group of nursing students pursuing MSN
For all RNs seeking more job responsibilities like treating and diagnosing illness or managing chronic disease, explore whether earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online may suit your schedule and career goals. If you’ve got a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), know that it takes about two years to complete a master’s in nursing. If you’re an RN with an associate’s degree, you may want to consider a nursing bridge program, which is designed to help accelerate your licensure at various levels more quickly than a traditional nursing program, usually in as little as 24 months. In other words, bridge programs allow RNs to pursue an MSN without getting a BSN first, saving time and money toward a master’s degree.

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Considerations - Health Care Field

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that the health care and social assistance sector is the most rapidly growing field through 2032, adding the most jobs of any sector, and about 45% of all new jobs (Source: BLS). Looking specifically at nursing jobs within health care, several careers requiring an advanced degree such as nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner are expected to grow by 38% through 2032, with a median salary of $125,900 per year. Invest in your future with an advanced degree in nursing, increase your earning potential, and open up job opportunities only available to MSN degree holders such as those listed below.

Options and Areas of Specialty
MSN program candidates may choose to specialize in any number of areas, including nurse administrator, nurse educator, or advanced practice nurse. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) with the right specialty focus are qualified to pursue careers as:

  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Family nurse practitioners
  • Nurse practitioners (pediatric, geriatric, women’s health, etc.)
  • Nurse midwives
MSN nursing students learn how to diagnose illness

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RN or BSN to MSN Program Length and Requirements

If you already have your RN license and wish to pursue a master’s in nursing, bridge programs can last from 24 to 36 months, depending on enrollment status (part-time or full-time), chosen area of specialty, and how quickly you can obtain the required number of clinical hours. If you have an RN or BSN, factors evaluated for admission include your undergraduate GPA, work experience, undergraduate transcript, and, in some cases, GRE scores. Be sure to compare program formats, costs, lengths, clinical requirements, etc. as you research potential online MSN programs, particularly noting differences in requirements for RNs or BSNs.


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