Degree Finder - Find your online college in 3 easy steps:

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Because of their extensive education and experience, advanced practice registered nurses can work in one of four advanced care careers: certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. They have a higher degree of autonomy than a non-advanced practice registered nurse, even when working under the authority of doctors. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia before and after surgeries and other procedures. Nurse practitioners blend nursing with primary care, and can perform many of the same duties as a physician. Nurse midwives work with pregnant women and deliver babies. Clinical nurse specialists have focused expertise in specific areas of patient care.

All advanced practice registered nurses must be prepared at least at the master’s level, and the degree earned is usually a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). There is a push, however, for all advanced practice nurses to be prepared at the doctoral level by earning their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Graduate school is when many nursing students choose to specialize in a certain area of nursing care. Nurses by this point have long ago earned their Registered Nurse (RN) license, and many continue to work as staff nurses as they complete their schooling. Board certification in one of the four advanced care areas is often required for employment.

Advanced practice registered nurses are some of the highest paid nurses in the nation, and U.S. Labor Statistics project they are also the highest in demand. Salary levels vary by which advanced practice field you enter. The highest-paying are nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners. Entry-level nurse anesthetists may start as low as $90,500, according to Payscale.com, but nurse anesthetists with two to seven years of experience earn about $157,000 a year on average, according to CNNMoney.com. Entry-level nurse practitioners earn between $60,000 and $78,000 a year, according to Payscale.com, but with two to seven years of experience earn about $85,200 a year on average, according to CNNMoney.com.