4 Lucrative Healthcare Career Paths for Nurses Having Doctorates

Healthcare career path - featured image

Healthcare career path - featured image

In today’s time, nursing is a highly sought-after career mainly because of its dependability, job security, and the ability to offer better pay. Another characteristic of the nursing profession that attracts many is its ability to offer various career options. Once you earn the qualifications for an RN, you have a plethora of career paths to choose from and specializations at your disposal. 

So, how’s that?

A nurse is often well-prepared to provide healthcare services with an associate degree. Nonetheless, they can assume higher nursing roles, leadership positions and exercise more autonomy by earning a BSN degree followed by an MSN and then a doctorate. 

Why Should You Earn A Doctorate?

Currently, healthcare is facing an acute shortage of skilled nurses all across the globe. It means there are more job opportunities than trained nurses available to accept those positions. Therefore, there couldn’t be a better time and opportunity to get an advanced degree in nursing. 

What’s more, you can reach the pinnacle of nursing education with a doctorate in nursing, commonly known as DNP or Doctor of Nursing. This terminal degree opens countless growth opportunities for you by lacing you with advanced skills, making you eligible to develop your career in many different domains. 

Doctorate education in nursing is mainly categorized into two types. The first one has already been mentioned above (DNP). The other type is a Ph.D. degree called Doctor of Nursing Philosophy. And this leads to an important question: can you get a doctorate in nursing online these days? There are various tracks that one can choose to earn a doctorate in nursing. 

However, the online DNP program enjoys immense demand, given its ease and career advancement prospects. 

Depending on your interests, you can select a BSN leading to a DNP program or an MSN to DNP program. Once you have a doctorate in nursing, you can get into the following careers in healthcare. 

eye care - career path

1. Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

As a certified nurse practitioner, you can offer patients primary, acute, and specialty care. You can also collaborate with other healthcare practitioners or work alone as an independent practitioner. Certified nurse practitioners can specialize in one patient specialty area such as family practice or pediatrics. They undergo more training than nurse practitioners and receive advanced training to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications. 

CNPs are valued for their high-quality patient care services, knowledge, compassion, commitment, and personalized patient care. The career of a certified nurse practitioner is monetarily lucrative too. As a certified nurse practitioner, you can earn as much as $104,000 on average salary per year. 

2. Healthcare Executive 

To thrive and work successfully, hospitals need to operate like well-lubricated machines. Therefore, they need business leaders to run the facility smoothly and efficiently. And this is where the job of a healthcare executive comes into play. It’s another career pathway available to nurses after a doctorate in nursing. 

These professionals capitalize on their years of knowledge and experience to manage daily operations, strategize, coordinate, and streamline the activities. 

With this career opportunity, you directly land into management roles. Their primary job is to improve healthcare services, develop goals for all departments, and ensure that a healthcare facility complies with laws and regulations. They often communicate with teams in charge of developing schedules, budgeting, and representing their facility before investors. 

As a healthcare executive, you can make an average annual salary of $104,280 per year, according to May 2020 estimates. 

3. Healthcare Lobbyist

You might not have heard about this role, but nurses engage in lobbying efforts too. This path is available to doctorate nurses who possess the zeal to participate in politics. As a healthcare lobbyist, you can work for professional nursing organizations, insurance companies, and governmental agencies. 

This profession is ideal for you if you already have a background in law and prior experience working in corporate healthcare environments. 

To excel in this area, you’ve to keep pace with the latest industry trends and constantly dig up for resources to support your mission. A healthcare lobbyist can make an average annual salary of $125,350 per year. Hence, it can be considered a lucrative career after earning a doctorate. 

lab nurse

4. Clinical Research Nurses

For many of you, the job of a clinical researcher might be the right area of service after earning a DNP degree. As a clinical researcher, you will be required to use your knowledge to develop evidence-based reports to support the continuation of certain practices. Or recommend changing healthcare practices to improve patient care. 

As a result, you might be clinically appraising existing evidence, developing guidelines for practice, and evaluating the efficacy of certain practices prevailing in healthcare. Clinical researchers might also assist patients through clinical trials, preparing trial protocols, and necessary documentation. Likewise, they help in new drug development and care pathways, collecting data, and so forth. 

If you adopt this career path, expect to earn a handsome salary of approximately $74,906/year, which is considered a reasonable sum in nursing. 


Nursing is challenging, but it also offers you a range of career options that you might not encounter in other fields. By becoming a nurse, you enjoy more chances of landing into a career of your choice because the opportunities are endless with the right specialization and certifications. 

The same goes for someone with a doctorate in nursing. With a terminal degree in nursing, you achieve the highest level of education alongside securing senior positions. Once you’re through your education, you can choose from clinical roles and research-oriented jobs to administration and leadership ones, to name a few.