Why Should I Get A Masters In Nursing?

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Are you wondering if it’s worth it to continue your nursing education? Today’s nurses have job security, benefits, and a great salary. However, with a little more schooling, you can significantly increase your earnings and make a huge difference in the healthcare field.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to pursue a master’s degree in nursing, read on.

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the country. There are 5,239,499 registered nurses (RNs) and 973,788 licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The majority of these nurses hold entry-level baccalaureate degrees or associate degrees. But only 17.4% have a master’s degree. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the demand for nurses with advanced credentials “far outstrips the supply.”

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Thus, when you get a Master’s in nursing, you’ll join an elite class of only a few highly skilled nurses. You’ll learn advanced nursing skills to deliver specialized healthcare to patients. Moreover, an MSN degree equips you with the skills needed to work in advanced nursing roles such as: 

  • Nurse Administrator 
  • Nurse Educator   
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Medical and Health Services Manager 
  • Advanced Practice Nurse
  • Clinical Research Nurse 
  • Nurse Informatics
  • Public Health Nurse 

See Also: Where Can I Find The Best Masters Degrees In Nursing Programs?

Earning a Master’s Degree in Nursing Virtually Guarantees More Money

Pursuing your master’s degree in nursing will also increase your earnings substantially. Consider the following figures:

The average annual salary for a Registered Nurse (RN) is $81,220. And the demand for RNs with a bachelor’s degree is expected to increase by six percent through 2023. This is faster growth than the average occupation. Understandably, nurses are in high demand. 

However, with an MSN, you can practice advanced nursing. And that means more money for every shift. You can choose from several specialties. Those with a master’s in nursing earn an average of $125,900 a year. But get this:

The need for those with a master’s degree in nursing is enormous. This field is projected to increase by a whopping 38 percent over the next decade. Thirty-eight percent is much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Are you dedicated to the nursing field and want to gain new skills? You can move up the ranks fast with a BSN and some clinical experience. The average MSN program takes 15-24 months to complete if you study full-time. Even part-time students can earn the degree within two to four years. 

Additionally, many of today’s accelerated online MSN programs are self-paced. So, depending on your motivation and circumstances, you can earn your master’s in nursing in record time.

According to Nurse.org., the average online MSN program costs about $36,000. This doesn’t even take into account financial aid, grants, and scholarships. Plus, many employers and hospitals will reimburse nurses who pursue such programs. As a result, your costs could be significantly lower, depending on your chosen college. 

Clearly, pursuing a master’s degree in nursing is a solid financial move. The salary difference between those with a bachelor’s degree and those with a master’s degree is considerable. With a master’s in nursing, your income potential increases by well over $44k a year.

In most cases, those who pursue a master’s in nursing will see a significant ROI within four years at the most. Students who pursue an affordable online program will likely see a return on their investment much faster. It might take a bit of dedication and financial savvy. But nurses who want to earn a master’s degree (even those with very little cash) can do it. We’ll discuss how in this article. 

Check Out: 30 Free Online Tools for Nursing Students and Healthcare Professionals.

Master’s Degree in Nursing: Opening the Door to New Opportunities

Earning a graduate nursing degree will open the door to multiple opportunities in the healthcare field. For example, a Master’s degree in nursing empowers you to participate in medical research. Say you work as a clinical research nurse after your MSN. You can collaborate with clinical scientists in medical research to develop new medications. This gives you the chance to make a vital impact in the world of medicine. It can empower you to affect the future and the outcomes of people suffering from diseases and conditions. 

Additionally, an MSN degree enables you to specialize in a specific nursing subspecialty. For instance, you can specialize in neonatal, oncology, or pediatric nursing. These study areas give you a direct path to becoming an expert in your field. These are all compelling reasons to get an MSN degree.

Which Colleges and Universities Offer the Best Master’s Degrees in Nursing?

Are you considering a graduate degree in nursing yet? Great! But knowing where to get your master’s degree is the next thing you must tackle. There are hundreds of programs across the US offering this degree. These range from the most well-known higher learning institutions to smaller schools with more intimate class sizes. 

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Online/On-Campus Master of Science in Nursing

The University of Nevada (UNLV) is a public institution founded in 1957 in Las Vegas. It’s among the most diverse universities in America, with 70% minority students. UNLV’s diversity policies have earned it a “Minority Serving Institution” (MSI) title. UNLV ranks among America’s top 146 research universities. Its Carnegie Classification is “Very High Research Activity: R1”. If you’re considering getting into medical research, UNLV is highly recommended. 

UNLV’s School of Nursing offers an MSN degree program with the following options:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Nursing Education 
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse Midwifery
  • Direct Entry Generalist 

Students must have a BSN and a valid RN license to apply. They must also pay a $500 non-refundable seat-holding fee. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field take the DEMSN option. 

Students taking FNP must attend seven in-person classes. But all other options are online. This increases learning flexibility for working students. UNLV also offers financial aid, nursing fellowships, and scholarships for qualified applicants.

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $5,976

Lamar University

Online Masters of Science in Nursing

Lamar University is a public institution founded in 1923 in Beaumont, Texas. With a student population of over 17,000, it’s one of the fastest-growing universities in Texas. Lamar University charges the lowest average tuition and fees among Texas institutions. Lamar’s School of Nursing offers two online MSN degrees to registered nurses with a BSN:

Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration

This degree prepares RNs for nursing administration roles. They include Director of Nursing, Legal Nurse Consultant, and Nurse Informatics Director.

Master’s Degree in Nursing Education

This particular program prepares RNs for nursing education roles. They include Clinical Instructor, Patient Educator, Faculty Development Director, and Nurse Educator. 

Students need 37 credit hours to complete either of these two MSN degrees. They’re accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). As a bonus, MSN Students can also apply to an MBA program. This will allow them to complete a dual degree in 61 credit hours.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $6,471

Liberty University

Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree

Liberty University is a private Christian school established in 1971 in Virginia. It’s an evangelical liberal arts school with over 100,000 students across 15 colleges and schools. And it’s one of the most prominent online colleges in the US. Liberty University’s MSN degree is 100% online. The MSN program offers specializations in the following areas:

  • Health Policy 
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Informatics
  • MSN Nursing and Master of Business Administration dual degree (MSN/MBA)
  • MSN Nursing and Master of Science in Healthcare Administration dual degree (MSN/MSHA) 

You must complete 36 credit hours for the MSN courses. The dual degrees require 60 credit hours. Liberty’s MSN degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $7,893 

Walden University 

Online Master’s Degree in Nursing 

Walden University is a private for-profit institution established in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The University focuses on empowering working professionals to earn advanced degrees through online learning. Over 140,000 working professionals have graduated from Walden in the past three decades. 

Walden allows students to choose from two online learning options:

  • Tempo Learning: This follows a flexible learning schedule
  • Course-Based Learning: This follows a predetermined learning schedule 

Walden’s CCNE-accredited online MSN program is perfect for professionals with busy schedules. The MSN program offers students two broad options. Students can specialize as a nurse practitioner and learn advanced nursing skills.But they can also pursue a specialty practice to prepare for leadership, educator, and research roles.

These are the nurse practitioner specialization options: 

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

For specialty practice, students can choose from these four options:

  • Nursing Education 
  • Nurse Executive 
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Public Health Nursing 

The learning tracks for Walden’s MSN program are BSN to MSN and RN to MSN. 

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $9,902 

University of California, Los Angeles 

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public university founded in 1919. UCLA is a major research center. And it’s one of the top colleges in the country. Its research library is among the most respected in the US. UCLA has a student population of over 46,000 in the US and globally. 

UCLA is a leader in the health sciences and medicine fields. The school’s hospital, UCLA Health, ranks as the top healthcare provider in California. UCLA School of Nursing offers two MSN degree programs:

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) — for registered nurses with a BSN degree
  • Masters Entry Clinical Nurse (MECN) — for applicants with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree 

Students who complete the MECN program get an MSN degree. They can then take the National Council Licensing Examination to earn their RN license. Registered nurses taking the APRN program can choose any of the following specialties:

  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care
  • Adult/Gerontology Acute Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner 

Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

Tuition: $11,700

Capella University

Online Master of Science in Nursing

Capella University is an online private institution established in 1993 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Capella gives working students the much-desired learning flexibility to complete their online degrees. 

Students can choose the FlexPath or GuidedPath learning format. The FlexPath allows them to set their deadlines and timeline. The GuidedPath follows a structured timeline. This makes Capella ideal for busy nursing professionals pursuing an online MSN degree. Capella’s online MSN degree program gives students the following specialization options: 

  • MSN in Care Coordination 
  • MSN in Nursing Education 
  • MSN in Nursing Informatics 
  • MSN in Nursing Leadership and Administration
  • MSN in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Education
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Informatics
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership and Administration 
  • RN-to-MSN Care Coordination

Capella offers Master’s students with a military affiliation a 10% tuition discount. The school also provides other grant options, including:

Capella takes pride in transforming online education for working students. This school offers students more learning flexibility without compromising education quality. Capella’s quality of online curriculum delivery is exceptional. And 82% of Capella’s faculty hold doctoral degrees.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $14,826

George Washington University

Online and In-person Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The George Washington University (GW) is a private institution founded in 1821. It’s located in the US capitol, Washington, DC. GW attracts over 26,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries globally. GW has 15 schools and colleges, including the School of Nursing.

Students can pursue a progressive MSN degree at George Washington University School of Nursing. GW’s MSN program takes a unique hybrid approach. It blends in-person training with state-of-the-art simulation centers and online learning. Nursing industry thought leaders with actual patient care experience teach the courses. GW’s Master’s degree in nursing offers the following specialization options:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Leadership and Management 
  • Nurse-Midwifery 
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $33,930 

New York University (Meyers)

Master’s Degree in Nursing 

New York University (NYU) is a private institution founded in 1831 in New York City. NYU attracts over 65,000 students from across all states and 133 countries worldwide. It’s a top research center, committing an astounding $1 billion in research annually. NYU comprises several schools and colleges. These include business, medicine, nursing, public health, and more.

The Rory Meyers College of Nursing is NYU’s school of nursing. It offers an extensive MSN program with the following specialization options:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Clinical Research Nursing 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Nurse-Midwifery 
  • Nursing Administration 
  • Nursing Education 
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care
  • Pediatrics NP Primary Care/Acute Care 
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP 

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $37,332

Yale University

Master Of Science In Nursing

Yale is a private, not-for-profit institution founded in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale is one of America’s oldest and iconic higher learning institutions. The University has a student population of nearly 15,000 and is a favorite for international scholars. This large research university features many medical research centers and laboratories. Yale’s MSN degree program offers students the following specialties:

  • Adult/Gerontology-Acute Care
  • Adult/Gerontology-Primary Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty
  • Nurse-Midwifery Specialty
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Yale’s MSN programs are accredited by CCNE. Yale’s experienced faculty all have doctorate-level qualifications and hands-on nursing experience. Students can be assured they are learning from the very best instructors in the country. Further, Yale offers the following advanced learning programs:

  • PhD in Nursing
  • Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Post Master’s APRN Certificates

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Tuition: $46,900

Johns Hopkins University

In-person Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

John Hopkins is a private, not-for-profit university founded in 1876 in Baltimore. This school is named after the celebrated 9th-century Maryland philanthropist and entrepreneur Johns Hopkins. The University is globally acclaimed as a research center. And it is home to the world’s top scholars in education, healthcare, and research. Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offers students two in-person MSN degree programs. These are:

  • MSN Entry into Nursing Program — For applicants with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • MSN Healthcare Organizational Leadership — For RNs with a BSN  

Johns Hopkins MSN programs focus on fostering innovation in students. Both options nurture students to become leaders and researchers in the nursing field. This helps enhance the quality of healthcare delivery in the country and globally. Students taking the MSN Entry into Nursing program study these courses alongside nursing:

  • Physical and organizational sciences 
  • Public health
  • Genetics
  • Humanities
  • Leadership 

This gives MSN graduates the skills and tools to take on broad executive roles in the health sector. With these skills, MSN students can easily advance to a doctoral degree. The program also prepares students for the nursing licensure exam. MSN students must take this exam to get their RN license.

The MSN Healthcare Organizational Leadership program trains students to become effective healthcare managers. It focuses on how to approach evidence-based decision-making and manage outcomes. Students learn how to manage innovative healthcare delivery systems. This results in consistent and quality nursing care.  

In addition to the on-campus programs, JHU also offers some online options. These include:

  • Msn Healthcare Organizational Leadership
  • Msn Healthcare Organizational Leadership/MBA
  • Post-Master’s Healthcare Organizational Leadership Certificate

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $60,480