You aren’t going to hear a lot of nurses complain about clock-watching or about a lack of opportunity. That’s because nursing is a fast-paced and rewarding profession that also offers job stability, plenty of opportunities for growth, and a great salary. If all that wasn’t enough to make nursing an attractive profession, it also has a relatively low entry threshold. You can become a registered nurse, or RN, with just an associate degree or a professional diploma, and there is a growing demand for nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that jobs will grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026.
You can complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to compete for additional job opportunities and higher salaries. However, if you want the fastest and most cost-efficient route to advancing your education and career, you should consider an RN to MSN online degree.
An RN to MSN degree allows you to go from an associate degree or diploma in nursing to a master’s in nursing, without completing a bachelor’s degree along the way. Having an MSN instead of a BSN allows you to pursue jobs in nursing leadership, and it qualifies you for much higher salaries. National University offers an RN to MSN degree that can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months, depending on which track you choose.
Here are a few things that you can do once you earn your MSN degree online.
Nursing Leadership Roles
Most people earn their advanced nursing degrees to qualify for nursing leadership and management roles.
“Everybody’s an RN whether they have an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate,” says Hope Farquharson, chair of National University’s department of nursing. “What happens is when they have an associate degree or diploma, they are considered a bedside nurse — which is good! That’s where we all started. But if they want leadership positions …. they’re limited.”
With an MSN, nursing professionals can manage a health care facility, implement strategies for health care delivery, or lead a team of other nurses.
Specialty Nurse Practitioners
You have many options with an MSN outside of leadership in nursing. Those with a master’s in nursing can also pursue a specialty for their practice, such as family medicine or psychiatric care.
The program at National University offers an 18-month track for psychiatric and mental health nursing and another 18-month track for family nurse practitioners.
Farquharson says that many of the faculty at National University are practicing professionals, and students learn from their experiences.
“The program helps them be more prepared to be an advanced practitioner,” she says. “They learn things like, ‘What’s involved if I have my own business?’ and the reimbursement and the policies that drive that.”
Increased Earnings Potential
Multiple career paths are available for those who earn an MSN online degree. As such, there are multiple earnings estimates available.
The BLS provides the following national income data:
- Medical and health services managers make a median salary of $99,730.
- Nurse practitioners make a median salary of $113,930.
California is one of the highest employers for these occupations, and earnings are higher in the state. The BLS reports the following income data for the state:
- Medical and health services managers make a mean salary of $125,770.
- Nurse practitioners make a mean salary of $133,780.
Wherever you live, and whatever path you choose with your MSN, you can be sure that your earning potential will be much greater than it was with just your associate degree or BSN.
RN to MSN Online Degree at National University
National University is San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, and it offers a bridge RN to MSN online degree for professionals who have already earned a diploma or associate degree in nursing. NU offers four concentrations for the program, which can be completed in just 12 to 18 months. Each course is four weeks, and all of the classes can be completed online.
“Students go to campus four times during the last four quarters to do simulated activities working with real-life patients and invasive procedures,” Farquharson says. Students also complete 500 working hours of hands-on training, which promotes confident clinical skills.
The faculty provides intensive support, and financial aid counselors help students find options for financing their degree. Students get everything they need to make it through the program successfully and to emerge as tomorrow’s nursing leaders.
Find out more on our program page about how you can advance your nursing career with our RN to MSN option. Supportive faculty and staff are ready to answer your questions and guide you through getting started.