35 Best RN to MSN Programs in the Nation – 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you a registered nurse considering advancing your career with a graduate degree? Maybe you aspire to be a healthcare executive or nurse practitioner. Perhaps teaching other nurses feels like a calling you want to answer. Chances are, you have probably heard of RN- to-MSN programs and know that these programs could help you achieve your goal of earning a graduate degree. If you have asked yourself, “What are the best RN to MSN bridge programs in the nation?” then you have found the perfect article. As you read on, you will learn about the 35 best accredited online and campus RN to MSN programs in the nation for 2023
. I will share information about the admission requirements, curriculum, and cost, and will also offer some insight into other important factors about RN to MSN programs.
Table Of Contents
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN RN TO MSN (REGISTERED NURSE-TO-MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING) PROGRAM?
RN to MSN programs are bridge nursing programs designed to give registered nurses the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in nursing. These programs are designed for registered nurses who hold either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing from an accredited nursing program.
7 ADVANTAGES OF RN TO MSN PROGRAMS
If you are considering going back to school to earn a master’s degree in nursing, you may be wondering about the pros and cons. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages will help you decide the best option for achieving your goals. The following are seven advantages of RN to MSN programs to consider.
1. RN to MSN programs save you time:
While the amount of time it takes to earn a master’s degree with an RN to MSN program varies, you can still accomplish that goal in less time than you would using the traditional path.
2. Increased Income-Earning Potential:
When you step up from an ADN or BSN to a master’s in nursing, your income potential increases, sometimes dramatically.
3. You can choose an advanced practice specialty:
One of the great things about RN to MSN programs is that you can choose a specialty concentration upon which to focus your nursing practice. Whether you want to care for babies, women, the elderly, or patients with mental health issues, the possibilities are endless.
4. Experience more autonomy:
Graduates of RN to MSN programs typically have much higher levels of autonomy in practice. Some graduates choose to become nurse practitioners and may have their own offices or independent practices.
5. RN to MSN programs lay the foundation to help you earn a terminal degree in nursing:
Although you may not be thinking of pursuing a doctorate right now, one benefit of RN to MSN programs is that the next step in your career would be to earn one of the highest nursing degrees possible, a Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.
6. You may not have to settle for the “odd” shift anymore:
Graduates of RN to MSN degree programs often take on advanced practice and leadership roles. One of the perks of these roles is that your work schedule may be more of a Monday through Friday routine.
7. You will experience a sense of accomplishment:
RN to MSN programs are not easy. When you graduate from one of these programs, you will have a true sense of accomplishment and professional pride.
3 DISADVANTAGES OF RN TO MSN PROGRAMS
Even the most advantageous pursuits come with a few cons or disadvantages. Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you prepare and should make it easier to overcome any obstacles along the way. The following are three of the most mentioned disadvantages of RN to MSN programs.
1. In-depth coursework:
The classes in RN to MSN programs are in-depth and often quite difficult. With classes like advanced pathophysiology, statistics, evidence-based practice, and specialty-focused courses, the work can feel a bit overwhelming at times.
2. You may feel you don’t have enough time for other things:
RN to MSN programs are generally designed with the working nurse in mind. Most students in these programs continue to work full-time jobs while pursuing a graduate degree. The responsibilities of school, work, and family can leave you feeling as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things you want or need to. Remember, this is only a season in your life. Stay determined and keep pressing forward. It will be worth it!
3. RN to MSN programs can be costly:
Depending on where you go to school, the length of time you are enrolled, and how many credits you need to earn, an RN to MSN degree could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
HOW LONG ARE RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
As you consider the different options for RN to MSN programs, one factor you should pay close attention to is how long it will take you to earn your degree. Some programs are offered in a full-time format while others are offered part-time only. Other schools may give students the option to choose part-time or full-time studies. Many RN to MSN programs take between 15 and 24 months to complete. The following are a few examples of how long it takes to graduate from some of our featured programs.
The RN to MSN programs at Ball State University
take between six and eight semesters to complete. The Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator pathways take seven semesters, and the Nurse Practitioner takes six semesters, if enrolled full-time and eight semesters, if enrolled part-time.
At Queens University of Charlotte
, students typically complete the RN to MSN program in two and a half years. This includes the amount of time it takes to complete two bridge courses that allow entry into the professional component of the program.
• Southern New Hampshire University
offers two specialty concentration tracks for its accredited RN to MSN program, Nursing Education and Population Health. It generally takes students 18 to 24 months to complete the program.
Students at Regis College
can complete the online RN to MSN program in 28 to 36 months.
• Hawaii Pacific University
offers an accredited RN to MSN program with options for Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialization. The program takes an average of three years to complete.
HOW MUCH DO RN TO MSN PROGRAMS COST?
One of the first questions most people ask when planning to return to college is, “How much will this cost?” The cost of RN to MSN programs varies, depending on a few factors. For example, some colleges and universities charge different amounts for resident and non-resident students. If you receive a scholarship or grant, your total out-of-pocket expense could be reduced.
On average, before calculating financial assistance or tuition discounts, accredited RN to MSN programs cost between $15,000 and $80,000. The following are a few examples of the cost of some of the programs featured in this article.
The Nurse Educator RN to MSN specialty track at Ball State University
costs $438 per credit hour for Indiana residents and $656 for non-residents. This pathway requires completing 36 credit hours, making the program cost between $15,768 and $23,616, depending on your residency status.
At Drexel University
, tuition is calculated on a per-credit basis costing $1,069 per credit hour
. Most of the RN to MSN programs require 45 credit hours, except for the Quality, Safety, and Risk Management in Healthcare pathway, which is a 46 credit-hour program. This mean means tuition starts at $48,105.
The RN to MSN program at DePaul University
costs $1,102 per credit hour
. Students must complete between 54 and 70 credits, depending on their current degree at entry and chosen specialty track. Therefore, the cost of the program ranges between $55,508 and $77,140.
• Wilkes University
offers three RN to MSN specialty concentrations. The Family Nurse Practitioner track costs $31,304. The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP track costs $29,120, and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration costs $30,576.
• Washington State University
differently for resident and non-resident students. Resident students pay $646.20 per credit hour, and non-residents pay $1,386.10. The RN to MSN program requires students to earn 35 credits. This makes the cost of the program $22,617 for Washington residents and $48,513.50 for non-residents.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
The number of credits needed to complete RN to MSN programs varies. Some schools offer RN to MSN-only options, while others offer specialty concentrations. The following are some examples of the number of credits it takes to complete some of the programs featured in this article.
• Western University
RN to MSN program students earn 48 to 55 credits
, depending on their chosen concentration. The Health Systems Leadership- Administrative Nurse Leader pathway is 48 credits, Ambulatory Care is 49, and the Health Systems Leadership- Clinical Nurse Leader is 55 credits. The total credits include those earned while participating in clinical requirements.
The RN to MSN curriculum at Monmouth University
includes up to 30 hours of undergraduate nursing courses and 36-48 graduate nursing courses. The total number of required credits varies, based upon the student’s previous coursework, transfer credits, and whether they enter the RN to MSN bridge program option or the RN to MSN Direct-Entry pathway. Per New Jersey law, any nursing student seeking an MSN degree must demonstrate completion of at least 150 credit hours.
At Fairleigh Dickson University
, students are awarded up to 84 credits for previous associate degree program coursework and RN licensure. If enrolled in the Nurse Educator track of the RN to MSN program, you will earn an additional 35 credits from upper-division courses, eight credits from nursing core and 27 credits for the Advance Nurse Educator Role. The Family Nurse Practitioner pathway requires 25 credits of specialty-relevant coursework.
• Stevenson University
offers an online RN to MSN program with four specialty concentration options. After completing all undergraduate coursework and MSN core classes, students will take concentration-relevant courses to earn the final 36 credits
needed to meet graduation requirements.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL COURSEWORK IN RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
The curriculum for RN to MSN programs may vary a bit from one school to the next, depending on your chosen specialty. However, undergraduate coursework is similar. The following are some common classes you will see in various RN to MSN programs.
• Lifespan Development or Developmental Psychology
• Conceptual Basis for Advanced Practice Nursing
• Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan
• Advanced Research Methods
• Gerontology in Primary Care
The following are examples of some classes included in the curriculum at some of our featured accredited RN to MSN programs.
The Georgia State University
RN to MSN program offers four specialty concentrations. Students complete 22 credit hours of core courses and 26 credits related to the chosen concentration. The following are a few classes students in the program take.
• Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing (CORE)
• Interprofessional Collaboration for Advanced Practice (CORE)
• Common Health Problems of Adults
• Ambulatory Care of Women
• Chronic Health Problems in Children and Adolescents (PPCNP)
• Advanced Psychopharmacology (PMHNP)
At SUNY Polytechnic Institute
, RN to MSN students can choose from two specialty concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner
and Nursing Education
. Here are a few examples of classes included in the curriculum.
• Advanced Nursing, Health Policy & the Health Care System (Both pathways)
• Hawaii Pacific University
• Legal and Regulatory Issues in Healthcare (Both pathways)
• Family Primary Health Care I&II (FNP)
• Family Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Across the Lifespan (FNP)
• Instructional Design in Nursing Education (Nurse Educator)
• Evaluation Approaches in Nursing Education (Nurse Educator)
RN to MSN students choose the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner path of study. The following are examples of classes included in their curriculum.
• Advanced Nursing Research
• Community/Public Health Care Policy & Program Planning
• Applied Drug Therapies for the APRN
• Advanced Theory: Primary Care of Children, Women, Adults, Geriatric Adults (one class for each age group)
• Advanced Clinical Diagnostics and Technology
• Fundamentals of Acute Care I, II, and III
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL CLINICAL TRAINING IN RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
Every nursing program has some element of clinical experienced incorporated into its curriculum. The number of hours vary, depending on your specialty track and the number of previously accumulated clinical hours. The following are some examples of the clinical training required for some of the RN to MSN bridge programs featured in this article.
• Students at Fairleigh Dickson University complete 120 hours of clinical practicum if enrolled in the RN to MSN Nurse Educator track. Students who choose the Family Nurse Practitioner track complete 650 clinical hours.
• The RN to MSN program at the Western University of Health Sciences offers three specialty concentrations. The Health Systems Leadership- Clinical Nurse Leader track requires students complete 450 clinical hours. Students in the Health Systems Leadership- Administrative Nurse Leader track participate in 135 clinical hours, and those in the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration complete 675 clinical hours.
• Hawaii Pacific University RN to MSN students who choose the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration complete 720 clinical hours. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner curriculum requires completing at least 600 clinical hours.
• Shenandoah University RN to MSN students may choose from three specialty concentrations upon which to base graduate studies. The Nurse-Midwifery program option includes 720 clinical hours. The Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse practitioner options both require 600 clinical hours.
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
Admission criteria for RN to MSN programs are determined by each school in accordance with its state Board of Nursing and licensure laws. While admission requirements vary from one school to the next, general criteria is often similar and include the following.
• Possess an active, unrestricted license to practice as a Registered Nurse
• Submit official transcripts from any college or university attended
• Provide an up-to-date resume and curriculum vitae
• Submit two or three letters of professional recommendation
• Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale for all college/university coursework
In addition to the above general admission requirements for RN to MSN programs, the following are examples of admission criteria for some of the programs featured in this article.
• Gonzaga University
admits students once yearly for entrance into the fall semester. Applicants must meet the admission requirements below.
• Although a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is preferred, applicants with a lower grade point average may offer a letter of explanation to have their applications considered.
• Georgia State University
• Provide contact information for two people who would recommend you for this program. One must be from a nursing supervisor. The university contacts the recommender directly.
• Submit a 500-1,000-word Statement of Purpose including your professional experiences and goals, personal strengths, and why the RN to MSN with Nursing Leadership in Healthcare option at Gonzaga University interests you.
extends an invitation to apply to its RN to MSN program to candidates who meet the following criteria.
• Graduates of an accredited baccalaureate, associate, or diploma nursing program
• Possess an active, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse
• Submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak of your academic and/or professional abilities and the likelihood of success in the program.
• Current resume including education, work experience, professional, volunteer, and community activities, professional development, and publications and research, as applicable
• Provide a writing sample in the form of a two-page position paper addressing a social or health issue
The admission criteria for the Ursuline College
RN to MSN program are as follows.
• Applicant must be a graduate of a three-year hospital-based diploma or associate degree nursing program.
• Provide three letters of professional recommendation attesting to your suitability for graduate work
• Provide official transcripts for all undergraduate coursework
• Submit a 500-1,000-word Statement of Intent
WHO ACCREDITS RN TO MSN PROGRAMS?
I cannot stress how important accreditation is when choosing between different RN to MSN programs. As you research programs, look for accreditation from one of the following accrediting agencies.
The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing supports the interests of nursing practice, nursing education, and the public through the accreditation of nursing programs. The ACEN provides specialized accreditations for all levels of nursing education and transition to practice programs in the U.S., U.S. Territories, and international programs.
The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education works to promote and advance excellence related to midwifery education. The ACME ensures that midwifery programs are performing at high levels of quality, which leads to optimal learning experiences and outcomes for students.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an independent accrediting agency focused on contributing to the improvement of public health. The CCNE promotes the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and fellowship/residency programs in nursing.
HOW WE RANKED THE BEST RN TO MSN PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
The table below lists all 4 factors based on which we have ranked the Best RN to MSN Programs in the nation for 2023.
| 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|
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
WHAT ARE THE BEST RN TO MSN PROGRAMS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) IN THE NATION FOR 2023?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 35 best accredited online and campus RN to MSN programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
Concentrations Offered: Clinical Nurse Leader
, Healthcare Simulation
, Leadership in Health Systems Management
, Nursing Education
, Public Health Nursing
, Quality, Safety, & Risk Management in Healthcare
, and Undeclared
Drexel University offers one of the best RN to MSN programs in the country.
As a student in this outstanding program, you will learn from board-certified, experienced College of Nursing and Health Professions nursing faculty. The program offers an interactive synchronous e-learning method to present online lectures which engage and challenge you as you prepare for advanced practice.
You may choose from one of seven specialty tracks as you earn your RN to MSN degree. Each program takes two to four years to complete.
1. Clinical Nurse Leader
: This pathway requires 45 quarter credits. With this program option, you will participate in a two-day on-campus residency at the university’s state-of-the-art simulation lab. All students accomplish 400 hours of clinical practicum via precepted clinical experiences.
2. Healthcare Simulation
prepares students to become nurse leaders in both academic and clinical environments. In the program, you will earn 45 total credits. Clinical requirements are met through two 2-day virtual residency experiences and two 3-day virtual experiences.
3. Leadership in Health Systems Management
is a challenging and engaging 45-quarter credit hour option with no on-campus requirements. Clinicals consist of 160 clock hours, completed over a 20-week period close to your hometown.
4. The Nurse Education
pathway is an excellent option if you aspire to teach future nurses. The online format is interactive and challenging, but also convenient for the working nurse. The curriculum includes 45 quarter credits, including clinical experiences in Simulation in Healthcare Education and Nurse Educator & Faculty Role Practicum.
5. The online RN to MSN Public Health
is an interdisciplinary degree combing coursework from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health. The program includes 45 quarter credit hours of coursework.
6. The Healthcare Quality, Patient Safety, and Risk Management
RN to MSN program at Drexel University include content from multiple disciplines. This specialization is offered 100% online, requires no on-campus residency, and can be completed in 46 quarter credits.
7. The Undeclared RN to MSN
program option is designed for registered nurses who want to earn a master’s degree but who have not yet chosen a specialty. Students take five core MSN classes before selecting a specialty concentration while working toward their MSN.
• The RN to MSN program at Drexel University is ranked among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and the Best Online Graduate NursingPrograms for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.
• Drexel University also offers an RN to MSN online bridge program
designed for registered nurses who possess an associate degree in nursing but have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field or a BSN equivalent. The “bridge” course is Genetics and Genomics: Application to Nursing Practice. This class is offered 100% online and is available every quarter term session.
Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, and Family Nurse Practitioner
At Ball State University, you can choose from three specialty concentrations in the RN to MSN program. You can earn your RN to MSN degree exclusively online, learning from renowned faculty who are practicing nurses.
The Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator tracks take seven semesters to complete, taking two classes each semester. The Nurse Practitioner RN to MSN program can be completed in six to eight semesters depending on whether you choose part-time or full-time study.
Both the Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator tracks include a curriculum that requires completing 36 credit hours of coursework. Both specialties complete six credits of research core, 11 credits of nursing core, and 19 credits of Educator Role Core or Administration Role Core.
The Nurse Educator
specialty track prepares you to take your nursing experience and love for teaching to colleges, universities, community colleges, and general medical and surgical hospitals. The curriculum includes a 180-hour practicum experience which you will complete in your last semester at an associate or baccalaureate campus-based nursing program in a geographical area convenient for you.
The Nurse Administrator
RN to MSN degree program prepares students to develop leadership and management skills necessary to fill upper management and leadership roles within nursing and healthcare. You will complete a 180-hour practicum in an approved healthcare facility/environment focused on nursing administration.
The Nurse Practitioner
option will help you prepare for a healthcare career providing care to patients from diverse backgrounds across the lifespan. The curriculum is designed so that you will earn 47 credit hours. In addition to required coursework, NP students at Ball State University complete 690 preceptor-supervised clinical hours in various settings. Coursework is delivered in an online format and clinicals are completed in your geographic area with university-approved preceptors.
• Ball State University has the honor of being named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence.
• The RN to MSN program at Ball State University is ranked among the top 20best online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report
The University of Alabama offers an RN to MSN program that gives students the opportunity to earn a BSN on the way to earning a Master of Science in nursing. The program is offered exclusively online, making it possible to maintain your normal work/life routine.
The Nurse Administrator RN to MSN option is offered in both part-time and full-time study plans. The program focuses on the complexities associated with the American healthcare system, quality improvement, personnel management, budgeting, quality patient care, and professional political advocacy for nursing.
The curriculum consists of 33 credit hours of coursework including classes such as Roles and Leadership in Nursing Administration, U.S. Healthcare Quality and Safety and Advanced Financial and Strategic Planning in Healthcare. Students are required to participate in clinical/administration immersion component and are responsible for identifying possible clinical preceptors and securing clinical affiliation contracts with the agency per university approval.
• The University of Alabama Family Nurse Practitioner ranks #7 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
• U.S. News & World Report ranks the RN to MSN Nursing Administration program as #9 in the nation.
If you are a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in any field and desire to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing, Washington State University offers an RN to MSN program that could be the perfect fit for you. The university offers the RN to MSN program at all its College of Nursing sites, making it possible to pick a campus that is most convenient for you.
Before applying to graduate school, all applicants must complete two courses that bridge their current bachelor’s degree to graduate-level nursing coursework. The two courses, Contemporary Nursing and Population Health Theory award three credits each toward your MSN.
The program, which is one of the best accredited RN to MSN programs in the nation, can be completed in two years of full-time study or three to three and a half years of part-time study. MSN classes are offered in a hybrid model, with students participating in both in-person and online classes. In-person classes are usually limited to no more than five per semester.
The RN to MSN curriculum
requires a student to complete 35 credit hours of coursework. Students will complete 180 hours of practicum. 120 hours of clinicals will be completed in the Advanced Population Health Practicum OR Internship. This part of the clinicals is performed under the direction of an experienced preceptor with a minimum master's degree in nursing or a related field. The other 60 hours are non-direct care and occur during the Organizational Systems & Leadership class. Clinicals for the RN to MSN program involve non-direct care hours.
• Washington State will expedite the licensing process for nurse applicants who are spouses or domestic partners of military personnel, making it easier for RN spouses or domestic partners of military personnel licensed in other states to gain admission to the Washington State University RN to MSN program.
• Although the RN to MSN program at Washington State University is offered exclusively to Washington residents, the Border Bill makes it possible for some Oregon residents to participate. The Washington State Border Bill allows Oregon residents who live in specific counties to attend Washington State University-Tri Cities part-time. These students pay resident tuition rates, which is another perk.
Boston College is home to another of our featured accredited RN to MSN programs. The college offers two pathways for registered nurses to earn an MSN, depending on the current degree level. The RN to MSN program uses a nursing philosophy aligned with values that support the holistic worth of every human.
The first option is for baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses who hold a current, unencumbered license to practice as an RN. In this pathway, students earn 32 credits over 11 courses. The associate degree to MSN pathway requires students to complete 36 credits or 12 courses. The curriculum for the RN to MSN pathways includes classes such as Role of Advanced Practice Nurses, Advanced Pharmacology Across the Life Span, and Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Life Span.
Students participate in clinical experiences in a variety of settings by rotating among affiliate clinical sites. A few examples of clinical sites include Atrius Health, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Shriners Children’s Boston, and VA Boston Healthcare System. Bachelor’s registered nurses complete at least 500 clinical practice hours. Associate degree registered nurses must earn a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours.
Graduates of both RN to MSN pathways are prepared to synthesize knowledge from science and humanities to promote the ethical nursing practice and demonstrate leadership skills to support and guide safe, high-quality, culturally sensitive care. Graduates will successfully collaborate with patients, families, and interdisciplinary team members to promote health and improve outcomes for diverse patients, families, and patient populations.
• The Boston College Connell School of Nursing is ranked as the #1 master’snursing program in Massachusetts in a 2023 U.S. News & World Report Survey
• Students in the RN to MSN program learn from some of the best nursing faculty in the nation. 11 of the college’s 54 nursing faculty have been inducted as American Academy of Nursing Fellows.
• Graduate nursing students at Boston University have a 100% pass rate
on the following advanced practice certification examinations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner,Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Anesthesia.
Concentrations Offered: Nursing & Health Care Administrator
, Nurse Educator
, Acute Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
, Family Nurse Practitioner
, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
The University of Mississippi Medical Center offers one of the best RN to MSN programs, with six RN to MSN tracks
to choose from. All RN to MSN program options are offered predominantly online.
• The UMMC Nursing and Health Care Administrator
track can be completed in as few as four semesters of full-time study or six semesters part-time. The curriculum
includes 53 credit hours and culminates with a residence during the Residence in Nursing and Health Care Administrator Role, where you will earn 525 clinical hours.
• The Nurse Educator
path is offered 100% online. The program can be completed in as few as five semesters. The Nurse Educator curriculum is based upon the National League of Nursing Core competencies for Nurse Educators. Students earn 54 credits and participate in 360 practicum hours, which provide an on-the-job type of experience.
• Depending on the patient population you want to serve, you can also choose from four nurse practitioner tracks in the University of Mississippi Medical Center RN to MSN program. Each program is designed to be completed in six semesters.
o The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner pathways award students 61 and 64 credits, respectively. Both tracks require students to complete at least 630 clinical hours under the direct supervision of an advanced practice nurse or doctor.
o The Family Nurse Practitioner program is offered in online and hybrid formats. You will earn 66 credits and complete 630 clinical practice hours.
o The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program prepares registered nurses for advanced practice roles providing comprehensive physical and mental health services. The FPMHNP program’s curriculum requires students to complete 62 credits and 540 clinical practicum hours.
• The University of Mississippi Medical Center is the state’s only academic health sciences center.
• RN to MSN program graduates at the University of Mississippi MedicalCenter have excellent pass rates on the national certification examination.
• The UMMC offers the only Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner RN to MSN track in Mississippi.
• Graduates of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP program are eligible to take the AANPCP or ANCC national certification exams to obtain an advanced practice license as an NP
Concentrations Offered: Adult Gerontology – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Adult Gerontology – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP), and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Regis College School of Nursing is home to another of our featured accredited online RN to MSN programs. The program is offered online, giving you the freedom to choose when and where you study and learn.
The college offers entry options for registered nurses with either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and an active, unrestricted RN license. Nurses must hold a degree conferred by a regionally accredited institution of higher education and accredited nursing program.
Depending on your current degree level and chosen specialty, you can graduate from the RN to MSN program at Regis College in 28-36 months. All RN to MSN program applicants must complete a college-level statistics course before beginning classes.
Regis College offers students six NP concentrations for focused study and career preparation. The Adult Gerontology Primary Care
NP, Adult Gerontology Acute Care
NP, Women’s Health
NP and Pediatric
NP programs include 46-61 credits. The curriculum for the Psychiatric Mental Health
NP program requires you to complete 49-64 credit hours. Each of these pathways include 724 clinical hours. The Family Nurse Practitioner
track includes 46-61 credits and requires 1,024 clinical hours.
Upon completion of the RN to MSN program at Regis College, you will be eligible to sit for a certification examination. Depending on your specialty concentration, you may take certification exams offered by the following certification boards:
• The American Nurses Credentialing Center
• American Association of Nurse Practitioners
• Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
• American Association of Colleges of Nursing
• American Association of Critical Care Nurses
• National Certification Corporation.
• The nurse practitioner program at Regis College is one of the largest nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts.
• Regis College of Nursing offers the Upward Mobility
option of study which allows associate-degree registered nurses with an active RN license the opportunity to pursue an MSN, earning a BSN along theway. The program is often referred to as the RN-to-BSN-to-MSN option.
Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
If you are searching for an online RN to MSN program where you can learn on your own schedule, and allows you to complete clinicals in your own community, DePaul University could be a great option for you. You can earn an MSN in two to four years, depending on your current degree.
The RN to MSN program offers entry options for both associate degree and bachelor’s degree registered nurses. ADN nurses can progress from an associate degree in nursing to an MSN after completing BSN coursework and matriculating into the master’s in nursing program. BSN nurses have direct entry into the MSN component.
As a student in the DePaul University RN to MSN program, you will complete 54-70 quarter credits. As part of the master’s component of the program, you choose to specialize in one of four specialty concentration tracks. The specialty tracks include 18-32 quarter credits of concentration-specific coursework, which is included in the total number of required credits.
The Adult-Gerontological NP track is a 30-semester credit track, and the Family Nurse Practitioner track is a 32-semester track. Both specialty options require students to complete a minimum of 600 clinical hours. Curriculum for the Nursing Administration concentration includes 26-semester credits and a 105-hour practicum. The Nursing Education specialty option is 18-semester credits. Students in this track participate in two clinical experiences culminating in a capstone experience in nursing education and earn a total of 225 clinical hours.
• 93% of the graduates of the DePaul University’s RN to MSN program report having full-time employment in their chosen specialty within six months of graduation.
• DePaul University is ranked one of the Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report
, making it an excellent choice for nurses seeking one of the best RN to MSN programs in the nation.
Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner
, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
, and Psychiatric/Mental Health
Wilkes University offers another of our featured accredited RN to MSN programs. The program offers distance learning and is designed for registered nurses who possess an associate degree in nursing. Wilkes University offers three entrance opportunities, making it possible to begin your journey to a master’s in nursing on your time.
Once accepted into the program, you will complete two bridge courses, earning ten credit hours. Completion of the bridge courses carries you to the baccalaureate level of study. RN to MSN core coursework, which all students take, includes Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Diagnostic Reasoning for Nurse Practitioners, and Health Perspectives of Culturally Diverse, Rural and Underserved Populations.
Students complete between 51 and 54 total credit hours, depending on their choice of specialty concentration. With three specialty concentrations to choose from, Wilkes University allows you to align your degree with your personal career goals.
The RN to MSN Family Nurse Practitioner
pathway takes twenty-eight months to complete. If you choose the FNP pathway, you will earn 30 credits over 16 courses and complete 584 clinical hours. The Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
program at Wilkes University can be completed in as few as two years. In this RN to MSN path, you will earn 27 credits from 14 courses and complete 500 clinical hours. If you enjoy working with patients with mental health, addiction, or behavioral issues, the RN to MSN with Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
concentration could be a good choice for you. This program’s curriculum includes 29 credit hours of coursework and 500 clinical hours.
• Wilkes University has been one of the top-ranked universities by U.S. News & World Report
for 16 years, which means it is one of the best schools to pursue an RN to MSN degree program.
• Wilkes University is ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges by the Princeton Review
Concentrations Offered: Nursing Leadership in Healthcare
Another of the best RN to MSN programs in the nation can be found at Gonzaga University. This online program can be completed in as few as nine semesters of full-time study.
The RN to MSN program is designed as an accelerated path for associate degree registered nurses to earn a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare. The curriculum incorporates knowledge from organizational behavior, business, healthcare law, quality improvement, and nursing to develop strong nurse leaders capable of handling complex healthcare industry issues.
Coursework is delivered exclusively online with students attending one 2-day college session during the last semester of the program. In this program, you will earn 45 credits from coursework. 15 credit hours are earned from undergraduate courses including Stats for Health Professions, Nursing Research, and Community Health. The remaining 30 credit hours include 21 credits from MSN coursework and 9 credits for the Nursing Leadership in Healthcare concentration. Students earn a total of 315 clinical hours.
Upon completion of the Gonzaga University RN to MSN degree program, you will demonstrate effective communication and interprofessional collaboration, a commitment to ethical decision-making and nursing practices, and advocacy and leadership as required for advanced nursing practice.
• Students enrolled in the Gonzaga University RN to MSN program have opportunities to study abroad. Students may choose from semester-long
study abroad options.
• U.S. News
ranks Gonzaga University in the Top 20 among Best Online Nursing Programs.
• U.S. News & World Report
ranks Gonzaga University’s RN to MSN program as the 16th
best online MSN program in the nation.
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Georgia State University offers an excellent RN to MSN bridge program. The online program is designed to allow associate degree or diploma registered nurses to earn a graduate degree in nursing.
The amount of time it takes to complete varies, depending on whether you enroll part-time or full-time. A full-time student can usually complete the program in as few as two to two and a half years. Part-time students graduate in three to four years’ time.
Once you complete all undergraduate coursework and begin master’s level classes, you may choose one of four nurse practitioner specialties. The curriculum consists of a minimum of 48 semester hours. As a student in this program, you will earn 22 hours of credit from core courses and 26 credit hours relevant to your specialty concentration.
Clinical requirements are arranged and completed in your local community, as approved by the university. Students in the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration complete a minimum of 900 clinical hours. The Pediatric Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP pathways each require at least 720 clinical hours.
The RN to MSN program uses the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing ( AACN Essentials
) as a guideline for establishing goals and outcomes. Upon completion of this program, you will be able to integrate evidence-based findings for the improvement of nursing practice, utilize quality standards to improve patient outcomes and demonstrate effective coordination of patient care and leadership of interdisciplinary teams.
• The RN to MSN program at Georgia State University ranks #9 in the state for best online nursing programs.
• Georgia State University is one of the most popular schools for master’sdegree nursing candidates in the United States, per College Factual
Ursuline college offers another excellent online RN to MSN program. The program is available to registered nurses who hold a diploma in nursing from a three-year hospital-based program or an associate degree in nursing from a community college but do not hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
At Ursuline College, students in the RN to MSN program must fulfill the requirements for both the RN-to-BSN program and the master’s nursing programs. The university offers nine start times each academic year, making it possible for you to begin your academic journey on your own time.
As a student in the Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing RN to MSN program, you will complete all undergraduate college courses as well as undergraduate nursing coursework. After completing all requirements for the BSN with a minimum 3.0-grade point average on your BSN transcript, you will matriculate into the MSN component of the RN to MSN program.
When you enroll in the MSN portion of the program, you will choose a specialty concentration track. The specialty options offered at Ursuline College are Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, or Healthcare Leadership.
The RN to MSN program curriculum
includes 29 credit hours of graduate-level nursing core courses and concentration-specific courses. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Healthcare Leadership students complete a total of 39 credits. Students in the A-G Acute Care NP pathway complete 45 credit hours. Family Nurse Practitioner students earn 43 credit hours.
• The Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing has been designated as a National Center of Excellence
by the National League for Nursing.
• The Ursuline College School of Nursing is ranked among the nation’s topgraduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report
Health Systems Leadership-Clinical Nurse Leader, Health Systems Leadership-Administrative Nurse Leader, and Ambulatory Care Nursing
Western University of Health Sciences offers an RN to MSN degree program where associate-degree registered nurses can earn a master's in two to three years. This online MSN program is designed for RNs who wish to continue working and maintain other personal commitments while still pursuing a graduate nursing degree.
The RN to MSN curriculum is designed to be completed primarily online. Students participate in two-weekend visits on campus per semester to participate in intensive seminars. You may choose from three specialty concentrations upon which your coursework will be based: Health Systems Leadership-Clinical Nurse Leader, Health Systems Leadership-Administrative Nurse Leader, and Ambulatory Care Nursing.
In the RN to MSN program offered at Western University, you will earn between 48 and 55 credits, depending on the specialty concentration. Students take classes such as Pharmacotherapeutics and Technology for Advanced Practice Nurses, Advanced Health and Population Assessment, Management Principles and Leadership Theories, and Introductory Nursing Informatics.
Clinical hours are part of the curriculum for each RN to MSN concentration. The Health Systems Leadership- Clinical Nurse Leader track includes 450 clinical hours. The Health Systems Leadership- Administrative Nurse Leader track requires 135 total clinical hours, which are embedded in six courses and the final project. Students enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration complete 675 clinical hours.
• Western University of Health Sciences’ masters nursing program ranks among the Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report.
• Western University of Health Sciences participates in the Yellow Ribbon
Program, which provides eligible military members and qualified members $2,000 per academic year toward tuition and fee expenses. This is an excellent opportunity for military personnel to pursue an RN to MSN degree with less of a financial burden.
Monmouth University is home to another great accredited RN to MSN program. The university offers an RN to MSN bridge option for registered nurses who possess an associate degree in nursing and have a current, unrestricted license to practice. The RN to MSN bridge option is for associate-prepared registered nurses who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and the direct entry RN to MSN option is for RNs who possess an associate degree and no bachelor's.
Whether you want to provide care to patients and families across the lifespan, have an interest in mental health nursing, or prefer to specialize in the care of adults, Monmouth University has an RN to MSN program option for you. The University offers three nurse practitioner tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Once accepted to Monmouth University, qualified students enter the RN to MSN program with provisional acceptance. Depending on your entry option, you will first complete any necessary undergraduate and lower-level nursing courses. Then you will matriculate into the upper-level nursing division of the MSN component of the program.
The RN to MSN bridge program requires students to complete three upper-level undergraduate nursing courses before choosing an MSN track and beginning upper-level coursework. In the RN to MSN direct entry program, students earn a Master of Science in nursing without first earning a baccalaureate nursing degree.
The RN to MSN curriculum includes 30 undergraduate preparatory course credits and 36-48 graduate-level nursing credits. Graduate-level nursing core classes include Data Management for Advanced Nursing Practice, Nursing Research for Advanced Nursing Practice, Education and Motivation of Nursing Clients, and Factors Affecting Healthcare.
• Monmouth University’s Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and HealthStudies is ranked the #4 nursing school in New Jersey, according to the Nursing Schools Almanac
• The School of Nursing also ranks one of the best private nursing schools nationwide by U.S. News & World Report
, making it an excellent choice to pursue an RN to MSN degree.
15. SUNY Polytechnic Institute - Utica, NY
Concentrations Offered: Nursing Education
and Family Nurse Practitioner
At SUNY Polytechnic Institute, you will find another of our featured online RN to MSN programs. The program is designed with the associate-prepared registered nurse in mind and, upon completion, both BSN and MSN degrees are conferred. The BSN is not conferred early.
The RN to MSN program is formatted for online or hybrid study and can be completed in three years. The three-year schedule is based upon the recommended full-time enrollment. However, if an associate-prepared student transfers enough credits to complete the BSN component within the first year, they have the option of part-time study. This privilege is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Eligible applicants must hold an associate degree in nursing from an accredited program with at least a 3.2-grade point average on a 4.0 scale. The GPA must be calculated on the last 30 hours of undergraduate coursework. Applicants must have at least one year of work experience totaling a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct patient care and must be licensed as registered nurses in New York State.
The Family Nurse Practitioner
track requires a total of at least 169 credits and the Nurse Educator
path requires at least 163 total credits. 66 credits come from lower-division nursing courses, 36 from liberal arts such as Anatomy and Physiology I&II, Introduction to Psychology, and Introduction to Sociology. The remaining credits are earned in graduate-level, concentration-specific classes. Clinicals are completed in a variety of settings, including specialty-relevant healthcare facilities and assignments.
• SUNY Polytechnic Institute is ranked in three categories by the 2022 U.S. News & World Report: #4 for best colleges for veterans, #2 top public schools, and #12 best regional universities in the north. These rankings indicate this school is an excellent choice for anyone interested in pursuing a graduate nursing degree, such as those awarded by the RN to MSN program.
• Nearly 100% of RN to MSN faculty are doctorally-prepared, which means students in the RN to MSN program learn from the most experienced and well-educated instructors.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Nursing Education
Fairleigh Dickson University offers an RN to MSN program that prepares registered nurses for leadership and career advancement opportunities as advanced practice nurses. Once accepted to the program, you may choose from a Nurse Educator or Family Nurse Practitioner specialty track.
The online RN to MSN program prepares students to demonstrate advanced nursing practice and science through collaboration and scholarly pursuits. You will be prepared to interpret the impact of global, political, economic, and bioethical factors on healthcare, effectively use information technology in advanced practice roles, and utilize conceptual frameworks to promote the quality practice.
Applicants must possess a license to practice as a registered nurse in New Jersey and be a graduate of an accredited associate degree nursing program. One year of clinical nursing practice is required for admission consideration.
You will receive up to 84 credits toward the RN to MSN degree for your associate nursing degree completion and holding an RN license. In the Nurse Educator pathway, you will earn 35 additional credits and participate in 120 hours of clinical practicum. The Family Nurse Practitioner track includes 25 credits of coursework and 650 clinical hours.
• The United States Department of Education’s College Scorecard
ranks the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the top ten FNP programs in the country.
• The RN to MSN program boasts of nearly 93% retention rate with nearly 100% of graduates reporting full-time employment in their chosen specialty within six months of graduation.
Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Registered nurses wishing to transition to advanced practice by earning a master’s degree in nursing may find Hawaii Pacific University an excellent option. The university is home to one of the best RN to MSN programs in the nation. You can choose from on-campus or online study and can earn your master’s degree in three years.
Hawaii Pacific University offers two specialty concentrations for RN to MSN students, the Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Graduates of the AGACNP track are eligible to sit for national certification administered by the American Nurse’s Credentialing Center.
The Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares students for roles providing care to from birth to geriatrics with varying degrees of health. Students earn 45 total credits in the MSN/FNP program and earn 720 clinical hours. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP program includes 27 credits, including more than 600 clinical hours.
Graduates of the Hawaii Pacific University RN to MSN program will demonstrate transformational leadership and evidence-based practice techniques. Both specialty tracks prepare students as professional leaders in advanced nursing practice with an in-depth understanding of professionalism, ethics, interprofessional collaboration and transcultural care.
• The MSN-Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at Hawaii Pacific University is the first MSN-AGACNP program in the state.
• The Hawaii Pacific University RN to MSN program ranks as one of the best master’s nursing programs by U.S. News
18. Shenandoah University - Winchester, VA
Nurse-Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner
Shenandoah University School of Nursing offers an RN to MSN program for associate degree registered nurses who wish to advance their careers by earning a master’s degree. Programs are offered on-campus, online, and in a hybrid format.
The Nurse Midwifery
pathway prepares students with didactic and course content focused on the assessment and management of women’s health across the lifespan. The program can be completed in two years of full-time study, including summer sessions. The Nurse-Midwifery specialty curriculum includes 49 credit hours and 720 clock hours of clinical experience. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
The Family Nurse Practitioner program
is a 7-semester program focused on the assessment and management of health promotion and health maintenance, common and acute healthcare issues for patients across the lifespan, and risk reduction. The program is offered in a 100% online format with weekly synchronous cohort meetings. The curriculum involves 45 credits of coursework and 600 clinical hours.
The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
program prepares students with the necessary knowledge to promote health and mental wellness for patients dealing with psychiatric/mental health issues across the lifespan. This program, presented in a hybrid format, can be completed in seven semesters. The curriculum includes 46 credits of coursework and 600 clinical hours. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to take the Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
• The Shenandoah University MSN-Nurse Midwifery Program is ranked the #1 Nurse Midwifery Program in Virgina by U.S. News & World Report
• The RN to MSN program is ranked the #1 MSN Program among privateuniversities in Virgina and #5 among all universities in Virgina by U.S. News & World Report.
Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership/Management, Forensic Nursing, and Population-Based Care Coordination
Stevenson University offers an online RN to MSN program designed with the working nurse in mind. The program is offered, primarily, in eight-week sessions and offers six start dates during the year.
The university is one of the top accredited nursing schools in Maryland. The RN to MSN program option allows you to first earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing and then continue professional nursing education with masters-level coursework built around your schedule.
The RN to MSN curriculum includes core MSN coursework and specialty-focused classes. All students take classes including Global Healthcare Perspectives, concepts of Nursing Informatics, and Project and Resource Management.
At Steveson University, you may choose one of four RN to MSN specialty concentrations: Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership/Management, Forensic Nursing, and Population-Based Care Coordination. Each specialty requires students to complete at least 36 credits of specialty-relevant, MSN coursework. Each specialty track requires a concentration-specific practicum and a graduate nursing capstone project to be eligible for graduation.
• The Stevenson University RN to MSN program is ranked the #1 Most Affordable RN to MSN Online Program by Edumed.org.
• The college’s nursing and healthcare management program is ranked #1 among the nation’s best online programs according to Edumed.org.
The RN to MSN program with a Leadership concentration at the University of the Incarnate Word is an accelerated master’s program. The program is designed for associate or diploma registered nurses ready to pursue graduate studies. The program is formatted for full-time study. Students complete the program in six semesters or two years.
BSN coursework is presented exclusively online while the master’s-level component is delivered in a hybrid format. Once students enter the master’s component, there is a requirement to meet on-campus one day during the first and third weeks of each month.
The RN to MSN with Leadership concentration requires students to complete 100 credit hours. If you choose the University of Incarnate Word RN to MSN program, you will earn 60 credits in RN-BSN curriculum (pre-MSN) coursework and 40 additional credits
to satisfy the MSN course requirements. Some classes in the program include Nursing Leadership Theory, Resource Management, Program Development & Evaluation, and Healthcare Economics & Financial Management.
You will have the opportunity to complete clinical requirements with nurse leaders experienced in developing expert financial management and strategic planning. In the clinical component, you will learn to navigate a broad range of leadership issues encountered within healthcare organizations. The program also includes 432 clinical hours.
• The University of the Incarnate Word has more than 65 faculty members who precept in various clinical disciplines, which means as a student in the RN to MSN degree program, you will learn from trusted, experienced faculty who have your best interests at heart.
• The University offers a Clinical Learning Center where students in the RN to MSN program meet during on-campus requirements. The Center has an 11-bed hospital ward, a three-bed practice area, and five simulation rooms set up as home and clinic settings where you can practice your skills.
Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Informatics
Ferris State University offers an accelerated RN to MSN degree program available to students enrolled in the RN to BSN Completion program. The RN to MSN program is designed in an online format and can be completed in five to twelve semesters, depending on your course load and enrollment status.
Students may choose from three specialty concentrations, Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Informatics. At Ferris State University, you will complete thirty-seven total credits. Credits are earned from nursing core classes (18 credits), integration of knowledge credit (10 credits), and concentration-specific credits (9 credits.)
The curriculum includes classes such as Clinical Prevention and Population Health, Health Care Systems, Policy & Advocacy, and Organizational & Systems Leadership, which are part of each concentration. Other coursework is concentration relevant.
Students in the Nursing Education track take classes such as Curriculum Design in Nursing Education, Teaching Methods in Nursing Education and Advanced Physical Assessment, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacotherapeutics. Students in the Nursing Administration concentration mainly study Leadership Roles for Nurse Administration, Leadership in Resource Management, and Healthcare Program Development. In the Nursing Informatics concentration, the curriculum includes the classes Leadership Role for Informatics Nurse Specialist, Data Management & Analytics, Data Management and Analytics, and Informatics for Leadership.
• 90% of graduates of the Ferris State University online RN to MSN programreport having a nursing leadership job within six months of graduation.
• The RN to MSN program is consistently ranked as one of the best online MSN programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Nursing Education and Nursing Leadership
The Robert Morris University RN to MSN degree program offers practicing registered nurses the opportunity to pursue a career as a Nurse Educator or Nurse Leader by choosing one of these specialty concentration options. The program is designed for associate or diploma-prepared registered nurses and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The online format makes this program especially appealing to working nurses.
This program, which is one of the best RN to MSN programs in the nation, allows students to earn both a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Master’s in Nursing Education or Nursing Leadership. The BSN degree is conferred at the time when coursework is completed.
The MSN in Nursing Education is a 37-credit hour track designed to build mastery of practical experiences and educational processes to prepare students as nursing leaders and educators. The university also offers an MSN in Nursing Education with a Simulation concentration for students interested in specializing in the use of simulation technology for classroom and clinical instruction.
The MSN in Nursing Leadership is focused on professional communication and management skills, preparing students to become leaders in the healthcare industry. Students have the option of choosing from one of five Nursing Leadership subspecialties: Care Coordination, Global healthcare, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Management, and Simulation. All Nursing Leadership pathways involve a 36 credit hours curriculum.
• The RN to MSN program at Robert Morris University is named in the Princeton Review 2022 Best Online Nursing School Master’s Programs
• Nearly 90% of RN to MSN graduates complete internships or other work-related experiences.
• 95% of the Class of 2021 graduates of the Robert Morris University RN to MSN degree program are employed in their specialty within three months of graduation.
Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Women’s Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nursing Education, and Healthcare Leadership
Point Loma Nazarene University offers an RN to MSN degree program based on approaches from the Christian faith. The university offers RN to MSN options for both associate and baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses. Applicants for both pathways must have six to twelve months of full-time clinical nursing experience as registered nurses in the United States.
This RN to MSN program option takes approximately 31 months. The BSN-to-MSN option takes two years to complete. Classes are delivered face-to-face in an on-campus experience.
Depending on your degree level at admission, you will need 37 to 50 units of credit to complete the program. The ADN-to-MSN pathway requires students to complete 11 units of transition coursework before beginning the MSN cohort in the fall of the year of admission.
The Point Loma Nazarene University offers five specialty tracks for RN to MSN students. Upon completion of all undergraduate coursework and matriculation into the MSN component, you may declare your chosen concentration. All tracks consist of 22 units of MSN core courses, 21 track-specific courses, and 500 clinical hours aligned with their chosen specialty. Clinicals are completed in four to five practicum experiences relevant to the theory content of the current semester.
• Point Loma Nazarene University is partnered with the U.S. Navy, offering qualified nurses and service members the opportunity to earn an MSN degree through the Duty Under Instructions
• The RN to MSN program offers low student-to-faculty ratios (no more than 15:1), making it possible for students to have individualized attention.
Family Nurse Practitioner
At Loyola University, registered nurses with either an associate degree innursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing may apply for the RN to MSN program.
The RN to MSN bridge program is designed for students with an associate degree and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. This MSN path is a fast-track option that allows students to earn a Master of Science in nursing without first earning a BSN. Students who choose this pathway will receive a BSN equivalency, which is recognized by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. The BSN to MSN option is for registered nurses who possess a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
This excellent online RN to MSN degree program prepares nurses to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care while taking on leadership roles to extend and improve healthcare delivery. The university offers an MSN program with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration.
The MSN-FNP track helps students advance skills to provide holistic care to patients, families and populations across the lifespan and health continuum. Special emphasis on evidence-based practices is woven throughout the 48-credit hour curriculum. All coursework is delivered in an online format.
Students complete 720 hours of supervised clinical practicum in the state where they are licensed to practice as registered nurses. Program graduates are eligible to take national certification exams administered by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
• 90% of full-time nursing faculty hold terminal degrees in nursing, which means students in the RN to MSN degree program learn from well-educated, experienced instructors.
• The online MSN program is ranked as one of the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by U.S. News & World Report
Concentrations Offered: Care Coordination
, Nursing Education
, Nursing Informatics
, and Nursing Leadership & Administration
If you are a registered nurse looking to take your career to the next level with a master’s degree, Capella University offers one of the best RN to MSN programs and could be an excellent choice. The university offers FlexPath and guided path options, making it possible for you to choose a plan of study that fits your lifestyle.
Capella University offers four concentrations for RN to MSN students to choose from: Care Coordination, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Leadership & Administration. Students in all paths must complete three bridge courses, seven core courses, five specialization courses, and one clinical practicum.
The curriculum for each concentration consists of 66 total credits. The Care Coordination, Nursing Educator, and Nursing Leadership & Administration concentrations include 100 clinical hours. The Nursing Informatics program includes 200 clinical hours.
• Capella University is a founding partner of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, which promotes building healthy communities through service on nursing boards across the U.S. Students in the university’s RN to MSN bridge program are actively involved in community health initiatives.
• Capella University is recognized as a Yellow Ribbon company for its support of service men and women, veterans, and their families.
• Capella University has been named the recipient of the Sustained Excellence in Assessment award twice. This award recognizes colleges for demonstrating evidence of improved student outcomes and success, making this an excellent choice for RN to MSN students.
Concentrations Offered: Nursing Education
and Population Healthcare
The RN to MSN program at Southern New Hampshire University is one of the best in the nation, offering current or aspiring BSN students a pathway to earn a master’s degree in nursing. Students can choose a concentration in Nursing Education or Population Health. The program can be included in as few as 18 months.
The pathway for the RN to MSN program allows students to take advanced placement courses during their BSN study and seamlessly transition to the MSN component of the program. This method of the program means you have the benefit of earning a BSN credential on your way to becoming a master’s prepared registered nurse.
Students may transfer up to 90 credits to the Southern New Hampshire University RN to MSN program, 45 credits for an active, unencumbered RN license, and 45 additional credits from undergraduate coursework. The program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education offers two specialty tracks upon which graduate studies are focused, Nursing Education and Population Health.
The online RN to MSN in Nursing Education pathway prepares students to apply informatics, healthcare technology and evidence-based practice to support the improvement of health care systems through education. Students learn to collaborate and lead interprofessional teams, coordinate care across populations and develop advanced advocacy and communication strategies.
Students in the Population Health concentration of the RN to MSN program are prepared to assess and treat individuals, families, populations, and entire demographics. The program includes instruction in methods to improve population health outcomes, drive quality improvement in the delivery of healthcare and improve understanding of factors that impact population health.
• SNHU is ranked as one of the best online nursing programs for 2022 by College Cliffs
• The master’s nursing program at SNHU is ranked as one of the most affordable in the nation, making it an excellent choice for studentsinterested in an RN to MSN bridge program. (EduMed)
Concentrations Offered: Nursing Education
, Nursing Management & Executive Leadership
, and Clinical Nurse Leader
Sacred Heart University is home to another of our featured best RN to MSN degree programs. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and offers an excellent pathway to advance your nursing career.
The online RN to MSN program allows associate degree registered nurses the opportunity to earn two degrees in less than four years. Additionally, with six start dates each year, you can choose to begin your studies on your own timeline.
At Sacred Heart University, you can tailor your learning with one of three MSN specializations that aligns with your professional and personal goals. You may choose from, Nursing Education, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Nursing Management & Executive Leadership.
All students must earn a total of 147 credits. Once all prerequisite courses are complete and the master’s component begins, you must declare a specialty concentration and complete an additional 39 credits. Clinical assignments are completed close to your home, another perk of choosing this online program.
• Sacred Heart University ranks #14 Best Value Online MSN program by Value Colleges
• The RN to MSN program at SHU is ranked among the best online graduate nursing programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
Concentrations Offered: Nursing Leadership & Management
, Nursing Informatics
, and Nursing Education
Western Governor’s University offers associate-prepared nurses the opportunity to earn a BSN and move forward to complete a master’s in nursing through its RN to MSN bridge program.
The Western Governor’s University online RN to MSN program was designed to accommodate busy nurses. The competency-based curriculum puts you in charge of your education. Once you learn defined competencies, you demonstrate mastery through testing, projects, and other assessments.
Coursework is completed online while field experiences may be completed in a facility near you. Most coursework for the RN to MSN program can be accelerated based on your knowledge, personal preference, and desire to work. However, some specialties begin with a cohort-based course scheduled with faculty and fellow students via five webcam sessions.
Once all general education and nursing core courses are complete, you will begin the MSN core and specialty courses. The Nursing Leadership & Management pathway consists of 32 courses. It typically takes students 42 months to complete this specialty.
In the Nursing Informatics specialty pathway, you will learn to utilize data to impact change. In addition to online coursework, the Nursing Informatics concentration plan includes clinical practice experiences. Students in this program earn the National Association for Healthcare Quality Principles certificate. This pathway includes 31 courses and takes approximately 36 months to complete.
If you truly want to impact the future of nursing, the Nursing Education pathway could be the perfect choice for you. The program consists of 32 courses and includes clinical components where you will demonstrate competence in advanced nursing practice and curriculum development. Although you may complete the program in less time, most students finish this pathway in 42 months.
• Western Governor’s University uses a competency-based model which measures skills and knowledge instead of setting a predetermined amount of class time.
• Students in the online RN to MSN program move through courses as quickly as they wish, once they master the material.
Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner
(FNP), Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
(AGACNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
At Graceland University, you will find an online RN to MSN degree program where associate degree registered nurses can complete both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing online degree. The program accepts students every eight weeks, which means you can begin your academic journey as soon as you want.
The RN to MSN program offers online classes and face-to-face clinical experiences. You may choose from one of three specialty concentrations.
The Family Nurse Practitioner
pathway prepares students to provide care for patients, families, and populations in diverse settings. The curriculum includes a combination of theory and research with guided clinical practice. Students who choose this specialty complete 47 semester hours, 22 from core courses and 25 from the FNP specialty track. This pathway also includes 600 hours of clinical practicum.
The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
track also requires 47 semester hours and 540 clinical practice hours. In this program, you will learn to work with patients across the lifespan who are affected by mental health and substance abuse or behavioral disorders.
The Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
program is designed to prepare you to assess and manage acutely ill adults in various settings. The 47-semester-hour pathway includes an option to choose specialty practicums including orthopedics, oncology, endocrinology, hematology, and rheumatology, ensuring your preparation to sit for certification and begin practice.
• 77% of Graceland University’s faculty possess a terminal degree, which means you will learn from the top educators available.
• Graceland University is recognized by The Princeton Review as a “Best in the Midwest” school. This recognition reflects the quality of education you will receive as a student in the RN to MSN bridge program.
Touro University California offers one of the best RN to MSN programs nationwide. The program is based on an accelerated hybrid model designed with the working nurse in mind. The low student-to-teacher ratio ensures students interact with faculty and receive top-notch mentorship and instruction throughout the program.
The RN to MSN program is available to graduates of associate degree nursing programs and BSN degree holders. The ADN to MSN track can be completed in four continuous semesters. This pathway consists of 46 units of credit. The BSN-to-MSN track is designed for completion in 12 months, with students completing 33 units of credit.
The additional 400 clinical hours may be completed at your place of employment if approved by the university. Students in both tracks participate in 90 practicum hours for the Public Health Nursing certification. The PHN practicum hours are conducted in local health departments, community clinics, and schools. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to apply for the Public Health Nursing certificate through the California Board of Registered Nursing.
• Touro University California ranks in the top 10% for master’s nursing programs in the country, making it an excellent choice for students who wish to pursue an RN to MSN degree option. (College Factual
• 93% of graduates report being employed in their chosen specialty within six months of graduation.
Concentrations Offered: Nurse Educator
, Nurse Administrator
, and Clinical Nurse Leader
With the RN to MSN program at Queens University of Charotte, registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing can work toward an advanced degree without first pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The program, which was designed with busy, working nurses in mind, can be completed in two and a half years.
All coursework is delivered online, making it easy for you to study and learn on your own time, when and where you want. After completing core coursework and RN to MSN bridge classes, you will advance into a specialized track.
The Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator tracks include 37 credit hours of coursework and 225 clinical hours. The Clinical Nurse Leader track is a 37-credit-hour pathway that includes 400 clinical hours. Core Coursework includes classes in Theoretical Foundations, Health Policy, Informatics in Healthcare, Data Interpretations, Research Methods, and Integrative Clinical Concepts.
Students in the Nurse Administrator track take concentration-specific courses including Leadership Principles and Practices, and Financial Management for Nurse Leaders. Nurse Educator students take Educational Principles and Practices and Principles of Curriculum and Evaluation. The Nurse Administrator pathway includes courses such as Healthcare Data Implementation Management and Evaluation.
• The Queens University of Charlotte is ranked among the Top 15 Regional Universities South by U.S. News & World Report
, which means it is an awesome choice for students interested in an RN to MSN degree program.
• Students learn from RN to MSN program faculty who remain active and engaged in clinical practice.
Health Care Leadership and Nurse Educator
The RN to MSN program at Salisbury University is open to registered nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree in nursing but wish to pursue an MSN. Upon admission to the program, students receive up to 60 transfer credits from their qualified associate degree nursing program.
Prospective students must first complete all non-nursing prerequisite coursework and at least 12 of 18 required undergraduate nursing credits and maintain a 3.0 grade point average. After completing all undergraduate nursing coursework, students complete 12 credit hours of graduate core classes and master’s-level coursework relevant to their chosen concentration.
The RN to MSN program curriculum requires students to complete 36 to 39 semester hours of graduate-level coursework. Most students complete the program in two years.
The RN to MSN with Nurse Educator
concentration pathway is a 39-credit option. In this pathway, you will take specialized courses including educational theory, instructional technology, curriculum development, and program evaluation. This plan of study also includes two practicum experiences totaling 400 clinical hours. 200 hours of clinical practicum are focused on advanced nursing practice and the remaining 200 are focused on nursing education.
The Health Care Leadership
pathway is a 36-credit hour plan which prepares students for leadership and management positions within healthcare organizations. In addition to core coursework, students take specialized courses including informatics, healthcare leadership, healthcare management, and healthcare systems. All students complete 252 clinical hours, 126 hours focused on healthcare leadership and 126 hours related to healthcare management where theoretical concepts are applied.
• Salisbury University’s RN to MSN program is ranked as one of the Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs in the nation by U.S. News
• Salisbury University is ranked as the #6 nursing school in Maryland by College Factual.
Concentrations Offered: Care Coordinator
, and Nurse Educator
If you are searching for an online option for one of the best RN to MSN degree programs in the U.S., you may need to look no further than Nebraska Methodist College. The college offers busy registered nurses the opportunity to earn a master’s degree with four choices for specialty concentrations.
Each specialty track can be completed in 33 months. The curriculum includes 54 upper-division and specialty-specific nursing credit hours and a minimum 126-hour concentration-relevant clinical practicum.
The MSN Care Coordinator
track prepares students to be the bridge between population and public health in healthcare systems. The track provides a curriculum focused on the knowledge and skills necessary to act as a care coordinator. Graduates of the program may be eligible for the Care Coordination and Transition Management Certification Exam.
The RN to MSN program with Nurse Executive specialization offers another online opportunity for students who wish to learn management techniques and business skills and become effective nurse leaders. Graduates of this specialty track are eligible for the Executive Certification exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
As healthcare continues to change and our approach to nursing evolves with it, the need for technology and data-driven professional nurses increases. The Nursing Informatics
concentration of the RN to MSN program at Nebraska Methodist College is designed for registered nurses interested in using data analysis to optimate patient, family, and population outcomes. The curriculum allows for 200 clinical hours, making graduates eligible for the Nursing Informatics certification exam from the ANCC.
The Nurse Educator
path prepares students for roles as nurse teachers, instructors, and preceptors. Students complete coursework online and gain teaching experience through practicum and project experiences. Graduates may sit for the Certified Nurse Educator Exam
administered by the National League for Nursing.
• The RN to MSN Nursing Informatics track at Nebraska Methodist College is the only one of its kind in the region.
• Nebraska Methodist College offers scholarship opportunities
from funds provided by the Methodist Hospital Foundation to assist students in offsetting education-related expenses.
Nursing in Teaching-Learning Environments, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Leadership in Organizational Environments
The University of North Alabama is home to one of the best RN to MSN bridge programs in the nation. The university offers customized education and clinicals in your own community, making it the perfect option for busy professional nurses. The online RN to MSN program can be completed in 18 months of full-time study or 24 to 30 months of part-time study.
At UNA, students earn a BSN while accomplishing nine credit hours toward the MSN degree. After completing all undergraduate nursing coursework and maintaining a minimum of a 3.0-grade point average in all nursing courses at UNA, students are guaranteed admission into the MSN program.
At the University of North Alabama, students in the RN to MSN degree program may choose from one of three tracks: Nursing in Teaching-Learning Environments, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Leadership in Organizational Environments.
The Nursing in Teaching-Learning Environments and Nursing Leadership in Organizational Environments pathways are 32 credit hour, online options. Students complete a minimum of 180 clinical hours for both tracks. The Family Nurse Practitioner track consists of 41 credit hours and 600 clinical hours.
• The University of North Alabama is ranked as #13 for best colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report, making it an excellent choice for pursuing an RN to MSN degree program.
• Nearly 100% of RN to MSN graduates report being employed in their chosen specialty within six months of graduation.
Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
, Nurse Administrator
, Nurse Educator
, Nursing Informatics
, and Family Nurse Practitioner
South University is home to another featured online RN to MSN program. With online coursework and clinicals in your home community, you can pursue an advanced degree on your own time and terms. The university offers students five online RN to MSN options for concentrated study.
The RN to MSN Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
program prepares students to demonstrate expertise in diagnosing, treating, and preventing common health issues in adults. This path of study focuses on vulnerable and at-risk populations. The program curriculum includes 36 credits for AGPCNP specialization. Students must earn a total of 227 total credits to graduate with the credential.
The online RN to MSN Nurse Administrator
program is designed to prepare skilled nurse administrators capable of transforming patient care through outcome-oriented, evidence-based nursing leadership. Students who choose the Nurse Administrator pathway complete a minimum of 219 credits, including 28 concentration-specific course credits.
The Nurse Educator
concentration prepares students for the pivotal role of preparing future nurses for the workforce. The curriculum includes 35 specialization courses, with students earning a minimum of 225 credits for the total program.
The Nursing Informatics
specialization is designed to prepare students to design, select, implement, and maintain informatics solutions related to all areas of nursing. Students must complete 219 total credits, including 28 credits relevant to the concentration.
The Family Nurse Practitioner
concentration prepares students to deliver community-based care for patients across their lifespans. Students who choose this specialty must earn at least 233 total credit hours. The FNP specialization curriculum includes 42 specialty-relevant credits. Students complete 650 clinical hours.
• South University’s RN to MSN graduates have nearly a 90% pass rate on theAmerican Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification exam.
• RN to MSN students who chose the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP pathway at South University demonstrated a nearly 85% pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR RN TO MSN STUDENTS?
RN to MSN bridge programs can be expensive. One way to offset expenses without racking up a lot of student loan debt is to apply for scholarships. The following are a few examples of scholarships designed for graduate nursing students, such as those pursuing a degree through an RN to MSN program.
• The Paulina L. Sorg Scholarship ($1,000) is available to students in RN to MSN programs who maintain a 3.0-grade point average.
• The Deborah E. Trautman Scholarship ($3,500): This scholarship is available to graduate nursing students, such as those enrolled in accredited RN to MSN programs who are committed to leadership roles in nursing education.
• After College/AACN Scholarship Fund ($2,500) supports nursing students seeking baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees in nursing. Special consideration is given to students seeking the Nurse Educator specialization in RN to MSN programs and those enrolled in accelerated nursing programs. One scholarship is awarded each quarter.
Margaret McClure Scholarship ($5,000) is offered in honor of Margaret McClure, known as the “Mother of Magnet.” Ms. McClure pioneered the effort to create the 80/20 Magnet movement, which was an effort to see at least 80% of RNs achieve BSN status by 2020.
• Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. Scholarship ($2,500-$10,000) The NEF Scholarship is available to licensed registered nurses pursuing a master’s degree through an accredited graduate school. Applicants must be members of the American Nurses Association.
Nurse Practitioner Health Association (from $1,000 to $4,000) offers scholarships to graduate nursing students in NP programs for research, leadership, and academic achievements.
Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship ($5,000) is offered by the National Black Nurses Association. Association members in good standing and enrolled in an accredited nursing program, such as the best RN to MSN programs featured in this article, are eligible to apply.
March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship ($5,000) This scholarship is offered in partnership with Pampers and is available to registered nurses enrolled in graduate programs, like the featured RN to MSN programs, and who have a focus on maternal-child nursing.
5 IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHICH RN TO MSN PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Choosing the right RN to MSN program is a big step. There are several things to consider before settling on a program. The following are five important factors to keep in mind as you research program options.
1. How is the program delivered/formatted?
One of the main factors to consider when choosing the right RN to MSN program is the program’s format. If you have a job or other responsibilities, you may feel that an online approach to coursework is best for you. On the other hand, you may be the type of student who learns better with a study group or in a classroom. Find the type of program that works best for how you live and learn.
2. What specialty concentrations are offered?
Some RN to MSN programs offer students several options for specialty concentrations, while others are limited or offer none. Knowing which direction you want to go in your career will help you choose a program that is more aligned with your long-term goals.
3. How long will it take you to graduate?
The length of RN to MSN programs varies. Consider how long you can commit to a program before applying and then apply to programs that match that timeframe.
4. Is the program accredited?
Accreditation is a process by which non-governmental organizations recognize educational institutions and their programs for having met or exceeded the criteria and standards set forth for quality.
5. What are the clinical requirements and who arranges them?
All RN to MSN programs have some form of clinical component. You need to know what the clinical requirements are. If you are required to participate in hands-on clinical experiences, find out if the school has pre-arranged clinical sites or do you have to try and secure sites for yourself with faculty approval.
3 MOST COMMON CHALLENGES YOU WILL FACE IN RN TO MSN PROGRAMS AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
If you are considering pursuing your graduate degree through an RN to MSN program, you may have wondered what challenges to expect. The following are the three most common challenges you will face in RN to MSN programs and suggestions for how to address and overcome them.
Challenge #1: The curriculum in RN to MSN programs is challenging.
About the Challenge: One of the biggest challenges of RN to MSN programs is the course-heavy, rigorous curriculum. If you are not prepared for what to expect, it can leave you feeling “off-balance” academically.
How to Overcome it: It is possible to handle a challenging curriculum and be successful in your program. The first thing you should do is talk with your academic advisor. Be honest about how much you think you can handle as far as course load goes and then map out an academic plan to help you reach your goals without overextending yourself.
Challenge #2: RN to MSN programs can be expensive.
About the Challenge:
Graduate nursing school takes not only time but money... sometimes lots of money. Many would-be students are deterred from enrolling because of worry about the potential cost. However, if you truly want to earn your MSN, there are options to help you achieve your goal without completely “breaking the bank.”
How to Overcome it:
There are several options to help offset some of the expenses associated with RN to MSN programs. I always recommend talking to your employer and asking about possible scholarship offers or employer-sponsored academic programs. Many employers feel investing in current employees is an investment in their company, which could make it a win-win for you both. As you seek out different programs and schools, ask about scholarships and grants specific to their programs. Also, some graduate students may qualify for federally funded student loans or grants
Challenge #3: An RN to MSN program is often time-consuming.
About the Challenge: Being successful in an RN to MSN program requires you to dedicate a lot of time. You will work on course assignments, research projects, and participate in clinicals. If you don’t manage your time efficiently, it could leave you feeling overwhelmed.
How to Overcome it: RN to MSN students are typically advised to dedicate three hours of study time for each credit hour of coursework weekly. For instance, if you are enrolled in six credit hours, you will need to dedicate at least 18 hours each week to studying and completing assignments. You will need to find a way to balance school responsibilities with work and life commitments if you wish to succeed.
Look at your current schedule closely and consider what changes, if any, you can make. If you plan to work while in RN to MSN school, you may need to talk with your supervisor/boss and see if changes to your schedule are possible or if they will be helpful.
WHAT ARE SOME USEFUL RESOURCES FOR RN TO MSN STUDENTS?
There are unlimited resources for just about anything that interests you. With the click of a mouse, you can access videos, online books, podcasts, and a wealth of other information at your fingertips. For example, the following are some resources that could be useful for students in RN to MSN programs.
Nurse Shida gives personal insight into RN to MSN programs. In this video, she offers information to help narrow down your search and find the right program.
Sean P. Dent discusses RN to MSN programs and answers questions about whether there are drawbacks.
Nurse NaNa discusses her journey in the RN to MSN program at Capella University. She discusses billing, class structure, and coursework.
This podcast is designed for nursing students of all levels. It offers a unique perspective for students pursuing their nursing degrees and offers motivation to keep going, even when things seem tough.
This podcast uses multimedia experiences to present practical guidance for nursing students about the many areas of the nursing industry. Listeners will find insightful stories about current issues in nursing.
This podcast, sponsored by Johnson and Johnson is an outreach program affiliated with a bi-weekly nursing journal. It provides a platform for learning about current trends in nursing and offers support for nurses in both their personal and professional lives.
This book offers narrative reflections from experienced nurses about the dynamics and diversities associated with nursing. Readers find stories from nurses at various stages in their careers who offer inspiration.
This book offers a reminder that as nurses, we must care for ourselves if we are to be effective in caring for others. You’ll find techniques for dealing with the stress of nursing school and your career.
This book gives a different view of nursing, addressing bullying, bad attitudes, and turmoil. RN to MSN students can find helpful tips on avoiding or resolving issues as they occur to promote more positive experiences.
TOP 5 CERTIFICATION OPTIONS FOR RN TO MSN GRADUATES
Students in RN to MSN programs have the option of choosing a specialty track and becoming certified. There are many certifications to choose from, depending on your preference of patient population. The following are the top five certification options for RN to MSN graduates.
1. Family Nurse Practitioner:
FNPs provide comprehensive care to patients and families across the lifespan. This certification is quite popular, especially in rural areas where there is a shortage of licensed physicians. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam
. The examination is competency-based, providing a reliable, valid assessment for entry-level FNPs. The FNP credential is valid for five years.
2. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner:
AGNPs provide care to adults with acute or chronic health conditions. You may choose between Acute Care or Primary Care certification as an Adult-Gerontology NP. The ANCC offers an Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP
and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
certification examination. The certification aligns with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation and is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification.
3. Nurse Educator:
The MSN Nurse Educator provides education and tools to current and future nurses by utilizing teaching theories and strategies within academic and clinical practice settings. You can become certified as a Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing. The NLN offers three nurse educator certification exams: Certified Nurse Educator
, Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator
, and Academic Novice Educator
4. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:
The PMHNP provides care for patients, families, and populations experiencing mental, behavioral, or addictive disorders. With increased awareness about the importance of mental health and wellness, this certification is becoming increasingly popular. The ANCC offers a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
board certification examination. The credential, which is good for five years, can be maintained by keeping your nursing license active and unencumbered and by meeting renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal.
5. Nursing Informatics:
Graduates of RN to MSN programs who specialize in nursing informatics analyze and interpret data and use electronic health technology to promote effective and efficient healthcare practices. You can become certified as an Informatics Nurse through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The certification known as Informatics Nursing Certification
, RN-BC, is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification.
WHERE DO THE MAJORITY OF RN TO MSN GRADUATES WORK? – TOP 5 WORK SETTINGS
Graduates of RN to MSN bridge programs work in various settings, depending on the preference of specialty or patient population. The following are the top five work settings for RN to MSN degree holders.
1. Offices of Physicians:
Graduates of RN to MSN bridge programs often work in physicians’ offices as Nurse Practitioners. They perform patient assessments, prescribe medications, perform minor procedures, and educate patients and their loved ones about diagnoses and treatment options.
The MSN graduate’s work schedule in a physician’s office is usually Monday through Friday with no nights or weekends, which makes it an attractive option for nurses with families or other responsibilities.
2. General Medical and Surgical Hospitals:
The RN to MSN graduate who works in General Medical and Surgical hospitals may be tasked with responsibilities including admitting new patients, ordering and/or performing tests, and providing education and support to patients and their families. If you choose the Nurse Executive or Healthcare Leadership track of an RN to MSN program, you could find a job in an administrative position in one of these facilities.
The work schedule of RN to MSN graduates in General Medical and Surgical hospitals varies, depending on job title and role.
3. Outpatient Care Centers:
The role of RN to MSN program graduates in outpatient care centers varies, depending on the chosen concentration. Some graduates of these programs provide direct patient care while others supervise nursing staff within the facility.
Many outpatient care center RN to MSN graduates work day shifts.
4. Offices of Other Health Practitioners:
After graduating from an RN to MSN program, you may find employment in offices of other healthcare practitioners. Depending on the type of practitioner you work with, your role could include assessing patients, prescribing medications and treatments, and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. Some RN to MSN graduates work in management positions in health practitioners’ offices and oversee the nursing staff.
Most health practitioners’ offices operate typical office hours, which means in this setting you can typically expect a Monday through Friday schedule with few to no nights, weekends, or holidays.
5. Home Health Care Services:
RN to MSN program graduates who work for home health care services may fill a variety of roles. Some are Family Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners, or have an MSN in Nursing Administration. The nurse’s specific role dictates job responsibilities but may include admitting patients to service by performing admission assessments, developing care plans, working as part of the interdisciplinary team, and collaborating with patients, families, and physicians. Most RN to MSN graduates in home health care services work typical office hours. However, a night or weekend shift may be necessary to cover unexpected patient needs.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL WORK SCHEDULE AND WORK HOURS FOR RN TO MSN GRADUATES?
The typical work schedule and number of hours worked for graduates of RN to MSN programs varies, depending on the setting. For example, RN to MSN graduates who work in physicians’ offices or in administrative positions may have more of a set schedule than those who work in hospitals. RN to MSN graduates who specialize in Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, or Healthcare Leadership usually work typical office hours and enjoy having nights, weekends, and holidays off.
WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST JOBS FOR NEW RN TO MSN GRADUATES?
Graduates of RN to MSN programs can choose from a variety of jobs in different settings. The following are five of the best jobs for new RN to MSN graduates.
1. Family Nurse Practitioner:
One of the best jobs for new RN to MSN graduates is the job of a Family Nurse Practitioner. As an FNP, you will provide a diverse range of healthcare services for patients of all ages across the lifespan.
2. Clinical Nurse Leader:
A Clinical Nurse Leader collaborates with the patient, family, and interdisciplinary team to ensure the most beneficial and safe care is provided to the patient. They use healthcare delivery systems that are data-driven to help transform the healthcare industry.
3. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner:
The AGACNP provides care to adult and geriatric patients experiencing acute illnesses or injuries. In this role, you will address complex, acute illnesses and diseases by monitoring and assessing your patient’s health status, creating care plans, and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, as needed.
4. Nursing Educator:
If you enjoy teaching others and like the idea of helping develop nurses for the future, the role of a nurse educator could be an excellent choice for you as a new RN to MSN graduate.
5. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:
As a PMHNP, you will provide care to patients experiencing mental health issues or who have substance abuse or behavioral disorders. Some PMHNPs choose to specialize in pediatric mental health or geriatric mental health while others care for patients across the lifespan.
AVERAGE SALARY FOR RN TO MSN GRADUATES IN THE NATION
What Is The Starting Salary For New RN to MSN Graduates?
The average starting salary for graduates of RN to MSN bridge programs is $38.21 per hour, which is equivalent to $1,528 per week, $6,620 monthly, or $79,470 annually.
|Starting RN to MSN Salary|
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
What Is The Average Salary For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
Graduates of RN to MSN degree programs earn generous salaries, with average incomes of approximately $118,040. This salary, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics findings, equals $56.75 hourly, $2,270 weekly, or $9,840 per month.
|Average RN to MSN Salary|
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
How Much Does The Salary Of RN to MSN Degree Holders Grow With Experience?
The salary of graduates of accredited RN to MSN programs grows with continued experience. For instance, with as few as one to four years of work experience, MSN degree holders can make as much as $20,000 more than the average entry-level salary. Within ten years, it is possible to earn salaries of $62.35 per hour, which equals $129,680 annually. With 20 or more years, that income increases by more than $30,000, with degree holders earning an average of $3,141 weekly or $13,610 each month.
| 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 RN to MSN Degree Holders?
One important factor to consider when applying for a job is the type of benefits package the potential employer offers. In many cases, benefits packages can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, which makes the total annual compensation much higher. For instance, graduates of RN to MSN degree programs who work for private industries have an average benefits package worth nearly $50,000, making their total average annual compensation $168,051. Graduates who work for state and local governments have even richer benefits packages, totaling approximately $71,928. With salary and benefits combined, the total compensation for RN to MSN graduates in state and local governments is $188,788.
| Component || Private|
| State and Local|
| 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 RN TO MSN GRADUATES BY WORK SETTING
The average salary for RN to MSN bridge program graduates varies by work setting. Graduates who work in physicians’ offices and offices of other healthcare practitioners earn between $108,170 and $114,870 per year. RN to MSN graduates who work in general medical and surgical hospitals and outpatient care centers earn an average of $122,960 and $129,190, respectively. Among the top employers for RN to MSN graduates, home health care services pay the highest wage, offering salaries of $64.02 hourly, which equals $2,561 weekly or $133,170 annually.
| 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 RN TO MSN GRADUATES BY STATE
The average salary for graduates of RN to MSN bridge programs also varies by state. States that have a higher cost of living expenses and greater populations tend to pay more.
For example, California pays the highest salary, which is approximately $73 per hour or $2,920 weekly, equal to $151,830 annually. RN to MSN graduates in Connecticut average $120,450 per year, and those in Hawaii earn approximately $127,490.
States with lower salary offerings include South Carolina and Missouri, where RN to MSN graduates earn between $102,850 and $103,490. In Tennessee, graduates earn $95,120 per year, on average.
| 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 RN TO MSN GRADUATES BY METRO
Metropolitan areas are densely populated areas where the population shares industries, including healthcare services. The income in these areas is influenced by the number of providers compared to the number of people needing care and the cost of living in those areas.
Graduates of RN to MSN degree programs who live in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA metro earn an average of $177,160, making it one of the highest-paying metros. Another high-paying metro is in Fresno, CA, where RN to MSN graduates earn an average of $147,760 per year.
Nurses with the same degree in Johnson City, Tennessee earn an average annual income of 492,930. In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, graduates can anticipate a yearly income of approximately $97,960.
| 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 RN TO MSN GRADUATES EARN HIGHER OR LOWER COMPARED TO OTHER OCCUPATIONS?
RN to MSN Salary VS. All Other Occupations Salary
Compared to other occupations nationwide, graduates of accredited RN to MSN programs earn nearly $60,000 more, a difference of 102.61%. These numbers are based on the average of all other salaries being $58,260 and the average annual income of RN to MSN graduates being $118,040.
|RN to MSN Average|
Average Annual Salary
| Difference |
| Number || % |
|$118,040 ||$58,260 ||+$59,780 ||+102.61%|
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
RN to MSN Salary VS. Other Nursing Salaries
Compared to other nursing salaries, nurses with an RN to MSN degree earn significantly higher incomes. Their average income of $118,040 is approximately $35,290 more than registered nurses without an MSN, $66,190 more than LPN/LVNs and $84,790 more than nursing assistants. The RN to MSN graduate salary ranks second only to nurse anesthetists who earn $202,470 per year, which is 41.70% higher than registered nurses with an MSN degree.
| Occupation || Average|
| Difference |
| Number || % |
| Nurse Anesthetist ||$202,470 ||-$84,430||-41.70%|
|Nurse with RN to MSN Degree||$118,040 ||$0||0.00%|
|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)|
RN to MSN Salary VS. Other Healthcare Salaries
The healthcare industry is filled with opportunities to earn a good income while pursuing your dream. Compared to other healthcare salaries, graduates of RN to MSN degree programs continue to rate high on the income-earning scale.
The professions that pay higher salaries include physicians, dentists, podiatrists, pharmacists, optometrists, and physician assistants. These occupations make between $119,460 and $252,480 yearly, a difference of 1.19% to 53.25%.
Nurses with RN to MSN degrees make more than chiropractors, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and veterinarians. These healthcare occupations pay between $81,240 and $109,920 annually, 7.30% to 45.30% less than the $118,040 annual salary of RN to MSN degree holders.
| Occupation || Average|
| 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 RN to 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 RN TO MSN GRADUATES
What Are The Highest Paying Work Settings For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
The work settings where RN to MSN degree holders make the most include outpatient care centers, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, home health care services, business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations. These settings pay RN to MSN program graduates between $129,190 and $133,800. The highest paying work setting is accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, where graduates earn approximately $148,980 yearly.
| Rank || Work Setting || Average Annual|
| 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 RN to MSN Degree Holders?
The highest paying states for RN to MSN degree holders are California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Nevada. These states between $123,680 and $151,830, with the average being $131,620.
| Rank || State || Average Annual|
| 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 RN to MSN Degree Holders?
The top 25 paying metros for graduates of RN to MSN degree programs are in Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and California. California has the greatest number of high-paying metros, 16 out of the top 25. The metros that pay RN to MSN degree holders the most pay between $137,830 and $197,870.
| Rank || Metro || Average|
| 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 An RN to MSN Degree Holder
Even after you earn a graduate degree, there are some things you can do to help maximize your earning potential more. The following are five tips to help you maximize your earning potential as an RN to MSN degree holder.
1. Get additional certifications:
After you graduate from an RN to MSN program, you can boost your income by pursuing additional certifications. For instance, if you graduate from an RN to MSN program with a concentration as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner but have an interest in oncology, you could become a certified oncology nurse
specializing in pediatric oncology care.
2. Move up the career ladder into a management position.
Even if you do not choose nursing management or leadership as a specialty, your MSN and prior work experience are enough that you could qualify for some leadership and management positions.
3. Consider sharing your knowledge and experiences by starting a blog or doing freelance healthcare writing.
There is certainly no shortage of healthcare and nursing blogs and websites, and they value the knowledge and input from experienced RN to MSN nurses. If you take this on as a side gig, you can pretty much work at your own pace or on your own schedule and the income potential is unlimited, depending on how much time you want to devote to the work.
Lots of RN to MSN nurses feel like they don’t have time for anything extra after a shift ends, but if you would dedicate some time to networking and getting to know other nurses and healthcare professionals, you may find that doors of opportunity begin to open for you.
5. Consider telehealth nursing opportunities to boost your income.
If you want to make some extra money from the comfort of home, telehealth nursing is an excellent way to make it happen. Your RN to MSN credentials, a reliable internet connection and participation in required training (which is relatively short) are all you need to get started!
JOB OUTLOOK FOR RN TO MSN GRADUATES
What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
The ten-year job outlook for RN to MSN degree holders is promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 52.16% increase in jobs for these program graduates.
| +52.16% |
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
What Are The Top 5 Reasons Contributing To The Demand For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
Nursing is one of the most secure industries as far as long-term job opportunities. Today, there is a demand for nurses more than ever, especially graduate degree holders, such as RN to MSN program graduates. The following are a few reasons the demand for RN to MSN degree holders is so high.
1. COVID-19 Pandemic:
There is currently a nationwide shortage of nurses, which has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The shortage has left healthcare employers seeking highly educated, prepared nurses who can step into roles providing advanced care to patients.
2. Aging Nursing Population:
As the current nursing workforce ages and nurses reach retirement age, there is a need for nurses to fill those positions.
3. Increased Number of Population:
As the population grows, the demand for quality healthcare increases, too. Graduates of RN to MSN programs can take on advanced practice roles, making the demand for their services greater.
4. Higher numbers of chronic illnesses and diseases:
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of chronic disease is expected to increase by nearly 55%. The number of people experiencing chronic diseases and health conditions means the need for qualified care providers will continue to increase, as well.
5. Long-term cost-effectiveness:
The autonomy experienced by MSN nurses means employers can hire qualified nurses to provide care, advance leadership, and manage teams. Many employers hire RN to MSN program graduates because, although they earn higher salaries, it is more cost-effective to pay one nurse a higher salary than to pay the salary for two or more nurses to do the same job.
What Is The 10-Year Job Outlook For RN to MSN Degree Holders In Your State?
According to CareerOneStop
, RN to MSN degree holders should see a positive ten-year job outlook in every state in the nation. Some states, like Mississippi and Alaska, anticipate smaller job increases, with a 7.14% and 8.57% increase, respectively. Other states, like Georgia and Arizona, are expected to see job growth of as much as 50.90% over the next decade.
| State || 10-Year Job|
| 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% |
What States Have The Highest 10-Year Job Outlook For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
Currently, Texas, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida, New York, Georgia, Colorado and Arizona have the highest ten-year job outlook for RN to MSN degree program graduates. These states should see a 31.86% to 50.90% increase over the next ten years.
| Rank || State || 10-Year Job|
| 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% |
WHAT ARE THE TOP ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS FOR RN TO MSN GRADUATES?
Professional nursing associations and organizations are excellent resources for nurses to grow a professional network, access continuing education, and learn from others. The following are some of the top organizations and associations for RN to MSN program graduates.
The American Academy of Nursing works to create and implement policy-related, evidence-based initiatives to help advance healthcare. The Academy promotes organizational excellence and strong nursing leadership. The Academy has nearly 3,000 members, referred to as Fellows. Academy Fellows are accomplished leaders in nursing education, practice, research, and management.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is a non-profit nursing association. The Association is dedicated to promoting a healthcare system that supports the needs of patients and families requiring acute care.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology represents more than 59,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and CRNA students nationwide. The AANA offers members access to current information about nurse anesthesia and patient safety, continuing education opportunities, and professional resources.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners offers an NP community of more than 121,000 members. The Association works to empower nurse practitioners to advance high-quality care for patients and communities through education, research, leadership, and advocacy.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives represents certified midwives and certified nurse midwives nationwide. The organization promotes excellence in midwifery education and practice in the U.S. and encourages the growth and strengthening of midwives in other countries.
The American Nurses Association is a professional nursing organization focused on advancing and protecting the nursing profession. The Association has more than 4 million registered nurse members. Members have the benefit of discounts on certifications, free continuing education courses, and a strong network of peers.
The American Organization for Nursing Leadership is known as the voice of nursing leadership. With more than 11,000 nurse leaders as members, the Organization works to transform healthcare through influential and expert nursing leadership. The AONL offers professional development of nurse leaders through competency-based learning experiences and serves nurse leaders at all levels of their nursing career journey.
The Association of Public Health Nurses works to promote and protect public health safety by providing educational opportunities, creating and implementing public health nursing standards, and advancing the role of public health nurses. Members have educational offerings including periodic webinars, leadership development opportunities, and annual national conferences where they can meet, network, and learn together.
The Association of Nursing Professional Development works to advance professional development of nurses with the goal of improving and enhancing healthcare outcomes. The Association’s mission is “to advance quality healthcare by defining and promoting nursing professional development.”
The Emergency Nursing Association works to advance excellent emergency nursing. The ENA operates on the foundation of values that incorporate collaboration with healthcare providers worldwide, embracing diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect for all perspectives within emergency nursing.
The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is a member-supported organization devoted to advancing the values and expertise of Clinical Nurse Specialists. The NACNS has more than 2,000 members who work to promote the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered, evidence-based care and to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery.
The National League for Nursing is dedicated to excellence in nursing and is considered the premier organization for nurse leaders and faculty in nursing education. League members benefit from network and professional development opportunities, research grants, and public policy initiatives. Members represent nursing education programs across healthcare organizations, higher education institutions and private nursing agencies.
The National Student Nurses Association is dedicated to bringing nursing students together to mentor and prepare for licensure. The Association works to convey the ethics and standards of the nursing profession and to promote skills development necessary for student nurses to become quality members of the nursing profession.
The Society of Pediatric Nurses represents more than 3,600 pediatric nurses in 28 specializations nationwide. The SPN supports members by providing up-to-date news about pediatric trends and educational resources to promote professional practice. The Society of Pediatric Nurses mission is to “advance the specialty of pediatric nursing through excellence in education, research, and practice.”
The American Board of Nursing Specialties is a non-profit membership organization focused on improving consumer protection and patient outcomes by promoting specialty nursing certifications. Members of the ABNS are part of a network of national nursing leaders and test experts in the certification arena.
WHAT ARE THE 3 BEST ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR RN TO MSN DEGREE HOLDERS?
Earning an MSN is an excellent way to boost your opportunities for advancement in the nursing industry. Here are three of the best advancement opportunities for RN to MSN degree holders.
1. Director of Nursing:
The Director of Nursing
manages the services provided by all nursing staff in a healthcare facility. You may oversee patient care, observe nurses, plan and manage budgets related to patient care, and complete other administrative tasks.
2. Nursing Education Program Director:
As an RN to MSN graduate with a Nurse Educator specialization, you could work as a Nursing Education Director. This job involves directing and designing curriculum to teach nursing students and staff nurses in colleges, universities, or healthcare facilities.
3. Hospital Administrator:
Some RN to MSN program graduates move into upper management positions in roles like the Hospital Administrator. Hospital Administrators manage staff and budgets, organize health services and daily activities within the hospital, and ensure adequate patient care from all departments.
BONUS! 7 EXPERT TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING ACCEPTED INTO THE BEST RN to MSN PROGRAMS IN THE NATION
Once you decide you want to pursue a master’s degree through one of the available RN to MSN programs, it then becomes necessary to start applying for admission. Here are a few expert tips to help improve your chances of being accepted into one of the best RN to MSN programs in the nation.
1. Submit a complete application.
One of the fastest ways to have your RN to MSN application denied or delayed is to submit an incomplete application. Before you submit your application, make sure to verify which documents are necessary and submit everything together.
2. Get excellent letters of professional recommendation.
Admission counselors want to know about you... from others. Most RN to MSN programs require applicants to submit at least two letters of recommendation. These letters should come from former nursing instructors and employers. The recommendation should be supportive of your likelihood of success in the program.
3. Do not limit yourself to one school.
Admission into accredited RN to MSN programs can be competitive. If you want to improve your chances of acceptance, consider applying to more than one school.
4. Carefully write a Statement of Intent.
A Statement or Letter of Intent is a focused essay that is usually required as part of the admission package when applying to nursing school or programs, like the RN to MSN programs in this article. Your Statement of Intent should highlight your best qualities, academically and professionally. As you write your Statement of Intent, think of it as a written argument for why you are the best candidate for the program.
5. Prepare for an Admissions Interview.
One of the final steps in your RN to MSN admission process is participation in an interview with nursing faculty or an admissions committee. You should treat this interview like a regular job interview. Research potential questions faculty may ask and come up with a way you would answer the questions. Practice for the interview with a friend or family member. Keep in mind, that some schools now do admissions interviews by phone or video. You should still prepare as if you would for an in-person interview.
6. Be sure to keep your nursing license and any certifications current and unrestricted.
One of the criteria for admission to RN to MSN programs is having a current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse. If there are any issues with your license or if you’ve experienced delays obtaining your license, try to resolve the issue ahead of time.
7. Be diligent in your efforts to earn an invitation for admission.
Because of a nationwide shortage of nursing faculty, many RN to MSN schools must limit the number of students accepted into their programs. Therefore, you must be persistent in your efforts to find a program and get accepted.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS – IS AN RN TO MSN PROGRAM WORTH IT?
Throughout this article, we have addressed the question, “What are the best RN to MSN bridge programs in the nation?” Maybe you have read and wondered if one of these programs is really worth the effort. If you have dreams of working independently as an advanced practice nurse, want to be a nurse educator, or see yourself in the nursing profession for many years to come, I believe an RN to MSN program is worth it.
If you choose one of the 35 best accredited online and campus RN to MSN programs in the nation for 2023
featured in this article, you can set yourself up for a long-term, rewarding career in the nursing industry with unlimited possibilities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. Are RN to MSN Programs Hard To Get Into?
Admission to RN to MSN programs is competitive. Schools that offer these programs look for applicants with a likelihood of success and whose backgrounds suggest they will positively impact the program and the profession.
2. Is There A Waiting List For RN to MSN Programs?
There is sometimes a waiting list for RN to MSN programs. The current shortage of nursing faculty nationwide has resulted in several qualified applicants being turned away until later semesters. Therefore, it is important to apply early and make sure you follow through.
3. Do RN to MSN Programs Have To Be Accredited?
You can find RN to MSN programs that are not accredited. However, I would advise against choosing one to pursue your degree. Even if you graduate from a program, if it is not accredited, you may find it difficult to qualify for certification examinations and you may not get the promotion at work an accredited degree would bring.
4. Are Online RN to MSN Programs Accredited?
Yes, there are many accredited online RN to MSN programs.
5. Typically, How Long Does The RN to MSN Program Take To Complete?
RN to MSN degree programs take an average of 15 to 24 months to complete. However, that time may be shorter or longer, depending on your course load and enrollment status.
6. How Can I Complete The RN to MSN Program Faster?
If you want to complete the RN to MSN program faster, you may want to consider completing as many undergraduate courses as possible. Also, if you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, you may be eligible for an accelerated RN to MSN program.
7. Typically, How Much Does The RN to MSN Program Cost?
The price of RN to MSN programs can vary somewhat significantly, costing anywhere from $15,000 to more than $80,000.
8. Are Scholarships Available For RN to MSN Students?
There are various types of scholarships available for RN to MSN students. Check with your employer, nursing associations, and the schools where you hope to attend to find out what scholarships are available and the criteria for earning them.
9. Are Grants Available For RN to MSN Students?
There are several types of grants available for RN to MSN students. All colleges and universities require students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
. Also, employers, nursing associations, and private businesses offer grants.
10. Are Student Loans Available For RN to MSN Programs?
There are various types of student loans available for RN to MSN programs. Some students choose to pursue federally funded loans while others may enter into contracts with employers for educational loans. Of course, a traditional loan through your bank is always an option.
11. Are GRE Scores Required For Admission Into RN to MSN Programs?
Some schools require GRE scores as part of admission criteria into their RN to MSN programs. However, all schools do not. Talk to an admissions counselor at the schools that interest you to confirm the need for test scores.
12. Is Professional Nursing Experience Required To Be Accepted Into RN to MSN Programs?
Some RN to MSN programs require applicants to have at least one year of clinical nursing experience. Conversely, other schools offer graduates of accredited nursing programs admission directly into their RN to MSN programs.
13. What Is The Minimum GPA Required To Get Into RN to MSN Programs?
Typically, the admission criteria for RN to MSN programs include having a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The minimum requirement may vary somewhat from one school to the next.
14. Can I Get Into RN to MSN Programs With A Low GPA?
In some cases, it may be possible to get into an RN to MSN program with a low GPA. However, I would urge you to consider why your GPA is low before you tackle trying to secure acceptance with a low grade- point average. If you do not address the issue that led to your low GPA in the first place, you may set yourself up for failure, even if the school admits you.
15. What If My GPA Is Below The Minimum Requirement, Can I Still Get Into RN to MSN Programs?
The minimum grade-point-average is something that is usually not negotiable. However, if you are adamant about attending a specific RN to MSN program and your GPA is not high enough, you may be able to appeal the university’s decision or have provisional admission giving you time to pull your GPA up.
16. Can International Students Apply To RN to MSN Programs?
Many colleges and universities offer opportunities for international students to study in their RN to MSN programs. Be sure to verify with an admissions advisor to make sure you meet the admission requirements for international students.
17. What Prerequisites Are Required To Get Into RN to MSN Programs?
You will likely have all the necessary prerequisite coursework taken care of from your ADN program. Prerequisite classes include Statistics, Advanced Physical Assessment, Lifespan Developmental Psychology, and Anatomy & Physiology I & II with Labs.
18. Do I Need To Complete The Prerequisites Before I Apply To RN to MSN Programs?
Admission to RN to MSN programs is contingent upon having completed an associate or bachelor’s degree nursing program. Therefore, most prerequisites should be completed before you apply. However, if you are missing any of the school’s required courses, you will likely be told to complete them before admission into the MSN component of the program.
19. What Are The Total Number Of Courses In An RN to MSN Program?
The total number of courses for RN to MSN programs vary. Some programs require as few as nine graduate-level courses while others require much more. Your specialty concentration also has an impact on the number of courses you must take.
20. How Many Credits Do I Need To Graduate From An RN to MSN Program?
The number of credits needed for RN to MSN programs varies depending on which specialty concentration you choose. Most programs average 35-50 credits of MSN and specialty core credits.
21. Does The RN to MSN Program Curriculum Include Clinical Training?
All RN to MSN program curriculum includes some element of clinical training. The setting and type of training you need will depend upon your choice of specialty and the school’s guidelines for completing clinicals.
22. Exactly, How Many Clinical Training Hours Are There In An RN to MSN Program?
The number of clinical training hours vary from one RN to MSN program to the next. The average number is 500. However, not all students will be required to complete that many hands-on clinical hours. Your specialty concentration, previous work experience, and state guidelines determine the number of hours you will need to satisfy graduation requirements.
23. What Are The Hardest Classes In An RN to MSN Program?
While opinions vary about which classes are the hardest, most students in RN to MSN programs say the hardest classes include Evidence-Based Practice, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Psychopharmacology.
24. How Many Hours Do I Need To Study For The RN to MSN Program?
Students are advised to dedicate at least three clock hours weekly for each credit hour of coursework. For example, if you are enrolled in 12 credit hours, you should be prepared to dedicate 36 hours each week to school.
25. How Hard Is It To Complete The RN to MSN Program?
RN to MSN programs can be quite rigorous. You must meet all nursing prerequisites, complete undergraduate nursing coursework, graduate coursework, and specialty-specific classes. Additionally, you must participate in a clinical component. However, despite the difficulty of the curriculum and schedule, if you manage your time wisely and work hard, you can complete the program successfully.
26. Are There Any Online RN to MSN Programs?
There are several online RN to MSN programs, which make it possible for you to pursue your goal of a graduate degree in nursing on your own timeline, when and where you want.
27. Are There Any Part-Time RN to MSN Programs?
Many schools that offer RN to MSN programs allow students to choose between part-time and full-time programs of study.
28. Can I Work Part-Time And Successfully Complete The RN to MSN Program?
You can work part-time and successfully complete an RN to MSN program. In fact, many RN to MSN degree programs are designed with the working, professional nurse in mind.
29. Can I Work Full-Time And Successfully Complete The RN to MSN Program?
While it is possible to work full-time and successfully complete the RN to MSN program, it will take careful planning and time management. Be sure to visit with your academic advisor and your employer to discuss the program and work options that will work best for you.
30. What Is The Best RN to MSN Program In The Nation?
The best RN to MSN program in the United States is offered at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
31. What Is The Best RN to MSN Program In California?
The best RN to MSN program in California can be found at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
32. What Is The Best RN to MSN Program In New York?
SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, New York, offers the best RN to MSN program in New York.
|SUNY Polytechnic Institute - Utica, NY|
33. What Is The Best RN to MSN Program In Texas?
The best RN to MSN program in Texas is at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
34. Are New RN to MSN Graduates In High Demand?
Yes, new RN to MSN graduates are in high demand. The knowledge, skill, and ability to work independently they bring to the job makes them appealing to potential employers.
35. How Many Hours A Week Does An RN to MSN Degree Holder Work?
The number of hours an RN to MSN degree holder works varies, depending on their job and whether they are employed part-time or full-time.
36. How Much Does A New RN to MSN Graduate Make?
New RN to MSN graduates earn an average annual salary of $79,470.
37. On An Average, How Much Does An RN to MSN Degree Holder Make?
The average income for RN to MSN degree holders is $118,040.
38. What State Pays The Highest Salary For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
California is the state that offers the highest salary for graduates of RN to MSN programs, with salaries averaging $151,830.
39. What Metro Pays The Highest Salary For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metro is the highest paying metro for RN to MSN degree holders. RN to MSN degree holders in this metro earn an average annual income of $197,870.
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA|
40. What State Has The Best Job Outlook For RN to MSN Degree Holders?
Arizona currently has the best job outlook for RN to MSN degree holders. The state anticipates a 50.90% growth in jobs for graduates of these programs over the next 10 years.
41. Are RN to MSN Degree Holders Happy With Their Career?
Overall, the vast majority of RN to MSN degree holders report being satisfied with their career choice.
42. Can I Go From RN-ADN-To-MSN?
Yes, many RN to MSN programs are tailored for associate-prepared registered nurses who wish to pursue a graduate nursing degree.
43. Should I Do RN To BSN OR RN to MSN?
Choosing whether to pursue an RN-to-BSN program or an RN to MSN program depends on your long-term goals. If you wish to pursue advanced practice, have more autonomy, or teach in a university nursing program, the RN to MSN option would probably be the better fit for you. However, if you feel you are more comfortable working in a clinical setting and have no desire at this point to pursue the benefits that come from a graduate degree, an RN-to-BSN program may be a good choice.
44. What Is Accelerated RN to MSN?
Typically, an accelerated RN to MSN program is the program option for registered nurses who have an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The accelerated option allows students to earn an MSN at an accelerated pace by receiving credit for prior coursework.
45. What Is The Pay Difference Between MSN And RN?
There is 42.65% or $35,290 pay difference between RN and MSN salaries.
| MSN || RN || Difference |
| Number || % |
| $118,040 || $82,750 || +$35,290 || +42.65%|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).