Nursing as Career in India – Courses, Colleges, Career Prospect, Salary

Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sector, both in terms of revenue and employment. Healthcare comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. In this post, we will look at Nursing as a career option in India.

The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players. The healthcare market can increase three-fold to Rs 8.6 trillion (US$ 133.44 billion) by 2022. Indian medical tourism market is growing at 18 per cent y-o-y and is expected to reach US$ 9 billion by 2020. There is a significant scope for enhancing healthcare services considering that healthcare spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is rising. The Government’s expenditure on healthcare sector has grown to 1.6 per cent of the GDP in FY20BE from 1.3 per cent in FY16. (

However, media reports suggest despite being a major supplier of the health workforce, the health care industry in India is suffering a wide gap. To narrow it down, India needs an additional 2.4 million nurses to meet the growing demand. According to FICCI – EY report titled ‘Nursing reforms: Paradigm shift for a bright future’, India has only 0.7 doctors and 1.7 nurses available per thousand people. The country also ranks 75th amongst 133 developing countries with regards to the number of nurses.

This demand for care givers across the country has helped many nursing degrees get placed in leading health care companies. Today many of women are working in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes as trained nurses and are playing a vital role in determining the quality of care given to patients. New opportunities for nurses to participate in shaping the future health care delivery system are making great quantitative as well as qualitative differences in the lives of nursing professionals who took up the career of a nurse.


In India there are nearly 850 nursing colleges that offer courses in nursing like B.Sc in Nursing, Bachelor of Arts in Nursing and Midwifery, Basic B.Sc. in Nursing, Post Basic B.Sc. in Nursing, etc. The basic idea of the courses includes taking care of others with proper hygiene along with technical knowhow about the caring process.

Eligibility criteria differ in different institutions. However, candidates seeking admission to the Bachelor degree, must complete plus two level in science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English as combination and securing at least 45% overall marks. The basic eligibility for a course in General Nursing & Midwifery (GNM) is also the same i.e. 10+2 with Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

Details of courses

B.Sc (Nursing)

This is a bachelor’s degree and is also a beginner’s program in nursing. Course components include basic idea of nursing, first aid treatment, midwifery etc. The course includes both theoretical and practical knowledge.

General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM)

This program is for preparing nurses with professional qualities so that they can get placed at the premier hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

Auxiliary nurse midwife and health workers (ANMHW)

This course offers training ways to provide healthcare needs to those living in rural areas, especially children, mothers and old people.

Diploma in Nursing

This course can be pursued after completing class 10 or equivalent. This may be a one year or two year course.

Before joining the industry candidates will have to undergo at least one year of practice as a Registered Nurse in India.  After B.Sc. Nursing or diploma in nursing one has to register with the State Nursing Council. After this aspirants need to complete Master in Nursing (M.Sc. Nursing), where they get to choose their field of specialty like –

Fields of specialization

  • Paediatric nursing
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Psychiatric/mental health nursing
  • Emergency and disaster nursing
  • Cardio-thoracic nursing
  • Critical care nursing
  • Oncology nursing
  • Neurosciences nursing
  • Nephro-urology nursing
  • Gastroenterology nursing
  • Obstetric and gynaecological nursing

Top 10 nursing colleges in India

  1. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Delhi)
  2. CMC Vellore, Vellore
  3. Armed Forces Medical College ( AFMC) , Pune
  4. Jawaharlal Institute Of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry
  5. Madras Medical College ( MMC) , Chennai
  6. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University ( GGSIP) , New Delhi
  7. Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute ( SRMCRI) , Chennai
  8. Government Medical College ( GMC Amritsar) , Amritsar
  9. Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (Patna)
  10. Acharya Institute of Health Sciences (Bangalore)

Career Prospects

Demand for nurses is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Private healthcare industry in India is now witnessing a boom, and recruitment of nurses is seeing a all time high. In the government healthcare sector as well plans are there to expand the healthcare network.

Nurses can find jobs in the following places:

  • Government and private hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Sanatoriums
  • Clinics
  • Crèches
  • Schools
  • Offices
  • Factories
  • Orphanages
  • Old age homes
  • NGOs working on health issues


Salary for nurses depends on a lot of factors including location, organisation and specialty. However, it is going higher with experience. According to the average annual salary for a registered nurse (RN) is between 71,981 to 6,96,112 INR. For a Diploma holder pay package is between 4,000 and 6,000 a month. This may increase with experience and skills. A B.Sc nursing graduate can get a monthly salary between 8,000-Rs.10,000 in private or government hospitals. Those working in nursing colleges as teachers earn more. Those with M.Sc degrees earn more.

Choosing a nursing career abroad can be financially rewarding. Those with B.Sc/M.Sc degrees in nursing can think of working abroad with an attractive salary. Opportunities for nurses are good in gulf countries as well as in the UK, Germany, Canada, the US, and the Middle East.

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