Nursing is a noble occupation that requires training and special education. Nurses spend hours on their feet each day caring for the needs of others. There are different levels of nursing, each requiring a certain amount of schooling.
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) only has to complete six months of training to acquire a certificate to practice limited aspects of nursing. A CNA doesn't administer medication or insert IVs. For the most part, CNAs take their orders from a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The average wage is $10.67 per hour.
An LPN has earned an associates or two-year degree. Most LPNs work in general medicine. Some choose a specialized area of work, such as a nursing home or a doctor's office. The average wage of an LPN is $36,550, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A four-year bachelor's degree is required to obtain the title Registered Nurse (RN). An RN has the ability to carry out more tasks than an LPN. An RN inserts IV's and administers medication, keeps detailed records for each patient, and carries out a health plan implemented and overseen by a doctor. The average annual salary for an RN is $57,280.
Once a nurse has reached the RN level, she may choose a specialty, working in a field that focuses on a body part or system. For example, a pulmonary nurse works with the lungs and respiratory system. A specialty also includes the option of working with a certain age group. A pediatric nurse works with children, and a geriatric nurse takes care of the elderly. Specialty nurses comprise about 10 percent of the nursing field, and earn an average of $62,101 per year.
The nurse practitioner has further education in the field, working as a doctor in some capacities. This nurse diagnoses patients and writes prescriptions. According to salary.com, the average salary for a nurse practitioner is $82,590 per year.