8 Career Change Options for Nurses That Pay Well

Healthcare is your passion and nursing is your expertise. But it is not necessary to continue working as a nurse! With diverse training and occupations available in more varieties than ever, you have the choice to pursue fields in healthcare that are not just confined to nursing.

Nursing is a growing field. According to the occupational employment projections of 2018, just in the United States, there will be a need for at least 1 million new nurses by the year 2018. In addition, many students choose Nursing because they have the desire to help others, according to an NCBI study.

In a study by Medscape, it was found that although 95% nurses said they were glad to become nurses, 20% expressed a desire to choose a different career if they had a chance.

Imagine you have fulfilled your passion to become a nurse, served patients with utmost care, and gained a few years of worthwhile experience.

What’s next?

It’s time to utilize this professional experience in something new. Probably, a career change! As a certified nurse, there is a myriad of options to choose from.

Here are some of the most feasible ones:

1.  Physical Therapist

As a physical therapist, you would work with people, who have suffered an injury or illness and you will assist them in managing their pain and improving their movement. This can be done in a hospital or in a private clinic.

This is a growing field in the healthcare industry. And if you desire to continue interacting with the patients in your new job, this might be the one for you.

You can work as a Physical Therapy Assistant. While you may need to acquire a specific degree or certification to qualify as an assistant, you can qualify as an aide without a college degree.


Physical therapy aides can work in several areas of the clinic or office. They can be found in many departments of medicine, thus having more opportunities.

2. Clinical Social Worker

They work in diagnosing and treating behavioral and emotional issues.

Clinical Social Workers can work in many settings including mental health clinics and government agencies. As a Clinical Social Worker, you would be dealing with issues such as addiction, abuse, or mental illness.

A licensed Clinical Social Worker often times possesses a master’s degree in social work and will have passed state licensing exam.


Clinical social workers work in a variety of public, private, and NGO organizations and have the highest number of opportunities in urban areas. They can specialize in mental health, public health, or school social work. They can also work in administration, research, and public planning.

3.  Health Educator

Your duty would be to teach public how they can improve their wellness and health. This would include offering suggestions concerning their diet, exercise, and improvement in their lifestyle.

Health Educators also collaborate with Health Specialists and civic groups to determine health needs of the community and how to meet those.

They will need to conduct evaluations and tests for assessing the effectiveness of health education programs and will help in designing and conducting public health surveys.

Their job also entails presenting information to the public via press releases, media campaigns, and websites.

Pay scale

Heath Educators take home up to $43,000 annually. Some of the factors affecting pay can be experience, geographic location as well as the employer.


This field is expected to see a growth of 19% through 2022. They can work in a variety of settings including NGOs, hospitals, government colleges, and clinics.

4. Corporate Wellness Consultant

Their role is in a similar vein as a Health Educator but only in a more formal or corporate setting.

As a Corporate Wellness Consultant, you would be working with employees. Your role will include assisting them in improving their health by bringing changes in diet and lifestyle.

This will also include incorporating some healthy activities and actions into their work schedules.

In order to determine the health needs of the clients, the consultant will conduct surveys and interviews, counsel them on diet and exercise, and develop health promotion programs for alleviating stress and fatigue.


It is not just office though where a Corporate Wellness Consultant can work. Some of the more interesting places are a spa, gym, or any other organization working to improve the health of its clients.

5. Medical/Pharmaceutical Sales

Medical/Pharmaceutical Sales personnel answer medical queries regarding the products they are promoting. Products can include medications as well as medical devices. These products will be prescribed and/or ultimately used by medical professionals.


A great pay scale is one of the benefits but it’s not the only one. One of the things offered by this job is a great degree of independence. Instead of spending time confined in office, Medical/Pharmaceutical Sales personnel spend the day with a defined list of doctors and hospitals.

This job provides much room for advancement and income can increase significantly if you are in 20 to 40 years of age group.

The job might be hectic but is also pretty amazing.It requires the professionals to perform various duties form talking to surgeons to conducting a training session with physicians.

6. Nutritionist

If you are a food lover, then this is one of the best positions combining your love for food and work.

As a Nutritionist, you would be using food to improve health by delivering the right type of nutrition in the right amount to your clients.

You would need a bachelor’s degree and internship experience for this, with some states requiring licensing.

Besides this, you need to have excellent communication skills, ability to inspire people and have sharp reporting and evaluation skills.

You will also need to master time management and organization skills.


You can work in various settings including schools, clinics, and nursing homes.

7. Medical Writer

This includes technical writing and is focused on writing articles for medical journals. The role will require you to write about research or regulatory issues.


If you love writing and have an eye for detail, this could be the job you are looking for.

As a medical writer, you could also freelance which affords you much flexibility in your work hours.

You will be having varying tasks. You will be assigned articlesfrom writing abstracts to marketing brochures to working on regulatory submissions. All of these help you to make your portfolio diverse.

8. Forensic Nurse Consultant

As a Forensic Nurse, you would be working with the law enforcing agencies. This job is a cross between the juridical system and the healthcare profession.

Your job would entail evaluation and care for victims of domestic abuse, physical and sexual assault, and child abuse. During treatment, you will also collect evidence and then follow a certain procedure so that the evidence can be submitted to the court.


For this profession, you should also possess a degree in Nursing or Forensic Nursing. Your degree will give an edge to your resume.

If you join a professional organization like IAFN, you cannot only continue your education but also get benefits such as online publications, networking opportunities, and a chance to be listed in professional directories.

The Bottom Line

With so many opportunities waiting for you, which would be the one most suitable for you? Remember, nowadays, there is no dearth of choice!

We wish you all the best.