25 Reasons why an MSN Degree is Worth it!
Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Are you considering going back to school to get your master's degree in nursing? Perhaps you are thinking, is an MSN degree worth it? It is normal to have some qualms about such a considerable time and possibly financial commitment. I must say that I felt the same concerns as I began my MSN program to become a nurse practitioner. I wondered if the expense and sacrifice would pay off in the long run. I think that after you read this article, 25 reasons why an MSN degree is worth it, you will find the answer and that the choice to advance your nursing education will be an easy decision.
IS AN MSN DEGREE WORTH IT?
(Following 25 reasons will convince you why an MSN Degree is totally worth it.)
1. Pride in Obtaining Master’s Degree
After obtaining your master’s degree in nursing, the feeling of pride is something that you will always appreciate. I was the first in my family to get my master's degree, and my whole family shared in my happiness when I graduated with my MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
In addition, being a part of the advanced practice nursing family makes you a more valuable employee, and you gain respect among your colleagues. Obtaining your MSN degree is worth it and a decision that you will never regret!
2. Opens the Door to Additional Career Options
Holding a master’s degree in nursing creates numerous new avenues for employment, even outside of nursing. Many fields are looking for master's prepared employees
. You may be able to expand your horizons beyond traditional nursing roles and work in the private industry in positions such as safety director, health coach, quality improvement director, or community services manager, to name a few.
3. Higher Pay
According to the 2020 Nurse.com Nurse Salary Research Report
, nurse salary increases with more education. The average BSN nurse makes approximately $73,000 vs. an MSN-prepared nurse who makes $90,000 or more, depending on specialty. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics
indicates that NP’s, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists make $117,670 per year. Higher pay is one of the biggest reasons why an MSN degree is worth it!
Increased wages will help to negate the cost of advancing your nursing education quickly. In addition, approximately 39% of RN’s
receive some type of reimbursement for their advanced schooling in nursing, which helps ease the burden of financing your courses.
4. Increased Autonomy in Workplace
Your advanced degree will give you increased autonomy
at work due to the respect of your degree and the valuable knowledge that you possess. Nurse practitioners, in particular, are enjoying more freedom to practice independently due to more and more states allowing them full practice authority
. Working with minimal supervision is a great feeling and gives you an added sense of accomplishment, making an MSN degree worth it.
5. Obtaining MSN Degree Not All That Difficult
Obtaining your MSN degree has never been easier. With MSN online programs
and RN to MSN
bridge programs competing with each other and readily available, colleges are vying to make the process as easy as possible for potentially interested nurses.
In addition, the ease for nurses to get their schooling paid
for, makes getting an MSN degree worth it. With tuition reimbursement and scholarships galore, what do you have to lose? No time to work and go to school
? There are many ways to achieve your MSN degree and still work. Fortunately for nurses, the workplace encourages nurses to get their advanced practice degree and many times are willing to work with you to realize your goals.
6. Work Better Hours
Most advanced practice nurses enjoy better work hours compared to RN’s. While hospital and office NP’s still do need to take calls, they normally do not need to work as many weekends or night shifts as staff RN’s. For MSN nurses who choose other specialty areas such as teaching, writing, or research, their hours are pretty regular and do not require that they cover non-office hours. For nurses with a family or who prefer 9-5 hours, this point is one of the top reasons why an MSN degree is worth it.
7. Own Your Own Business
Do you love to work as your own boss or want to make a high wage as a nurse? Then owning your own medical business may be a lucrative and satisfying option for you. There are tons of options for entrepreneurial MSN nurses who are brave enough to start a nurse-owned business
Some great businesses that MSN nurses can own are:
• Weight Loss Centers
• Health Coach
• Legal Nurse Consultant
• Medical Aesthetic Clinic
• Herbal Medicine Shop
There are many more ideas based on your area of expertise and what you are passionate about!
8. Increased Knowledge Base
Some nurses obtain their MSN for the satisfaction of adding to their body of knowledge in nursing. Having an extensive background in advanced nursing creates a better nurse who elevates the quality of patient care and has exceptional nursing skills in various areas such as leadership, physical assessment, and advancing the practice of nursing.
9. Prerequisite for Doctoral Degree in Nursing
One of the top reasons why an MSN degree is worth it is that it is a necessary requirement for a doctoral degree in nursing. For those academic nurses pursuing their Doctor of Nursing Practice, an MSN degree is mandatory first to meet their goal to become a DNP.
10. Faster Advancement in Nursing
Nurses who have their MSN are more likely to be promoted in nursing vs. RN’s without their master’s degree. In fact, some health systems require their nurse leaders to have their MSN for the position. Advancement up the nurse career ladder is one of the biggest reasons why an MSN degree is worth it.
11. You Can Teach
If you desire to teach the next generation of nurses, you will need to advance your nursing degree to a minimum of an MSN. With an MSN degree, you will be qualified to teach BSN students or other health-related courses in a university or other schools.
12. You Can Go into Research
Detailed-oriented nurses with a scientific mind may be interested in going into research. Pharmaceutical companies seek out clinical research nurses to help develop and test new drugs. Other research jobs can be found in teaching hospitals and scientific product companies. Research can be a lucrative field for nurses, making an MSN degree worth it.
13. You Can Be a Medical Writer
Medical writers are in high demand at present. Medical writers are highly qualified nurses or other health professionals who write for pharmaceutical or medical technology companies and other organizations. MSN nurses fit the qualifications to write technical, medical content in an understandable manner that laypeople can understand. Besides having the necessary clinical expertise, most have great writing skills and know-how to communicate well with people, making them excellent nurses medical content writers
14. You Can Be a Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists are highly educated nurses who specialize in certain areas of nursing, such as wound care, diabetes, and gastrostomy care. The American Association of College Nursing recognizes that clinical nurse specialists are leaders in healthcare
. It is often the clinical nurse specialist who will see the patient after initial diagnosis and do the health teaching and follow-up care for specific conditions.
15. You Can Be a Nurse Practitioner
Many nurses return to school to obtain their MSN degree to become a nurse practitioner. I was one of these nurses. I chose to become a family nurse practitioner for the autonomy granted as an NP and the flexibility of the family NP degree. I was able to find positions in a wide variety of settings and have never regretted this life-changing decision.
With so many types of nurse practitioner specialties
to choose from, obtaining your MSN degree is worth it as you can work in whatever area that interests you.
16. You Can Become a Nurse-Midwife
What nurse would not love helping pregnant mothers and bringing new life into this world? Obtaining your MSN degree to specialize as a nurse-midwife is an exciting and gratifying career choice for many.
The US is currently in a maternal health care crisis
. Increased maternal health care, including more nurse-midwives, is strongly recommended to help ease this problem.
17. You Can Become a Nurse Anesthetist
Obtaining your MSN degree is worth it if you become a nurse anesthetist, as this specialty is one of the highest-paying careers in nursing. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay
for a nurse anesthetist is greater than $183,000. An MSN is the minimum requirement for this specialty nurse, with many obtaining their doctorate from a nurse anesthesia program.
18. You Can Go into Nurse Informatics
Nurses with an analytical mind who enjoy technology may be interested in going into nursing informatics
. These MSN nurses utilize technology to analyze health data and trends to help mold the quality of healthcare for the future. If you seek a different type of nursing away from the bedside, this specialty area may be for you.
19. You Can Become a Nurse Administrator
Some nurses are born leaders and aspire to climb the nursing career ladder. If you are one of these nurses, then obtaining your MSN degree is worth it, as most nurse administrators must have an advanced nursing education.
Getting your MSN in nursing administration will prepare you for many administrative duties such as budgeting, managing your staff, and general leadership skills, making you a quality candidate for a managerial position.
20. You Can Become a Forensics Nurse
A forensics nurse
is an advanced practice nurse (MSN) who has specialized training in assessing and caring for patients who have been sexually or traumatically assaulted. This job includes investigating the crime scene and working with organ and tissue donation. This fascinating nurse specialty area also requires that the nurse testifies in court on many occasions.
21. You Can Be a School Nurse
It may be surprising for some, but many states require that school nurses obtain their master's degree. As school nurses typically are the lone medical professionals in a building with hundreds or even thousands of students and staff, some with complex medical conditions, having an expert nurse is a wise choice.
Once I became a school nurse in Pennsylvania, I had 5 years to complete my MSN degree as a condition of employment. I chose to specialize as an FNP, but many of my school nurse colleagues chose other MSN specialties such as health education or administration. Obtaining an MSN to become a nurse practitioner was one of my top reasons why an MSN degree is worth it.
22. You Can Become a Case Manager
MSN-prepared nurse case managers help patients with chronic or complex illnesses navigate the healthcare system. As advocates for patients and their families, you can work in hospitals, home health, nursing homes, or insurance companies. Nurse case managers help control costs and make navigating the healthcare system more efficient, making them a welcome addition for both the corporation and the patient.
23. You Can Be Employed by the Military as an Advanced Practice Nurse
The military is seeking nurses with their MSN to work in all types of nursing. They are in need of nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and nurse anesthetists. They even have a special incentive for MSN nurses who sign up to be nurse anesthetists and midwives called Master of Science in Nursing Specialized Training Assistance Program (STRAP)
, where the nurse would receive extra incentive pay.
24. You Can Work in Genetics
Genetics nurses provide care for patients and their families with genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and cancer. In addition to patient education, a genetics nurse may work in research and universities to better understand and find cures for many genetic conditions. Most positions in this field require an MSN due to the complex nature of this branch of medicine.
25. Fast-Growing Job Opportunities
Last of all, the job market for MSN-prepared nurses is wide open. All nurses are in demand, making those who are more educated and specialize in specific niches even more desirable to prospective employers. With the ever-changing medical and technological industry of healthcare
, advanced practice nurses are better equipped to keep pace with the evolution of medicine, making them sought after in the nursing job market.
Summing It Up
So, is an MSN degree worth it? Wow, it sure looks like obtaining your MSN degree is a win-win situation and worth the effort to achieve your future goals as a nurse. This article about 25 reasons why an MSN is worth it should convince you that your next step as a nurse will be exciting and rewarding. With so many great reasons to further your education, I hope that you jump at the chance to go back to school and get your MSN. I wish you the best in your future nursing plans!
Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Donna Reese is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing.