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 Master 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.
Typical Requirements for BSN to MSN Degrees
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 pre-screening 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.
Below are a few featured online Master’s of Science in Nursing programs that are currently accepting applicants. These universities have entirely online RN to MSN programs and they are all accredited. Simply click on their listing or the More Info button to get more information from their admissions department.
- Simmons College - Nursing@Simmons' online Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for Registered Nurses who currently hold a bachelor's degree and aspire to become Family Nurse Practitioners.
BSN to MSN Programs by State
MA to NJ
NM to SC
Why Get Your BSN to MSN?
Nursing is one of the most preferred degree paths in the country. Since they are needed in every aspect of the medical field, there are constantly job openings in many different areas. The expectations of nurses have changed drastically over the last decade. Nurses are no longer readily accepted into positions at the associate’s degree level, as they were once before.
Most universities offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing as the most basic degree program for upcoming nurses, which has driven the popularity of this degree program sky-high. Nurses working in the field have watched as more nurses enter into the field each year. Some sit comfortably in their current positions, but for others seeking new experiences, the influx of new nurses can be intimidating. In order to truly get the most out of their career, some nurses have found that the only option is to go back to school.
For bachelor’s level nurses in the field, the BSN to MSN option is a great way to stand out in the large crowd of new nurses seeking open positions. The BSN to MSN options offers a wide array of new job opportunities upon graduation. The new and innovative treatment procedures and policies learned through this program will mold nursing professionals into vital assets to any health care facility. Taking the first step and deciding to get back into a college is a decision that will truly change a nurse’s life for the better. Universities are available with degree programs both in-person and online. Regardless of which path is chosen, it will prove to be a path to a more satisfying career overall.
What is the Standard Curriculum for a BSN to MSN Program?
The most common question about the BSN to MSN degree program is regarding the curriculum. Prospective students want to know what the MSN contributes to the overall knowledge of nurses. The MSN curriculum includes different aspects of the nursing field that are not generally touched on at the bachelor’s level. Nursing management and administration are big part of the master’s level design.
These courses instruct learners about employee management and conduct as well as some of the business-oriented topics in nursing. Nurses at the master’s degree level are often responsible for the supervision of lower level workers. Having the knowledge to guide and direct a staff of nurses is one skill that should be finely tuned prior to entering into this career positions.
Throughout the master’s program, nurses will gain the knowledge needed to thoroughly oversee a nursing facility. From computer application to communication, BSN to MSN programs are properly structured to train nurses in every aspect of the field. A typical master’s degree program is around two years in length. Most BSN to MSN programs can be completed in 1-2 years, depending on course scheduling. Accreditation is a huge factor in choosing a university to attend for this program. Students are advised to check the accreditation status of any university prior to being enrolled, since all states require a degree from an accredited college for licensure.
Career Opportunities as a BSN to MSN Graduate
After the acquisition of a Master’s degree in Nursing, graduates are given the opportunity to seek higher level careers in their field. From management positions to scientific research, master’s level nurses contribute irreplaceable assistance to the medical field. The knowledge that is gained through higher education will provide a qualified professional that knows what it takes to be an effective professional in the field. Nurses at this degree level are needed in a variety of settings. In hospitals, staff managers supervise a staff of nurses, ensuring that they follow appropriate treatment protocol. Management level nurses are the most common for this degree level.
A higher degree paired with existing experience will ensure that nurses are first priority for job openings. Head nurses or nursing directors are responsible for overseeing a large staff of nurses in hospitals and private practices. They may also be responsible for maintenance of health information systems or even some business aspects of the facility. The additional course work in these departments contributes to a more versatile professional that can be used for many different situations.
Research is another field that relies heavily on master’s level learners. As a nursing research specialist, nurses will administer tests and trials of new and existing nursing techniques. The medical field is constantly undergoing extensive change with the increase in the use of technology. As these new techniques are implemented, researchers in the nursing field assist in making them more effective for use in the field. There are availabilities in the educational field as well, providing instructional support to upcoming nurses.
Earning Potential with a Master’s of Science in Nursing
The capacity to earn at the master’s level greatly outweighs that of bachelor’s degree level. The large amounts of professionals in the field with bachelor’s degrees makes it difficult for new graduates to stand apart from the crowd. At the master’s level, professionals are highly sought out all over the country.
The increase in education that learners participate in truly does increase the quality of their career and also their earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, master’s level graduates in nursing can earn anywhere from $76,730 to $99,930 per year depending on the employer and location. With the potential to earn at this level, it is clear why pursuing a higher degree is worth the extra effort. As the nursing field continues to grow over the years, more nurses will be in demand. Having a graduate degree will pay off over the course of a nurse’s career.
BSN to MSN programs are easy to manage due to their shorter length. They are also worthwhile due to the flexibility of the degree program and availability of online classes. Nurses with experience in the field are aware that their careers do not allow a lot of extra time for full-time college classes. With the increasing convenience of day and night courses as well as the online option, universities have adjusted to fit the needs of busy professionals. It is easy to get started on a path to a more providing career. Accredited universities are available all over the country just waiting for determined applicants.