MSN Program: Is it Right for Me?

MSN Program: Is it Right for Me?

A Master of Science degree in nursing (MSN) trains nurses in advanced nursing skills. With this degree, a nurse can choose to specialize in a variety of nursing areas. However, most choose to deliver routine healthcare (working in partnership with doctors). Much of the care delivered by advanced practice nurses (APNs) was previously provided by doctors.

There are a couple different types of students who enter a MSN program. The first has already earned their BSN degree and is eager to advance their skills. The second may have earned a bachelor’s degree; however, not in the area of nursing.

There are programs (both on-campus and online) that cater to both types of students. The student with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree may need to take a few prerequisites before applying (like biology and other science requirements); however, after getting the basics under their belt, a nursing school is likely to accept them to a program.

MSN Program Details

Unlike a bachelor’s program, a master’s program can be completed in 24 months or less. Programs typically allow students to focus on an area of interest, such as becoming a nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse midwife. An MSN degree will prepare you for all of these career paths.

Earning Opportunities

As of 2011, most registered nurses earn a median annual wage of $65,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, according to Payscale, a nurse with a MSN degree can earn even higher wages. For example a family nurse practitioner can earn $66,227 to $82,007 annually. An advanced registered nurse practitioner earns $69,578 to $87,911 annually. And, a cardiovascular advanced registered nurse earns $71,538 to $88,408 annually. As you can see, MSN graduates achieve a decent salary increase with this degree.

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