By earning Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree from an accredited nursing program, nurses can open new opportunities in their field, and can earn more money practicing as a registered nurse (RN) or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). MSN programs typically take two to three years to complete, depending on your professional experience and educational background. While enrolled, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of nursing such as women’s health, pediatrics, critical care, just to name a few. MSN programs are often designed for the working RN so you can continue working full- or part-time while taking classes.

Requirements for Earning RN to MSN Degrees

The MSN degree is considered an entry level credential for nurse educators and administrators, and it gives already-registered nurses the ability to advance their careers in a number of ways. The RN to MSN program is typically optimized for RNs who hold either a hospital diploma, associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree other than a BSN (a separate BSN to MSN track exists for qualified candidates). RN to MSN candidates will often take courses in population-based care, policy and politics in nursing and healthcare, and leadership-oriented coursework, among other topics.

Average Salary and Career Data

While the median annual salary for registered nurses is approximately $64,700, job seekers with advanced credentials, such as an MSN program, will most likely be able to seek opportunity closer to the upper echelon of salaries for this profession. The registered nursing profession is expected to grow to the tune of 26 percent through 2020. The top 10 percent of all registered nurses earn more than $95,000 annually (BLS.gov), which is well over double the national per-capita income.

Job Duties of a Registered Nurse (with MSN)

There are likely two prominent outcomes for registered nurses who obtain a Master of Science in nursing. Graduates can work as a nursing educator, shifting their career path away from the everyday-clinical setting and into the classroom or educational laboratory. Students might also decide to advance their education even further with a doctorate in nursing. You can specialize in a number of areas including:

  • Adult care
  • Occupational health
  • Intensive care
  • Midwifery

Increased specialization opportunities and bigger paychecks are just two of the most tangible rewards for nurses who stick with school and earn a Master of Science in nursing.

RN to MSN Programs Online

Online Nursing Bridge Programs

Achieve Test Prep
Achieve Test Prep — "We can help you become a Registered Nurse (RN) in a fraction of the traditional time, and for a fraction of the cost. We enable students with diverse backgrounds to bridge to their RN with our credit-by-exam path. You can currently be: Not enrolled in any studies at this time; Enrolled in a traditional program at a college or university; Or enrolled in an online bridge program.

Every class at Achieve incorporates the testing-taking techniques and study-skills tips that will help you pass the exam on the subject. Students who take advantage of all we have to offer pass their exams at a success rate of over 94%." Programs available:

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Purdue University
Purdue University — "Purdue Global’s online nursing degrees offer flexibility for working professionals and students with families and other personal obligations. Our programs were created by nurses for nurses. Courses are taught by dedicated professionals who provide the leadership and guidance to foster the next generation of nursing leaders." Click Here
South University
South University — "For flexible online nursing courses that combine academic rigor with a focus on practical nursing and leadership skills, look no further. Those seeking a campus based or online nursing school will find that South University’s online programs are built on an established tradition of academic excellence dating back to 1899. Learn more today about our 15+ degree or post graduate certificate programs." Click Here
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University — "GCU offers a variety of healthcare degrees, from bachelor’s to doctoral, that help prepare you to lead in your field. Explore our nursing, healthcare and athletic training degrees to learn more." Click Here
ECPI University
ECPI University — "Using best practices in online teaching and learning, ECPI faculty has designed a state of the art RN-BSN program, designed to prepare graduates for roles in leadership and management. Students have the choice of a full-time or part-time option. Each term is 5 weeks long, and 90 clock hours of clinical nursing experience are also required." Click Here
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University — "Sacred Heart University strives to offer a journey into what it means to be human, helping you to create a framework to become a better nurse to your patients. Our online RN to BSN program covers: Health, wellness, and care across various cultures; Clinical leadership development; Qualitative and quantitative measures of care outcome; Bioethics; And information technology for nursing practice." Click Here
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University — "The Colorado Technical University RN to BSN program furthers the mission of the university to teach real-world nursing that serves the needs of students, the population, and the healthcare industry. It is designed to help highly qualified professional nurses prepare for their careers at the bachelor’s level." Click Here
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University — "Small classes allow for the personal attention you want. But what truly sets us apart are world-class resources and simulation labs, where you practice until perfect. Our professors are working nurses who truly care about your growth. Plus, with NSU’s history of focusing on the health sciences, you will benefit from deep institutional knowledge, a wide range of high-tech resources, and a supportive community of experts." Click Here

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