FIND MSN PROGRAMS

FIND MSN PROGRAMS

35 Best Direct-Entry MSN Programs (Online & Campus) in the Nation – 2022


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in a professional field other than nursing? Has the idea of transitioning your career path to nursing crossed your mind? Perhaps you like the idea of being a nurse but don’t know where to start. There are many paths you can take to help you accomplish your dream of becoming a nurse. In fact, a direct-entry MSN program could be what you’re looking for.

Maybe you’ve heard of these programs but wonder, “What are the best direct-entry master of science in nursing programs in the nation?” If so, keep reading! In this article, you will find information about the 35 best accredited online and campus direct-entry MSN programs in the nation for 2022, including what it takes to get into a program, the coursework and clinical requirements, and outlook for graduates.


RECOMMENDED ONLINE MSN PROGRAMS

WHAT EXACTLY IS A DIRECT-ENTRY MSN (DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING) PROGRAM?


Direct-entry MSN programs are nursing programs designed for individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who want to transition their careers and become a registered nurse. These programs prepare students to pursue leadership and management roles with a strong knowledge and skill base necessary for graduate-level nursing. They also lay the foundation for doctoral nursing studies, which is the highest nursing degree achievable.



7 ADVANTAGES OF DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAMS


No matter what decision you make in life, it is always good to consider all possibilities, including weighing the possible advantages and disadvantages. The following are seven advantages of pursuing your nursing career through direct-entry MSN programs.

1. You Could Boost Your Income:

Depending on your current job title and degree level, adding an MSN behind your mind could be worth several, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a kindergarten teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education earns a median salary of $60,900 annually. The average annual salary of an entry-level MSN degree holder is $118,040, a difference of more than $57,000 per year!

2. Broader Knowledge Base:

Earning a degree through an entry-level Master of Science in Nursing program gives you a broader knowledge base and advanced skills set, qualities employers seek in job applicants.

3. More Job Opportunities:

When you complete an accelerated MSN program and earn your RN license, you open the door to endless job opportunities. You can leverage your previous bachelor's degree with your new MSN degree to land the job you want, instead of settling for whatever is available.

4. You Can Earn a Specialty Certification:

Many entry-level MSN programs offer specialty concentrations, which allows you to pursue a career in an area you prefer. For example, you may have the opportunity to become a Clinical Nurse Leader, Public Health Nurse, Nurse Educator, or earn an APRN certification. Even if the program you choose does not offer a specialty concentration option, you can still achieve one or more specialty certifications after you graduate.

5. More Autonomy in Your Practice:

Nurses with a master’s degree enjoy higher levels of autonomy in their jobs. Some MSN graduates work in nursing leadership or management. Others become nurse practitioners, CRNAs, or nurse midwives and work in collaboration with other healthcare providers or have their own practices.

6. Job Security:

The old saying, “the more you know, the more valuable you are,” certainly holds true in nursing. When you complete a direct-entry MSN program, you have a higher level of knowledge and skills, which makes you a perfect candidate for jobs that offer long-term security.

7. A Sense of Accomplishment and Professional Pride:

There is a big difference between being boastful and having professional pride. When you complete an entry-level MSN program, you will certainly have earned the right to feel accomplished and have a sense of professional pride. You worked hard for your degrees. It is okay to enjoy the satisfaction of recognizing your own accomplishments!



3 DISADVANTAGES OF DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAMS


It’s normal to want to think about all the advantages of a situation but wish to avoid the disadvantages. When you consider going back to college, though, it is a good idea to look at both sides and make decisions that serve your best interests. The following are a few disadvantages of direct entry-MSN programs.

1. They Are Time-Consuming:

Even the entry-level MSN programs that are shorter than others still require a significant amount of your personal time. When you add the time it takes to commute to and from class or clinicals, the time spent in class or clinical rotations, and how long you must study for each class, you may find it is more demanding than you expected. When you feel overwhelmed or pressured, it may mean that you need to take a small break and regroup mentally and emotionally. You can succeed in this program; it just takes hard work and determination.

2. Direct-Entry MSN Programs Can Be Expensive:

The cost of these programs can be as little as $25,000 to $100,000 or more. Before you commit to a school or program, be sure you talk with a financial aid advisor. Ask about tuition, fees, cost of books, uniforms, and other program-related expenses. You may qualify for federally funded grants or loans or choose to take out a private loan. Whichever you decide, it is always best to plan ahead instead of getting half-way through a program and then realizing you are out of money.

3. Admission Can Be Competitive:

Professionals with a previous college degree who want to transition to nursing may be surprised to know how competitive admission to entry-level MSN programs can be. It is important to make sure you meet all admission criteria and prepare all your necessary documents early. Also, be prepared for an admission interview, which is quite common in graduate nursing programs. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of being admitted.



HOW LONG ARE DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS?


Direct-entry MSN programs vary in length. Some programs are only offered full-time, which could shorten the amount of time it takes to graduate. Part-time programs may prolong your time in the program by six to twelve months or more. The following are a few examples of how long some of the programs featured in this article take to complete.

The University of Cincinnati’s entry-level MSN program takes five consecutive semesters of full-time study.

At the University of California-Davis, students attend school full-time and graduate in 18 months.

The University of Maryland direct-entry MSN program can be completed in as little as two years.

The University of San Francisco’s direct-entry MSN is also a full-time program that takes six semesters (two years) to complete.

Students at the University of Vermont may choose part-time or full-time study and complete the program in two or three years.



HOW MUCH DO DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS COST?


The cost of direct-entry MSN programs varies from school to school. Some school websites list tuition costs and suggest what additional fees you may incur. Others do not; so, it’s important to discuss potential costs with a financial advisor at the school you wish to attend. Generally, entry-level MSN programs cost anywhere from $50,000 to more than $100,000. The following are a few examples of the possible cost of some of our featured programs.

Azusa Pacific University calculates tuition at a per unit rate of $860. Students complete between 108 and 120 units of credit. Therefore, the direct-entry MSN program costs between $92,880 and $103,200.

At the Northeastern University, tuition for the entry-level MSN program is $1,847 per credit hour. The program requires 64 credits, making the program cost $118,208.

Students at Simmons University pay tuition based on a per-credit hour rate of $990. The accelerated MSN program with Family Nurse Practitioner concentration is 116 total credits, which makes the tuition cost $114,840.

Azusa Pacific University’s direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program costs $860 per credit hour. Students complete between 108 and 120 credits. Based on the number of credits needed, tuition ranges between $92,880 and $103,200.

Rush University direct-entry MSN students pay $1,066 per credit and complete 74 total credits. Therefore, the cost of tuition for this program is $78,884.



HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS?


Students in direct-entry MSN programs complete from 50 to 120 credit hours. The actual number of credits each student needs depends on previous coursework, transferrable credits, and the specialty concentration they choose to follow. Here are a few examples of how many credits you need to graduate from some of our featured direct-entry MSN programs.

The University of Texas at Austin offers a direct-entry MSN program with the option of four specialty concentrations. Students complete between 77 and 87 credit hours, depending on their chosen concentration. The Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist is 87 credits. The Leadership in Diverse Settings path is 77 credits. Both the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner pathways require 86 credits.

At Columbia University, students in the Master’s Direct-Entry program complete 76-79 credits.

The University of Louisville direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program with Clinical Nurse Leader specialization is a 68-credit hour pathway.

Students in the entry-level MSN program at Metropolitan State University complete 62 credits to earn the Master of Science in Nursing degree.

California Baptist University’s direct-entry MSN curriculum consists of 106-108 credits, depending on which specialty concentration students pursue.



WHAT IS THE TYPICAL COURSEWORK IN DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS?


Although the curriculum for entry-level MSN programs varies, there are some classes that most programs require. The following are a few examples.

• Research Quality Improvement and Evidence-Based Practice
• Foundations of Pharmacology
• Health Assessment Across the Lifespan
• Psychosocial Wellness and Illness
• Leadership in Healthcare


The following are some examples of coursework included in the curriculum for some of our featured entry-level Master of Science in nursing programs.

The curriculum for the direct-entry MSN program at the University of Maryland consists of 65 credit hours. Coursework includes the following classes.

• Pathophysiological & Pharmacological Bases for Nursing Practice
• Health Systems and Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement
• Community/Public Health Nursing
• Biostatistics for Evidence-Based Practice
• Technology for Solutions for Generating Knowledge in Healthcare


At the University of San Diego, students complete a 71-credit hour curriculum and graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Graduates are also eligible for to become California state Public Health Nurses. The curriculum includes the following.

• Introduction to Healthcare Information Management
• Nursing Practice with Diverse Families in Communities
• Evidence-Based Practice: Role of Theory and Research
• Advanced Pathophysiology
• Influencing the Healthcare Environment: Policy & Systems


Boston College offers an Advanced Generalist direct-entry MSN degree with a 57-credit curriculum. Students in the program complete classes such as these:

• Examining Diversity in Nursing and Healthcare
• Nursing Leadership in Complete Healthcare Settings
• Epidemiology
• Healthcare Quality Management OR Healthcare Information Technology
• Healthcare Policy for Nursing Leaders




WHAT IS THE TYPICAL CLINICAL TRAINING IN DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS?


All nursing programs, including direct-entry MSN programs, require a clinical component to meet guidelines for licensure. The number of clinical hours for each program is determined by the school and the regulatory body for that state. Most programs require students to complete between 500 and 1,000 clinical hours. However, this number may vary from school to school. The following are examples of clinical requirements at some of our featured MSN programs.

Students in the Columbia University direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinicals. The program offers students a unique integration experience during which students spend six weeks working one-on-one with a New York registered nurse or at one of the university’s global integration sites.

Yale University offers a direct MSN program with several specialty concentration options. Students begin by completing the Graduate Entry Pre-Specialty in Nursing, which includes 520 clinical hours. Following completion of the GEPN, students choose a specialty path and complete additional coursework and clinical hours. Clinicals for specialty tracks range between 604 and 1,024 hours, making the total number of clinical hours for the program range from 1,124 to 1,544.

At Rush University, students in the direct-entry-MSN program complete clinicals in various healthcare settings in the Chicago metropolitan area. Each student completes at least 1,140 hands-on clinical practice hours.



WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS?


One of the most important steps to achieve your dream of becoming a nurse is to find a school and program and get accepted. Admission criteria are established by each school in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Typically, admission requirements for entry-level MSN programs include the following.

• Applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing field
• Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for your most recent degree
• Be a graduate of an accredited college or university and program
• Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools
• Provide letters of professional recommendation
• Submit a Statement of Intent


The following are examples of admission criteria at some of the featured direct-entry MSN programs featured in our article.

At DePaul University, prospective students must meet the following admission requirements.

• Hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
• Submit transcripts from any college or university attended
• Provide a Personal Statement. Your Statement should answer the questions outlined in the online application.
• Provide two letters of professional or academic reference
• Submit official GRE scores


Admission to the Regis College direct-entry MSN program is contingent upon meeting the following admission criteria.

• Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all previous college coursework
• Submit a current resume
• Prepare a Statement of Intent
• Submit official transcripts from your previous undergraduate degree
• Complete all prerequisite courses


Candidates for admission to the University of California-Davis direct-entry MSN program must meet the following requirements.

• Have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
• Provide three letters of professional recommendation
• Prepare a Statement of Purpose (Instructions for both the Statement of Purpose and the letters of recommendation can be found at NursingCAS.)
• Some applicants may require an interview with admissions or nursing faculty.
• International students must show TOEFL or EILTS test scores.




WHO ACCREDITS DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAMS?


Accreditation is a process by which a nursing program is evaluated to determine the quality of the education the program offers. The program is evaluated by in-person visits, interviews with faculty, and review of curriculum. Accreditation is a means by which nursing schools and programs, like direct-entry MSN programs, are held to a common standard of practice and instruction. The following are accrediting agencies that accredit direct-entry MSN programs.

1. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN):

The Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education in Nursing supports the interests of the public, nursing practice, and nursing education by providing accreditation for transition-to-practice nursing programs and all levels of nursing education.

2. Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME):

The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education is an accrediting agency that works to advance excellence in midwifery education. The Commission works to ensure midwifery education programs are performing at high levels of quality and that they provide learning experiences appropriate to deliver positive student outcomes.

3. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE):

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education focuses on contributing to improved public health. The Commission promotes quality and integrity in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs and in nursing residencies and fellowships.



HOW WE RANKED THE BEST DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?


The table below lists all 4 factors based on which we have ranked the Best direct-entry MSN Programs in the nation for 2022.

Factor Weightage
Academic Quality 50%
Acceptance Rate 20%
Enrollment Rate 20%
Graduation Rate 20%
Full-Time Retention Rate 20%
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 20%
The Nursing School's Reputation 20%
Affordability 15%
Net Price 60%
Percentage of Enrolled Students Receiving Financial Aid (Grants, Loans, & Scholarships) 40%
Our Editorial Team Rating 15%
View Detailed Ranking Methodology




WHAT ARE THE BEST DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAMS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) IN THE NATION FOR 2022?


(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 35 best accredited online and campus Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing programs in the nation for the year 2022.)


1. Columbia University - New York, NY


Program Details:

If you are looking for the best direct-entry MSN programs, you may not need to look any further than Columbia University. The university offers a master's direct entry program designed for non-nursing college graduates who wish to transition their careers to the role of the registered nurse. The program is formatted for full-time study only and can be completed in 15 months.

The direct-entry MSN program features a curriculum that includes basic nursing courses to establish a core base of nursing knowledge and practices, combined with master’s-level nursing coursework. The curriculum includes advanced classes such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment as well as global health. Students earn between 76 and 79 credits, based on the number of transferable credits from their previous degree.

Students in this accelerated MSN program also complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours. Clinicals occur in small groups at various clinical settings including medical surgical hospitals, labor and delivery units, psychiatric care facilities, and community health centers.

Students graduate prepared to enter nursing as master’s-prepared registered nurses, capable of meeting the demands of an ever-evolving healthcare system and caring for patients across health and cultural demographics.

Interesting Highlights

• The Columbia University direct-entry MSN program offers a six-week clinical integration experience. During this unique clinical experience, students either work one-on-one with a registered nurse in New York or at one of the university’s global integration sites.
• Columbia University accelerated MSN program graduates far surpass national NCLEX-RN pass rates each year.


2. The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Details:

At Ohio State University, you will find another one of the best direct-entry MSN programs in the nation. Students not only earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree but can also choose from several advanced practice registered nurse specialties.

The university uses a holistic approach to screen candidates for admission, which means professional and academic experiences, as well as your personal background, are considered. Ohio State University seeks students who demonstrate characteristics, including resilience, emotional intelligence, humility, compassion, and professionalism.

The direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program offers a combination of on-campus and online classes as well as clinical practice experiences. There is no part-time option. Students attend full-time, year-round, and graduate in three years.

The curriculum for the direct-entry MSN program is presented using four pillars of education: prelicensure, curriculum, graduate curriculum, specialty-relevant coursework, and clinical practicum. Students complete between 67 and 100 credit hours, depending on which advanced practice specialty they choose to pursue.

The prelicensure curriculum lays a foundation for basic nursing practice and is built upon all subsequent pillars. The core curriculum gives students a knowledge base to develop and master the knowledge and skills necessary for graduate-level nursing practice. Specialty-relevant coursework focuses on the student’s chosen advanced practice concentration, preparing for APRN practice.

The fourth pillar of the curriculum is the clinical experience. Students participate in clinical practicum in a variety of settings in Ohio under the direct supervision of preceptors and/or clinical nursing faculty. Clinical requirements vary between two and four semesters, based on the student’s choice of specialty concentration.

Interesting Highlights

• Ohio State University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Nursing School for Masters Nursing Education, making it an excellent choice for students who wish to earn a direct-entry MSN degree.
• Graduates of the Ohio State University accelerated MSN program consistently score higher than the national average on the NCLEX-RN, based on first-time test-takers' scores.


3. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL


Program Details:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an accredited direct-entry MSN program for individuals who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or higher. The program is designed in an accelerated format, allowing students to graduate in only three semesters.

As a student in this program, you will learn to synthesize scientific inquiry, theoretical formulations, and research to guide you in delivering effective, evidence-based nursing care to patients, families, and populations. Students in the direct-entry MSN program use information and health systems technology to evaluate patient care and promote positive patient outcomes.

The curriculum for this featured accelerated MSN program features coursework totaling 58 credit hours. Students take classes including Foundational Competencies for the Professional Nurse, Health Promotion, Prevention, Population, & Policy, Concepts of Transitional Care Coordination, and Evidence-Based Nursing & Healthcare Technology.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has several clinical partnerships. Partnerships span VA Initiatives, Faculty Practices, Nurse-Managed Clinics, Rural Health Centers, and hospitals. Students in the direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program complete a minimum of 800 clinical hours.

Interesting Highlights

• Peace Corp Volunteers admitted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham accelerated MSN program may apply for the Peace Corps Graduate Fellows Appointment. This appointment qualifies students for a one-time $5,000 scholarship and in-state tuition rates.
• Direct-entry MSN program graduates at the University of Alabama at Birmingham exceed national pass rates for NCLEX-RN test takers.


4. Emory University - Atlanta, GA


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care, and Women’s Health.

Program Details:

Emory University offers a fast-track opportunity for non-nurse college graduates with a minimum bachelor’s degree to earn a Master of Science in Nursing. The direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program is designed so students earn a Master of Nursing in 15 months, allowing them to sit for the registered nurse licensure exam. Students then continue academic and clinical instruction, earning a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in one of four nurse practitioner tracks.

Interested applicants must complete all required prerequisites before the start of the program. Prerequisites include seven courses earned through Physical Sciences, Math, and Social Sciences. The program consists of a 60-credit hour curriculum and a minimum of 1,060 clinical hours, including specialty-relevant clinical assignments.

Students learn from doctoral-prepared faculty. Many faculty members are published authors and researchers and continue in clinical practice. The student-to-faculty in both the classroom and clinical is low, offering students opportunities for one-on-one interaction with instructors, which helps promote positive outcomes.

Interesting Highlights

• The Emory University direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program is ranked as one of the Best Nursing Schools: Master’s Nursing Program by U.S. News & World Report.
• Graduates of the program have excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates.
• Among graduates who return post-graduation surveys, 95% report being employed in their chosen specialty within six months of graduation.


5. University of California-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner — Occupational/Environmental Health (AGPCNP-OEH), Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN), Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (CNM/WHNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nursing Health Policy, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner — Primary Care (PNP-PC), and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Program Details:

The University of California at San Francisco features another of the best direct-entry MSN programs in the nation. The program allows individuals with no previous nursing education or preparation who possess a bachelor’s degree in another field to earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

The accelerated direct-entry MSN program prepares students for advanced nursing roles as experts in community health, nursing policy, and clinical practice. The program is designed for full-time study and takes three years to complete.

The University of California at San Francisco direct-entry MSN three-year program awards students both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in nursing degrees. In the first year, students focus on entry-level nursing content, meeting the eligibility to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination per California Board of Registered Nursing Guidelines.

After the first year, students matriculate into the MSN component of the program and choose an advanced practice specialty. The core master’s curriculum includes coursework for students in all specialties study. This core coursework prepares students, in theory, clinical judgment and research, healthcare economics, leadership, and the scientific basis of advanced practice in nursing.

The last two years of study consist of graduate-level training, including specialty-relevant coursework, nursing fieldwork, residence hours, and clinical rotations at clinical affiliate sites. Students complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours relevant to their chosen concentrations.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of California at San Francisco entry-level MSN program graduates have excellent pass rates on national certification exams.
• Graduates of the program report being employed in their chosen field within six months of graduating.


6. Yale University - West Campus - West Campus, CT


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse-Midwifery, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Details:

Yale University offers a direct-entry MSN program that combines basic nursing education with preparation for advanced practice in a clinical specialty. The program boasts of masters- and doctoral-prepared faculty who are specialists in several fields. The diversity of clinical backgrounds the faculty bring exposes students to a broad range and breadth of knowledge to prepare them for practice.

Students spend the first year in the Graduate Entry Pre-Specialty Program earning credits relevant to basic nursing knowledge and skills. During this year, students complete 41.5 credits and 520 clinical hours. Upon successful completion of the pre-specialty year, students receive a Certificate in Nursing and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. The Certificate in Nursing and a Connecticut RN license are required to continue in the direct-entry MSN program.

Following the first year of the accelerated MSN program, once students pass the NCLEX-RN, they may transition into the master’s component of the program and begin graduate-level coursework. This coursework includes classes in practice, research, and nursing theory. The final two years of the program require students to complete between 45 and 60 additional credits and 624 to 1024 clinical hours, depending on their chosen concentration of study.

After completing the program, graduates are eligible to take a national certification examination relevant to their specialty and enter advanced nursing practice.

Interesting Highlights

• Yale University is ranked as a top school for the Master's Nursing Program by U.S. News & World Report.
• Four of the Yale University accelerated MSN program specialty programs rank in the top 10 for Nursing School Specialty Rankings by U.S. News & World Report. These rankings suggest Yale University is an excellent choice for any professional who wants to transition to an RN career in a specialty, like students in the direct-entry MSN program.


7. Rush University - Chicago, IL


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

Do you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing but desire to pursue a career as a registered nurse? Rush University offers a direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program that can help you achieve that goal.

The direct-entry MSN program with Clinical Nurse Leader concentration features a fast-paced, full-time curriculum that combines didactic and clinical coursework. The program is delivered in a hybrid format and designed to complete in just 24 months.

The program consists of a 74-credit-hour curriculum. Students complete classes, including Nursing Management of Common Health Alterations Across the Lifespan, Research for Evidence-Based Practice, Public Health Nursing, and Preparation for Professional Practice.

Clinical practicums are arranged by clinical faculty and include sites such as Rush University Medical Center and other Chicago metro healthcare facilities. All students complete a minimum of 1,140 clinical hours. Clinical experience includes opportunities to care for patients across the lifespan with varying degrees of health and illness in a wide array of settings.

Interesting Highlights

• The Rush University Clinical Nurse Leader direct-entry MSN program is ranked the #4 CNL program in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
• Rush University MSN program graduates far exceed the national average for NCLEX-RN pass rates, making it a great option for students seeking a quality education through a direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program.


8. University of Virginia - Charlottesville, VA


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

Program Details:

The University of Virginia offers another of our featured best direct-entry MSN programs with a Clinical Nurse Leader specialty. The program is delivered in an accelerated, two-year format designed for full-time study. The direct-entry MSN program is an excellent choice for motivated individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who wish to prepare for a career in nursing leadership.

As a student in the University of Virginia Clinical Nurse Leader direct entry Master of Science in Nursing program, you will engage in a rigorous 74-credit hour curriculum. The plan of study is designed to help develop a focus on care coordination, risk assessment, interprofessional communication, team building and leadership, and evidence-based practices for the graduate nurse.

Clinical immersions include experiences in medical-surgical, labor and delivery, psychiatric, pediatric, and community and public health nursing. Students complete a minimum of 840 clinical hours under the direct supervision of clinical preceptors and faculty.

The program culminates with a Scholarly Capstone Project. After successful completion of the program, including delivery of the Capstone Project, graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and may choose to take the Clinical Nurse Leadership Certification Examination.

Interesting Highlights

• Students in the accelerated MSN program at the University of Virginia have opportunities for research and study abroad learning.
• Graduates of the direct-entry MSN program have exceptional pass rates on both the NCLEX-RN and the CNL Certification Exam.


9. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ


Program Details:

The Master of Science in Nursing-Entry into the Profession of Nursing program at the University of Arizona offers opportunities for students holding a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing to transition to professional nursing practice. This entry-level MSN program is a full-time program that offers a demanding schedule and rigorous curriculum plan.

Entry into the program is competitive. In addition to other admission criteria, candidates for admission must take the HESI Admissions Assessment Exam and have a minimum score of 75. A behavioral interview is also required with a minimum score of 70%.

Students in the direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program learn skills necessary to build upon prior life and learning experiences and synthesize nursing knowledge to coordinate and manage patient care. The program integrates health and information technology to promote quality improvement strategies and high-quality nursing care, which support positive patient outcomes.

Students in the entry-level MSN program must earn a minimum of 80 credit hours, 26 earned from prerequisite coursework and 54 additional credits from the Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing pathway. Additionally, students complete more than 1,100 clinical practicum hours at various hospitals and healthcare facility clinical partner sites.

Interesting Highlights

• Bachelor’s prepared students who enter the entry-level MSN program and graduate have outstanding NCLEX-RN pass rates among all first-time test takers.
• The University of Arizona’s Master of Science for Entry into the Profession of Nursing is ranked among one of the best Master’s Nursing Programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.


10. Marquette University - Milwaukee, WI


Program Details:

Marquette University offers an accredited direct-entry MSN program for non-nurses, allowing you to leverage your previously earned bachelor’s degree to earn a Master of Science in Nursing at an accelerated pace. Admission to the program is competitive, but if you have earned a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, earned a minimum 3.0 GPA from your baccalaureate degree program, and have completed all prerequisite courses, that’s an excellent start to qualifying.

The Marquette University accelerated MSN program is a five-semester full-time study path that consists of a rigorous curriculum delivered in a hybrid format. Students learn through a blend of on-site and online coursework. The blended learning model consists of nursing theory coursework, on-site simulation and skills labs, and clinical rotations.

Nursing theory classes are delivered on campus allowing students to learn and develop advanced nursing concepts. Students also participate in campus-based skills and simulation labs where you will hone essential nursing skills in a mock clinical setting.

The entry-level MSN program requires students to complete 75 credits, comprised of coursework, lab experiences, and clinical practice hours. Classes include Pharmacotherapeutics for Nursing Practice, Concepts and Interventions for the Promotion of Mental Health, Community and Population Health Nursing, and Informatics, Technology, and Professional Issues.

Clinical experiences are a vital part of nursing education, and Marquette University ensures students have a variety of experiences to prepare for real-world practice. Clinicals are designed to build from laboratory and simulation experiences and to provide a deeper understanding of how nurses impact patient and population health. All students earn a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours at affiliate sites located in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Interesting Highlights

• U.S. News & World Report recognizes Marquette University as one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Programs.
• Despite its rigorous curriculum, and fast-paced study plan, graduates of the Marquette University entry-level MSN program have consistently had excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates.


11. Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, OH


Program Details:

The Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing offers a direct-entry MSN program designed for students who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The program is specifically designed for candidates who are ready to leverage their undergraduate degree and transition to a career as a registered nurse.

This entry-level MSN program offers a curriculum that consists of theory, lab simulations, and clinical experiences. Students complete a total of 72 credit hours. Clinical experience begins in your first semester.

Clinical rotations include assignments in medical-surgical settings where you will develop a foundation of clinical experience, practice communication, learn to assess vital signs, and perform activities of daily living. Each semester, clinical rotations become increasingly more intense and include experiences in pediatrics, obstetrics, critical care, and psychiatric care. By completion of the program, you will have a minimum of 1,008 clinical practice hours.

Graduates of this accelerated MSN program are prepared to lead cultural-sensitive, evidence-based initiatives to improve the quality and safety of healthcare, use research and theory to identify potential clinical issues, and develop solutions to those problems. Graduates take on direct and indirect advanced practice roles to support health and wellness, prevent illness, and promote positive outcomes for patients, families, and communities.

Interesting Highlights

• Case Western Reserve University offers doctoral-prepared nursing faculty who guide students in the entry-level MSN program. Faculty with this level of education ensure graduate nursing students, like those in the featured program, learn from experienced, well-educated mentors.
U.S. News & World Report recognizes Case Western Reserve University as one of the top nursing schools for Master’s Nursing Programs, making it an excellent choice for candidates who wish to pursue a direct-entry MSN program


12. University of Illinois Chicago - Chicago, IL


Program Details:

The Advanced Generalist direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program at the University of Illinois-Chicago offers a great opportunity for non-nurses to pursue and earn a graduate nursing degree. The program prepares students for licensure as registered nurses and to work in advanced generalist nurse positions.

The program is offered in a full-time study format. Students can anticipate graduating in seven semesters, including summer sessions. The direct-entry MSN program features a hybrid learning format allowing students to learn through online, on-site, and blended coursework. All students follow the same course sequence.

The Advanced Generalist MSN program features a 77-credit hour curriculum. Students study coursework including Epidemiology & Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice, Leadership, Policy, & Interprofessional Collaboration: Effecting Change in Complex Health Systems, and Health Equity & Social Determinants.

In addition to lectures and hands-on laboratory simulations, students participate in a wide variety of clinical experiences in various healthcare settings. Students typically complete a minimum of 800 clinical practice hours. Students benefit from the unique clinical, service, and research partnerships the university has with healthcare affiliate partners, including five Magnet-status hospitals.

Interesting Highlights

• Many of UIC’s direct-entry MSN program faculty have been recognized and/or received awards for their endeavors in nursing research. This recognition indicates students will learn from instructors dedicated to furthering the profession and promoting good outcomes for students, patients, and the population.
• Graduates of the University of Illinois Chicago MSN program have excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates.
• Many graduates go on to earn specialty certifications and have outstanding national certification examination pass rates, as well.


13. University of Texas-Austin - Austin, TX


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Leadership in Diverse Settings, Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program (PMHNP), and Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Program Details:

The Alternate Entry Master of Science in Nursing program at the University of Texas-Austin is another one of the best direct-entry MSN programs in the nation. The program is available to candidates who hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing.

This accelerated MSN program is offered with one start date each year in the summer semester. Students must attend the first year full-time. After the first year of foundation coursework is complete, you may have the option of part-time attendance. The program takes two-and-a-half to three years to complete.

The University of Texas-Austin, direct-entry MSN program allows students to choose from four specialty concentrations upon which to focus studies. The curriculum varies slightly, with students completing 77-87 credit hours, depending on their specialty concentrations.

Students in all specialty concentrations participate in diverse clinical experiences. All students earn 870 clinical hours while studying foundational nursing courses. Once specialty-relevant coursework begins, clinical hours vary. The total number of hands-on clinical hours students earn ranges from 1,1585 and 1,530, based on their specialty path.

Interesting Highlights

U.S. News & World Report has recognized the University of Texas at Austin as one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Education.
• The University of Texas-Austin School of Nursing employs 68 full-time faculty. A few faculty specialties include research, women’s health and reproductive outcomes, pediatric and family health, health disparities, chronic disease, and nursing history. The broad range of specialties and graduate-prepared faculty means students in the UT-A direct entry MSN program learn from some of the brightest minds in nursing education.


14. University of California-Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader and Public Health Nursing

Program Details:

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to a two-year direct-entry MSN program. The program is formatted for full-time study and delivered in a hybrid format.

Students in the UCLA accelerated Master of Science in nursing program learn to utilize the nursing process to provide therapeutic, safe, patient-centered, and evidence-based patient care. The curriculum includes instruction in both basic and advanced scientific and theoretical nursing knowledge. Students learn therapeutic communication and leadership skills necessary to work within the interdisciplinary healthcare team and promote positive patient outcomes.

The direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program offers students a broad range of supervised clinical experiences designed to integrate classroom and laboratory instruction in hands-on patient care. Students participate in clinicals at hospitals, outpatient care centers, and public health agencies, to name a few. Clinical practice sites include the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, St John’s Health Center, and the Good Samaritan Hospital Los Angeles.

Graduates of the direct-entry MSN program are eligible to become certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and may also apply to the California Board of Registered Nursing to become a certified Public Health Nurse.

Interesting Highlights

• Professor, Joyce Newman Giger at the UCLA School of Nursing is one of six nurse leaders named as a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing. This distinguishment shows the dedication of the University of California-Los Angeles to offer the best nursing faculty possible to students.
• Three faculty from UCLA Nursing are Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing, another indication that students learn from top nursing educators in the nation!


15. Azusa Pacific University - Azusa, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-​Gerontology Or Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Adult-​Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Healthcare Administration & Leadership, Nursing Education, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner–Primary Care (PNP-​PC), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Specialty, School Nurse Services Credential (SNSC) & Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and School Nurse Services Credential (SNSC) & Pediatric Nurse Practitioner–Primary Care (PNP-​PC)

Program Details:

Azusa Pacific University offers a direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program that promotes Christian values. The university’s philosophy and mission are to “advance the work of God through nursing education, research, professional practice, community, and church service.”

The Azusa Pacific University direct-entry MSN program is campus-based. The first four semesters are full-time and involve theory and clinical coursework. After completion of the first four semesters, students participate in a clinical internship designed to prepare them for hands-on practice and to take the National Council Licensure Exam.

The program offers options for students to pursue a nursing specialty in several concentrations as Clinical Nurse Leaders, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, and Healthcare Administrators and Leaders. The curriculum consists of 108 to 120 units of credit, depending on the student’s previous college coursework and chosen specialty concentration.

The clinical internship takes place in designated clinical affiliate sites under the supervision of clinical preceptors and clinical faculty. The clinical internship lasts seven weeks. During the internship, you will also review prelicensure coursework in preparation for the registered nurse licensure exam (NCLEX-RN).

Interesting Highlights

• Azusa University is recognized by U.S. News & World Report for several categories of excellence: Best First-Year Experience, Service Learning, Campus Ethnic Diversity, and Best Master’s Nursing Programs.
• Azusa University services more than 500 military members and their families, earning the university recognition as a Yellow Ribbon University.
• The university is recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Top Colleges, making it an excellent option for individuals seeking a direct-entry MSN program.


16. Augusta University - Augusta, GA


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

Augusta University offers an innovative option for bachelors-prepared non-nurses to earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization as a Clinical Nurse Leader. The direct-entry MSN program is designed in an accelerated, full-time hybrid format. It takes 16 months (4 semesters) to complete the program.

The entry-level MSN program features a 60-credit curriculum. Students take classes, including Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Economics & Healthcare Policy, Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing & Heathcare, and Synthesis of Clinical Nurse Leader Role in Practice.

Augusta University has over 315 clinical sites devoted to nursing. As a student in this program, you will participate in clinicals at a wide range of sites to broaden your experiences and help hone your skills. All students in the direct-entry MSN program earn at least 1,020 clinical hours through laboratory and hands-on practice.

Graduates of the Augusta University entry-level MSN program are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. They may also take the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Interesting Highlights

• Graduates of the Augusta University direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program have some of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates in the nation.
• According to U.S. News & World Report, Augusta University is ranked as one of the Top MSN Programs in the nation.


17. Simmons University - Boston, MA


Concentrations Offered:

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Program Details:

Simmons University is home to another of our featured best direct-entry MSN programs in the U.S. The program offers a Family Nurse Practitioner track, preparing students to become primary healthcare providers to diverse patient populations across the lifespan.

The Simmons University entry-level MSN program offers industry-leading faculty to prepare students for RN licensure and nurse practitioner practice. The program is delivered on-campus and takes three years to complete. It consists of pre- and post-licensure components.

The first four semesters of the program are dedicated to prelicensure nursing coursework and clinicals. After completing the academic and clinical requirements of the prelicensure component, students take the NCLEX-RN.

After earning RN licensure, newly certified registered nurse students transition into the post-licensure portion of the entry-level MSN program. The post-licensure component of the program includes foundational nursing courses, primary patient care, and research.

Upon completion of the post-licensure component of the program, which includes a 96-credit hour curriculum and more than 1,000 clinical hours, students will receive a Master of Science in Nursing degree. At that time, students are eligible to take the Family Nurse Practitioner certification examination.

Interesting Highlights

• Simmons University is ranked by U.S. News as one of the best National Universities, Best Value Schools, and Top Performers on social media. It is ranked as one of the Best Graduate Nursing Schools for its Master’s Nursing Program, making it a great choice for students looking for a direct-entry MSN- program.
• Graduates of the Direct Entry MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program have consistently high pass rates, much higher than the national average.


18. Saint Louis University - Saint Louis, MO


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

The Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing at Saint Louis University is home to another outstanding accredited direct-entry MSN program. The program presents college graduates with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Nursing with Clinical Nurse Leader specialty in only five semesters.

The 21-month entry-level MSN program prepares students to sit for both the NCLEX-RN and the Clinical Nurse Leader certification examination. The program features simulation laboratories and state-of-the-art classrooms.

The curriculum focuses on role development and competencies students need to become an effective clinical nurse leader. Direct-entry MSN Clinical Nurse Leader students complete 65 total credits from coursework. Classes include Nursing Strategies in Physiological Health Alterations, Informatics and Quality Improvement, Evidence-Based Practice for the Advanced Generalist Nurse, Physiological Adaptations of the Complex Client, and Clinical Nursing Leadership for Advanced Generalists.

Students prepare for clinical rotations in the Saint Louis University simulation lab. The simulation lab consists of two hospital units, four examination rooms, and 16 hospital beds. The lab also has two control rooms where instructors work from behind a one-way glass and operate life-like manikins to simulate diseases, symptoms, and conditions related to real patient care settings. In addition to learning in the simulation lab, students complete a 1,000-hour non-course requirement where students practice face-to-face care for clients in a variety of clinical settings.

Interesting Highlights

• The direct-entry MSN program at Saint Louis University boasts of nationally recognized faculty known for their leadership, research, teaching, and student mentorship.
• The Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing at Saint Louis University is recognized as one of the Best Grad Schools for Nursing Master’s Degree by U.S. News & World Report.


19. Northeastern University - Boston, MA


Concentrations Offered:

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

Program Details:

Northeastern University’s direct-entry MSN program is an on-campus program allowing candidates to use previous non-nursing bachelor’s experience to work toward both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

The direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program is designed and divided into two parts. Part One is the Pre-Licensure part. This section of the program lasts 16 months (4 semesters). Part One involves rigorous, sequential classwork and clinicals combining undergraduate and graduate level classes. Upon completion of the 64-credit Part One component, students earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN.

After earning RN licensure, students must secure full-time employment as a registered nurse. Students may begin non-clinical courses relevant to Part Two of the entry-level MSN program. However, you must have one to two years of work experience as a registered nurse before progressing to the clinical portion of the master’s track.

Once you matriculate into the Master’s Specialty Track, you will complete research, professional, and clinical core courses and then enroll in specialty clinical courses. Completion of the master’s component (Part Two) can take four to six semesters to complete.

Direct-entry MSN program students may choose to specialize in one of four nurse practitioner concentrations. All students complete 64 credit hours of graduate-level nursing coursework and clinicals. Specialty concentrations require an additional 27 to 35 credits of coursework and specialty relevant-clinical rotations.

Interesting Highlights

• Graduates of the entry-level MSN program consistently have high first-time pass rates on the NCLEX-RN.
• Graduates also have pass rates higher than the national average on national certification examinations.
• According to surveys completed by graduates of the direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program, most students have employment in their chosen specialties within six months of graduation from the program.


20. University of New Hampshire - Durham, NH


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

Are you looking to advance your career and move into a leadership role as a registered nurse? Do you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing? If so, the University of New Hampshire may interest you. The university offers one of our featured accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs.

The direct-entry MSN program is formatted to allow students to graduate in as few as five semesters. The program begins yearly in January and is designed to include two summer semesters. It is offered in a full-time, on-campus format.

Students complete a total of 63 credit hours. After completing the first 57 credits of the accelerated MSN program curriculum and 500 clinical hours, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN.

After passing the NCLEX-RN and obtaining licensure as a registered nurse, students are admitted into the Clinical Nursing Leadership clinical component of the program. The CNL component includes a clinical Nursing Leadership Clinical which consists of 300 clinical hours. Students also prepare a Clinical Nurse leader capstone course which includes a Capstone Project and 200 additional clinical hours.

Upon successful completion of all entry-level MSN program requirements, students will be Registered Nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing and eligible to take the Clinical Nurse Leader certification examination.

Interesting Highlights

• Students in the University of New Hampshire accelerated MSN program learn from doctoral-prepared faculty who remain in active practice, conduct research, and are active in national nursing associations and organizations. Having faculty who are active in the nursing community and profession means they are dedicated to promoting the profession, which benefits nursing students.
• Program graduates consistently have outstanding NCLEX-RN and national certification examination pass rates.


21. DePaul University - Chicago, IL


Program Details:

DePaul University offers another program for professionals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree the opportunity to become a registered nurse. The program is one of the best direct-entry MSN programs in the nation.

DePaul University’s direct-entry MSN program features a lockstep, accelerated format. Therefore, the program is only offered full-time.

As a student in the DePaul University accelerated MSN program, you will learn from sought-after faculty who are grounded in an extensive background of professional nursing. Some faculty are Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educator Fellows published authors and researchers. The diverse backgrounds of faculty members mean you experience learning from several different perspectives.

The program prepares students for advanced nursing practice, offering guidance to help develop leadership skills necessary for clinical practice, educational, administrative, and advocacy roles. The rigorous curriculum requires students to complete 107 quarter credit hours. Coursework includes classes such as Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Basic Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, Applied Pathophysiology, and Culture, Ethics & Policy Analysis.

DePaul University has partnerships with more than 150 clinical affiliates at nearly 80 clinical sites. Clinical experiences give you the chance to practice hands-on nursing care for diverse patient populations in diverse settings. Clinical placements are designed to correspond with the student’s current specialty term and begin during the second quarter of the accelerated MSN program. Students must complete a minimum of 795 clinical hours.

Interesting Highlights

• The DePaul University entry-level MSN program was the first of its kind in Illinois.
• DePaul University has several donor-funded scholarships that prospective students in the direct-entry MSN program may apply for.


22. Regis College School of Nursing - Weston, MA


Program Details:

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree but want to become a nurse, Regis College School of Nursing has an excellent option, the direct-entry MSN program. This program is designed to allow you to earn a BSN, MSN, and certification by seamlessly progressing through nursing coursework and clinical requirements.

The Regis College direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program offers the flexibility of day and evening classes. During the first 16 months of the program, students attend full-time classes and complete the BSN component of the program. The MSN component may be completed part-time.

The program consists of a 94-credit hour curriculum including classes such as Health Promotion & Disease Prevention for Diverse Populations, Community Health Nursing, Complex Care Nursing, and Nursing Leadership.

Regis College direct-entry MSN program students gain hands-on experience under the supervision of nursing faculty and college-approved clinical preceptors in a wide variety of clinical settings.

Upon successful completion of the program, you will be able to synthesize nursing theories relevant to advanced practice nursing, nursing education, and nursing leadership and use this information to promote culturally competent nursing care for patients, communities, and populations.

Interesting Highlights

• Students in the Regis College direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program have outstanding NCLEX-RN pass rates. You will take the NCELX-RN after completing the BSN component of the program as you transition to the MSN portion.
• Regis College is recognized by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.


23. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH


Program Details:

The University of Cincinnati offers another of our featured accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs. The program is part of the only Academic Health Center in the Cincinnati region.

This entry-level MSN program is designed to offer a combination of on-campus and online learning. The program offers simulated patient care experiences, technology-enhanced learning, and small classes. Students also benefit from opportunities to collaborate with interdisciplinary professionals within the medical campus.

The accelerated MSN program consists of a 64-credit hour curriculum and is designed to be completed in only five semesters. Students complete classes including Health Care Policy, Biostatistics for Evidence-Based Practice, and Informatics for Professional Nurses online. Other classes are offered in a face-to-face, on-campus experience.

The university’s simulation labs provide a learning environment where students practice behavior, skills, and knowledge related to various patient scenarios. This allows students to learn in a safe environment while perfecting the execution of excellent nursing care.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of Cincinnati is partnered with Maple Knoll Village to perform research and promote high-quality geriatric care. Maple Knoll Village is used as a testing ground where students use on-site telehealth robots to prepare for changes in healthcare interactions, such as telehealth technology advances.
• Graduate students, like those enrolled in the entry-level MSN program at the University of Cincinnati, have opportunities to study abroad. The international study program is designed to help students become responsible world citizens, challenging the student’s understanding of issues related to global health disparities and issues.


24. University of California-Davis - Sacramento, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Public Health Nurse

Program Details:

The University of California-Davis offers another of our featured best direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs. The program is designed to prepare new nurses for leadership and advocacy roles as master‘s prepared registered nurses and offers a public health nurse specialty.

Students learn to provide nursing care to diverse patient populations and promote healthier communities. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are awarded a Master of Science in Nursing and are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and Public Health Nurse certification examination.

This accelerated MSN program is conducted by the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing led under the direction of the Nursing Science and Healthcare Leadership Group at the University of California-Davis. The group consists of an interprofessional team of nearly 60 faculty members. Faculty members specialize in areas including nursing, health informatics, biostatistics, nutrition, sociology, pharmacy, and public health. With faculty who have diverse backgrounds and experience and a desire to promote the profession of nursing, students in the program have all the support needed to succeed.

The University of California-Davis direct-entry MSN program is a full-time program formatted for completion in six quarters (18 months). The curriculum consists of 92 units of credit, which are earned through academic, lab, clinical, and seminar presentations. Through a variety of clinical experiences, students earn a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care hours. Although no thesis is required, students must complete and submit a final capstone portfolio project and pass a final comprehensive exam.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of California-Davis is ranked as one of the Best Grad Schools for Master’s Degree in Nursing by U.S. News & World Report, suggesting this is an excellent school choice for pursuing a direct-entry MSN program degree.
• The University of California-Davis uses simulated reality, by utilizing a team of patient actors to help students prepare for real-life situations they will face in clinicals and in their nursing careers.


25. University of Maryland - Baltimore, MD


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field but dream of a career as a leader in clinical nursing care, the University of Maryland has an excellent program to consider. The direct-entry MSN program Clinical Nurse Leader prepares professionals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to enter nursing with a master’s degree as a leader in clinical care.

This accelerated MSN program will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to work as a frontline nursing care provider in various settings. You will learn to incorporate technology and innovations and use evidence-based practices and quality improvement strategies to improve patient outcomes and effectively lead nursing care teams.

The program is formatted as a full-time study option with in-person, campus-based learning. However, if you feel full-time enrollment is not a good fit for you, there are more flexible study plans available.

The program curriculum is intensive, consisting of 65 credit hours from didactic and laboratory instruction. Coursework includes classes that cover leadership, informatics, research, and healthcare systems. Students participate in more than 800 hours of clinicals at various hospitals and healthcare facilities.

After completing the program and earning the Master of Science in Nursing with Clinical Nurse Leader specialty, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Exam. The CNL exam is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Interesting Highlights

• The accelerated MSN program with Clinical Nurse Leader specialty at the University of Maryland has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report since the rankings first began.
• Graduates of the University of Maryland direct-entry MSN program have outstanding NCLEX-RN pass rates.
U.S. News & World Report also ranks the University of Maryland as one of the Best Graduate Schools for Nursing Master’s Degrees.


26. University of San Diego - San Diego, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader and Public Health Nurse

Program Details:

The University of San Diego’s Hahn School of Nursing & Health Science is home to another featured direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program. This program is designed for individuals with a minimum bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.

The program is designed to be completed in 21 months (5 terms) and features a rigorous curriculum to help students develop a solid foundation in core nursing courses as well as master’s-level knowledge. As a student in the University of San Diego accelerated MSN program, you will build upon previous undergraduate experiences to develop the academic and clinical skills and confidence of professional nurses.

Graduates of the direct-entry MSN program are prepared as Advanced Nurse Generalists and receive a Master of Science in Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Leaders. They are also eligible for certification as a California Public Health Nurse.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of San Diego is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Graduate Schools in the nation for its Nursing Master’s Degree program.


27. Boston College - Chestnut Hill, MA


Program Details:

If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing but want to pursue a career as a registered nurse, Boston College has an excellent opportunity. The college offers an Advanced Generalist Master of Science in Nursing which is one of the best accelerated MSN programs we have found.

The Boston College entry-level MSN program is designed to help students implement nursing philosophy aligned with the belief that every human has a deep intrinsic worth. Faculty teach students to synthesize knowledge gathered from humanities and sciences to promote ethical nursing practice and integrate that knowledge to help identify health issues and disparities among individuals, families, and communities.

The Advanced Generalist accelerated MSN program aligns with the professional guidelines and standards as established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Faculty members are renowned expert clinicians, scientists, and community members committed to advancing the nursing profession through research, leadership, and mentorship for next-generation nurses.

The entry-level MSN program’s curriculum consists of 19 courses through which students earn 57-course credits. In addition to lectures and laboratory simulations, students participate in a variety of clinical experiences, earning more than 1,000 hours of hands-on clinical patient care. The college has partnerships with a variety of clinical sites where students rotate, including Atrius Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Shriners Children’s of Boston, V.A. Boston Healthcare System, and the Addiction Treatment Center of New England.

Graduates of the direct-entry MSN program are prepared to use evidence-based practices to improve the quality of nursing care within healthcare settings and organizations and use data and technology to enhance nursing practices. They use this knowledge to apply evidence-based findings to practice promoting positive patient outcomes.

Interesting Highlights

• The Boston College direct-entry MSN program boasts of nationally renowned faculty known for their contributions to nursing research and education, making it an excellent choice for anyone in the Boston area who wants to seek a Master of Science in Nursing.
• Graduates of the program perform exceptionally well on the NCLEX-RN among all first-time test takers.


28. University of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA


Program Details:

The University of San Francisco offers one of our featured accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs, designed for candidates who possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and wish to transition to a registered nurse. The program is designed for face-to-face campus-based instruction. Students attend school full-time and graduate in two years or six semesters.

The entry-level MSN program prepares students for professional nursing practice with the skills to advocate on behalf of, and enhance healthcare outcomes for, patients, families, and populations, and to promote strong healthcare teams. As a student will you learn to create and implement effective nursing care plans for diverse patient populations in a variety of settings.

The direct-entry MSN program features a 92-credit hour curriculum designed to help students apply their undergraduate knowledge to graduate-level nursing. Students begin the program by taking core nursing classes, including Introductory Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Quality, Improvement & Patient Safety. The program progresses to upper-level nursing classes including Population-Based Epidemiology Inquiry, Financial Resource Management in the Microsystems of Healthcare, and Clinical Leadership.

As a student in the program, you will complete more than 1,000 internship and clinical hours in various healthcare settings and hospitals. Sample clinical sites include the California Pacific Medical Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Laguna Honda Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente.

Interesting Highlights

• An average of 60% of the University of San Francisco direct-entry MSN program graduates later pursue doctoral degrees in nursing.
• The University of San Francisco ranks as one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Programs by U.S. News.


29. California Baptist University - Riverside, CA


Concentrations Offered:

Health Care Leadership, Nurse Educator, and Nursing Informatics

Program Details:

California Baptist University offers another excellent direct-entry MSN program for candidates who possess a baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing. The university honors a faith-based mission and has a master’s curriculum that reflects that mission, emphasizing a holistic approach to nursing theory and practice.

California Baptist University offers a Resource Center and state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Lab. Students use these university resources to practice low- and high-fidelity practice experiences, using human-computer interactive programs under the direction of specialty trained faculty who customize learning.

As a student in the accelerated MSN program, you will first complete pre-licensure nursing courses to prepare for the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs. Once licensed, you will continue in the program and complete post-licensure coursework to earn the Master of Science in Nursing degree.

The program features a curriculum of 106-108 units of credit and is completed in 10 or 11 semesters, depending on your choice of concentration. Students may choose to specialize in Health Care Leadership, Nurse Education, or Nursing Informatics.

Students graduates as registered nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing degree and are eligible to take national certification exams relevant to their chosen specialties.

Interesting Highlights

• California Baptist University is ranked by U.S. News as one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Programs.
• Graduates of the MSN program have exceptional pass rates on all national certification exams.
• NCLEX-RN pass rates for direct-entry MSN program graduates consistently exceed national averages.


30. Metropolitan State University - St. Paul, MN


Program Details:

Metropolitan State University offers one of our featured best entry-level MSN programs. The program is a seven-semester program designed to give candidates with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree the theory and clinical foundation to transition to professional nursing practice.

As a student in this accredited MSN program, you will learn to synthesize knowledge from science and nursing to form a basis for nursing practice and to utilize collaborative strategies and leadership skills to improve the quality of nursing care and promote positive patient outcomes. Students develop an understanding of health and information systems technology and learn to implement its use in patient care. Special emphasis is placed on public health initiatives.

The curriculum consists of 62 credit hours of nursing coursework. 29 credits are earned through undergraduate nursing courses and 33 from graduate-level nursing courses. Students participate in a minimum of 860 clinical hours to accomplish graduation requirements.

Upon successful completion of the accelerated MSN program, graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN to gain registered nurse licensure. After becoming licensed as an RN, graduates may register as a Public Health Nurse in Minnesota.

Interesting Highlights

• Metropolitan State University was founded to offer bachelor’s degree programs for working adults. Since its inception, it has achieved national recognition for its innovative efforts to accommodate older students or prospective students who wish to transition into their careers, like students in the entry-level MSN program.
• Metropolitan State University has received several awards, including the Hesburgh Award, Quality-of-Life Award, and Social Mobility Index recognition for helping students move from lower-income strata to the middle class.


31. Western University of Health Sciences - Pomona, CA


Program Details:

Western University of Health Sciences offers an opportunity for non-nursing bachelor’s degree graduates to earn an RN license and Master of Science in Nursing degree in just two years. The program, which is one of the best direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs in the nation, is campus-based and designed for full-time study.

The entry-level MSN program features a curriculum that consists of 90 credit hours. Students take classes including Utilization of Evidence in Healthcare, Biostatistics, Advanced Professional role, and Care Coordination/Chronic Disease Management.

Students accomplish clinical requirements through a variety of practical experiences in diverse healthcare facilities and hospitals. Students complete a minimum of 960 clinical hours.

All students complete the MSN Clinical Project, which is a three-course series designed to lay a foundation to integrate the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Master of Nursing essentials through a proposed quality improvement project. The project will focus on measures to improve work design, patient care, or patient outcomes. Completion of the MSN Clinical Project is mandatory to meet graduation criteria.

Interesting Highlights

• Western University of Health Science graduates, like those who complete the direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing program, have excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates, much higher than the national average.
• Nearly 100% of 2021 MSN graduates of the Western University of Health Sciences direct-entry MSN program reported employment in their chosen field within three months of graduation.


32. MGH Institute of Health Professions - Boston, MA


Concentrations Offered:

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, and Dual Adult-Gerontology/Women's Health

Program Details:

If you have a college degree with a conferred bachelor’s or higher in a field other than nursing but desire to have a leadership role in nursing as a nurse practitioner, MGH Institute of Health Professions could be the perfect place for you! MGH offers one of the top accredited direct-entry MSN programs in the nation.

The direct-entry MSN program is a three-year program that prepares students for licensure as registered nurses and advanced practice roles by choosing one of seven advanced specialty nursing tracks. The program boasts of nationally recognized practicing nurse clinicians who guide students to success through this rigorous program.

Students complete between 91 and 104 credit hours, depending on their chosen specialty concentration. Additionally, clinical practicum experiences are offered at several clinical affiliate sites, where students earn a minimum of 1,000 clinical practice hours providing direct patient care. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN and to take the national certification examination relevant to their chosen specialty.

Interesting Highlights

• The MGH Institute of Health Professions offers a low 1:6 faculty-to-student clinical ratio, allowing students to benefit from personalized attention.
• The MGH Institute of Health Professions is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Grad Schools for earning a Master’s Nursing Degree.


33. University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu, HI


Concentrations Offered:

Advanced Population Health Nursing

Program Details:

The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a direct-entry MSN program with an Advanced Population Health Nursing specialization. The program is designed for learners who have a non-nursing baccalaureate degree and who seek leadership and career advancement opportunities in the field of nursing.

The first year of the direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program includes an intense 49-credit hour curriculum. During these three semesters, the study emphasizes health promotion, disease prevention, and care of the acutely ill. After completion of the first year, students are eligible and take the NCLEX-RN.

Once the NCLEX-RN is successfully completed, students transition into the graduate nursing specialty track. The curriculum in the specialty track includes a significant amount of clinical practice experiences in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and community health environments. All clinical requirements are completed under the direct supervision of MSN program faculty.

Graduates of the program earn a Master of Science in Advanced Population Health degree. The degree indicates the graduate’s preparedness to practice in roles, including education, community outreach, case management, research, nursing management and/or administration, and clinical practice.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of Hawaii at Manoa direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program is recognized as one of the best Graduate Nursing Schools in the Nation by U.S. News.
U.S. News & World Report also ranks the University of Hawaii at Manoa as one of the Best Master’s Nursing Schools in the nation.


34. University of Louisville - Louisville, KY


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

The Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of Louisville is one of the best direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs nationwide. The program offers an accelerated, on-campus learning experience for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree who wish to become graduate-level registered nurses.

The accredited entry-level MSN program is a full-time six-semester (two-year) program. Courses are offered on-campus at the research-intense University of Louisville Health Sciences Center campus.

Students earn 68 credits in the program. The curriculum integrates laboratory simulations into the nursing curriculum, providing students with a practice-based learning environment designed to develop skills and allow faculty the opportunity to identify and address students’ needs.

The Clinical Simulation Center includes a Simulation Lab, two graduate labs, and a Clinical Learning Lab. Students also have access to the Learning Resource Center which has tools and equipment students will use for practice and laboratory skills assessments.

The curriculum includes 900 clinical hours which are earned in various clinical settings in the Louisville metropolitan area. At least 300 of the required clinical hours are earned in the Clinical Nurse Leader immersion which occurs in the last two semesters of the program.

Program graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Nurse Certification.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of Louisville is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Programs.
• Graduates of the direct-entry MSN program at the University of Louisville have outstanding NCLEX-RN and national certification exam pass rates.


35. University of Vermont - Burlington, VT


Concentrations Offered:

Clinical Nurse Leader

Program Details:

The University of Vermont ranks as one of the best accredited direct-entry MSN programs. The university offers a Direct-Entry Master of Science Clinical Nurse Leader program that gives individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing the opportunity to pursue a career path as a registered nurse.

The program is designed in an on-campus format and is completed in three-and-a-half years. The curriculum plan combines coursework in healthcare management, delivery of care, and advanced evidence-based practice with hands-on clinical experiences.

The curriculum consists of 76 credit hours. Students take classes full-time during their first year. After completion of the first year (pre-licensure) year, students take the NCLEX-RN and are encouraged to secure part-time employment as a registered nurse.

Students in the accelerated MSN program complete 810 clinical hours during the pre-licensure year and an additional 420 clinical hours in the post-licensure portion of the program. Clinical practicum hours are completed at hospitals, healthcare clinics and other affiliate agencies, providing students a variety of experiences related to the many roles of Clinical Nurse Leaders.

Interesting Highlights

• The University of Vermont is recognized by U.S. News & World Report for being one of the nation's top Graduate Nursing Schools and one of the Best Nursing Schools for Master’s Nursing Degrees.
• Graduates of the accelerated MSN program consistently score better than the national average for both the NCLEX-RN and national certification exams, indicating students who graduate from this program are well-prepared for professional nursing practice.


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WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING STUDENTS?


As you research direct-entry MSN programs, one key factor to consider is how you will pay for your degree. Luckily, there are many financial aid opportunities available for nurses pursuing graduate studies. We have compiled a list of scholarship and grant opportunities you may wish to consider.

1. Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses Foundation Scholarship (Amount Varies):

The AORN Scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate nursing students pursuing a career in perioperative nursing. You must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program.

2. The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association General Scholarship (Up to $10,000):

This nursing school scholarship is available to nursing students in the United States. Preference is given to applicants who reflect an interest in critical care, oncology, emergency nursing, or population health.

3. Health Resources & Services Administration Nurse Corp Scholarship Program (Amount Varies):

These scholarships are available to graduate and undergraduate nursing students. Applicants must agree to work in a facility where there is a critical shortage of nurses after graduation.

4. American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Geraldine Bednash Scholarship ($5,000):

This scholarship is available to nursing school students and applicants pursuing a baccalaureate or graduate nursing degree at AACN member institutions.

5. Association on American Indian Affairs Elizabeth and Sherman Asche Memorial Scholarship (Amount Varies):

This scholarship is offered to applicants from federally recognized tribes pursuing graduate or undergraduate degrees in health and science fields, such as direct-entry MSN programs.

6. Danish Sisterhood of American’s Elizabeth Garde National Scholarship ($850):

This scholarship is offered to post-high school students or graduate nursing students seeking a degree in nursing or other healthcare profession.

7. Sister Mary Daniel Ruffing Nursing Scholarship Fund ($3,000):

This scholarship is offered to graduate and undergraduate nursing students who demonstrate financial need while pursuing their first nursing degree.

8. Pocket Nurse Scholarship Fund ($4,000):

The Pocket Nurse Scholarship is offered to students pursuing their education in the field of allied health, nursing, or those seeking a degree as a nurse educator.



5 IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHICH DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR YOU?


Choosing the right school and program to earn your degree is vital. Knowing what questions to ask and what to look can help you make the choice that is best for you. The following are some important factors to consider as you search for the best direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program.

1. Is the Program Accredited?:

Accreditation is more than a word attached to the front of a nursing program description. It is a major step that schools and programs take to ensure they meet high standards of education as is necessary to prepare students for professional practice. Prospective employers look for graduates of accredited nursing schools. Also, should you decide to pursue a doctoral degree after earning your MSN, you must show your MSN was conferred by an accredited nursing program.

2. What Clinical Experiences Will You Have?:

Transitioning from a non-nursing career to a professional nursing career is a big step. You need to be sure the program you choose offers enough clinical experiences to prepare you for your new role. Clinical experiences should span a variety of settings and patient populations.

3. What is the Program’s Retention Rate?:

Retention rate refers to the percentage of students who complete a program, like direct-entry MSN programs. Although it is normal for some students to drop out for several reasons, if the number of dropouts is too high, that could suggest problems within the program. Look for a program with at least a 95% retention rate, as this indicates students are satisfied with the program and learning.

4. What Percentage of Program Graduates Pass the NCLEX-RN?:

Good NCLEX pass rates indicate students are well-prepared for licensure and to begin careers as entry-level nurses. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the national pass rate for NCLEX-RN test takers is 86.5%. I recommend finding a direct-entry MSN program that has at least that percentage of students who pass the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt.

5. What is the Post-Graduation Employment Rate:

Employers look for qualified nurses who come from schools known for providing high-quality education. The school’s website should have the graduate employment rate posted, but if it does not, ask an admissions counselor. You should look for a direct-entry MSN program whose graduates have at least a 90% employment rate within six months of graduation.



3 MOST COMMON CHALLENGES YOU WILL FACE IN DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAMS AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM


There are challenges to any college program, including direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs. Although you may not avoid them entirely, it is possible to prepare for possible challenges and overcome them. The following are the three most common challenges entry-level MSN students face.

Challenge #1: Transitioning to “Nurse Mentality”



About the Challenge:

Students in direct-entry MSN programs have already earned a college degree. If you’ve been working a job related to your current degree, it can be a bit overwhelming learning to “think like a nurse.”

How to Overcome it:

The easiest thing to do to overcome this challenge is to realize that every nurse was once a nursing student. Whether we had a previous degree or not, we all had to learn the nurse mentality. Listen to and learn from your instructors. Mostly trust yourself and the process. If you have a desire to be a nurse, the rest will fall into place.

Challenge #2: Difficulty Juggling Your Job and School Responsibilities



About the Challenge:

If you’re like a lot of nursing students, you may need the financial stability that working while in nursing school can bring. However, it can be difficult to juggle the responsibilities of work with those related to nursing school.

How to Overcome it:

Many nursing schools recommend students in direct-entry MSN programs do not work, at least during the first year of the program. Others recommend not working at all. However, it is impossible to know what each student’s individual financial needs are. If you must continue working while in school, consider discussing scheduling options with your employer to accommodate the program. It may mean having to work an odd shift or one that you’d rather not, but the temporary inconvenience of a schedule change could lead to a lifelong of convenience when it comes to job opportunities.

Challenge #3: Rigorous Coursework and Clinical Rotations



About the Challenge:

The curriculum for accredited entry-level MSN programs can seem a bit daunting, especially at first. You will study core nursing courses, have graduate-level classes, specialty classes, and several hundred hours of clinicals.

How to Overcome it:

The best way to overcome challenges with entry-level MSN coursework and clinicals is to create a schedule that works for you. Once you know which classes you will take and when and what days and times you have clinicals, pencil in other important obligations. Be sure you schedule enough time for studying for each class, but don’t forget about self-care.

No matter how smart you are, or how hard you work on a class or assignment, if you neglect your personal care, you set yourself up for failure. You need to eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of rest. Ask your family to help with household chores and responsibilities. You may be surprised what just a little help from others will do to help improve your chances of success in school.



WHAT ARE SOME USEFUL RESOURCES FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING STUDENTS?


Anyone considering enrolling or already attending direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs knows you can never get too much information. Fortunately, because we live in a world with technology at our fingertips, there are many useful resources as close as your phone or laptop. The following are some useful resources that may benefit direct-entry MSN students.

YouTube Videos

Direct-Entry Masters in Nursing- Frequently Asked Questions:

Host Danielle Denise addresses frequently asked questions about direct-entry MSN programs.

Direct-Entry MSN Programs-My Thoughts:

Host, Dr. Marida, shares her thoughts about direct-entry MSN programs and what type of student is best suited for success in them.

Getting a Masters in Nursing WITHOUT Getting a Bachelor's in Nursing First:

Nurse Shida discusses entry-level Master of Science in nursing programs, including admissions tips, pros and cons, and cost.

Podcasts

Health Newsfeed- Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts:

Johns Hopkins presents a podcast featuring the latest in nursing and medical-related news. This podcast is designed for people, like direct-entry MSN students, who want to stay in the know about important healthcare trends.

The Nursing Podcast:

Presented by host, Nurse Jon Haws, this podcast is designed for nursing students. It covers tips, answers, questions, and includes interviews with leaders, authors, and entrepreneurs in the nursing profession.

Bedside Rounds:

This podcast is presented in a story-telling format, helping listeners understand about the intersection of medicine, society, and culture, which are all relevant to nurses and nursing students, like those considering a direct-entry MSN program.

Books

RN Bound- A Guide to Becoming a Successful Nurse:

Author and Clinical Nurse, Yalanda Comeaux, shares insight into why some nursing students become overwhelmed and drop out of their nursing programs. In this book, she presents ways for prospective nursing students to succeed as nurses.

The Shift- One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives:

Author, Theresa Brown, RN, is a practicing nurse and New York Times columnist. In this book, she presents a first-hand view of what happens in a busy day at a teaching hospital. The Shift gives students, like prospective direct-entry MSN program students, an idea of what’s really like to be a nurse. (One of my personal favorites!)

First Year Nurse- Wisdom, Warnings, and What I Wish I’d Known My First 100 Days on the Job:

This book is an excellent read, offering the wisdom of hundreds of experienced nurses with the turn of every page. Find tips on how to plan, prioritize, communicate, and cope while setting a course for professional success.



LICENSURE INFORMATION FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES


What License Do You Need To Get After Completing Your Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree?


In order to practice as a registered nurse after completing a direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program, you must obtain licensure as a registered nurse. Most schools have a point during the program during which they help students prepare to apply for licensure, but it is up to you to ensure you follow the proper steps. Practicing nursing without a license is against the law and can result in serious legal ramifications.


What Is The Step-By-Step Process To Get Your RN License After Completing Your Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree?


Once you meet the criteria established by your program and the State Board of Nursing to be eligible for licensure, you must follow a few steps. First, you must apply for registration/licensure through your state Nursing Regulatory Body. This is the Board of Nursing for the state where you wish to be licensed.

After applying for licensure/registration with your NRB, you must register to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN is administered by Pearson VUE.



WHERE DO THE MAJORITY OF DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES WORK? – TOP 5 WORK SETTINGS


Graduates of direct-entry MSN programs work in a variety of settings and in a broad range of roles. The following is a list of the settings where most of these degree holders work and some examples of possible job responsibilities.

1. Offices of Physicians:

Direct-entry MSN graduates who work in physicians’ offices could fill several roles. Masters-prepared nurses may work as the nurse manager or clinic director and oversee the daily operations of the office. This may include managing staff schedules, ensuring patients are seen in a timely manner and handling budgets and payroll. Many MSN graduates pursue an advanced practice role and become nurse practitioners, which is a job they can have in a physician’s office.

2. General Medical and Surgical Hospitals:

Graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs who work in general medical and surgical hospitals often work in roles such as Director of Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer, or Hospital Administrator. Those who specialized in an APRN role may work as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner, or Certified Nurse Midwife.

3. Outpatient Care Centers:

Direct-entry MSN program graduates in outpatient care centers work as Outpatient Clinic Managers, Directors of Nursing, CRNAs, and NPs. The job responsibilities are determined by each nurse’s specific title.

4. Offices of Other Health Practitioners:

MSN nurses in offices of other health practitioners have many of the same responsibilities as those who work in physicians’ offices. Some work as Clinical Staff Managers or Leaders, Nursing Directors, or work in APRN roles.

5. Home Health Care Services:

Direct-entry MSN program graduates who work in home health care services usually work in leadership roles, such as Case Management, Director of Nursing, Intake Coordinator, or Clinical Nursing Coordinator. Those who are APRNs may conduct home visits to monitor patient changes, do intake assessments, or recertify clients to determine their eligibility for continued service.



WHAT IS THE TYPICAL WORK SCHEDULE AND WORK HOURS FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES?


Graduates of direct-entry MSN programs work several different schedules and hours. Having a master’s in nursing can open doors to job opportunities where you have a more flexible schedule. A few examples are jobs in academia or nursing management. In these types of positions, you may work what are considered “typical office hours,” which is Monday through Friday with nights and holidays off work. On the other hand, you may choose to work in a more clinical role, which could involve shift work, nights, weekends, and/or holidays.

The number of hours you work as a direct-entry MSN graduate will depend on whether you choose to work part-time or full-time. Part-time employees typically work less than 35 hours each week, Employees who work 35 hours or more each week are typically considered full-time. However, employers may have different guidelines to suggest what is considered part-time or full-time.



WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST JOBS FOR NEW DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING GRADUATES?


Once you graduate with your MSN degree, the next step is to find a job where you can continue to develop and hone your skills and gain a variety of experiences. The following are five of the best jobs for graduates of accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs.

1. Intensive Care Nurse:

One of the great things about working in intensive care is that you gain experience taking care of some of the most fragile patients. The skill and compassion needed to succeed in this role will set you up for success in other roles as your career advances.

2. Medical-Surgical Nurse:

Med-Surg nurses care for a wide range of patients with varying degrees of illness, disease, or injury. This role will help you hone critical nursing skills, which will come in handy as you begin to move up the career ladder.

3. Clinical Nurse Leader:

CNLs coordinate patient care, monitor patient outcomes, implement transitions in care, participate in risk assessment and management and promote best quality practices. This is an excellent job opportunity for new direct-entry MSN nurse graduates.

4. Public Health Nurse:

If you desire to have a role in promoting and protecting the health and well-being of populations, this could be a great job for you. As a public health nurse, you will educate individuals, families, and communities about common illnesses and diseases and teach disease prevention measures. Public Health Nurses also track disease outbreaks and respond to community emergencies.

5. Informatics Nurse:

Informatics nurses bridge the gap between medical knowledge and the world of internet technology. In this role, you will assist in developing and implementing the use of healthcare technology to help improve healthcare delivery and improve patient and organizational outcomes.



AVERAGE SALARY FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES IN THE NATION


What Is The Starting Salary For New Direct-Entry MSN Graduates?


The average starting salary for graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs is $79,470 per year. This pay is equal to $38.21 per hour, $1,528 weekly, or $6,620 monthly.

Starting Direct-Entry MSN Salary
Hourly$38.21
Weekly$1,528
Monthly$6,620
Annual$79,470
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


What Is The Average Salary For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?


The average annual salary for direct-entry MSN program graduates is $118,040. The yearly income is equivalent to $56.75 per hour, $2,270 weekly, or $9,840 per month.

Average Direct-Entry MSN Salary
Hourly$56.75
Weekly$2,270
Monthly$9,840
Annual$118,040
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


How Much Does The Salary Of Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders Grow With Experience?


The more experience an accelerated MSN program graduate has, the higher the earning potential. For example, after only one year of work and up to four years, you could earn nearly $100,000 annually. With 5-19 years, your income could increase to between $120,680 and $129,680. If you remain in an MSN position for twenty years or more, you could earn more than $163,350 yearly.

Level of Experience Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
Entry-Level $38.21 $1,528 $6,620 $79,470
1-4 Years of Experience $47.86 $1,914 $8,300 $99,540
5-9 Years of Experience $58.02 $2,321 $10,060 $120,680
10-19 Years of Experience $62.35 $2,494 $10,810 $129,680
20 Years or More Experience $78.53 $3,141 $13,610 $163,350
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


What Is The Total Average Annual Compensation (Salary + Benefits) For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?


One thing I encourage nurses to consider when applying for jobs or negotiating salary is whether a benefits package is offered and what it includes. Typically, benefits packages include perks like paid sick or vacation time, employee insurance plans, and retirement and savings plan options. Some benefits can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, which means your total compensation could be much more than the paycheck you bring home.

For example, graduates of direct-entry MSN programs who work in private industries earn average annual salaries of $118,140. Their benefits packages average $49,911, making their total compensation $168,051. Entry-level MSN degree holders who work for state and local governments make an average of $116,860 per year. However, their benefits packages are worth nearly $72,000! With benefits and salary combined, they have an average total compensation of $188,788.

Component Private
Industry
State and Local
Government
Paid Leave $12,436 $14,348
Supplemental Pay $5,882 $1,888
Insurance $13,108 $22,088
Retirement and Savings $5,714 $23,410
Legally Required $12,772 $10,383
Total Benefits $49,911 $71,928
Average Annual Salary $118,140 $116,860
Total Compensation $168,051 $188,788
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



AVERAGE SALARY FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES BY WORK SETTING


Another factor that may impact your earning potential is your work setting. For instance, direct-entry MSN program graduates who work in physicians’ offices earn an average salary of $114,870 per year, while those in offices of other health practitioners earn approximately $108,890. Individuals with the same degree who work in general medical and surgical hospitals and outpatient centers make $122,960 and $129,190, respectively. Direct-entry MSN program graduates who work for home health care services earn even higher salaries, averaging $133,170 per year, equal to $64.02 per hour or $11,100 monthly.

Work Setting Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
Offices of Physicians $55.23 $2,209 $9,570 $114,870
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals$59.12 $2,365 $10,250 $122,960
Outpatient Care Centers $62.11 $2,484 $10,770 $129,190
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $52.35 $2,094 $9,070 $108,890
Home Health Care Services $64.02 $2,561 $11,100 $133,170
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



AVERAGE SALARY FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES BY STATE


Graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs earn different salaries, based on their geographical location. Salaries on the lower end of the scale range from $95,120 in Tennessee to $102,410 in Alabama and $107,080 in Arkansas. States that pay higher salaries include New York, where graduates earn $133,940 and California, where they average $151,830 per year. Cost of living, population, and the need for healthcare providers are a few factors that influence earning potential in different states.

State Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
Alabama $49.24 $1,969 $8,530 $102,410
Alaska $54.72 $2,189 $9,490 $113,820
Arizona $57.65 $2,306 $9,990 $119,910
Arkansas $51.48 $2,059 $8,920 $107,080
California $73.00 $2,920 $12,650 $151,830
Colorado $54.13 $2,165 $9,380 $112,580
Connecticut $57.91 $2,316 $10,040 $120,450
Delaware $55.88 $2,235 $9,690 $116,230
District of Columbia $60.24 $2,409 $10,440 $125,290
Florida $50.40 $2,016 $8,740 $104,830
Georgia $52.67 $2,107 $9,130 $109,560
Hawaii $61.29 $2,452 $10,620 $127,490
Idaho $50.62 $2,025 $8,770 $105,290
Illinois $57.92 $2,317 $10,040 $120,470
Indiana $54.56 $2,183 $9,460 $113,490
Iowa $58.35 $2,334 $10,110 $121,370
Kansas $52.26 $2,091 $9,060 $108,710
Kentucky $51.00 $2,040 $8,840 $106,080
Louisiana $54.16 $2,166 $9,390 $112,650
Maine $55.95 $2,238 $9,700 $116,370
Maryland $55.63 $2,225 $9,640 $115,700
Massachusetts $62.28 $2,491 $10,800 $129,540
Michigan $52.29 $2,092 $9,060 $108,770
Minnesota $61.06 $2,443 $10,580 $127,010
Mississippi $53.73 $2,149 $9,310 $111,750
Missouri $49.75 $1,990 $8,620 $103,490
Montana $55.63 $2,225 $9,640 $115,710
Nebraska $54.17 $2,167 $9,390 $112,670
Nevada $59.46 $2,378 $10,310 $123,680
New Hampshire $58.04 $2,322 $10,060 $120,730
New Jersey $65.87 $2,635 $11,420 $137,010
New Mexico $56.96 $2,278 $9,870 $118,480
New York $64.39 $2,576 $11,160 $133,940
North Carolina $54.20 $2,168 $9,390 $112,730
North Dakota $54.19 $2,168 $9,390 $112,720
Ohio $54.08 $2,163 $9,370 $112,490
Oklahoma $56.08 $2,243 $9,720 $116,650
Oregon $61.63 $2,465 $10,680 $128,190
Pennsylvania $56.38 $2,255 $9,770 $117,260
Rhode Island $60.94 $2,438 $10,560 $126,760
South Carolina $49.45 $1,978 $8,570 $102,850
South Dakota $54.00 $2,160 $9,360 $112,320
Tennessee $45.73 $1,829 $7,930 $95,120
Texas $56.68 $2,267 $9,820 $117,890
Utah $54.29 $2,172 $9,410 $112,920
Vermont $54.11 $2,164 $9,380 $112,540
Virginia $54.00 $2,160 $9,360 $112,320
Washington $62.90 $2,516 $10,900 $130,840
West Virginia $50.36 $2,014 $8,730 $104,750
Wisconsin $56.25 $2,250 $9,750 $116,990
Wyoming $55.06 $2,203 $9,540 $114,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



AVERAGE SALARY FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES BY METRO


Graduates of direct-entry MSN programs will also see differences in pay based on whether they live in major metropolitan areas. Metro areas in Tennessee seem to have lower annual salaries. For instance, direct-entry MSN graduates in the Knoxville, TN metro earn $88,300 annually. In Johnson City and Chattanooga, TN-GA metros they earn $92,930 and $96,570, respectively.

Some metro areas in California offer much higher wages. For example, the Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, CA metro pays $145,250 and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA graduates make $177,160. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA metro pays the most, with salaries averaging $197,870 yearly.

Metro Hourly Weekly Monthly Annual
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $67.79 $2,712 $11,750 $141,010
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH $63.50 $2,540 $11,010 $132,070
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $69.68 $2,787 $12,080 $144,930
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $59.11 $2,364 $10,250 $122,950
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX $55.53 $2,221 $9,630 $115,510
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN $47.40 $1,896 $8,220 $98,600
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX $59.52 $2,381 $10,320 $123,810
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD $58.35 $2,334 $10,110 $121,370
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL $50.60 $2,024 $8,770 $105,250
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA $54.52 $2,181 $9,450 $113,410
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ $58.16 $2,327 $10,080 $120,980
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $59.07 $2,363 $10,240 $122,870
St. Louis, MO-IL $50.67 $2,027 $8,780 $105,390
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL $47.10 $1,884 $8,160 $97,960
Kansas City, MO-KS $54.19 $2,168 $9,390 $112,710
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $85.17 $3,407 $14,760 $177,160
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI $52.52 $2,101 $9,100 $109,250
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $55.21 $2,208 $9,570 $114,830
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $60.55 $2,422 $10,500 $125,940
Cleveland-Elyria, OH $56.85 $2,274 $9,850 $118,250
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $66.26 $2,651 $11,490 $137,830
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD $54.63 $2,185 $9,470 $113,620
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $62.62 $2,505 $10,850 $130,240
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN $53.88 $2,155 $9,340 $112,080
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO $55.56 $2,222 $9,630 $115,560
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX $56.56 $2,262 $9,800 $117,640
Pittsburgh, PA $60.23 $2,409 $10,440 $125,270
Memphis, TN-MS-AR $50.08 $2,003 $8,680 $104,170
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL $50.00 $2,000 $8,670 $104,010
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC $55.29 $2,212 $9,580 $115,010
Knoxville, TN $42.45 $1,698 $7,360 $88,300
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI $56.12 $2,245 $9,730 $116,730
Columbus, OH $53.90 $2,156 $9,340 $112,120
Jacksonville, FL $52.43 $2,097 $9,090 $109,050
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN $51.73 $2,069 $8,970 $107,600
New Orleans-Metairie, LA $54.27 $2,171 $9,410 $112,880
Austin-Round Rock, TX $58.10 $2,324 $10,070 $120,850
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA $69.83 $2,793 $12,100 $145,250
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC $52.63 $2,105 $9,120 $109,470
Birmingham-Hoover, AL $49.12 $1,965 $8,510 $102,170
Richmond, VA $54.55 $2,182 $9,460 $113,460
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT $55.50 $2,220 $9,620 $115,430
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC $55.90 $2,236 $9,690 $116,270
Oklahoma City, OK $56.43 $2,257 $9,780 $117,380
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $95.13 $3,805 $16,490 $197,870
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV $58.44 $2,338 $10,130 $121,560
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $61.53 $2,461 $10,670 $127,990
Salt Lake City, UT $55.91 $2,236 $9,690 $116,290
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA $60.62 $2,425 $10,510 $126,090
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY $55.95 $2,238 $9,700 $116,380
Chattanooga, TN-GA $46.43 $1,857 $8,050 $96,570
Jackson, MS $54.38 $2,175 $9,430 $113,120
Rochester, NY $56.33 $2,253 $9,760 $117,160
Rochester, MN $61.29 $2,452 $10,620 $127,490
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA $55.15 $2,206 $9,560 $114,720
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $73.58 $2,943 $12,750 $153,050
Tucson, AZ $55.15 $2,206 $9,560 $114,720
Lexington-Fayette, KY $51.42 $2,057 $8,910 $106,960
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR $51.92 $2,077 $9,000 $108,000
Dayton, OH $52.92 $2,117 $9,170 $110,070
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI $52.38 $2,095 $9,080 $108,960
Baton Rouge, LA $52.89 $2,116 $9,170 $110,010
Syracuse, NY $56.07 $2,243 $9,720 $116,620
Raleigh, NC $56.93 $2,277 $9,870 $118,410
Worcester, MA-CT $60.69 $2,428 $10,520 $126,230
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY $56.24 $2,250 $9,750 $116,980
Fort Wayne, IN $54.55 $2,182 $9,460 $113,460
Huntsville, AL $50.86 $2,034 $8,820 $105,790
Ann Arbor, MI $55.54 $2,222 $9,630 $115,520
Madison, WI $56.91 $2,277 $9,870 $118,380
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC $49.23 $1,969 $8,530 $102,390
Akron, OH $53.14 $2,126 $9,210 $110,540
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ $55.55 $2,222 $9,630 $115,550
Albuquerque, NM $56.43 $2,257 $9,780 $117,380
Columbia, SC $48.70 $1,948 $8,440 $101,300
Tulsa, OK $56.33 $2,253 $9,760 $117,170
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT $62.40 $2,496 $10,820 $129,790
Toledo, OH $53.46 $2,138 $9,270 $111,190
Winston-Salem, NC $52.75 $2,110 $9,140 $109,720
Springfield, MA-CT $56.26 $2,251 $9,750 $117,030
Charleston-North Charleston, SC $52.38 $2,095 $9,080 $108,960
Wichita, KS $48.23 $1,929 $8,360 $100,320
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL $53.70 $2,148 $9,310 $111,690
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA $56.62 $2,265 $9,810 $117,760
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS $53.63 $2,145 $9,300 $111,550
Boise City, ID $52.34 $2,093 $9,070 $108,860
El Paso, TX $54.21 $2,168 $9,400 $112,750
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC $50.72 $2,029 $8,790 $105,490
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX $56.65 $2,266 $9,820 $117,830
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL $51.81 $2,073 $8,980 $107,770
Fresno, CA $71.04 $2,842 $12,310 $147,760
Lafayette, LA $60.23 $2,409 $10,440 $125,270
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL $51.05 $2,042 $8,850 $106,190
Colorado Springs, CO $51.48 $2,059 $8,920 $107,070
Portland-South Portland, ME $56.51 $2,261 $9,800 $117,550
Greensboro-High Point, NC $53.35 $2,134 $9,250 $110,970
Champaign-Urbana, IL $57.11 $2,284 $9,900 $118,780
Springfield, MO $47.99 $1,920 $8,320 $99,820
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA $56.35 $2,254 $9,770 $117,200
Johnson City, TN $44.68 $1,787 $7,740 $92,930
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



DO DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING GRADUATES EARN HIGHER OR LOWER COMPARED TO OTHER OCCUPATIONS?


Direct-Entry MSN Salary VS. All Other Occupations Salary


Graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs make an average of $118,040 each year. All other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earn approximately $58,260. That means entry-level MSN program graduates make nearly $60,000 more per year, a difference of 102.61%.

Direct-Entry MSN
Average Annual Salary
All Occupations
Average Annual Salary
Difference
Number %
$118,040 $58,260 +$59,780 +102.61%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Direct-Entry MSN Salary VS. Other Nursing Salaries


Compared to other nursing salaries, nurses with a direct-entry MSN degree make generous incomes. Graduates of accredited direct-entry MSN programs earn $83,790 more than Nursing Assistants who earn an average of $33,250 per year. They also earn between $35,290 and $66,190 more than Registered Nurses, Nursing Instructors and Teachers (Postsecondary) and Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses. Their earnings are closer to that of a nurse midwife, with only a 3.35% difference.

Per statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses with a direct-entry MSN degree come in second only to nurse anesthetists who earn more than $202,000 annually.

Occupation Average
Annual Salary
Difference
Number %
Nurse Anesthetist $202,470 -$84,430-41.70%
Nurse with Direct-Entry MSN Degree$118,040 $00.00%
Nurse Midwife$114,210 +$3,830+3.35%
Registered Nurse$82,750 +$35,290+42.65%
Nursing Instructor and Teacher, Postsecondary$82,040 +$36,000+43.88%
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse$51,850 +$66,190+127.66%
Nursing Assistant$33,250 +$84,790+255.01%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Direct-Entry MSN Salary VS. Other Healthcare Salaries


When comparing the salary of direct-entry MSN program graduates to the salaries of other healthcare graduates, direct-entry MSN degree holders earn generous incomes. Nurses with a direct-entry MSN degree earn approximately $118,040 yearly, which is higher than veterinarians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and chiropractors. These healthcare specialties make between $81,240 and $109,920, a difference of 7.39% to 45.30%.

Conversely, direct-entry MSN degree holders make less than physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and physician assistants. These healthcare professionals earn between $119,460 and $252,480, a difference of 1.19% to 53.23%.

Occupation Average
Annual Salary
Difference
Number %
Physician $252,480 -$134,440 -53.25%
Dentist $177,770 -$59,730 -33.60%
Podiatrist $158,380 -$40,340 -25.47%
Pharmacist $125,690 -$7,650 -6.09%
Optometrist $125,440 -$7,400 -5.90%
Physician Assistant $119,460 -$1,420 -1.19%
Nurse with Direct-Entry MSN Degree $118,040 $0 0.00%
Veterinarian $109,920 +$8,120 +7.39%
Physical Therapist $92,920 +$25,120 +27.03%
Occupational Therapist $89,470 +$28,570 +31.93%
Audiologist $86,050 +$31,990 +37.18%
Speech-Language Pathologist $85,820 +$32,220 +37.54%
Chiropractor $81,240 +$36,800 +45.30%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



HIGHEST PAID DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES


What Are The Highest Paying Work Settings For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?


Your work setting does a lot to determine your role and daily responsibilities. The highest paying work settings for graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs pay between $129,190 and $148,980 yearly. The setting that pays the most are Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services.

Other high-paying settings for MSN direct-entry program graduates are Business, Professional, Labor, Political & Similar Organizations, Home Health Care Services, Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals, and Outpatient Care Centers.

Rank Work Setting Average Annual
Salary
1 Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services $148,980
2 Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations $133,800
3 Home Health Care Services $133,170
4 Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals $131,830
5 Outpatient Care Centers $129,190
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


What Are The Highest Paying States For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?


The highest-paying states for graduates of accelerated MSN programs are California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Nevada. MSN degree holders in these states make between $123,680 and $151,830 annually.

Rank State Average Annual
Salary
1 California $151,830
2 New Jersey$137,010
3 New York$133,940
4 Washington$130,840
5 Massachusetts $129,540
6 Oregon$128,190
7 Hawaii$127,490
8 Minnesota$127,010
9 Rhode Island$126,760
10 Nevada$123,680
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


What Are The Highest Paying Metros For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?


Large metropolitan areas tend to offer qualified generous salaries. The demand for nurses to provide high-quality care coupled with an increase in both acute and chronic health conditions are just a few reasons.

The top 25 highest-paying metros for graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs pay between $137,830 and $197,870 annually. 19 of the top 25 metros are in California. The remaining are in the Duluth, MN-WI, New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, Trenton, NJ, Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ, Medford, OR, and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA metros.

Rank Metro Average
Annual Salary
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $197,870
2 Napa, CA $184,700
3 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $180,380
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $177,160
5 Yuba City, CA $159,260
6 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA $153,300
7 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $153,050
8 Santa Rosa, CA $152,150
9 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $150,280
10 Fresno, CA $147,760
11 Modesto, CA $147,190
12 El Centro, CA $147,080
13 Duluth, MN-WI $146,740
14 Redding, CA $146,040
15 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA $145,250
16 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $144,930
17 Bakersfield, CA $144,770
18 Madera, CA $142,400
19 Salinas, CA $142,130
20 Visalia-Porterville, CA $141,650
21 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $141,010
22 Trenton, NJ $140,190
23 Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ $139,820
24 Medford, OR $138,080
25 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $137,830
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


5 Tips To Maximize Your Earnings As A Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holder


One of the awesome things about being a nurse is there are so many opportunities. As a graduate of an accelerated MSN program, there may come a time when you want or need to maximize your earning potential. With the endless opportunities available to nurses, there are several things you can do to boost your income. Here are 5 tips to consider that could help you maximize your earnings as a direct-entry MSN degree holder.

1. Pursue a Specialty Certification:

There are specialty certifications for almost any job a nurse can imagine. The great thing about certifications is, you are not limited to only one. If you don’t have a specialty certification, consider becoming certified in a concentration that interests you. If you already hold a certification, think about what you want from your career in the next year, two years, or five years. You may find a specialty that compliments the one you have now or pursue a specialty that is unrelated.

Either way, having a specialty certification makes you more appealing to prospective employers and more valuable to current employers, which means you could leverage your certifications to negotiate higher wages.

2. Become a Nursing Student Tutor:

Remember those days of gut-wrenching studying and feeling like you couldn’t cram enough information into your brain? What did it take for you to find the right way to study and become successful? Now imagine you can help current nursing students become successful, too.

Tutoring nursing students is a great way to boost your income. One great thing about tutoring is you can choose to charge an hourly rate and set your own limit for how much time you wish to devote to this side gig.

3. Take the Plunge and Apply for a Management Position:

As a graduate of a direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program, you have at least two degrees: your non-nursing bachelor (or higher) and your MSN. Obviously, you know your stuff! So, why not take advantage of your education and clinical nursing skills and apply for a leadership or management position? It’s an excellent way to earn a higher income, and the perks of leadership aren’t too shabby, either!

4. Consider Contract Nursing:

Whether you want to keep your current job and work extra on the side or you’re thinking of transitioning to a different way of working, contract nursing is a great way to plump up your paycheck. Working nurses find contract nursing advantageous as you can choose which assignments to accept, giving yourself flexibility with your schedule. The flexibility with your schedule means you don’t have to worry about losing your job if you choose to decline a contract offer or decide to take a break without the risk of losing your job.

5. Become a Freelance Healthcare Writer:

This is my absolute favorite, and for obvious reasons! Freelance writing is an excellent way to make extra money as a nurse. There are unlimited health-related and nursing websites that need quality content from dedicated writers. As an entry-level MSN program graduate, you have the academic and clinical experience needed to provide accurate insight into nursing and healthcare.

While some freelance nurse writers, like myself, choose to make a career out of writing, you have the option to continue working your regular job and use this as a side hustle to maximize your earnings. The possibilities are endless as a freelance healthcare writer!



JOB OUTLOOK FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MSN GRADUATES


What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree Holders?


The job outlook for graduates of accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs is quite promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates should see a 52.16% increase over the next decade.

+52.16%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


What Are The Top 5 Reasons Contributing To The Demand For Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree Holders?


It’s no secret that there is a nationwide shortage of nurses, which means opportunities are boundless. Nurses of all degree levels can find meaningful employment, if they know where to look and put forth the effort. Master’s-prepared registered nurses are certainly no exception. The following are five of the top reasons why there is such a demand for master’s-prepared RNs, like graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs.

1. Nursing Faculty Shortage:

Faculty shortages nationwide have caused a decline in the number of qualified students admitted to nursing programs. The shortage of faculty means colleges and universities must limit the number of students. Registered nurses with a master’s degree, like graduates of direct-entry MSN programs have the degree level needed to fill those vacant jobs.

2. Improved Patient Outcomes:

Master’s prepared registered nurses have higher levels of academic and clinical training, which means they can ensure a higher level of patient care. Better patient care results in improved patient outcomes. This makes graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs appealing to prospective employers.

3. Master’s-Prepared Nurse Help Improve Cost-Effectiveness of Care:

Nurses educated at graduate levels are associated with lower numbers of safety incidents and patient injuries. As a result, hospitals and other healthcare facilities see fewer cases of nursing negligence or nursing-related patient accidents, which means less chance of legal action and lower cost of healthcare.

4. MSN Nurses Are Associated with Lower Mortality Rates:

There is evidence to suggest that nurses with a graduate degree, like direct-entry MSN degree holders, have improved decision-making and critical-thinking skills. These vital skills mean nurses may be more attuned to subtle changes in a patient’s status, making it possible to identify issues and implement measures to improve patient outcomes.

5. Broader Scope of Practice:

Master’s prepared nurses have a broader scope of practice than associate or bachelor’s prepared nurses. Many have advanced practice specialties and provide much of the same care and services as licensed physicians. The scope of practice of direct-entry MSN program graduates makes them excellent candidates for employment because prospective employers can put them in positions that require more autonomy and self-directed tasks.


What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree Holders In Your State?


Every state in the United States is expected to see an increase in job opportunities for direct-entry MSN degree holders, according to CareerOneStop.org. Some states, like Mississippi except an increase of only 7.14%. Direct-entry MSN program graduates who live and work in Arizona and Colorado, on the other hand, can anticipate increases of 50.90% and 44.74%, respectively.

State 10-Year
Job Outlook
(2018-2028
Alabama +24.21%
Alaska +8.57%
Arizona +50.90%
Arkansas +31.47%
California +30.46%
Colorado +44.74%
Connecticut +20.53%
Delaware +30.77%
Florida +36.94%
Georgia +41.37%
Hawaii +23.81%
Idaho +24.36%
Illinois +31.13%
Indiana +29.41%
Iowa +30.15%
Kansas +18.29%
Kentucky +22.32%
Louisiana N/A
Maine +20.61%
Maryland +34.88%
Massachusetts +16.17%
Michigan +16.12%
Minnesota +23.04%
Mississippi +7.14%
Missouri +29.69%
Montana +26.47%
Nebraska +19.66%
Nevada +28.57%
New Hampshire +29.91%
New Jersey +28.16%
New Mexico +27.62%
New York +41.28%
North Carolina +30.42%
North Dakota +31.37%
Ohio +24.61%
Oklahoma +19.44%
Oregon +31.98%
Pennsylvania +26.46%
Rhode Island +14.29%
South Carolina +25.64%
South Dakota +27.27%
Tennessee +34.67%
Texas +31.86%
Utah +34.30%
Vermont +16.07%
Virginia +30.74%
Washington +28.54%
West Virginia +24.78%
Wisconsin +22.95%
Wyoming +30.00%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)


What States Have The Highest 10-Year Job Outlook For Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing Degree Holders?


The states with the highest 10-year job outlook for graduates of entry-level MSN programs are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New York, Florida, Maryland, Tennessee, Utah, Oregon, and Texas. According to data from CareerOneStop.org, these states should see increases between 31.86% and 50.90%.

Rank State 10-Year
Job Outlook
(2018-2028)
1 Arizona +50.90%
2 Colorado +44.74%
3 Georgia +41.37%
4 New York +41.28%
5 Florida +36.94%
6 Maryland +34.88%
7 Tennessee +34.67%
8 Utah +34.30%
9 Oregon +31.98%
10 Texas +31.86%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)



WHAT ARE THE TOP ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING GRADUATES?


Professional nursing organizations and associations are devoted to promoting the personal and professional development of nurse members. They also work to create and implement measures to advance the nursing profession. Because trends in healthcare are ever-evolving, it is important for nurses to stay informed. Joining a nursing organization or association is an excellent way to stay in the know. The following is a list of 15 of the top organizations and associations direct-entry MSN program graduates and students should consider joining.

1. American Academy of Nursing:

The American Academy of Nursing serves the nursing profession and the public by implementing measures to advance health policy through effective nurse leadership and organizational excellence. The AAN creates and implements policy-related and evidence-based healthcare initiatives to advance the health of individuals, families, and populations.

2. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses:

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses is a not-for-profit nursing association and is one of the largest specialty nursing organizations in the world. The AACN supports critical care nurses by offering expert knowledge to help drive excellence in the delivery of critical nursing care.

3. American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology:

The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology represents the interests of CRNAs and Student CRNAs nationwide. The AANA promotes educational and practice standards and guidelines for CRNAs and offers consultation services to private and government organizations and agencies regarding nurse anesthesia practice.

4. American Association of Nurse Practitioners:

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners advocates for nurse practitioners in all specialties. The AANP’s mission is to empower nurse practitioners to advance person-centered, high-quality, accessible, and equitable healthcare throughout diverse communities by implementing practice, research, leadership, and education.

5. American College of Nurse-Midwives:

The American College of Nurse-Midwives represents certified midwives throughout the United States. The AMNM is known for setting the standard for excellence in midwifery practice and education in the U.S. and strengthening midwife practice in developing countries.

6. American Nurses Association:

The American Nurses Association represents the more than 4 million registered nurses in the U.S. The Association works to promote safe and ethical nursing practices and high standards of care, advocate for issues impacting nurses and to support the health and wellness of nurses.

7. American Organization for Nursing Leadership:

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership is a professional nursing organization made up of more than 11,000 nurse leaders nationwide. The AONL’s goal is to transform and advance healthcare through influential, expert nursing leadership. The organization offers competency-based learning experiences, serving nurse leaders at all levels of their careers.

8. Association of Public Health Nurses:

The Association of Public Health Nurses works to promote health communities through public health nursing leadership and practice. The Association’s mission is to “shape the role of public health nursing within the specialty of population health and to educate and advocate for policies and practices that advance the practice of public health nursing to promote the public’s health.”

9. Association of Nursing Professional Development:

The Association of Nursing Professional Development is dedicated to advancing the specialty practice of professional development in nursing. The Association acts on the belief that promoting professional development enhances healthcare outcomes for patients.

10. Emergency Nursing Association:

The Emergency Nursing Association is dedicated to advancing excellence in emergency nursing practice. The ENA’s approach to emergency nursing practice is based on the belief that emergency care is an ever-evolving specialty that improves through a culture of inquiry and lifelong learning.

11. National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists:

The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is a member-based organization devoted to advancing the values and expertise of clinical nurse specialists. The Association works to increase awareness of the value and skills Clinical Nurse Specialists bring to the nursing profession and to promote excellence in CNS practice by offering quality educational programs and resources that are CNS-relevant.

12. National League for Nursing:

The National League for Nursing is considered the premier organization dedicated to nursing faculty and nursing education leaders. The NLN provides networking opportunities, professional development, nursing research grants and assessment services to its members. The NLN is a member of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which is an alliance of nursing organizations that work together to promote leadership for practice, research, and education in nursing.

13. National Student Nurses Association:

The National Student Nurses Association promotes the professional development of student nurses across the U.S. The Association has more than 60,000 members nationwide and is considered the “voice of the future of the nursing profession.”

14. Society of Pediatric Nurses:

The Society of Pediatric Nurses represents nearly 4,000 pediatric nurses in 28 specializations. The Society supports pediatric nurses by offering educational resources, network opportunities with other pediatric nurses nationwide, and providing up-to-date information and news in pediatric trends. The mission of the SPN is to “advance the specialty of pediatric nursing through excellence in education, research, and practice.”

15. The American Board of Nursing Specialties:

The American Board of Nursing Specialties is a nonprofit nursing association focused on promoting positive patient outcomes and protecting healthcare consumers by promoting specialty nursing certification. The ABNS supports certified nurses to promote improved health outcomes and to set accreditation standards driven by the specific needs of healthcare consumers.



WHAT ARE THE 3 BEST ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING DEGREE HOLDERS?


After graduating from accredited direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs, it is normal for nurses to think about the future of their careers. The more experience you gain, the more advancement opportunities you have. The following are three of the best advancement opportunities for direct-entry MSN degree holders.

1. Nurse Administrator:

Nurse administrators play instrumental roles in the nursing profession. In this job, you may act as a liaison between nursing departments, nurses and administration, and other healthcare facilities. Nurse administrators hire and manage nursing staff, managing nursing department budgets, and develop and implement policies related to nursing care.

2. Nurse Educator:

As a nurse educator, you can help shape the future of nursing by teaching new student nurses. You may conduct lectures in the classroom, supervise laboratory simulations, and supervise clinical rotations for nursing students at various levels of their nursing programs.

3. Legal Nurse Consultant:

The role of a legal nurse consultant is often a “behind-the-scenes" nursing role. Legal nurse consultants analyze facts and testimonies about legal issues and submit professional opinions based on nursing knowledge, evidence, and experiences. Your contributions as a legal nurse consultant can make or break important legal cases.



BONUS! 7 EXPERT TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING ACCEPTED INTO THE BEST DIRECT-ENTRY MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING PROGRAMS IN THE NATION


1. Make sure your GPA is above the minimum required for admission.

Direct-Entry MSN schools determine admission criteria, and one of the most important things that look at is your post-secondary grade point average. If your GPA from your previous bachelor’s or graduate degree is not good, consider taking some courses to help improve it.

2. Remember, there’s no impression like a first impression, which means you need to perform well in your admissions interview.

Your admissions interview is your chance to show the nursing faculty and admissions committee why you should be allowed in their program. Dress professionally (even if it is via video). Arrive early. Speak clearly when asked a question and show interest in what the interviewers have to say. Also, if you’re given the chance to ask questions, do it. It shows your interest in the program.

3. Write a slam-dunk Statement of Intent.

Your Statement of Intent is a brief essay that is part of the admissions package you submit to the nursing school. It should articulate your academic and professional goals, why you think XYZ school can help you achieve those goals, and what you bring to the program.

4. Get AMAZING professional letters of recommendation.

All graduate nursing programs request letters of recommendation. Be sure you ask individuals with at least a master’s degree to write your recommendations. The letters should speak of your character, professionalism, and likelihood of success in the program. Make sure the letter writer’s contact information and credentials are current and listed below their signature.

5. Submit a COMPLETE Application.

I can tell you from experience, if an admission committee has a stack of applications, they will not put others on hold to track you down for missing documents or requested application content. Review the checklist of necessary items and double-check to make sure you have included them before submitting your application.

6. Apply to More than One Program.

Admission to graduate nursing programs, like direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs, can be quite competitive. As you research programs, make a list of some of your top choices and apply to each of them. It’s better to take a chance and be accepted to more than one than to apply to only one and be wait-listed or rejected.

7. Follow-Up with a Thank You Note.

About a week after your admissions interview, mail a thank you note to the admissions or nursing department who conducted the interview. Thank them for their time and for giving you the opportunity to meet them. Close the note by saying you look forward to beginning classes and getting to know them all better.



MY FINAL THOUGHTS – IS A DIRECT-ENTRY MSN PROGRAM WORTH IT?


Making the decision to go back to college can seem overwhelming. If you’ve already accomplished a college degree, you may wonder if it’s worth it. Sometimes a career change or a transition in a new direction is one of the best things you can do for yourself personally and professionally. If you have a non-nursing bachelor's or graduate degree and want to become a nurse, you have options.

In this article, we discussed answers to the question, “What are the best direct-entry master of science in nursing programs in the nation?” If you are ready to move your career toward the nursing profession, the 35 best accredited online and campus direct-entry MSN programs in the nation for 2022 featured in this article can help you. I encourage you to think seriously about your professional goals, and if becoming a nurse is something you truly desire, take the next step and begin your journey!



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. Are Direct-Entry MSN Programs Hard To Get Into?

Some direct-entry MSN programs may be difficult to get into. Admission is often competitive, which means you need to step up your game when it comes to writing admissions essays, statements of intent, and get excellent letters of reference. Also, work hard to make sure your college-level GPA exceeds the minimum requirement.


2. Is There A Waiting List For Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Some direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs do have a waiting list. I recommend applying to more than one school and be sure to follow-up on the status of your application.


3. Do Direct-Entry MSN Programs Have To Be Accredited?

Although some schools may offer programs that lack accreditation, you should choose a direct-entry MSN program that is accredited. Prospective employers consider whether job applicants graduated from an accredited program. Also, if you choose to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing later, a degree from an unaccredited will be rejected.


4. Are Online Direct-Entry MSN Programs Accredited?

Some schools may offer online direct-entry MSN programs that lack accreditation. However, I caution against choosing any nursing program unless it is fully accredited.


5. Typically, How Long Does The Direct-Entry MSN Program Take To Complete?

Direct-entry MSN programs take between 18 months and 3 years to complete.


6. How Can I Complete The Direct-Entry MSN Program Faster?

Most direct-entry MSN programs are formatted in a set sequence, which means students may not be allowed to work ahead or take on extra classes. However, one way you can complete the program faster is to ensure you meet all prerequisite and other admission requirements before applying.


7. Typically, How Much Does The Direct-Entry MSN Program Cost?

Direct-entry MSN programs cost anywhere from $50,000 to more than $100,000.


8. Are Scholarships Available For Direct-Entry MSN Students?

There are several types of scholarships available to help with the expense of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs.


9. Are Grants Available For Direct-Entry MSN Students?

There are a number of grants available for students interested in a direct-entry MSN program.


10. Are Student Loans Available For Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Yes, student loans are available for direct-entry MSN programs. You may choose to apply for federally funded loans, private school loans, or employer-sponsored loans, to name a few.


11. Are GRE Scores Required For Admission Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Some colleges and universities require GRE scores for admission to direct-entry MSN programs, but others do not. An admissions counselor at your chosen school can guide you regarding admission criteria for their program.


12. Is Professional Nursing Experience Required To Be Accepted Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

No, professional nursing experience is not required to be accepted into a direct-entry MSN program. These programs are designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing field.


13. What Is The Minimum GPA Required To Get Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Each school determines the minimum GPA required for admission into its direct-entry MSN program. Although there may be some variation, the average minimum required is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.


14. Can I Get Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs With A Low GPA?

If your grade point average does not meet the minimum GPA requirement, it is likely your application will be rejected.


15. What If My GPA Is Below The Minimum Requirement, Can I Still Get Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Colleges and universities set minimum GPA requirements for all their programs including direct-entry MSN programs to attract candidates with a likelihood of success. It is unlikely that an applicant with a grade point average below the minimum requirement will be admitted.


16. Can International Students Apply To Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Many direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs accept international applicants. Each school or program has established admission criteria. Therefore, it is necessary to confer with an admissions counselor to verify criteria for international applicants.


17. What Prerequisites Are Required To Get Into Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Prerequisite requirements for direct-entry MSN programs typically include completion of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with Lab), Microbiology, General Psychology, Sociology, Human Development Across the Lifespan and Communication. Requirements may vary among schools; so be sure to speak with an academic advisor to ensure you have all the necessary prerequisites.


18. Do I Need To Complete The Prerequisites Before I Apply To Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Yes, one of the admission criteria for entry-level MSN programs is that you complete prerequisite coursework before beginning. The good news is, since you already have a bachelor’s degree (or higher), you may already have most or all of the prerequisite coursework completed.


19. What Are The Total Number Of Courses In A Direct-Entry MSN Program?

Direct-entry MSN programs have different curriculum plans. Curriculum at some schools may include 10 or 12 classes while others may require 20 or more. Keep in mind, if you pursue a specialty concentration your number of classes will increase.


20. How Many Credits Do I Need To Graduate From A Direct-Entry MSN Program?

The number of hours you need to graduate from a direct-entry MSN program varies. The curriculum for some programs requires as few as 50 credits, while others require 100 or more.


21. Does The Direct-Entry MSN Program Curriculum Include Clinical Training?

All accredited nursing programs, including direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs, include a clinical component.


22. Exactly, How Many Clinical Training Hours Are There In A Direct-Entry MSN Program?

The number of clinical training hours varies, depending on the school. Most direct-entry MSN programs require students to complete 600-1,000 clinical hours or more.


23. What Are The Hardest Classes In A Direct-Entry MSN Program?

Many students in direct-entry MSN programs suggest some of the hardest classes they take are Evidence-Based Practice, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics.


24. How Many Hours Do I Need To Study For The Direct-Entry MSN Program?

It has been my experience as both a student and nursing faculty that each person learns at a different pace. While some people require more time than others and vice versa to learn, it is recommended that direct-entry MSN students spend a minimum of three hours for each credit hour studying weekly. For example, if you enroll in 13 credit hours for the semester, you should spend three hours for each credit hour, or 39 hours total studying each week.


25. How Hard Is It To Complete The Direct-Entry MSN Program?

It’s really a matter of opinion how difficult it is to complete a direct-entry MSN program. The truth is, any college program, especially a graduate program is difficult. As an entry-level MSN student, though, you have the advantage of already earning a bachelor’s degree. That means you know what works for you and doesn’t when it comes to studying. If you apply those principles, keep an open mind as you transition to a nursing mindset, and take every possible opportunity to learn, you can do this!!


26. Are There Any Online Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

While some nursing schools offer online coursework as part of their direct-entry MSN program, because you will transition from a non-nursing role to a clinical nursing role, you can expect some face-to-face requirements. Additionally, clinical experiences are in an in-person setting at various clinical sites.


27. Are There Any Part-Time Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Some nursing schools offer direct-entry MSN programs with a part-time study option.


28. Can I Work Part-Time And Successfully Complete The Direct-Entry MSN Program?

It is possible to work part-time and successfully complete a direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program. However, it is best to talk with your advisor, as some programs are very course heavy, especially during the first pre-licensure year.


29. Can I Work Full-Time And Successfully Complete The Direct-Entry MSN Program?

Some students work while enrolled in a direct-entry MSN program. However, the amount of time you can devote to both school and work may vary, based on your course and clinical load. I recommend you speak with your academic advisor before choosing to work full-time during the program.


30. What Is The Best Direct-Entry MSN Program In The Nation?

The #1 direct-entry MSN program in the United States is offered at Columbia University in New York, New York.

Columbia University - New York, NY


31. What Is The Best Direct-Entry MSN Program In California?

The best direct-entry MSN program in California is featured by the University of California-San Francisco.

University of California-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA


32. What Is The Best Direct-Entry MSN Program In New York?

Columbia University has the best direct-entry Master of Science in nursing program in New York.

Columbia University - New York, NY


33. What Is The Best Direct-Entry MSN Program In Texas?

The best direct-entry MSN program in Texas is offered at the University of Texas-Austin.

University of Texas-Austin - Austin, TX


34. Are New Direct-Entry MSN Graduates In High Demand?

Yes, new direct-entry MSN program graduates are in demand.


35. How Many Hours A Week Does A Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holder Work?

The number of hours a direct-entry MSN degree holder works varies, depending on their choice to work part-time or full-time and the type of jobs they hold.


36. How Much Does A New Direct-Entry MSN Graduate Make?

New direct-entry MSN program graduates earn approximately $79,470 yearly.

$79,470


37. On An Average, How Much Does A Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holder Make?

On average, graduates of direct-entry MSN degree programs earn $118,040 annually.

$118,040


38. What State Pays The Highest Salary For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?

California pays direct-entry MSN program graduates more than any other U.S. state. Graduates in that state earn an average of $151,830 yearly.

California
$151,830


39. What Metro Pays The Highest Salary For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?

The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA metro is the highest paying metro for graduates of direct-entry Master of Science in nursing programs. Degree holders in that metro earn approximately $197,870 annually.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
$197,870


40. What State Has The Highest Annual Job Openings For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?

New York has the highest annual job openings for direct-entry MSN degree holders. The state has approximately 1,640 new and replacement jobs each year.

New York
1,640


41. What State Has The Best Job Outlook For Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders?

Arizona has the best job outlook for direct-entry MSN degree holders. The state anticipates a 50.90% increase in jobs over the next ten years.

Arizona
+50.90%


42. Are Direct-Entry MSN Degree Holders Happy With Their Career?

According to several sources, graduates of direct-entry MSN degree programs are pleased with their decision to transition to a nursing career.


43. What Can I Do With A Direct-Entry MSN?

There are several options for what you can do with a direct-entry MSN degree. Some students choose to pursue a specialty focus, such as Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, or Clinical Nurse Leader. You may also leverage your master’s nursing degree and previous bachelor's degree to secure a spot in nursing or healthcare administration.


44. Do All Nursing Schools Offer Direct-Entry MSN?

No, all nursing schools do not offer direct-entry MSN program options.


45. What Are The Acceptance Rates For Direct-Entry MSN Programs?

Acceptance rates for direct-entry MSN programs vary, with the average being between 40 and 60%.


46. Can I Get Into A Direct-Entry MSN Without Being An RN?

Yes, direct-entry MSN programs are designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing field.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).