10 Reasons Why Online MSN Programs Are Well-Respected And Credible

Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

Are you a registered nurse interested in pursuing a master’s degree but you are unsure where to begin? Many registered nurses want to return to school but have questions. For example, you may worry whether leaving your job to return to school is a good option for you. In these situations, considering an online program option is normal. However, you may wonder, “Are online MSN programs respected and credible?"

If this sounds like you, I am glad you found this article. As a nurse and healthcare educator, I love the idea of online learning, and in this article, I will share with you my views on 10 reasons why online MSN programs are well respected and credible. When you finish reading, you will have enough information to make a more informed decision about whether online MSN programs are the right education path for you as you prepare to embark on the journey of earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree.


(The following are the 10 reasons why online MSN programs are well respected and credible.)

REASON #1: They Are Accredited by Top Organizations

One of the top reasons why online MSN programs are well respected and credible is they are accredited by well-known and respected accrediting agencies, such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Accrediting agencies ensure that educational programs meet high standards of educational quality, which means you can feel confident that the education you receive will prepare you to step into the role of a master’s-prepared registered nurse.

REASON #2: Online MSN Programs Help You Gain a Unique Perspective to Patient Care

Online MSN programs give you the opportunity to meet faculty and peers from different cities, states, and regions. As you interact with your instructors and peers, you will learn more about different cultures and different approaches to nursing in other parts of the world. This is especially important as you will begin to develop a deeper sense of how to demonstrate cultural competence in nursing, which is an essential characteristic of successful nurses.

REASON #3: You Can Expand Your Scope of Practice

Another reason online MSN programs are well respected and credible is that you will develop graduate-level skills and abilities that prepare you for a broader scope of practice. In these programs, you will build upon your undergraduate nursing degree by adding more leadership and administrative skills. You may also choose to study a specific patient population or specialty upon which you expand your scope of practice.

REASON #4: You Can Keep Your Job

One of the main concerns of many would-be students is whether going to school will mean having to give up work. Fortunately, one of the great things about an online MSN program is that you can earn a graduate degree without giving up your current nursing job. In fact, online MSN programs are an excellent option for nurses who want to take their careers to the next level without sacrificing their current jobs and income while doing so.

REASON #5: These Programs Lay the Foundation for Doctoral Studies

Online MSN programs are well respected and credible because they prepare you for doctoral studies. A doctoral nursing degree is the highest nursing degree you can earn, and online MSN programs make it possible for you to transition from undergraduate to graduate nursing, helping you get one step closer to earning a doctorate in nursing. The sense of accomplishment that comes from earning a master’s in nursing and knowing you can pursue doctorate studies will be amazing!

REASON #6: You Can Earn a Degree Often for Less Money

One of the perks of online MSN programs that makes them well respected is that you can earn your degree without breaking the bank. Although tuition rates vary, online MSN programs typically cost less than traditional campus-based programs, which makes it easier for nurses who may otherwise not be able to pursue their master’s degree in nursing to do so.

REASON #7: Online MSN Programs Allow You to Become an Advanced Practice RN

Another great thing and one of the biggest reasons why online MSN programs are well respected and credible is that, when you earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree, you can become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, also referred to as APRN. APRNs may work in positions at the forefront of providing preventive healthcare services. Depending on the APRN specialty you choose to pursue, you may have the opportunity to serve as a primary care provider. There are four categories of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives.

REASON #8: The Programs Put You in a Position of Influence

Earning a master's degree in nursing is no small feat. The knowledge and skills you gain will position you to make a positive influence in your workplace and on the nursing profession overall. With a degree from an online MSN program, you can impact the delivery of nursing care and promote positive patient outcomes on a broader scale. In fact, if you want to have a long-lasting, far-reaching position of influence in nursing, you could consider becoming a nurse educator. With a degree from an online MSN program, you can teach nursing and prepare future generations of nurses, impacting patient care for years to come.

REASON #9: Online MSN Programs Offer Opportunities to Specialize

One of the top reasons online MSN programs are well respected and credible is they offer you the opportunity to specialize in areas that interest you most. For example, if you love caring for children, you may elect to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. On the other hand, you may be interested in becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or a Nurse Midwife. Nursing is such a wonderful field with endless opportunities. In fact, you are not limited to pursuing only one specialty. Motivated nurses can choose from many types of MSN specialties.

REASON #10: Online MSN Programs Help Extend Your Professional Network

Online MSN programs are considered credible and well-respected because they create awesome opportunities for expanding your professional network. You will meet students, faculty, and healthcare peers from various cities, states, and possibly different countries. You may also network with professionals in diverse healthcare settings. As your network grows, you may have access to more job and educational opportunities, which can help grow your career.


If you are a registered nurse considering earning a master’s degree in nursing, it is normal to have lots of questions. Many nurses want to return to school but struggle deciding whether going to school on-campus or online is the best option. If you want to earn your MSN but feel distance learning is your only option, you may wonder, "Are online MSN programs respected and credible?” In this article, I shared 10 reasons why online MSN programs are well respected and credible. If you feel you are ready to begin the path to earning a master’s degree in nursing, I encourage you to begin your journey today. There is no time like the present to take the next step in your nursing career!


1. Are All Online MSN Programs Well Respected?

Online MSN programs that are accredited are generally well respected.

2. Do Online MSN Programs Have To Be Accredited To Be Respected And Credible?

Accreditation ensures that online MSN programs (and any nursing program) meet the highest educational standards. Because of this, programs are usually expected to be accredited to be considered respected and credible.

3. Do Online MSN Programs Have Coursework Similar To That Of On-Campus MSN Programs?

Yes, online MSN programs have similar coursework to traditional campus-based MSN programs.

4. Do Online MSN Programs Have Practical Training Similar To That Of On-Campus MSN Programs?

Online MSN programs do require practical training similar to that of on-campus MSN programs. In some cases, you may be expected to identify your own clinical sites and preceptors. Therefore, working closely with your academic or clinical advisor is essential.

5. Do Online MSN Graduates Earn The Same Starting Salaries As On-Campus MSN Students?

Graduates of online MSN programs typically earn the same salaries as graduates of traditional on-campus MSN programs.

6. Is The Demand For Online MSN Graduates The Same As For On-Campus MSN Graduates?

The demand for master’s-prepared nurses is the same, regardless of whether the degree is earned online or through a campus-based program.

7. Are Online MSN Programs Well-Respected By Employers?

Employers know that accredited online MSN programs must meet stringent accrediting standards. Therefore, online MSN programs are well-respected by employers.

Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
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).