The Best Jobs for Nurses After Passing the NCLEX-RN Exam

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Passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a monumental step in a nurse’s career, signifying readiness to enter the professional nursing field. This achievement opens up a vast array of career paths and opportunities. Here’s a look at some of the best jobs you can pursue once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN exam.

1. Hospital Staff Nurse

One of the most common roles for newly licensed RNs is that of a staff nurse in a hospital. This setting offers a fast-paced environment where you can gain experience in various departments such as emergency, oncology, pediatrics, and more. Working in a hospital allows for broad exposure to healthcare, helping to refine where you might want to specialize in the future.

Hospital staff nurses work in various departments, offering broad exposure to healthcare.

Salary Range: $58,000 – $75,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • Indeed.com
  • Glassdoor.com
  • Hospital Careers section on their websites
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$58,000 – $75,000 annually
Job SearchIndeed.com, Glassdoor.com, Hospital Careers section

2. Outpatient Care Nurse

For those who prefer a more predictable schedule without the overnight shifts typical in hospitals, outpatient care offers a viable alternative. Outpatient care nurses work in settings such as clinics, surgical centers, and doctors’ offices, providing pre- and post-operative care, administering treatments, and educating patients on health maintenance and disease prevention.

Outpatient care nurses work in clinics, surgical centers, and doctors’ offices.

Salary Range: $55,000 – $70,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • LinkedIn
  • Monster.com
  • Clinic or Healthcare Facility Websites
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$55,000 – $70,000 annually
Job SearchLinkedIn, Monster.com, Clinic or Healthcare Facility Websites

3. Public Health Nurse

If you’re passionate about making a difference on a broader scale, consider becoming a public health nurse. These professionals work in government agencies, schools, and community organizations, focusing on improving community health outcomes. Duties include conducting health screenings, immunization clinics, and health education programs.

Public health nurses work in government agencies, schools, and community organizations.

Salary Range: $52,000 – $68,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • USAJobs.gov (for federal positions)
  • Public Health Employment Connection
  • State and Local Government Websites
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$52,000 – $68,000 annually
Job SearchUSAJobs.gov, Public Health Employment Connection, State and Local Government Websites

4. Travel Nurse

Travel nursing is an exciting option for those who love to explore new places. Travel nurses work temporary assignments in various locations, often where there is a high demand for healthcare professionals. This role offers competitive pay, the opportunity to work in different healthcare settings, and the chance to experience new cities and cultures.

Travel nurses work temporary assignments in various locations.

Salary Range: $65,000 – $90,000 annually (varies greatly with assignments)

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • TravelNursing.org
  • TravelNurseSource.com
  • Agency Websites
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$65,000 – $90,000 annually (varies greatly with assignments)
Job SearchTravelNursing.org, TravelNurseSource.com, Agency Websites

5. Nurse Educator

For RNs with a passion for teaching, becoming a nurse educator could be a fulfilling career path. Nurse educators work in academic settings such as universities, colleges, and technical schools, teaching nursing students and guiding the next generation of nurses. This role may require further education, such as a Master’s or Doctorate in Nursing.

Nurse educators teach in academic settings and may require further education.

Salary Range: $75,000 – $100,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • HigherEdJobs.com
  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Academic Institution Websites
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$75,000 – $100,000 annually
Job SearchHigherEdJobs.com, Chronicle of Higher Education, Academic Institution Websites

6. Home Health Nurse

Home health nursing is ideal for those who prefer working in a one-on-one setting. Home health nurses provide care to patients in their homes, assisting with medications, wound care, and other medical needs. This role often involves managing chronic conditions and educating patients and their families on care plans.

Home health nurses provide care to patients in their homes.

Salary Range: $60,000 – $80,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • HomeCareCareers.com
  • Indeed.com
  • LinkedIn
Job AspectDetails
Salary Range$60,000 – $80,000 annually
Job SearchHomeCareCareers.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn

7. Specialty Care Nurse

After gaining some experience and identifying areas of interest, RNs can choose to specialize in fields like cardiology, pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. Specializing often requires additional certifications but results in more focused career paths and potentially higher salaries.

Specializing in fields like oncology or pediatrics often requires additional certifications.

Salary Range: $65,000 – $90,000 annually

Best Places to Search for a Job:

  • Specialty Nursing Association Job Boards
  • Indeed.com
  • LinkedIn
Salary Range$65,000 – $90,000 annually
Job SearchSpecialty Nursing Association Job Boards, Indeed.com, LinkedIn

The career options after passing the NCLEX-RN exam are diverse, each with its own unique opportunities and challenges. By considering your interests, lifestyle preferences, and career goals, you can find a nursing path that is rewarding both personally and professionally. Remember, continuous learning and professional development can further enhance your career prospects and satisfaction in the nursing field.