INDUSTRY
January 25, 2021

21 Surprising Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs

21 Surprising Non-Bedside Nursing Jobs

Nursing is a rich and diverse field of practice. As a greater focus on wellness and preventative services spreads across the country, RNs are increasingly found in surprising industries.

While the median wage for Registered Nurses in the US (as of January 2021) is $35.24 per hour, there are many industries where you can make over $50 per hour.

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In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 21 industries where RNs are earning above $50 per hour. This list is strictly for Registered Nurses. Advanced Practice RNs such as nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives can make even more.

Nurses who work in these industries function within the following roles: 

  • Occupational Health
  • Direct clinical care
  • Clinical auditing
  • Consulting

1. Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services

# of Nurses In this industry: 810

Average Annual Salary: $79.520

What Nurses in This Industry Do: There are a lot of ways that RNs can be valuable in the finance world––nurses can get involved doing accounting or bookkeeping for healthcare facilities or offices, become tax consultants (travel nursing, in particular, can be a complicated tax world) or work as analysts to help assess and evaluate budgets and operations efficiency. 

What You’ll Need: You may need to pursue an additional degree or certification, such as an accounting degree or a bookkeeping certification in order to transition into finance. 

Job Listing: As an example of one type of job a nurse could get in this industry, Glassdoor lists a position for a Financial Analyst for a medical care company that requires someone to analyze different lines of healthcare reports, with a salary range of $65K-$100K.  

2. Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing 

# of Nurses in this industry: 260

Average Annual Salary: $86,400 

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Clearly, a healthcare background can be very valuable in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing world. RNs can find opportunities in this industry in roles such as educators on new devices or medicines, consultants or sales reps. Clinical trial nurses are also needed to run trials for new medicines. 

What You’ll Need: A Bachelor's degree will most likely be needed in this role, and some positions may require additional education, including a Masters or perhaps even doctoral. 

Job Listing: A job listing for a Pharmaceuticals Nurse Educator requires a nurse with recent clinical experience to serve on the patient education side of the team. 

3. Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation

# of Nurses in this industry: 320

Average Annual Salary: $78,430

What Nurses in This Industry Do: The problem with this industry is that it’s pretty broad, but you can expect that nurses in this field could take on clinical roles (i.e. serving as a nurse on staff to treat medical emergencies at a casino or amusement park) or non-clinical roles dealing with data or strategy. There are also some interesting opportunities for nurses at medical resorts, where patients come to recover after receiving surgical procedures. 

What You’ll Need: An active nursing license and relevant experience; BSN or MSN may be required

Job Listing: As an example of how a nurse might find a job in this industry, there is a job listing for a casino resort for a clinical informatics nurse. 

4. Arts and Entertainment

# of Nurses in this industry: 320

Average Annual Salary: $75,150

What Nurses in This Industry Do: There aren’t a lot of nurses in this industry, making up 11% of the population of workers, but 400 is still a rather surprising number of nurses to work in the arts. Although exact details are difficult to find, we can surmise that nurses in this industry can work at a clinical level (for instance, working as a staff nurse for an entertainment facility or art center). Another interesting way nurses can be involved in the entertainment industry would be as consultants for medical shows or scriptwriting. 

What You’ll Need: An active nursing license, relevant clinical experience, and some elbow grease to break into the industry. 

5. Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing

# of Nurses in this industry: 80

Average Annual Salary: $64,220

What Nurses in This Industry Do: It’s most likely that nurses in this industry are working as product specialists or consultants on electromedical devices, or providing education to consumers or organizations purchasing the product. Alternatively, a nurse could work on the software end of the product as well. 

What You’ll Need: Your RN license, relevant experience, a Bachelor’s degree. 

Job Listing: A position overview details a Clinical Applications Specialist for medical device software that a nurse could be eligible for. 

6. Chemical Manufacturing

# of Nurses in this industry: 460

Average Annual Salary: $90,560

What Nurses in This Industry Do: One of the most common jobs for nurses in this industry is an occupational health nurse. As an occupational health nurse, you could work for a chemical manufacturer--like a pharmaceutical company--overseeing regulations on the worksite and health of the employees. 

What You’ll Need: Active RN license, experience in occupational health, BSN or MSN may be required. 

Job Listing: An example of an occupational health nurse job listing from Proctor & Gamble lists responsibilities such as drawing blood, ensuring OSHA regulations and providing health coaching.

7. Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

# of Nurses in this industry: 28,570

Average Annual Salary: $79,260

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Nurses in the educational industry are serving most often in educational roles as Nursing Professors or Instructors. Some, of course, may also be serving in clinical roles, like a School Nurse, or at on-site medical facilities, like a college urgent care. 

What You’ll Need: Most nursing teaching positions require at least an MSN and more frequently, a DNP as well. Some nursing professors will work on their DNP at the school they teach at once being hired as well. Some schools may accept an ADN for clinical educator positions, however. 

Job Listing: This example of a Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing requires an MSN, with DNP preferred. 

8. Pharmacies and Drug Stores

# of Nurses in this industry: 1,280

Average Annual Salary: $74,400

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Nurses in this industry may work in specialized roles in pharmacies or provide nursing care in pharmacies and drug stores that have walk-in or urgent care clinics. A specialized role might include something like infusions for cancer patients. 

What You’ll Need: RN/BSN, along with any other special certification for the medications you will be administering. For instance, you could become a Certified Registered Nurse of Infusion to administer infusions. 

Job Listing: Infusion Nurse jobs are abundant on job websites like Indeed. 

9. Business Schools and Computer and Management Training

# of Nurses in this industry: 80

Average Annual Salary: $85,920

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Nurses in computers generally work in the field of medical IT or medical informatics, dealing with software for EMRs. Although there aren’t a lot of nurses currently reported in this industry, it may be one that grows as the field of medical informatics grows. 

What You’ll Need: A degree in medical informatics, or if you’re already a nurse, a certificate in informatics. In some cases, a Master’s degree may also be required. 

Job Listing: A job overview for a nursing informatics specialist details that the salary can exceed $100,000, so it’s definitely worth pursuing if you’re a nurse with an interest in computers.

10. Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

# of Nurses in this industry: 150

Average Annual Salary: $70,780

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Manufacturing is a specialized industry, but similar to the other manufacturing industries, nurses may serve as consultants, sales rep or product software specialists for medical devices.  

What You’ll Need: RN license, Bachelor’s, and in some cases, a Master’s. 

11. Traveler Accommodation

# of Nurses in this industry: 70

Average Annual Salary: $77,600

What Nurses in This Industry Do: The industry of traveler accommodation is made up of short-term lodging facilities, such as hotels, motels and resorts. So, a nurse at one of these facilities may serve in any type of resort healthcare facility for travelers or in employee health. 

What You’ll Need: You will most likely need a Bachelor’s and in some, maybe an MSN. 

Job Listing: The Hyatt chain has a job listing for a resort nurse, which notes that the nurse would be “responsible for providing day-to-day care to the guests and team members and responding to emergencies whenever they occur in the resort.”

12. Health and Personal Care Stores

# of Nurses in this industry: 1,520

Average Annual Salary: $71,550

What Nurses in This Industry Do: This industry primarily includes medical supply stores, so a nurse working there may be in charge of patient education, managing a team of other nurses or acting as a sales rep. 

What You’ll Need: RN license; Bachelor’s.

13. Retail Trade

# of Nurses in this industry: 2,010

Average Annual Salary: $76,890

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Retail trade involves any business selling a product to a customer and this can include both in-person and online businesses. Nurses in this role can have a lot of flexibility. For instance, a nurse can open a retail business relating to healthcare, such as selling scrubs or nursing supplies or “fun” products like nurse mugs or stethoscope tags. Or, a nurse may work a more traditional role in occupational or employee health. 

What You’ll Need: If you’re opening your own retail business, you may not “officially” need anything, but a business background and training can certainly be helpful. 

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14. Office Administrative Services

# of Nurses in this industry: 4,630

Average Annual Salary: $75,110

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Healthcare administration is a popular and growing field for nurses. In this role, a nurse might manage a private office or healthcare facility, or manage a team of nurses as a nurse manager. 

What You’ll Need: Typically, at least a BSN and may require a MSN or MBA. Senior level positions may require more education and/or certification. Some may also require a degree in healthcare administration. 

Job Listing: Some of the titles you can look in job listings include: Case Manager, Nurse Office Manager or Nurse Manager, Clinic Supervisor or Practice Supervisor. 

15. Federal Executive Branch

# of Nurses in this industry: 83,210

Average Annual Salary: $90,340

What Nurses in This Industry Do: The largest employer in this industry is the Veterans Administration, so many nurses are employed by the VA. This includes clinical care nurses, as well as non-clinical roles such as nurse managers or administrative positions. Nurses working for the federal government may work in a VA hospital or facility or a federal prison. 

What You’ll Need: RN license, ADN acceptable for clinical care roles. Advanced or administrative positions may require a BSN or higher. 

Job Listing: You can search “VA nursing jobs” or check the official government websites for job listings. 

16. Management of Companies and Enterprises

# of Nurses in this industry: 14,270

Average Annual Salary: $78,300

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Nurses in this role will be acting as upper-level healthcare administrators. That could be everything from a healthcare chain to a healthcare company and the management involved in running the business end of those. This includes everything from budgets to long-term planning to managing a team. 

What You’ll Need: An MSN or MBA or degree in healthcare administration. 

17. Outpatient Care Centers

# of Nurses in this industry: 141,830

Average Annual Salary: $79,230

What Nurses in This Industry Do: As you can guess, there are a lot of nurses employed in outpatient care centers. Outpatient care centers are anything outside of hospitals; these can include everything from a doctor’s office to a surgical center to an urgent care clinic, so nurses are vital to the operations of these centers. Nurses typically perform direct patient care in this industry. 

What You’ll Need: Specifications will vary, but an ADN may be all that is required, although a Bachelor’s may be preferred. 

Job Listing: You can search by specific outpatient care center or specialty that you’re interested in working in, or search “outpatient RN.” 

18. Accommodation and Food Services

# of Nurses in this industry: 190

Average Annual Salary: $66,150

What Nurses in This Industry Do: There aren’t a lot of nurses in this sector, but you’ll typically find them employed in a role such as occupational or employee health. 

What You’ll Need: BSN or Master’s may be required. 

19. Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists

# of Nurses in this industry: 3,690

Average Annual Salary: $70,890

What Nurses in This Industry Do: A nurse in this role may carry out the plan of care set by the therapist and work directly with patients on physical, occupational or speech therapy.

What You’ll Need: Nurses in these fields will typically be RNs who have specialized further into the field of occupational therapy, speech therapy or physical therapy. They may do that through experience in the field or pursuing a certification in that speciality. 

Job Listing: When searching, be careful not to confuse occupational health nurses with occupational therapy; the two are very different fields. Occupational health deals with workplace health and regulations, while occupational therapy deals with therapy to help people regain skills they need. 

20. Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals - State owned

# of Nurses in this industry: 15,520

Average Annual Salary: $78,640

What Nurses in This Industry Do: Nurses who work in this industry work for state-owned hospitals, which means they are owned by the government. And before you go picturing the strait-jacket haunted hallways of a state psychiatric institution, know that those days are long gone. Psychiatric and substance abuse nurses provide direct patient care, as well as supervisor and healthcare admin roles as these facilities. 

What You’ll Need: ADN or BSN for direct patient care; advanced positions may require a Master’s

Job Listing: You can search your local state-owned centers for job openings or check on the state health department website for a listing of treatment facilities. The title of a nurse specialty may also be under “Addiction Treatment Nurse” or a similar title.

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21. Dentist Offices

# of Nurses in this industry: 1,180

Average Annual Salary: $71,510

What Nurses in This Industry Do: You may not have ever seen a Registered Nurse at your regular teeth cleaning, but RNs can be employed by larger dentist offices that offer more specialized procedures and surgeries that require IV or medication administration. 

What You’ll Need: An active RN license; ADN

Job Listing: When searching for positions to work in a dentist’s office, you’ll want to use the term “orthodontic nurse.” 


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