How nurses can earn $111,000+ by 2022
As a nurse you know how important you are to the health and wellbeing of everyday Australians. Your care and warm smile alone brighten many patients’ days. But is it time to expand on your skills and give your nursing career – and salary – a boost? As healthcare needs rise, the answer is yes.
Australia will be short of approximately 85,000 nurses by 2025, according to a 2018 Deloitte Access Economics.
And many thousands of those positions are specialist or leadership roles which require postgraduate nursing qualifications.
The case is strong for registered nurses to do postgraduate study, according to Dr Haakan Strand, Associate Lecturer in Nursing at CDU.
A job you love with a salary package to match
It may seem too good to be true, but studying a postgraduate qualification in nursing means earning a higher salary for a nursing job is achievable.
According to Census data, the average annual income for nurses with a postgraduate qualification will increase to $111,235 in 2021–22.
“A Bachelor’s degree in nursing is a great starting point for your career, but if you want to increase your job satisfaction and salary, further study is the way to go.
How to choose a postgrad nursing course
Generally speaking, there are two ways you go with postgraduate nursing qualifications, says Dr Strand.
1. Choose a specialisation
“Specialist skills mean you’re at the forefront of helping to develop a particular area of nursing, and may be more likely to move into a leadership role,” he says.
The top nursing jobs of the future will be in aged care, primary health and mental health, says Dr Strand. These specialisations are a good option for postgraduate nursing study.
“Aged care and primary health care are the big areas of job growth in the future,” says Dr Strand.
“The 2018 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted how Australia’s geriatric care is falling behind. That leaves room for improvement on several fronts, including staffing. In fact, aged care and disability workers are one of the top most needed jobs in Australia right now.
“Primary care will also continue to grow as we try to support the people in their own homes, rather than in a hospital.”
Mental health is also an area where specialist nurses are in demand. In fact, there’ll be a national undersupply of 18,500 mental health nurses by 2030, according to the Department of Health.
Other areas of specialisation worth exploring include aeromedical retrieval, child and family healthcare and renal care.
2. Upskill for a clinical management role
If you’re a born leader, a career in clinical management is a good way to turn your passion into action. You’ll be responsible for delivering a high quality healthcare system that looks after staff and patients alike.
“Clinical leaders have the ability to lead projects and staff and have the skills to deal with a conflict or discussion situation appropriately,” says Dr Strand.
It's important to choose a postgrad nursing course that offers hands-on experience while you study, as this will qualify you to oversee quality improvement work and make changes.
“Having a broader base of education also opens up a larger variety of jobs and enables you to work across a number of areas.”
Finding the time for a postgrad nursing course
Of course, as a busy nurse, further postgraduate study may be the last thing your schedule can manage.
“Prioritise flexibile when you’re choosing a postgrad nursing course," says Dr Strand.
The freedom to study online and part-time (as many CDU students do), makes it easier to balance the pressures of life, study and work.
Take your next step. Explore CDU’s range of flexible, online postgraduate nursing courses.