Common non-nursing jobs for nurses changing careers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Nursing school teaches you how to become a licensed nurse. Many of these skills can be helpful in other fields if you're contemplating leaving nursing. There are different non-nursing careers that you can consider in your career change. In this article, we explore reasons for nurses changing careers, evaluate how to find a new non-nursing job, list common non-nursing jobs and provide tips for nurses looking to change careers.

Reasons for nurses changing careers

Nurses' changing careers is a typically common decision in the healthcare industry. For various reasons, some nurses choose to leave the nursing profession entirely. Transitioning into a different profession entirely can include self-evaluation and a complete examination of how you feel about your current position as a nurse. It might be difficult to tell when leaving a nursing job is the best decision for you, but there are a few key reasons:

  • You want to learn new skills that aren't related to nursing or healthcare.

  • Your present workplace or corporate culture does not reflect your basic values.

  • Your career objectives have shifted or you believe you could achieve your objectives more effectively in another position.

  • You've developed a keen interest in a different field or speciality.

  • You want to change your schedule, workload, role or other employment components.

Related: What you should know about changing careers (plus tips)

How to find a new non-nursing job

Once you've decided on a career change, you can take a few steps to narrow down your possibilities and find career pathways that meet your needs. The methods listed below can help you identify jobs that match your interests, skills and experience:

1. List roles you're interested in

You can list all the different occupations you're interested in pursuing if you leave healthcare entirely. You may explore a few of these positions to discover more about the requirements to pursue the field. Also, list roles within healthcare that you're enthusiastic about if you want to move out of nursing but remain in the healthcare sector and review them.

2. Update your skill set

You can list all of your skills that can help you qualify for the positions you're interested in. Nurses transitioning to different healthcare roles, for example, may emphasise their interpersonal, communication and analytical skills. You may focus on skills that show your expertise in technology, such as computer use, typing and using standard computer software for other job sectors.

You can commit to learning or improving any skills to qualify for your alternative career. For example, if you're switching careers from nursing to nursing education, you most likely may require to improve your teaching and instructional skills. Online classes, skill-building seminars and other educational options are available to help you gain new skills.

3. Use career assessment tools for insight

You may take online job evaluations to identify where your skills may apply, the roles that match best with your personality and other useful information that can help you decide on your future career path. Many online job boards include free career tests and exams. These can assist you in determining which professions may be the ideal fit for you based on your specific skill set.

4. Apply to roles that maximise your skills

You can look for jobs and careers that can help you grow your skills, advance your career and showcase your skills. Nurses looking to change occupations, for example, can look for roles where their specific skills and personality qualities can add to and support the overall workplace. You may choose a professional path that can allow you to use your knowledge and competencies to their full potential while also providing you with a sense of fulfilment from your contributions.

Related: How to write a career change cover letter (with examples)

Common non-nursing jobs for nurses

Nurses who want to change careers may discover that their background in healthcare can help them flourish in any of these non-nursing occupations. Nurses' unique experiences in each field might help them stand out as more competitive candidates when applying for these jobs. These non-nursing careers include:

1. Medical biller

National average salary: £24,381 per year

Primary duties: Medical billers collect money from both patients and insurance companies. They may prepare medical bills and mail them to the patient's home or account the insurance company for services rendered using health codes. A medical biller's responsibilities may also include updating patient financial information, establishing payment arrangements with patients and maintaining accurate accounts payable and receivable records. Nurses can use their experience in medical services to submit codes for payment in a timely and precise manner.

2. Nutritionist

National average salary: £28,581 per year

Primary duties: Nutritionists advise and consult patients on how to improve their health through diet. They might help patients achieve specific health goals or improve their general health. Some nutritionists work in medical facilities with people with medical problems or promote healthy eating habits in health centres. Nurses may need additional nutrition training to serve as nutritionists, but their medical expertise can help them understand how nutrition affects health.

3. Clinical research scientist

National average salary: £43,596 per year

Primary duties: Clinical research scientist uses their medical training to study more about medicine, the human body and the interactions between pharmaceuticals. This role involves extensive research to understand human health better and improve diagnostic and treatment techniques. Nurses may specialise in the nursing field, studying to learn more about it, test it and enhance it.

4. Medical sales executive

National average salary: £29,108 per year

Primary duties: A medical sales professional works for a company that sells medical products and supplies. They train medical professionals such as doctors, physician assistants and other nurses to operate various medical devices. They frequently visit with healthcare practitioners to answer enquiries about a product and distribute samples to boost sales. Nurses may provide training on specific medical products because of their experience and education.

Related: Tips from a recruiter: how to stand out when changing careers

5. Nurse consultant

National average salary: £59,529 per year

Primary duties: Nurse consultants frequently work in the legal field, providing expert advice and help to legal teams working in medical cases. They may help the legal team evaluate medical records, define medical jargon and testify as an expert witness in medical malpractice lawsuits. A nurse consultant may also work for a medical facility, nursing home or hospital, providing consultation and treatment plan recommendations. Nurse consultants with a lot of experience may analyse the present credentials of nursing staff.

6. Clinical nurse educator

National average salary: £36,879 per year

Primary duties: A clinical nurse educator teaches and mentors prospective nurses in an academic context. They may give tests, lead lessons, supervise internships and residencies and serve as a professional mentor to nursing students. A clinical nurse educator can also work at a medical facility, where she can provide ongoing training and development to the present nursing team.

7. Administrative officer

National average salary: £20,955 per year

Primary duties: The administrative officer is in charge of the healthcare facilities. They work at a hospital or medical office, where they hire staff, manage finances, improve patient care and oversee day-to-day operations. Administrative officers work in a job similar to an office manager, but they frequently have a healthcare background, making this an ideal role for nurses. Administrators of healthcare organisations can also use their understanding of the medical field to recommend how the company might improve its policies or processes.

Related: How to change careers

Tips for nurses changing careers

Consider the following tips when you apply for jobs outside of nursing:

  • Update your resume: You may revise your CV to emphasise your skills rather than your nursing experience. This ensures that your resume displays your most vital skills and characteristics, allowing employers to understand how you match specific job criteria.

  • Conduct careful research: This ensures that you clearly understand the qualifications and skills necessary for the position. If you need additional credentials for your desired employment, your research can show you how to get them.

  • Network with professionals: Suppose you're transferring from nursing to a career as a school nurse in education. In that case, networking with individuals in the sector can help you gain access to the school system.

  • Ask for references: If you're changing careers and have professional contacts in the field, ask them for a reference. You can request professional references and referrals by having past coworkers or managers speak on your behalf to show your skills, expertise and work ethic.

  • Inform your contacts: Notify friends, relatives and former coworkers that you're changing jobs. The more people who know you're looking for a new job and in transition, the more likely you may find one that you enjoy.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

Explore more articles