Nurse Practitioner Specialties in Demand

A Nurse Practitioner is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse that is classified as a mid-level practitioner. When compared to a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner has more responsibilities in terms of administering patient care. NP’s can prescribe medication, diagnose illnesses, provide treatment, and examine patients. In 20 states, nurse practitioners can work without the supervision of a doctor. In addition to the mandatory registered nurse preparation, NP’s must earn a master’s or doctoral degree and attain advanced clinical training. Didactic and clinical courses provide nurses with specialized knowledge and clinical experience to be able to practice in acute, primary, and long-term health care settings. As a nurse practitioner, you can find work in nursing homes, hospitals, various healthcare/medical facilities. Like some NP’s, you can also choose to work in a managerial or administrative position. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Compensation Survey, Nurse Practitioners earned an average income of $105,546 per year. In this blog post, I will discuss the types of nurse practitioner specialties in demand.

nurse practitioner specialties in demand


Neonatal units in medical facilities specialize in the care of babies who are born early, have a medical condition or weight less than normal, and require special care. There are four categories of care within this unit: Intensive care, high dependency care, transitional care, and low dependency. The division of care is based on the type of attention and care each baby needs to receive. Nurse practitioners in this specialty care for premature and sick newborns in the NICU, emergency rooms, specialty clinics, or delivery rooms. They serve as the primary caregiver of these newborns. Neonatal nurse practitioners may work under the supervision of a neonatologist, they also generally take on the full responsibility of their patients. This includes assessing, diagnosing, and initiating medical procedures.

Nurse practitioners are also responsible for monitoring specialized equipment, performing diagnostic procedures, ensuring proper care and feeding, and providing support to patient’s families. According to the AANP Study, the base salary of neonatal nurse practitioners is $107,550.

Acute Care

Acute care is a field of healthcare where a patient receives short-term treatment for an illness, severe injury, or urgent medical conditions. The emergency department, coronary care, cardiology, neonatal intensive care, and intensive care are some examples of acute care settings. A nurse practitioner in acute care specializes in the care of injured or acutely ill patients. The work environment primarily consists of hospitals and urgent care centers. It is considered one of the more fast-paced nursing specialties. ACNP’s collaborate with physicians and other health care professionals to diagnose and treat acute medical conditions.

The average salary for ACNP’s is about $100,217. The salary range can also fluctuate depending on the amount of experience the nurse practitioner has in the acute care unit. Nurse practitioners interested in the acute care unit can also obtain certification offered by The American Nurses Credentialing Center to further their healthcare career.


Among the various nurse practitioner specialties in demand, psychiatry is also an important healthcare field. Psychiatry is the specialty focused on diagnosing, preventing, and treating a variety of mental disorders. Some disorders include depression, phobias, dementia, post-traumatic and anxiety disorders, etc.  Psychiatrists begin assessing their patients by evaluating their case history and examining their mental status. Techniques such as neuroimaging or neurophysiological can be used during physical and psychological tests.

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners provide comprehensive mental health care to patients that suffer from mental health disorders and behavioral problems. PMHNPs use both therapeutic and medicinal interventions in treatment plans to help patients. Some responsibilities include analyzing the effectiveness of treatments, developing holistic and cross-disciplinary treatment plans, collaborating with doctors and making appropriate patient referrals, and educating patients, and others on challenges in mental health.

NPs in this specialty area may have the opportunity to practice in both the outpatient clinical and acute care settings. The average salary of a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner is about $123,969.

Occupational Medicine

Occupational medicine, also known as Industrial medicine in the early 1900s, is the branch of medicine in which the priority is to maintain health in the workplace, including prevention and treatment of diseases or injuries. The objective of occupational medicine is to maintain and increase productivity in the workplace. Occupational physicians have a broad knowledge of clinical medicine. They advise governmental and state agencies, trade unions, and organizations

Nurse practitioners working in occupational medicine collaborate with physicians to assess, prescribe, create treatment plans, and monitor the health of the patients that are assigned to the facility. The role of a nurse practitioner in this field may include creating and managing immunization programs for employees, conducting pre-placement health screenings, evaluating patients to return to work after an injury or illness, etc.

A nurse practitioner interested in occupational medicine should have current knowledge of regulatory statutes such as The Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Worker’s Compensation laws. The potential salary range for NPs in occupational medicine is $103,000 – $133,000.

Family Medicine

Family medicine is a specialty in the healthcare industry that is devoted to comprehensive health care for a wide age range of patients. A specialist in this field is called a family physician/doctor. It is a division of primary care where healthcare is provided for individuals and family members across all ages, genders, and that is suffering through various diseases/illnesses. According to the World Organization of Family Doctors, the main goal of family medicine is to provide personal and continuing care for the patient in the context of the family and the community.

Family nurse practitioners collaborate with physicians to assess, treat, and follow patients in a family practice setting. They also develop treatment plans for acute and chronic diseases, conduct exams, educate and guide patients on disease prevention, prescribing medications, emphasizing preventative care and disease management, etc.

Registered nurses that are interested in becoming an FNP can work towards a Master’s degree in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in family practice, or a post-graduate degree specific to FNP preparation, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Furthermore, the FNP-BC primary care certification can be earned through The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The average annual salary of a family nurse practitioner is $105,920.


In addition to these specific nurse practitioner specialties in demand, there are many more interesting fields on medicine to practice in. Pediatrics, dermatology, and emergency care are some other popular options.There are currently more than 270,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the United States, and 99.1% of NPs have graduate degrees. The healthcare industry has many opportunities available to upcoming nurse practitioners and plenty of specialties to choose from.