How Do I Get a Master’s in Nursing in California?
When it comes to advancing your nursing career through a master’s in nursing, California offers many exciting opportunities for pursuing this type of degree. Whichever program you choose, to earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree, you will need to start by deciding if the degree is right for you, fulfilling the admissions requirements, and then beginning the application process.
Is an MSN Right for You?
An MSN is a graduate-level nursing degree that prepares candidates for advanced nursing practice. It typically takes about about two years to complete, and is usually pursued following the completion of a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree. To determine if the degree is the right choice for your career, you ultimately need to look at your nursing goals. If you want to advance to a leadership role, or pursue a specialized position, an MSN can help equip you with the skills and knowledge you need. While you can earn a more general degree, many programs allow you to specialize based on the type of career you wish to pursue upon graduation. For example, in California, National University offers four MSN specializations:
- Family Nurse Practitioner If you are interested in a career as a nurse practitioner, you must earn at least a master’s-level degree. This specialty prepares you to manage the care of individuals and families across the lifespan in an advanced practice role. A family NP role typically involves providing primary care in a clinical setting.
- Specialization in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Lifespan Similar to the family NP, a psychiatric-mental health NP provides primary care in the clinical setting, but with a focus on mental health care for individuals, groups and populations. These NPs evaluate, diagnose and create care plans for patients with complex psychiatric medical issues, which can include prescribing and managing psychopharmacologic agents.
- Nursing Informatics Through a nursing informatics specialty, students gain strategies for information and knowledge management best practices and effective use of technology in the healthcare setting. Roles in nursing informatics include nursing informatics specialist, nursing informatics clinician, clinical analyst, and chief nursing informatics officer.
- Nursing Administration Nursing administration professionals provide leadership and management services to clinical care organizations. Successful decision-making strategies, evidence-based practice, team building and collaboration, fiscal management, quality improvement, and creating a learning culture that supports high quality and safe patient care are considered within a systems approach to management.
The Master’s in Nursing, California-Based Requirements
Think an MSN is the right next step in your nursing career? Before applying, you will generally need to have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, hold current registered nurse certification, and have some experience working in the field.
At National, as with most master’s in nursing, California-based programs, the specific requirements for admission include the following:
- Hold a BSN from a State Board of Nursing approved, nationally accredited School of Nursing at a regionally accredited university.
- Hold current, active, and unencumbered RN licensure in the state in which you reside.
- Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in your previous degree program. Any applicants with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Note that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission. Your application will be reviewed holistically by a National admissions committee.
Apply to Master’s in Nursing, California Based Programs
Once you have met the admissions criteria, it is time to start your application. This usually involves writing a personal statement that outlines your nursing goals and experiences and lining up recommendations from supervisors or instructors in the field. Exact steps are typically outlined on the program website.
If you want to specifically learn more about National’s MSN requirements, or discuss how the program can be personalized to fit your schedule, our admissions specialists are available to help walk you through the application decision.
“When potential students come to us, we talk with them about their personal and professional goals and what they want out of the program,” says Elizabeth Hossini, a National University nursing enrollment specialist. “We’ll also walk through the cost, the program format, and their different options within the MSN degree.”
Ready to take the next step? You can find the National University MSN application instructions online here. Still considering whether an MSN with National is right for you? Fill out this information form on our website and one of our admissions advisors will contact you soon.