAs earn an average of $19.87 per hour according to Indeed, but by becoming an LPN, you can potentially earn up to $33 per hour.
For seasoned nurses, probably the surest way for nurses to level up their pay is by getting a job as an advance practice registered nurse (APRN). By earning an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), you can unlock some of the highest-paying nursing jobs, such as nurse leadership roles, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse anesthetist.
#2: Develop Skills
But not all nurse advancement opportunities require going back to school! You can also level up into other jobs with nursing professional development or by gaining new experience in your specialty, rather than formal education. For instance, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) nursing career resources to RNs with 2,000 clinical practice hours and 30 continuing education (CE) hours in these specialties:
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Diabetes management – advanced
- Pain management
Discover: 50 RN Skills & How to Write a Winning Resume!
#3: Get Certifications
Nurses can earn more by choosing from many other certification-based advancement opportunities, too. Open yourself up to more opportunities, level up your pay, and increase your skillset with some of the most in-demand certifications among nurse employers:
- Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)
- Acute/Critical Care Registered Nursing (CCRN®)
- Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)
- Advanced Oncology Certified Nursing (AOCN)
- Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and more!
Yet another way to level up your experience is by working in a leadership role. Some facilities may offer you the chance to fill in as a unit preceptor or supervising nurse. When you take those opportunities, you earn the kind of valuable leadership skills that almost any future job will require. Additionally, advanced roles like nursing supervisor, management, and leadership are a great way to earn the most money as a nurse, paying up to $49 per hour on average or more!
If your facility doesn’t offer the chance to fill in for managers and supervisors, then you may able to build experience by volunteering. The Red Cross offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for nurses — and needs them urgently, too. You can find more ideas at the American Nurses Association© (ANA) website, or by searching locally.
In addition, you can volunteer for different roles in the facility where you already work. Many departments are short-handed today, and leaders would rather staff them with volunteers than with mandatory overtime. Your facility may even offer the chance to join a float pool, which lets you rotate into other settings. But either way, you’ll gain new skills and the kind of experience needed to move into a more advanced, higher-paying job.
#7: Join a Group
A big part of finding the best nurse advancement opportunities is knowing the right people. And when you join a nursing association like the ANA, you’ll open up your chances of meeting those people in a big way. On top of expanding your network, you’ll also get invited to attend nationwide conferences and workshops where you can learn new skills, get important career guidance, and even earn CE credits.
#8: Try Different Settings
If you’re accustomed to working on a hospital floor, you may discover new opportunities for job advancement and earn the most money as a nurse by transitioning to high-demand settings, such as long-term care (LTC) facilities. These facilities, which include nursing homes and senior care centers, among many others, often search for charge nurses with leadership skills.
Chart your adventure! A great way to discover new career opportunities, traveling also helps you gain new skills and quickly boost your earnings, too. Many travel nursing jobs offer the chance to build leadership experience or explore in-demand settings like the ICU or OR. Additionally, many of these opportunities pay higher rates than standard RN jobs, with some nurses earning a travel nurse salary of up to $3,000 per week or more!
#10: Take Advantage of Career Resources from CareerStaff
Before you take that next step toward a new position, though, you’ll want to review some of our essential career resources. We specialize in helping nurses not only land great jobs but build their dream career to make the most money, too. And we offer tons of resources to help you get there, including tips for creating SMART Nursing Goals, nailing your interview, professional development resources, and more!
Nurse Advancement Opportunities: Earn More in Your Career
Looking to level up and how to earn the most money as a nurse? If you’re looking for nurse advancement opportunities, you’ve come to the right place! You can view all of our nursing jobs here, or fill out a quick online application to connect with one of our amazing CareerStaff recruiters. Here’s to earning more, more jobs, and leveling up in your nursing career!