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Best BSN-to-MSN Online Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

As someone who has chosen a career in nursing, you may have found yourself wondering if you should broaden your scope of practice, and if so, how. The great thing about nursing is there are endless opportunities to grow and deepen your knowledge. A BSN-to-MSN program is an excellent way to begin that journey. In this article, I will share some information about a growing trend among registered nurses with a BSN seeking graduate education through online BSN-to-MSN programs. As you continue reading, you will learn about the best BSN-to-MSN online programs for 2021, including the options for specialty concentrations, admission criteria, and sample curriculum.


What Exactly Is the Goal of A BSN-to-MSN Program?


BSN-to-MSN programs offer an excellent opportunity for baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to build upon their knowledge base and expand clinical and leadership skills. The goal of BSN-to-MSN programs is to educate nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for leadership roles in advanced practice, clinical nursing, administration, and nursing education. The programs, such as the accredited BSN-to-MSN online programs featured in this article, integrate research-based, scientific, theoretical, and clinical knowledge into clinical practice and prepare students to practice independently and collaboratively with the interdisciplinary healthcare team. Students in these programs develop the skills needed to help meet the healthcare needs of diverse clients, families, communities, and populations in various healthcare settings.


What Are the Different Types Of BSN-to-MSN Degree Specialization Options?


If you are considering transitioning your nursing career and looking for options, you can certainly find them with BSN-to-MSN online programs. Graduate nursing students can choose from several degree specialties based on personal preference and professional goals. In this section, you will find information about a few of the types of degree specializations available.

MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner: An MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) focuses on comprehensive healthcare for clients and their family members with varying degrees of health and wellness across the lifespan. Family Nurse Practitioners currently play a vital role in filling the void created by a shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas where populations may be underserved.
MSN-Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner: MSN Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners may choose to specialize in acute care, primary care, or a dual acute/primary care role. They specialize in the care of adults from young adulthood to older age. Acute Care A-G nurse practitioners specialize in acute, sometimes severe, or life-threatening illnesses, injuries, or diseases. Primary Care A-G nurse practitioners handle routine, or primary care, of adult patients, including wellness visits and management of chronic illnesses and diseases.
MSN-Nurse Educator: Nurses who specialize as MSN Nurse Educators may work as college or university nursing instructors or work in nurse educator roles in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. Some responsibilities of nurse educators are to provide educational resources to equip future nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to become effective nurses and offer continuing education resources for currently licensed nurses. MSN, Nurse Educators may also be educational resources for patients and their families or loved ones and provide instruction regarding medical diagnoses, medications, or using medical equipment.
MSN-Nurse Midwife: An MSN-Nurse Midwife provides care focused on women's health, including gynecological services, reproductive health, labor, delivery, and postpartum care, and peri-post menopause care.
MSN-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner provides care for premature and/or ill newborns and their families. They may work in neonatal intensive care units, emergency rooms, specialty clinics, or delivery rooms. In many cases, NNPs serve as primary care providers to premature or sick newborns.


What Are the Easiest and Hardest BSN-to-MSN Degree Specializations?


As you compare accredited BSN-to-MSN programs online, you may wonder which specialty is the easiest and which is the most difficult. Rating programs as easy or hard is a matter of opinion, as people have different interests and comprehend or digest material differently. Overall, there are some ways to make side-by-side comparisons to help you decide, especially if you hope to find an easier specialty to obtain.

In this section, I will share some of the BSN-to-MSN degree specializations and list them from easiest to hardest.

Family Nurse Practitioner: The MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) role encompasses a large patient group. FNPs provide care to clients from birth through old age with varying degrees of health, illness, or disease. Although the patient population is broad, the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty is considered one of the easier concentrations because the curriculum for all other specialties builds upon FNP knowledge and skills.
Public Health Nurse Practitioner: MSN-Public Health Nurse Practitioners study and monitor health trends, analyze public health risk factors, and educate the public about health risks and prevention. Because public health issues can cover multiple factors and change quickly, the Public Health NP degree specialization is often considered difficult.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: The MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is responsible for diagnosing and treating the mental health needs of clients of varying ages across the lifespan. Of the over 325,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, roughly 12,000 specialize in psychiatric mental health care. Some nursing professionals believe this is because the specialty is one of the hardest. Others believe it is difficult because the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners makes the role stressful.
MSN-CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist): CRNAs care for patients in the pre-, peri-, and post-procedure/operative phases of nursing care. They administer anesthesia and monitor their client's status during procedures as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team. This MSN degree specialization is considered one of the most difficult.


Which BSN-to-MSN Degree Specialization Should You Choose?


Now that you know you want to pursue a degree through BSN-to-MSN online programs if you have not already, it is time to choose a degree specialization. The great thing about nursing is there are many options to choose from, depending on the setting where you'd like to work and the patient population for whom you wish to care. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a degree specialization.

1. What age group of patient population interests you most? If you prefer to work with children, a specialization in Pediatrics could be a good fit. On the other hand, if adult healthcare is more your style, Adult-Gerontology could be a better choice. Both specializations offer Acute Care and Chronic Care options. So, you can further specialize in the type of care when you decide the age group that interests you most.

A few examples of these programs are the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care or Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner programs at Indiana University – Purdue, the Pediatric Primary Care NP program at the University of Colorado – Denver, and the Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

2. Can you see yourself working in an administrative nursing position? All healthcare facilities and organizations need knowledgeable, well-qualified leaders to oversee operations and promote effective patient care. If you have reached a place in your career where you feel you are ready to move into a leadership role, pursuing your MSN and specializing in a leadership concentration can help you transition.

The Transformational Leadership at Suny Polytechnic University, Nursing Health Systems Management at Texas Women’s University, or the Administrative Nurse Leadership at Western University of Health Sciences offer three of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online that can prepare you for an advanced practice career in nursing administration.

3. Do you like teaching others? The Nursing Education & Faculty Role at Duquesne University, Nurse Educator at Northwestern State University, and Nursing Education at the University of Texas at Arlington are excellent online BSN-to-MSN programs for prospective students who want to move into a nursing education role.

These are just a few things to consider when choosing an MSN concentration. As you research programs, it is always a good idea to talk with an academic advisor and be sure your questions are answered. By doing this, you can be sure you choose a specialization that will help meet your professional goals.


5 Big Benefits of Pursuing A BSN-to-MSN Program


There could be several reasons you are considering earning a Master of Science in Nursing. If you are still weighing your options, you may be asking if there are true benefits of pursuing a BSN-to-MSN. Yes, there are! Here are five big benefits of pursuing a BSN-to-MSN.

1. You can get a significant pay increase. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the average salary for baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses is $75,330 annually. With a Master of Science in Nursing, your earning potential can be from $80,000 to $175,000 yearly or more, depending on your specialty concentration. Even with the minimum increase to $80,000, you could put an extra $5000 monthly in your pocket!
2. You can work independently. As healthcare systems and processes continue to evolve, nurses with master's degrees are increasingly becoming aware of their position to take advantage of these changes and pursue more independent roles. Whether you choose a career in nursing education, private practice, or as a nursing administration, pursuing the BSN-to-MSN option can help prepare you for your chosen role.
3. The opportunity to specialize: While registered nurses without a master’s degree may work in specialty areas, advanced practice nurses who have earned a master’s in nursing can choose a specialty concentration and establish their careers around that concentration.
4. Increased Job Security: Overall employment of advanced practice nurses is expected to grow forty-five percent between 2019 and 2029, which means increased job security for MSN-prepared nursing, like graduates of the best BSN-to-MSN online programs featured in this article.
5. Long-Term Job Opportunities: While it is possible for nurses who have not earned a master's degree to find long-term employment, those who have achieved an MSN often find jobs that offer more long-term security. For example, MSN registered nurses may work in administrative or education positions and frequently stay in those positions until retirement. Additionally, nurse practitioners may open their own practice or work in partnership with another nurse practitioner or physician and stay in that setting for their working career.


On-Campus BSN-to-MSN OR Online BSN-to-MSN Programs: Which One Should You Choose?


Whether it is because of issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, which has closed many schools and higher learning institutions, or the need for working professionals to continue working, distance learning continues to grow in popularity. However, online school is not for everyone. If you are stuck trying to determine whether an on-campus BSN-to-MSN or online BSN-to-MSN program is the best fit for you, here are a few things to consider that may help you decide.

Consideration #1: BSN-to-MSN programs online may give you more flexibility when it comes to scheduling. This is especially helpful if you have a job or other responsibilities that require time commitments from you. On the flip side, if you are not disciplined and a self-starter, you may find that the structure offered in on-campus BSN-to-MSN programs will help you stay on track better.
Consideration #2: Do you need to work while going to school? Students in on-campus programs may continue to work while enrolled. However, those who opt for online learning may be able to juggle their busy work and academic schedules a little better. Be sure to talk with your employer and academic advisor to discuss work and school schedule options before making a final decision between on-campus and online options.
Consideration #3: What environment is most conducive to learning for you? While online BSN-to-MSN programs offer convenience and versatility, some students prefer face-to-face interactions with instructors and peers. It is essential to recognize the setting that works best for your learning and style and not to try and force a different way, which could lead to frustration and/or difficulty in your classes.


How Long Are Online BSN-to-MSN Programs?


As you begin to go through your list of potential schools to earn your MSN, you may be wondering how long it will take you to reach your degree. Many BSN-to-MSN programs online take eighteen months to three years to complete. Students who choose to study full-time naturally take less time to graduate than those who enroll part-time. The following list provides examples of how long the programs are at some of our featured schools.

Students enrolled in the BSN-to-MSN online program at Maryville University can complete the program in twenty-eight months of part-time study. The program curriculum includes forty-one credit hours of coursework and 580 post-baccalaureate clinical hours.

At Colorado Technical University, the BSN-to-MSN program can be completed in as few as eighteen months.

Alcorn State University’s program is a five-semester program, including one summer and forty-four semester hours earned in the full-time continuous study.

Cedar Crest University offers part-time and full-time options to students enrolled in its BSN-to-MSN online programs. Most students graduate in eighteen to twenty-four months, depending on course load and enrollment status.

National University BSN-to-MSN students complete their programs in approximately two years.

Colorado Technical University offers Nursing Administration and Nursing Education BSN-to-MSN programs online. Both degree options are formatted to be completed in as few as eighteen months.

West Coast University students can expect to graduate with an MSN in twenty-four months.

Ramapo University offers another of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online with three concentration options: Nursing Education and Nursing Administration, which can be completed in two years, and the Family Nurse Practitioner, a three-year program. All program options are part-time.

Students who choose to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing at Southeastern Louisiana University can graduate in eighteen to thirty-six months. The student’s previous coursework is evaluated for potential transfer of credits, which has some bearing on the length of time each student takes.

The BSN-to-MSN online program option at Tennessee State University takes three years to complete.


How Much Do Online BSN-to-MSN Programs Cost?


Earning a master’s degree can open new doors of professional opportunity, but like anything worth having, it does require an investment. BSN-to-MSN programs online can cost from $15,000 to over $100,000. Students can expect to have expenses that include tuition, books, supplies, uniforms, and technology fees, just to name a few.

The following are some examples of the cost of a few of the programs mentioned in this article.

Michigan State University charges $817.25 per credit hour for Michigan residents and $1,605.75 for out-of-state students. All the BSN-to-MSN online programs at MSU require students to complete fifty-four to fifty-eight credit hours, making the average cost between $44,126.10 and $93,133.50.

All tracks for the BSN-to-MSN online programs at Thomas Jefferson University include thirty-six credit hours. Tuition is calculated at a $1,200 per credit hour rate, with programs costing $43,200.

The accredited BSN-to-MSN programs online at the University of Texas- Arlington cost from $20,085 to $35,084, depending on the student’s choice of specialty.

Auburn University at Montgomery College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers two BSN-to-MSN programs online, the Family Nurse Practitioner program and the Nurse Educator for Interprofessional Practice program. Resident tuition is $421 per credit, hour and non-resident education is $947 per credit hour. The Family Nurse Practitioner track is a forty-four-credit hour plan, costing $19,366 to $43,562. The Nurse Educator for Interprofessional Practice includes thirty-eight credit hours of coursework, with tuition costs between $15,998 and $35,986.

At Suny Polytechnic Institute, prospective students may choose from the Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, or Transformational Leadership paths to earn their Master of Science in Nursing degree. Students in these online BSN-to-MSN programs complete thirty-nine to forty-five credit hours. Tuition is based on a student's state residence status, with in-state students paying $471 per credit hour and non-residents paying $565. This makes the tuition for the programs range from $18,369 to $25,425.

Western University offers Administrative Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader, Ambulatory Care Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner BSN-to-MSN online programs. Students complete forty-four to sixty-five-semester units, depending on their choice of specialty concentration. With a tuition rate of $1,171 per semester unit, students pay between $51,524 and $76,115.

Middle Georgia State University offers an online BSN-to-MSN program with a specialty focus in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Tuition for the program is $426 per credit hour. Students complete a minimum of forty-three credit hours, paying approximately $18,318.

With six specialty concentrations for BSN-to-MSN students, Monmouth University has something to offer anyone wanting to earn a Master of Science in Nursing. The MSN programs require students to complete thirty-three to forty-five credits, depending on their choice of specialization. The per-credit tuition rate is $1,299 which means students pay between $42,867 and $58,455.


What Is the Coursework Like In BSN-to-MSN Online Programs?


Colleges and universities that offer BSN-to-MSN online programs have the right to determine the number of credits students must earn and which classes they will offer to satisfy those requirements. Although there may be some variation from one school to the next, most programs share the same core curriculum and then offer concentration-specific classes.

The core curriculum typically includes classes in advanced physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, healthcare policy, and ethics. Other courses are related to the student's choice of concentration. For example, a student specializing as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner may take classes such as Mental Health Across the Lifespan or Diagnosing and Treating Common Mental Health Conditions. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner students may take courses focused on Pediatric Health Assessment or Communication with the Pediatric Patient and Family.

Here are some standard classes you may see in online BSN-to-MSN programs.

Advanced Health Assessment: Builds upon health assessment skills students developed in their undergraduate nursing programs. Emphasis includes developing advanced techniques in physical examination and history taking, which prepares students for roles involving direct patient care.

Informatics and Quality Improvement: This course introduces informatics theories and the application of safe, quality nursing practices. It focuses on the impact of informatics on healthcare, nursing education, improving patient outcomes, and providing cost-effective healthcare services.

Nurse Practitioner Business and Roles: In this class, students explore transitioning to the role of nurse practitioners as individual care providers and part of the interprofessional healthcare team. Particular emphasis is placed on legal issues, ethical decision-making, practice plans, credentialing, billing, and legal certification requirements for advanced nursing practice.

The following are examples of coursework required in some of the accredited online BSN-to-MSN programs featured in this article.

Students enrolled at Duke University’s online BSN-to-MSN program may choose from eleven specialty areas. The number of credit hours required to complete the MSN degree varies, depending on the choice of major, and ranges from forty-two to forty-nine. Although the programs are offered as distance-based, students must go to campus at least once each semester to attend two- to five-day intensives with faculty. Students meet with instructors and other nursing experts during the on-campus incentives and are engaged in face-to-face interactions, hands-on activities, and lab simulations.

Sample Core Courses (Taken by All BSN-to-MSN students, regardless of specialty):

◦ The Nurse as a Scholar: Science, Development, Study Design, and Statistics
◦ Professional Transitions: Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Population Health in a Global Society
◦ Evidence-Based Practice
◦ Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan: A Conceptual Approach
◦ Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing
◦ Physical Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning in Advanced Practice Nursing

Nurse Practitioner Intensive Courses:

◦ Nurse Practitioner Intensive I: Collaboration, Care Management, and Identity Formation
◦ Nurse Practitioner Intensive II: Care Management, Information Management, Collaboration, and Contextual Relevance
◦ Nurse Practitioner Intensive III: Collaboration, Leadership, and Scholarship

Each MSN program has specialty-specific required classes. The following are examples of some of the classes for specific specialties.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP Clinical Sample Courses:

◦ Advanced Practice Nursing in Primary Care Adolescents and Adult Patients
◦ Advanced Practice Nursing Care in Older Adult Patients
◦ Advanced Practice Nursing in Acutely Ill Adult-Gerontology Patients I, II, and III

Psychiatric NP Clinical Sample Courses:

◦ Neurophysiology
◦ Psychopharmacology for the Advanced Practice Nurse
◦ Diagnosis and Evidence-Based Treatment of Mental health Disorders Across the Lifespan

The University of Alabama at Birmingham equips students for roles as advanced practice nursing by offering choices of nine nurse practitioner specialties. They combine on-campus intensives with online didactic coursework. Four of the university’s nine specialties are ranked in the top twelve by U.S. News & World Report, making them stand out as some of the best BSN-to-MSN online programs.

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Sample Courses:

◦ Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Translating Evidence into Practice
◦ Interprofessional Leadership and Role Development for Practice Evidence
◦ Advanced Pediatric Nursing I, II, and III (A corresponding Practicum experience follows each class.)

The University of Texas Health offers six specialty tracks for its accredited BSN-to-MSN online programs preparing students to assume nursing leadership roles in clinical practice, nursing education, and nursing administration. The Commission accredits the program on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Family Nurse Practitioner Sample Courses (41 credit hours)

◦ Nursing Informatics: Introduction to Concepts and Health Information Technologies
◦ Advanced Physical Examination and Differential Diagnosis
◦ Family Nurse Practitioner I, II, and III (Each FNP class has a corresponding clinical rotation.)

Nursing Leadership Sample Courses (39 credit hours)

◦ Evaluation and Application of Research in Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Transforming Healthcare through Nursing Leadership
◦ Organizational Development: Creating Cultures of Excellence

Florida Atlantic University offers Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership and Advanced Holistic Nursing BSN-to-MSN online program options.

Nursing Administration & Financial Leadership Sample Courses

◦ Leadership, Policy, and finance in Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Advanced Nursing Situations: Influencing Health Policy
◦ Advanced Nursing Administration I and II (Each class has a corresponding clinical rotation.)

Advanced Holistic Nursing Sample Courses

◦ Foundations of Holistic Nursing I and II: Advanced Nursing Situations
◦ Philosophy and Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice Roles
◦ Advanced Health Assessment

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas uses various teaching strategies to engage students in its online BSN-to-MSN programs. All students attend a two-day orientation session on the campus before each fall semester, designed to promote connections between students and the nursing faculty. The university offers Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty options for students seeking a graduate nursing degree.

Nurse Educator Sample Courses

◦ Teaching and Learning in Nursing Education
◦ Course Level Evaluation Strategies for Nurse Educators
◦ Developing and Evaluating Curriculum for Nursing Education

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Sample Courses

◦ Family Theory and Health Promotion
◦ Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner I and II
◦ Health and Public Policy for Advanced Practice Nursing

The University of Texas Medical Branch offers four accredited BSN-to-MSN online programs: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty program prepares students to assume roles providing advanced care to critically ill or recovering neonates and their families.

◦ Advanced Neonatal Health Assessment
◦ Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Concepts I, II, and III
◦ Pharmacological Principles and Clinical Therapeutics

Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Sample Courses

◦ Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner- Acute Health Problems of Adults
◦ Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner- Chronic and Complex Health Problems of Adults
◦ Public Health Principles in Advanced Practice Nursing

Seton Hall University’s Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program is designed to prepare nurses to provide primary care to infants, children, adolescents, and their families. Students develop skills in making independent clinical decisions, providing patient advocacy, forming collaborative relationships with the interdisciplinary team, and evaluating the quality of patient care. Sample courses include:

◦ Forces in Health Care
◦ Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Decision Making
◦ Advanced Practice Nursing I, II, and III: Younger Years (Each of these classes has a corresponding clinical practicum.)

Sample Courses for George Washington University School of Nursing’ s Nurse-Midwifery Nurse Practitioner program include:

◦ Primary Care of Women
◦ Comprehensive Antepartal Care
◦ Advanced Nurse-Midwifery Role Development

Georgia College School of Nursing offers BSN-to-MSN online programs in a fully online format, with minimal face-to-face campus requirements. Students must complete all required courses within seven years of their start date to earn the Master of Science in Nursing from the College.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

◦ Healthcare Research and Statistical Analysis
◦ Nursing Theory: Principles and Application
◦ Women’s Health I, II, and III (WH-1 has a corresponding lab. WH-II and WH-III have corresponding clinical rotations.)

Family Nurse Practitioner

◦ Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
◦ Primary Care of Adults I and II
◦ Primary Care of Women
◦ Primary Care of Children and Adolescents

Students enrolled at the Indiana University Perdue University Indianapolis BSN-to-MSN online program can choose from nine specialty tracks: Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems, Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult/Gerontology Acute OR Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Nursing Leadership in Health Systems

◦ Financial, Legal, and Ethical Leadership
◦ Economic Analysis of Nursing and Health Systems
◦ Measurement and Data Analysis

Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

◦ Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan
◦ Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan
◦ Pediatric Primary Care for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse I and II


Clinical Training


The clinical component of any nursing program is the time when students can implement the skills they have learned in a patient environment, under the direction of a clinical preceptor or nursing instructor. Because each school or program determines the number of clinical hours its students must achieve, you will find that the number varies. Typically, students in online BSN-to-MSN programs complete between 500 and 1,000 clinical practice hours.

Here are some examples of required clinical hours for some of our featured programs.

Northwestern State University offers a fifteen-month BSN-to-MSN online program. Students complete thirty-nine credit hours and at least 514 post-BSN clinical hours.

Students enrolled in the BSN-to-MSN online programs at King University complete thirty-nine to forty-five credit hours determined by previous course work and concentration specialty. Those registered in the Nurse Education path complete 420 clinical hours while Nursing Administration students complete 395. Pediatric, Family, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students must complete 600 clinical practice hours.

At Midwestern State University, prospective students can choose from two of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online, the Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs. Students in the Family NP program will complete at least 512 clinical hours, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP students complete a minimum of 640 hours.

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, all MSN students complete at least six hundred clinical practicum hours.

Maryville University’s BSN-to-MSN program curriculum includes 580 clinical hours, which students complete throughout the twenty-eight-month, part-time program.

Students at West Coast University must accomplish 650 preceptor-supervised clinical hours to meet graduation requirements for its online BSN-to-MSN program.

The University of Texas Health Science Center’s BSN-to-MSN curriculum includes 645 of hands-on clinical practice hours.

Florida Atlantic University requires all students in its online BSN-to-MSN programs to complete a minimum of 600 hours of clinical.

At the University of Texas Medical Branch, students are engaged in 720 clinical practice hours.

Seton Hall University includes 600 clinical hours in its BSN-to-MSN program curriculum.


Admission Requirements


It’s really no secret that admission to some nursing programs can be competitive. The higher the degree you seek, the more competitive admission becomes. However, the fear of competition is no reason to give up on your dream. In fact, if you really want to earn your degree, you should be willing to lay things on the line and show why you are a good fit for the programs you choose.

In general, admission requirements for BSN-to-MSN programs online include the following criteria.

◦ Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution.
◦ Have an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
◦ Pass state and/or federal background check
◦ Pass a drug screen
◦ Submit official transcripts from previous colleges/universities
◦ Prepare a Statement of Intent
◦ Submit letters of professional recommendation


Here are some examples of admission criteria at some of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online from this article.

Duquesne University offers six specialty online BSN-to-MSN programs for prospective students to choose from: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, Psychiatric-Mental Health NP, Executive Leadership & Health Care Management NP, Forensic Nursing, and Nursing Education & Faculty Role.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from an accredited institution
◦ Current, unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse
◦ Resume/Curriculum Vitae
◦ Letters of Reference

The number of students admitted to the online BSN-to-MSN programs at the University of Michigan-Flint is limited, making the admission process competitive. Admission to the program occurs in the Winter semester only.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a regionally accredited institution
◦ Have an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least a 3.2 on a 4.0 grading scale
◦ Have at least three credits in a college-level statistics course with a minimum grade of "C"
◦ Preference is given to applicants with at least one year of work experience as a Registered Nurse.

Texas Tech University Health Science Center uses an individual holistic process to review applicants for its accredited BSN-to-MSN online programs. The Program Chair and appropriate admission faculty evaluate all applicants regarding the potential to successfully complete their chosen program.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Complete undergraduate courses in Statistics and Research with a grade of “C” or higher
◦ Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all coursework leading to a baccalaureate degree
◦ Prepare Personal Statement/Essay with 500-word maximum
◦ Demonstrate Computer Literacy

Loyola University - Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Minimum 2,000 hours of nursing experience before beginning the first clinical practicum
◦ Provide three letters of professional recommendation from nurses with a master’s degree or higher. (One letter should be from a nursing professor, if possible.)
◦ Prepare a Personal Statement responding to the following prompts: Rationale for choosing to pursue an MSN, why Loyola's MSN is a good fit for your interests, and describe future goals that align with earning an MSN)
◦ Submit a professional resume/curriculum vitae

Drexel University currently offers thirteen BSN-to-MSN options, including Primary and Acute care roles and dual degree options.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended must be sent directly to Drexel University.
◦ One year of clinical nursing experience as a registered nurse
◦ Two professional references from a previous or current supervisor, manager, nursing faculty, or program director. The person preparing the reference letter should be able to attest to the applicant’s clinical knowledge, skills, and potential for success in a graduate nursing program.
◦ Some applicants may be asked to participate in an interview with the admissions team/program director.

The University of Memphis offers BSN-to-MSN students specialization options in Education, Executive Leadership, and Family Nurse Practitioner.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Prepare a Letter of Interest that addresses the applicant's understanding of program goals and intention to pursue program outcomes.
◦ Submit a professional resume that includes evidence of leadership experiences such as goal setting, follow-through, evidence of intellectual curiosity, contribution to diversity and inclusion, and commitment to the nursing profession.
◦ One academic and two professional letters of reference

The University of Colorado-Denver offers several BSN-to-MSN options, including CNS, FMP, PMHNP, Nurse-Midwifery, and pediatric NP degree options.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Complete undergraduate Nursing Research and Statistics courses before beginning the program. Classes must be completed at an accredited institution, and the student must have a grade of "C" or higher.
◦ Submit a Personal Essay that describes past work experience, proposed specialty, education, and non-course education experiences, teaching, or other relevant employment. The Essay must also describe the applicant's plans for graduate study and professional career and how the University of Colorado's BSN-to-MSN program will help contribute to them.

Texas Women’s University’s Master of Science in Nursing programs are ranked #1 in Texas and #9 nationally by U.S. News & World Report (2021), making them some of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online available.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last sixty hours of undergraduate nursing coursework
◦ Completion of a basic statistics course before enrolling in the program
◦ BSN or BS degree from a nationally-accredited nursing program

Ohio University can help expand your career in its BSN-to-MSN online program options. The University offers Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program options.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Prepare and submit a Professional Goals Statement
◦ Evidence of at least two years of full-time work experience as a Registered Nurse within the previous five years
◦ Qualified applicants will participate in an admission interview with program faculty.

Georgetown University’s online BSN-to-MSN degree programs prepare baccalaureate-prepared RNs with the experience to provide direct patient care to clients in diverse healthcare settings with varying degrees of health and wellness issues.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ U.S. citizen or permanent resident
◦ Hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited nursing program
◦ Current license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the United States
◦ Applicants who wish to enroll in the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner BSN-to-MSN online program must have at least one year of full-time work experience in an emergency department, intensive care unit, telemetry unit, or progressive care unit.

St. Louis University utilizes a holistic admission process using a broad-based selection criterion linked with the University and School of Nursing's mission and goals. Although academic metrics are considered, admission faculty also assess each applicant's attributes, experiences, the likelihood for success in the program, and potential contributions to the school's academic environment and the nursing profession.

Sample Admission Requirements:

◦ Cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.25 on a 4.0 grading scale for undergraduate nursing coursework
◦ Current CPR certification from the American Heart Association
◦ Completion of a beginning-level Health Assessment course or the equivalent thereof before enrolling in Advanced Health Assessment



Interesting Facts You Need to Know About the Best BSN-to-MSN Online Programs Featured in This Article


Deciding to go back to college can feel overwhelming at times. Anyone who has been in your shoes knows there is more to decide than picking a program and enrolling. Sometimes knowing a little extra about a school can give you the peace of mind you need to say, "That's the one!"

Here are a few interesting facts about some of the best BSN-to-MSN programs online featured in this article.

Ramapo College is the smallest public college in New Jersey. Faculty from the college use small class sizes as an opportunity to commit to developing students on a personal level. They believe in engaging students on curricular and co-curricular levels and pushing them outside of comfort zones. The school's website says, “As the region’s premier public liberal arts college, Ramapo prepares students to be successful leaders for a changing world.”

The online BSN-to-MSN program at Southeastern Louisiana University is offered as part of a consortium of four universities that work collaboratively to prepare graduates for advanced practice nursing care. The Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing is presented by the Consortium of McNeese State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Nicholls State University. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Western Carolina University offers one of the shortest part-time accredited BSN-to-MSN online programs. Students can choose from the MSN-Nurse Leadership Program or the MSN-Nurse Educator program, both of which can be completed in as few as eighteen months of part-time study.

National University is the largest private nonprofit university in San Diego, California. The BSN-to-MSN online program offers twelve-week courses, minimal on-campus requirements, and monthly online meetings with faculty and peers that can be completed in as little as twelve months.

Colorado Technical University’s Master of Science in Nursing programs have been ranked among the Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs by U.S. News & World Report for three years consecutively. The BSN-to-MSN online nursing program utilizes the intellipath learning system that customizes a curriculum plan focused on providing content based on what the student needs to know, rather than repeating unnecessary information that the student has already learned.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 50 BEST BSN-TO-MSN ONLINE PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2021

(These BSN-to-MSN Programs are ideal for Registered Nurses with a BSN who wish to earn their MSN degree in an area of specialization of their choice.)

1. Duke University - Durham, NC

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Informatics, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing & Health Care Leadership, Nursing Education, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner



2. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner (Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Dual Pediatric Acute & Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, & Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner) and Nursing Health Systems Leadership (Nursing Health Systems Administration, Nursing Informatics, & Clinical Nurse Leader)



3. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston, TX

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Leadership



4. Florida Atlantic University - Boca Raton, FL

Concentrations: Nursing Administration & Financial Leadership, Advanced Holistic Nursing, and Nurse Educator



5. University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV

Concentrations: Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)



6. University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston, TX

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Executive Nurse Leader, and Nurse Educator



7. Seton Hall University - Nutley, NJ

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary/Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



8. The George Washington University - Washington, DC

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Leadership & Management, Nurse-Midwifery, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



9. Georgia College & State University - Milledgeville, GA

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nurse Midwifery, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner



10. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis - Indianapolis, IN

Concentrations: Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner



11.Northwestern State University of Louisiana - Shreveport, LA

Concentrations: Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, and Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner



12. Frontier Nursing University - Versailles, KY

Concentrations: Nurse-Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



13. University of Michigan-Flint - Flint, MI

Concentrations: Nurse Educator and Family Nurse Practitioner



14. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Lubbock, TX

Concentrations: Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Midwifery



15. Loyola University Chicago - Maywood, IL

Concentrations: Nursing & Health Care Administration



16. Duquesne University - Pittsburgh, PA

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Executive Nurse Leadership & Health Care Management, Forensic Nursing, and Nursing Education & Faculty Role



17. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan), Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health-Gender Related Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care & Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Dual Option), Clinical Nurse Leader, Leadership in Health Systems Management, Nursing Education, Public Health Nursing, and Quality, Safety, & Risk Management in Healthcare



18. University of Memphis - Memphis, TN

Concentrations: Education, Executive Leadership, and Family Nurse Practitioner



19. University of Colorado Denver - Aurora, CO

Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Programs ( Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Adult-Gerontology ), Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Care Informatics, Nurse-Midwifery, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Veteran & Military Health Care



20. Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Health Systems Management, and Nursing Education



21. Ohio University - Athens, OH

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Leader



22. Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse-Midwife/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP), and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner



23. Saint Louis University - Saint Louis, MO

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Nurse Practitioner, and Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



24. Michigan State University - East Lansing, MI

Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner (Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, & Family Nurse Practitioner)



25. Thomas Jefferson University - Philadelphia, PA

Concentrations: Adult Gerontology - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology - Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Women's Health - Gender Related Nurse Practitioner



26. University of Texas at Arlington - Arlington, TX

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Nursing Administration



27. Auburn University at Montgomery - Montgomery, AL

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator



28. SUNY Polytechnic Institute - Utica, NY

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Transformational Leadership



29. Simmons University - Boston, MA

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner



30. Western University of Health Sciences - Pomona, CA

Concentrations: Administrative Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader, Ambulatory Care Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



31. Middle Georgia State University - Macon, GA

Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner



32. Monmouth University - West Long Branch, NJ

Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner (Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, & Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner), Nursing Education, School Nursing, Forensic Nursing, and Nursing Administration



33. Wright State University - Dayton, OH

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Administration of Nursing & Health Care Systems, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



34. Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Concentrations: Nursing Education, Healthcare Systems Leadership, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



35. University of Texas at El Paso - El Paso, TX

Concentrations: Nursing Administration & Management, Nursing Education, and Nurse Practitioner (Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner with Primary Care Focus, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, & Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan))



36. Alcorn State University - Natchez, MS

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator



37. Cedar Crest College - Allentown, PA

Concentrations: Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner



38. King University - Bristol, TN

Concentrations: Nursing Administration, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner



39. Maryville University - St. Louis, MO

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner



40. National University - San Diego, CA

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



41. Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs, CO

Concentrations: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner



42. McNeese State University - Lake Charles, LA

Concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education



43. Midwestern State University - Wichita Falls, TX

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



44. Ramapo College of New Jersey - Mahwah, NJ

Concentrations: Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, and Family Nurse Practitioner



45. Southeastern Louisiana University - Hammond, LA

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education



46. Tennessee State University - Nashville, TN

Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Nursing



47. American Sentinel University - Aurora, CO

Concentrations: Infection Prevention & Control, Case Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Management & Organizational Leadership, Nursing Informatics, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



48. Grand Canyon University - Phoenix, AZ

Concentrations: Health Care Quality & Patient Safety, Health Informatics, Healthcare Systems Leadership & Management, Nursing Education, Public Health Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner



49. West Coast University - Irvine, CA

Concentrations: Nurse Educator, Nurse Leader, Nursing Informatics, Advanced Generalist, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner



50. Western Carolina University - Cullowhee, NC

Concentrations: Nurse Educator, Nursing Leadership, and Family Nurse Practitioner


View Ranking Methodology



What Kinds of Career Opportunities Exist For BSN-to-MSN Graduates?


There are several avenues to find career opportunities for BSN-to-MSN graduates. The patient population may determine the setting where MSN nurses work. Here are a few examples of career opportunities based on specialty concentrations.

Remote Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: Makes psychiatric assessments and evaluations in a telemedicine capacity, prescribes medication to reduce mental health systems, reviews and approves individualized plans of care, and consults with clinic directors and staff regarding patients, programs, and services at the various sites that are serviced.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: Attends deliveries of neonates less than 35 weeks, high-risk deliveries, provides care to NICU patients daily, performs nursery and antenatal consultations, and participates in outreach education and staff development.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Provides medical management of the patient in collaboration with the physician and interdisciplinary team to provide adequate care by evaluating and managing patients by assessment, diagnosis, education, and execution of the plan of care and follow up; Provides patient and family counseling/education.
Employee Health Nurse Educator Nurse Practitioner: Consults and works collaboratively with physicians, nursing staff, peers, and other members of the multidisciplinary team; applies the nursing process to teach clients and implement age-specific nursing education actions; documents the education provided to clients and their response to the education; develops and updates policies, procedures, and forms to be used by the Education and Employee Health Programs.


Where Do BSN-to-MSN Graduates Work?


Graduates of online BSN-to-MSN programs have several career opportunities across many settings and patient populations, depending on their preferences.

For instance, Family Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse may work in clinics, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, or in-patient facilities.

Nurse Educators may work in colleges or universities and teach nursing or allied health programs. Others may work in hospitals or other healthcare facilities and provide education to patients and their families and may also offer continuing education classes to staff.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners often work in pediatric acute or primary care clinics, emergency departments, or after-hours pediatric clinics.


How Many Hours Do BSN-to-MSN Graduates Work?


Graduates of BSN-to-MSN online programs may work part-time or full-time hours, depending on their preference and need to work. MSN graduates who have responsibilities related to home and family may choose to work part-time to have more flexibility to balance home and work commitments.

Part-time hours are usually 20-25 hours weekly. Typical part-time hours may be found in jobs such as an Adjunct Nursing Instructor or part-time Adult-Gerontology Primary or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who works in a long-term care facility or for a home health or hospice.

Full-time employees may work 35-40 hours a week. Some work more than 40 hours weekly and earn overtime. It is not uncommon to see nurse practitioners who work in emergency departments or in-patient psychiatric facilities to work longer hours.


Average Salary For BSN-to-MSN Graduates


As previously Master’s-prepared registered nurses have the potential to earn significant incomes. The chart below gives examples of average salaries for graduates of BSN-to-MSN online programs based on specialty. As you can see, the annual wage ranges from $72,000 to over $171,000 thousand.

Keep in mind, these salaries are an average based on nationally reported earnings. It is possible to earn higher wages, especially with continued work experience, or working evening or night shifts and weekends. Many employers offer full-time employees benefits and incentives worth several thousands of dollars, which only add value to the salary package.

APRN Specializations Per Hour Per Year
1 Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) $55.03 $114,468
2 Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) $55.38 $115,195
3 Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) $47.33 $98,455
4 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) $82.38 $171,340
5 Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) $51.16 $106,407
6 Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) $50.91 $105,898
7 Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) $53.00 $110,249
8 Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (PACNP) $49.59 $103,148
9 Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP) $54.51 $113,387
10 Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) $59.43 $123,607
11 Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) $49.97 $103,930
Non-APRN Specializations Per Hour Per Year
1 Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) $50.05 $104,107
2 Healthcare Manager $35.03 $72,855
3 Informatics Nurse $49.15 $102,230
4 Legal Nurse Consultant $41.03 $85,351
5 Long-Term Care Administrator $39.58 $82,331
6 Nurse Administrator $42.80 $89,015
7 Nurse Consultant $38.28 $79,624
8 Nurse Educator $36.16 $75,223
9 Nurse Manager $41.98 $87,312


What Is the Job Outlook Like For BSN-to-MSN Graduates?


Nurses who graduate from BSN-to-MSN programs work in a variety of settings performing many jobs. Those in advanced practice clinical roles may perform many of the same healthcare services provided by physicians. Today, more than ever, MSN-prepared nurses are increasingly used in healthcare models that focus on team-based, patient-focused care. They may work on the clinical side of nursing in physicians' offices, clinics, hospitals, and in various healthcare settings filling administrative roles.

As baby boomers age, they experience acute and chronic health conditions that require medical care. MSN-prepared nurses can fill the void created by the current shortage of U.S. physicians and provide preventive and primary care to this growing number of clients.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be at least 30,000 new jobs for MSN nurses each year.

Each of these factors strongly indicates that the job outlook for graduates of BSN-to-MSN online programs is exceptionally favorable.


The Bottom Line


If you are a registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and are considering earning a higher degree, every source we have found indicates this could be perfect timing. The best BSN-to-MSN online programs for 2021 featured in this article offer excellent resources for you to decide which specialty concentration most interests you and to find the school and program that is best suited to your academic and professional goals.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.