Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
Of all the paths an Advanced Practice Nursing student may choose to take in their career, none are as competitive or pay as well as a CRNA. On average making 120-150k annually, this is a very competitive field that requires a good amount of prerequisites to even consider. Once thought to be to dangerous to administer, anesthesia has become common place and has made pain free surgery a reality. An Anesthetist is strictly a nurse's duty and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are used in almost every hospital, for nearly every surgical procedure in America.
Obviously the road to becoming a CRNA will not be a short one, but rather one that a nurse begins on at either an LPN or RN level and continues on as they gather the necessary education requirements and certification. One usually begins their path to becoming a CRNA after spending some time in the nursing profession and learning about the different specialized positions available. Many different options and doors are opened for the CRNA certified nurse which makes the certification one of the most sought after in the profession.
CRNA are also the majority provider to all the US Armed Forces, thus looking for a job in the field should allow for some great flexibility. To consider this career path all candidates will first need to be a practicing RN in possession of a Bachelors degree and have maintained a GPA of 3.0 in their previous undergrad school. The major test required by almost all schools dealing with CRNA, is the Graduate Record Examination which carries a pricey testing fee. Last but not least all students are required to have at least one year experience working in a Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before applying. Though a few exceptions to all these prerequisites have been noted in the past, they are few are far between. Steep requirements for sure, but worth it when weighing the freedom and salary afforded to you by the position.