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Did you know that one-third of nurses quit in the first two years and that 90% of existing RNs are considering switching their careers? Here, we won’t go into the reasons for the drastic career switch, we will help those looking to do so. If you are a nurse on the verge of changing your profession or have a curious mind – let’s, see some of the most common career changes for nurses.

Most Common Career Changes for Nurses- Here’s the List of Top Ten Career Options

Following are the top ten most common career changes for nurses who acknowledge their medical knowledge and expertise.

Healthcare Recruiter

One of the most common career changes for nurses is the healthcare recruiter within the healthcare field. They assist firms in finding competitive candidates and assessing the strengths and shortcomings of applications for various healthcare roles. Although there can be many aligned challenges these can be overcome through effective strategies.

Additionally, another option for nurse professionals is to move into nurse recruitment for hospitals or travel companies. However, there are many other options where a nurse practitioner can opt for a healthcare recruiter.

Furthermore, having a nursing background also aids in joining the healthcare profession, as you already have experience in the healthcare sector. You have experience in many other ancillary specialties like speech therapists, nutritionists, physical therapists, radiologists, etc.

Physical Therapist

One of the most common career changes for nurses is the physical therapist option. The main reason lies in the regulated working hours for physical therapists compared to the nursing profession. Moreover, they can work either full-time or part-time. Talking about the salary benefits, physical therapists are earning a median annual wage of around $95k as of May 2021. Additionally, the field is expected to grow by around 21% by 2030.

The field is rewarding, however, nurses have to attain a degree in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) before making a switch.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

This profession places itself at the top of the list of most common career changes for nurses. Working as a nurse professional, you have a diverse range of skills needed to come in the pharmaceutical sales rep field. As a nurse practitioner, you have hands-on knowledge about how medication works and health conditions. Moreover, you have experience in communicating with doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Furthermore, here are the top pharmaceutical jobs that you can apply for in 2023-24.

Information Technology (IT) Consultant

With an average salary of around $81k, an IT consultant is one of the most common career changes for nurses. As nurse practitioners, you have a plentiful base of technology in terms of the hospital’s electronic medical record (ERM) system and many others. Moreover, nurses are accustomed to documenting every assessment, intervention, and medication administered to patients. Therefore, you can transfer this knowledge base to other jobs like It consultants.

IT consultants even assist hospital personnel with EMR challenges. To obtain expertise and break into the tech profession, look for work as an IT technician or computer support specialist. Some firms provide on-the-job training, but further certifications or courses will put you ahead of the competition in your job search.

Clinical Laboratory Technologists

If you are looking for a career switch from a nurse practitioner, then clinical lab technologist is an optimal option.

The lab technologists work behind the scenes and test the diagnostic samples. They work on full-time duties and sometimes may work off hours. Moreover, clinical lab technologists earn a median salary of around $58k. Additionally, the field will likely grow by 11% by 2030. Therefore, switching to this field is a reliable option as the growth rate is comparable to the average growth for other occupations at 8%.

Social Worker

As a social worker, you work for people! You tend to improve their lives and advocate for them during difficult times. Moreover, you work with people of all ages in various settings like schools, communities, homes, hospitals, etc. Your client base may include a range of people, from the elderly to people with substantial abuse issues and the like.

But, how is that related to the nursing profession? As a nurse, you encounter various people during your work. Therefore, you are masters in communication and building rapport. Moreover, as a nurse, you have deep empathy for people, which makes you the perfect candidate for a social worker. Therefore, this profession is one of nurses’ most common career changes for nurses.

Diabetes Specialist

Diabetes specialists educate patients and their families about the disease so that they can self-manage it. Moreover, diabetes specialists work in various locations, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, pharmacies, and patients’ homes.

Working as a nurse provides you with the competitive edge of becoming a diabetes specialist. You have the advantage of working one-on-one with patients with chronic healthcare conditions. Moreover, working as a diabetes specialist makes you focus on a specific chronic healthcare condition.

Health Educator

As a nurse, you are constantly educating people on various domains like medications, test results, disease processes, etc. Therefore, by being passionate about education, you can upgrade to the level of a health educator. In this position, you could create instructional materials, coordinate health and wellness initiatives, or teach illness prevention and treatment seminars.

Additionally, if you want to opt for this field, you can apply for a local health department, hospital’s infection prevention team, public school, etc. Mostly, working as a nurse is enough for you to join as a healthcare educator. However, pursuing a Health Education Specialist Certification is an add-on or your skillsets and outperformance.

Medical and Health Service Managers

These professionals are dedicated to planning and overseeing healthcare services in a facility. Moreover, they have to remain on call to handle emergencies and work full-time. It seems a bit off-scene to switch, however, the pay range aligns with the added responsibilities. Moreover, medical and health service managers require a bachelor’s degree in healthcare and related experience.

School Counselor

School counselors make sure that the students have the proper assistance in upgrading their careers This field can be a great option in switching to a non-healthcare profession. Moreover, being a school counselor allows you to work with students of all ages and advocate for them in adjusting to a new academic setting, navigate social and personal problems, and solve other standing challenges.

If you want to level up to the post of a school counselor, you need a master’s degree. Additionally, there can be other requirements in various states and areas.

Why are Nurses Transitioning from Their Careers?

There are many underlined reasons for career switching, propelling them to opt for the top most common career changes for nurses:

Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

The nursing profession is a demanding one. It gets coupled with long hours and emotionally disturbing situations, leading to burnout and compassion fatigue. However, the pressure on mental and emotional well-being propels nurses to look for the most common career changes for nurses. The goal of switching is to maintain a healthy work-life balance and renewed job satisfaction.

Desire for New Opportunities

Nurses’ natural desire for personal and professional development often drives them to seek out new challenges and possibilities. While nursing offers a range of specialization options, some nurses may feel compelled to move out and aspire for alternate career paths. These pathways are more directly aligned with their changing interests and objectives.

Personal Preferences

Life is dynamic. You may undergo significant changes over time. The situation may be that you are starting a family, relocating to a new location, or some unexpected life events may come by. In light of these situations, nurses might have to reassess their professional careers and switch to a better option.

What Do Statistics Say About Nursing Career Switching?

Let’s have a glance at the statistics first. Around 18% of the newly registered nurses opt out of the profession in the first year. Moreover, in a survey conducted, around 90% of the nurses are thinking of a career change in a year.

Additionally, according to a nationwide nursing survey, approximately 30% of all hired RNs work outside of traditional healthcare settings.

Furthermore, according to Career Explorer data, nurses rate their careers at 2.7 out of 5 stars, placing this position in the bottom 13% of all jobs nationwide.

These statistics compel us to understand and know the top ten most common career changes for nurses.

Exploring the Dynamic Nature of Nursing Careers

The nursing profession, defined by its dedication to patient care and empathy, is undoubtedly important in the healthcare landscape. The essence of nursing, however, lies in adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of the healthcare industry.

Nursing is linked with the care of individuals and their families in order to assist them in recovering from disease and maintaining health and quality of life. Nurses differ from other types of healthcare providers in that they have a broad area of practice and approach to medical care.

However, the nursing profession has many challenges, as detailed in the section below.


To conclude, nursing is a noble profession and requires the utmost skills and expertise. While you learn a lot during your work journey, the profession can be tiring at times. Increased burnout, work stress, and other challenges are the main reasons for career switching. This blog guides you through the most common career changes for nurses.

Talking about career switching, are you looking for a reliable platform that offers industry-defined job options? HealthCareTalentLink (HCTL) is your ultimate platform for upgrading your career. With a user-friendly interface and easy job search options, find jobs that match your aspirations and career prospects. Additionally, here are the reasons why healthcare professionals prefer using our dedicated platform.

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