16 Examples of a Career Change for Nurses Ready for Something New 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry. But it can be a tough job — and after a while, you may be looking for a change.

Perhaps you want to move to an entirely different industry. But if you’re looking for a nursing career change that still has a focus on healthcare, we have lots of great ideas for you.

Whether you prefer non-patient-facing jobs or those that still have an element of patient care, we’ll fill you in on how your nursing background can help, how much money you can expect to make, whether you’ll need any additional education, and more.


Table of Contents



16 Nursing Career Change Options To Explore if You Are Ready for a New Challenge

Statistics show that nearly 60% of American workers want to change their careers, and nurses certainly make up a chunk of this group. Nurse burnout may account for a large percentage of those looking for a nursing career change, but many others may simply want to explore their options and try something new.

Many people with nursing backgrounds may still want to work in healthcare, just perhaps not in the clinical or patient bedside setting they’re used to. So we’ve compiled a list of healthcare jobs that nurses like you may be interested in.

When discussing possible career changes for nurses, we’ll group them into two categories — careers that aren’t patient-facing at all and careers that are still patient-facing, but in a different capacity. See if you find something here that sparks your interest!


career changes for nurses


Careers That Are Not Patient-Facing


#1: Healthcare Administration 

Someone who has worked as a staff nurse may be well situated to work as a healthcare administrator because they’ve been on the other side of things and will probably have ideas about what can help a facility run smoothly.

A healthcare administrator’s responsibilities may include:

  • Creating work schedules for nurses and physicians
  • Managing patient fees and billing
  • Handling the facility’s finances
  • Hiring and training staff
  • Staying compliant with laws and regulations
  • Organizing records
  • And more

The average healthcare administrator earns around $94,000 per year. You may need additional certification to perform healthcare administrator duties based on your location and the expectations of the facility where you work. 


#2: Nurse Manager

Similar to administration, working as a nurse manager allows you to stay in a healthcare setting but still experience a nursing career change by taking on new roles. 

A nurse manager may oversee a department or specialty at a healthcare facility and manage non-clinical tasks like:

  • Budgeting
  • Staffing
  • Training

The average nurse manager earns close to $120,000 per year. Many facilities allow nurse managers to work with a bachelor’s degree, but some may require a master’s as well.


#3: Healthcare Information or Medical Records Technician

One of the biggest current trends in nursing is more workers entering the fields of telemedicine and healthcare technologies. A way nurses may approach this arena is by doing data entry to help solve problems and look for bigger patterns.

This could look like working at a facility as a medical coder/biller or it may involve working for software companies that develop EMR/EHR systems that want previous healthcare workers as employees.

The average healthcare information technician earns close to $60,000 per year. You will likely not need any additional education or certification besides training on the equipment/systems you’ll use to input information.


#4: Healthcare Recruitment

For nurses who no longer want to work on the front lines but still believe in making a difference through healthcare, recruitment is a natural fit. They can help clinics, facilities, and even travel nursing agencies find qualified talent and use their background in nursing to evaluate potential candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.

A healthcare recruiter earns an average annual salary of $53,715 and the position does not require any additional education or certification.


#5: Pharmaceutical Sales

Since many nurses have direct experience communicating with physicians and seeing how medications affect patients, they are well placed to work in the educational side of pharmaceutical sales. And if they can pair that with good customer service skills, they could have a lucrative career in this area.

The average annual salary of a pharmaceutical sales representative is $72,525 per year. Sales reps do not need any additional education to do the job.


#6: Healthcare Writing

Healthcare writing is another possible career change for nurses. Their prior experience in the field can help them succeed as they write about a variety of healthcare-related topics, including:

  • Healthcare news
  • Patient education
  • New drugs and medical devices
  • Clinical trials
  • And more

A healthcare writer earns about $50,000 annually. No additional education is needed for this job, but strong communication/writing skills are a must along with previous nursing experience.


#7: Healthcare Consulting

One type of healthcare consultant may work with facility administrators to ensure they are operating efficiently, following legal compliances, and optimizing procedures and finances. They can make suggestions for hospitals and clinics to deliver high-quality patient care in the best ways possible.

Another type of job in this field is a legal nurse consultant. These RNs consult as expert witnesses on medical cases (worker’s comp, medical malpractice, etc.) and may work with:

  • Insurance companies
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Lawyers
  • Other legal professionals

A healthcare consultant earns an average salary of over $86,000 per year. This job does not require any additional education besides a nursing degree and current license.


#8: Quality Care Improvement

Improvement coordinators provide a way for healthcare facilities and nurses to optimize patient care and outcomes. Nurses who have spent time in the field will have a special eye for this type of work. Their duties may include:

  • Overseeing recordkeeping
  • Performing periodic reviews
  • Responding to complaints
  • Compiling reports
  • Developing improvement plans

An average quality care improvement coordinator earns close to $61,000 per year. Nurses who hold at least a bachelor’s degree will not need any additional education for this position.


#9: Nursing Education

If your professors and clinical instructors had a big impact on you throughout your nursing education, you may want to pay it forward and explore a nursing career change in this field. Being a nurse educator may involve teaching at a nursing school or it could mean managing nursing students or continuing education at a healthcare facility.

Nurse educators typically earn an average salary of around $88,000 per year. Being a nurse educator may require obtaining your master’s degree or getting a graduate certificate with an education specialization.


career change for nurses


Careers That Have an Element of Patient Care


#10: Diabetes Specialist

With close to 40 million Americans having diabetes, nurses looking for a career change would have plenty of opportunities in this field. A diabetes specialist works with patients and their families in hospitals, doctor’s offices, at home, and more to help them manage their disease.

A diabetes specialist earns over $76,000 per year on average. This job requires experience as an RN and getting credentialed through the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education (CBDCE).


#11: School Nursing

Who doesn’t have fond memories of their school nurse? School nursing allows you to be patient-facing while working in a totally different environment than a hospital or doctor’s office.

School nurses help students manage pre-existing healthcare conditions while also dealing with emergencies that may arise during the school day. They are often called upon to administer medications and communicate with parents as well.

RNs who work as school nurses can make an average of $67,000 per year. And since they usually get summers off, they can use this time to earn additional income with jobs like travel nursing if desired. Many schools hire nurses with an associate’s degree, but they often prefer a bachelor’s degree.


#12: Health Education

While health educators don’t deal in direct patient care, they do create programs to teach people about lifestyle choices and other factors impacting their health. The main goal of health education is to improve communities by changing people’s behaviors.

Health educators may:

  • Develop educational materials
  • Advocate for more resources
  • Promote policy change
  • Train medical professionals
  • And more

Health educators often work for state or government agencies and make an average annual salary of close to $54,000. There aren’t specific licensing requirements to be a health educator, but there may be certifications you can earn in your area to help with the job.


#13: Patient Case Management

Nurses who still want to be involved in patient care can take a job in case management, which allows them to work with patients and their families along with healthcare providers to help manage their medical needs.

Case managers often work with patients before they leave the hospital to:

  • Make sure appointments are scheduled
  • Check on medications and devices; and
  • Connect patients with appropriate resources

Patient case managers earn an average of $47,000 per year. To have a competitive edge in this field, you may want to get your master’s degree and seek certification through the American Case Management Association (ACMA).


#14: Forensic Nursing

If you’re an RN who also has an interest in the criminal justice system, forensic nursing may be for you. It involves caring for victims of abuse, neglect, or violent crime while also gathering evidence for court cases. Forensic nurses provide a great support system to people who have suffered while also helping convict their abusers.

Forensic nurses make an average of $65,466 per year and can do the job with at least a bachelor’s degree and a current nursing license.


#15: Nutritionist

With the obesity epidemic in this country reaching epic proportions, the job of a nutritionist is more important than ever. Since nurses have backgrounds advising people on nutritious eating for a healthier life, this is a natural fit. 

They may:

  • Create/distribute educational materials
  • Evaluate clients’ eating plans; and
  • Develop meal plans with healthier choices

Nutritionists earn an average of just over $54,000 annually. A bachelor’s degree is enough to make this nursing career change, but you may also need a special nutrition certification depending on where you work.


#16: Travel Nursing

If you’re a nurse who is burned out in your current position or setting, but you don’t want a whole new career, you should consider making the move from staff nurse to travel nurse.

Travel nursing allows you to provide patient care in the way you love while seeing the country and experiencing new things. It’s a great way to build your resume by working in various specialties, and moving around to new communities may help you feel more invigorated by your nursing career.

If you’re not sure where to start, Trusted Nurse Staffing’s Pronto job search allows you to set your desired area, specialty, and salary range and will send you all the positions that meet your qualifications. 


what can I be if I don't want to be a nurse anymore


Explore Your Nursing Career Options With Trusted Nurse Staffing

Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse or you’re exploring a career change in the field, Trusted Nurse Staffing is here to support you. We’ll match you with your own dedicated dream team to make sure you have all you need every step of the way.

We also offer a comprehensive benefits package with competitive pay, insurance, and many other perks. And we’re thrilled to participate in the CARES Act Student Loan Assistance Program, which offers tax-free reimbursements of up to $5,250 per year.

Sign up on Pronto, contact us at Trusted Nurse Staffing, and find your dream job today!


career changes for nurses