What You Need to Know Before Getting Your MSN
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the next educational goal for many nurses is a Mster of Science degree in nursing (MSN). According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, nurses with a BSN are four times more likely to further their education than nurses with other degrees (such as those with an associate’s degree or hospital-based program diploma).
Almost all colleges and universities with an undergraduate nursing program offer an MSN in at least one specialty area. A master’s degree program can be completed in about two years if you carry a full-time credit load. Some programs have family and work-friendly schedules with evening, weekend, or online classes. The advanced practice programs tend to have more rigorous schedules. A nurse anesthetist program, for instance, cannot be completed on a part-time basis.
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Along with your BSN, admission requirements usually include having a GPA of at least 3.0, a minimum of one to two years of clinical experience, and a current nursing license. Some programs require completion of the graduate record exam (GRE), or prescreening interviews, essays and letters of recommendation.
Classes vary depending on your concentration, but most have core courses that are required in subjects such as ethics, information technology, or nursing theory. The rest of your classes will be tailored to your specialty.
The MSN can prepare you for a number of professional nursing roles including teaching, research, management, or consulting. An MSN is also required if you want to pursue advanced practice nursing in specialty careers such as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or a clinical nurse specialist.