An RN (registered nurse) to MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) degree is a great way for RNs to expand their career options, increase their earning potential, and to specialize in a cutting-edge health field. In particular, those looking to excel in their chosen specialization can easily earn their RN to MSN degree online with a commitment of only eight to 12 hours per week.

Requirements for Earning an RN to MSN Degree

In order to join a traditional MSN program, generally the applicant should have a BSN already, but there are programs designed for RNs where they can go from RN to BSN to MSN. Those interested in this type of program can chose an online degree program from schools like Kaplan, American Sentinel, Grand Canyon, or the University of Cincinnati. You can enroll in a full- or part-time program through a traditional campus college as well. The average student takes three to four years to earn their degree, which is longer than the RN to BSN program, but it is worth it because an RN to MSN program is the fastest way to a better job in the nursing field and to increase your earning potential.

To be admitted to the degree program, the applicant must have completed 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of required general education coursework, including courses in physical science (general or organic chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology), math (introductory statistics), and general social sciences and humanities courses. The admitted applicants will take both general courses and courses in their specializations. The general courses include health assessment, contemporary issues, and community health. Specializations with an MSN include:

  • Advanced Specialist Role
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Advance Practice Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Average Salary and Career Data for Advanced Nurses

The need for skilled, professional nurses is on the rise. In particular, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is anticipating a 22 percent increase in jobs through 2018. With the growing demand for health care, the career outlook for advanced nurses continues to improve. The BLS reported the median, annual salary for registered nurses at $64,690 in 2010. This was the salary for RNs with only an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Nurses who complete their MSN can expect to pull in higher salaries, and even more so if they specialize in a particular area of medicine.

Job Duties for an Advanced Nurse

MSN graduates work in all areas of health care including: hospitals, offices, nursing care facilities, home health, public health, and occupational health. Their job responsibilities are similar to that of a physician, but with a more limited scope. They monitor patients, provide medical care, and serve as expert clinicians. Day-to-day job duties will depend widely on which area of medicine an advanced nurse pursues.

RN to MSN Degree Programs