Top 21 Nursing Specialties in Demand that You Can Pursue After Your Degree

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Nurse with stethoscope in NICU

Nursing is a diverse field with countless careers tailored to each nurse’s specific interests and strengths. As you start thinking about the career you want to pursue with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, each option offers a unique contribution to patient care. We’ll give you a taste by walking through the top 21 nursing specialties in demand and how they may suit you.

At Concordia University Texas, we make sure the graduates of our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track can succeed in any of the nursing specialties in demand. In your clinical rotations, you will work with a variety of clinical nurses, but there are other nursing careers to consider. After earning your BSN, you can choose between many types of nursing specialties.

Nursing is unique in that you can apply your BSN to clinical and administrative roles for hospitals, schools, law firms, and universities. The opportunities are endless, but it all starts with a BSN.

Clinical Nursing Specialties

If you have a passion for clinical nursing, you can choose from numerous specialties that are actively involved in patient care. These roles take place in a hospital or clinical setting, and you can tailor your specialty to the patients and conditions you most enjoy treating.

1. Critical Care Nurse

Education/certification: RN, CCRN certification
Critical care nurses care for acutely ill patients and manage complicated hospital stays. These nurses manage patients on ventilators and those who are not stable enough to be in the standard hospital units. Critical care nurses are well-trained and skilled at adapting to every scenario. They work closely with critical care doctors to care for those patients with the highest need.

2. Neonatal nurse

Education/certification: RN, CCRN (Neonatal) certification
While pediatric nurses work with all ages of children, neonatal nurses work in the NICU to care for premature and newborn babies. NICU nurses manage short-term hospital stays for babies as well as long-term stays for very premature babies and babies with complex medical needs. These nurses have a passion for caring for babies and their families, and they also possess great kindness toward others in challenging times.

two NICU nurses

3. Travel Nurse

Education/certification: RN
Registered nurses who have at least a year of experience working can apply to become a travel nurse. These nurses work with travel nursing agencies and can choose where they go and what jobs they take. Travel nursing has become a popular way for nurses to get a higher salary plus many other benefits such as a housing stipend. For those with a flexible lifestyle looking to earn more money and gain experience at a variety of hospitals, this is a great opportunity.

4. Surgical Nurse

Education/certification: RN preferred
Some nurses have a passion for the operating room and enjoy working within the surgery environment to care for patients. These nurses care for patients in the operating room and provide pre-surgical and post-surgical care. In the operating room, surgical nurses assist with preparing the patient for surgery, assisting the doctors during the procedure, and providing immediate post-surgical care.

5. Flight Nurse

Education/certification: RN, CFRN certification
Flight nurses work with emergency medical personnel and healthcare providers to care for emergent patients who are taken to the hospital via helicopter. They are responsible for helping to assess injuries and medical conditions, stabilize the patient, and provide advanced care while traveling to the receiving facility. These nurses are skilled and able to perform at a high level under extreme pressure.

6. Labor and Delivery Nurse

Education/certification: RN, RNC-OB certification
Labor and delivery nurses care for female patients during pregnancy and birth. They monitor their patients as labor progresses, assist with the birthing process, and provide post-delivery care. They assist with natural births as well as C-sections in the operating room. These nurses also care for pregnant women who come into the hospital for medical concerns during their pregnancy.

7. Pediatric Nurse

Education/certification: RN, Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) certification
Pediatric nurses work with children of all ages while they are in the hospital. These nurses manage kids with a variety of medical conditions, injuries, and sicknesses. They also care for the families and provide support when needed. If you love working with children and families, this may be the perfect fit for you.

nurse using stethoscope with child patient

8. Outpatient Care Nurse

Education/certification: RN, ADN, LPN, Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification
Outpatient nurses work within clinics of all types and sizes. As a BSN, you will be able to have higher responsibility in the clinic setting compared to an associate degree. This is a great option for nurses who prefer working with walk-in patients and regular check-ups. Outpatient nursing often provides a steady weekday schedule. These nurses check patient vitals and assist the doctors with exams and treatment of a variety of outpatient medical conditions.

9. Forensic Nurse

Education/certification: RN, some need SANE certification
Forensic nurses work with victims of abuse, crime, or trauma to provide care while also collecting evidence that can be used in trial. These nurses display a high level of compassion and understanding as they comfort and support patients going through traumatic experiences. These nurses can also choose to specialize as SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurses to exclusively treat sexual assault victims.

10. Home Healthcare Nurse

Education/certification: RN
Home healthcare nurses visit patients in their homes to assess their wellbeing and monitor chronic conditions. If you prefer working in the patient’s home rather than the hospital, and you enjoy forming long-term bonds with patients, then home healthcare nursing may be right for you.

11. Emergency Nurse

Education/certification: RN, CEN certification
ER nurses work within the emergency department to care for patients with a wide variety of conditions and injuries. They assess and examine the patients, and they provide care to patients and families awaiting test results and treatment decisions. ER nurses also help stabilize critical patients and trauma patients who are brought to the emergency department.

Emergency nurses rushing in hospital

12. Correctional Facility Nurse

Education/certification: RN, CCHP-RN certification
Working as a nurse in correctional facilities consists of managing nursing care for inmates. They treat chronic conditions, assess injuries, and manage medications. These nurses are talented at working within challenging environments and showing compassion to a unique demographic of patients.

Administrative/Educational Nursing Specialties

Education/certification: BSN
Many nurses prefer working directly with patient care in a hospital or clinic setting. However, if you prefer the administrative or business side of nursing, you still have a variety of careers to consider. These roles approach nursing from a different perspective, whether that’s through educating future nurses or working with medical malpractice cases.

13. Nurse Manager

Education/certification: BSN
Nurse managers work in administration at a hospital, clinic, or healthcare environment. They oversee the nursing and patient care operations of a clinic or unit, run the scheduling and payroll, and manage nursing personnel. This is a growth opportunity available for nurses who prefer working in a supervisory role rather than a direct clinical role.

14. Nurse Educator

Education/certification: BSN and Master’s/doctorate degree depending on the institution
Nurse educators apply their nursing background to educating the next generation of nurses. These teachers work in hospitals or universities to teach nurses or nursing students. If you enjoy working with students and helping them learn to be nurses, then this may be the ideal fit for you. There is a high demand for nurses right now, and nurse educators are vital for ensuring hospitals have enough well-trained nurses.

nurse speaking in classroom

15. Legal Nurse Consultant

Education/certification: RN, LNCC certification
Legal nurse consultants apply their clinical knowledge to assist with legal proceedings. They interpret medical records, and they consult on medical malpractice and other medical lawsuits. Legal nurse consultants use their clinical understanding to help insurance companies, law offices, and businesses.

16. Community Nurse

Education/certification: RN
Community health nurses or public health nurses take their passion for nursing and apply it to their community’s specific needs. They work with populations who have less access to healthcare to help provide access. They also promote wellness and preventative methods of keeping the community members safe. If you have a passion for nursing and public service, then this may be the right fit for you.

17. Informatics Nurse

Education/certification: BSN
Informatics nurses are specialists who use information technology to improve the patient experience. They combine their clinical knowledge with the desire to use technology for the benefit of the patient. If you love computers and analytics in the field of nursing, then this may be a great career opportunity in the ever-evolving field of technology.

18. School Nurse

Education/certification: RN, NBCSN certification
School nurses work within schools to care for acute and chronic conditions of students. They manage medications, consult on injuries, and recommend care for illnesses. These nurses enjoy a daytime weekday school schedule. This career is ideal for those who have a passion for outpatient nursing with children in the community.

nurse treating child in school

Clinical Nursing Specialties that Require Advanced Degrees

Though there are numerous nursing specialties available with a BSN degree, some nurses prefer to continue their education with a Master of Science in Nursing degree program. Earning a master’s degree provides more career growth and allows you to become an advanced practitioner.

19. Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

Education/certification: Masters/Doctorate degree, Doctorate will be required in the next few years
This advanced practice field of nursing is open for a wide range of clinical specialties. After becoming a nurse practitioner, you can go into family medicine, pediatrics, adult medicine, surgery, orthopedics, and many other areas. As an advanced practice provider, CNPs can care for patients in a provider role, and they carry a higher level of autonomy in treating patients.

20. Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Education/certification: Masters/Doctorate degree, Doctorate will be required in the next few years
This fast-growing, high-paying specialty is a great option for nurses who want to work in the operating room and manage anesthesia during surgeries. CRNAs work alongside anesthesiologists to help the patients sleep and remain stable during surgery. Becoming a CRNA is a great option if you like being involved in surgeries, and you prefer a daytime shift schedule. It is helpful if you are detail-oriented and able to think on your feet.

21. Nurse Midwife

Education/certification: Masters/Doctorate degree, Doctorate will be required in the next few years
Nurse midwives care for pregnant women and manage their pregnancy and delivery. They work in clinic and on labor and delivery floors to care for moms and deliver babies. This specialty is ideal for nurses who want to play a primary role in delivering babies and caring for women during pregnancy.

How To Decide Which Specialty Is Right

As you consider the many nursing specialties in demand, think about which of these careers sound most appealing to your personality and strengths. You will likely be exposed to some of these fields in your education, such as pediatric nursing and emergency nursing.

If you have interest in nursing specialties that are more niche, set aside time to reach out to a nurse who works in that role at your local hospital or within your community. The best way to decide whether you should pursue a nursing specialty is by understanding a day in the life of that nurse. Be curious, ask questions, and consider every angle before deciding.

At Concordia University Texas ABSN, we are committed to making sure you get the most out of your career as a nurse. Our success coaches and instructors will be with you every step of the way to help you decide what specialty best suits your aspirations and interests.

Concordia University Texas - Nursing student smiling

Reach Out to Learn More

If you want to learn more about how earning your BSN at CTX can set you up for a meaningful nursing career, reach out today to talk with an admissions counselor.