Top 25 Best Value Master’s of Science in Nursing Programs for 2019

Due to recommendations by the American Nurses Association, many health care facilities are beginning to consider the BSN a minimum standard for hiring. That means two things: more and more RNs are pursuing bachelor degrees to increase their status, and more nurses with a BSN need to consider going farther and earning a Master of Science in Nursing to distinguish themselves on the job market. Furthermore, for nurses who are considering careers in administrative or educational roles, the MSN is a must. So it’s no surprise that nursing schools that don’t offer graduate degrees are working to develop them, or that MSN programs are increasingly competitive.

While many working RNs and BSN holders are choosing online MSN programs in order to continue working while earning their degree, there are still many benefits to choosing a residential program. Many residential programs keep their acceptance rates low, so students can develop closer relationships and faculty can offer more engaged mentoring; most schools have built partnerships with their area hospitals and health care centers, allowing students to take part in direct care and research; and many nursing schools are located in areas with high concentration of healthcare facilities, meaning that students graduate with a built-in job market and, often, connections to that market.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Value Master of Science in Nursing Programs

The Value Colleges Best Value ranking is about overall value. These are not just the schools with the best reputation on paper, or the cheapest tuition rates; they are the schools that find the right balance between quality and affordability, without sacrificing either for the other. To make it on this list, schools must first be accredited by one of the two main nursing education accrediting bodies: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). To numerically rank the programs, we used three criteria:

  • Cost: IPEDS data
  • Reputation: College Consensus scores
  • Return on Investment: Alumni Salary reported by College Scorecard

Prospective students should be aware that tuition rates may vary according to state residency, and that per-credit tuition rates do not take into account specific fees. But with the schools on this list, students can trust that they are finding BSN to MSN programs that will give them a proven return on their educational investment and carry their career into the future.

RankSchool NameDescription
1

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania Master of Science in Nursing program is designed for breadth and depth, with 11 concentrations and paths for nurse practitioners, specialists, and administrators. Nurse Practitioner concentrations include Adult Gerontology, Neonatal, Pediatric, Women’s Health, and more, along with an Advanced Specialist Nurse Midwifery program. Nurses who want to turn their BSN to MSN programs into an administrative career can choose concentrations in Health Leadership or Nursing and Healthcare Administration.

With all concentrations, Penn Nursing students benefit from the highest level of mentorship from a world-class faculty, as well as access to the most cutting edge research in health sciences. Students can also choose dual degree programs in a wide range of fields, or add on an MSN Minor to increase their credentials and career options. Penn’s master degree nursing programs set the standard for 21st century nursing education.

  • Degree: MSN, 11 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
2

UCLA

UCLA’s Master of Science in Nursing advanced practice program allows students to pursue one of 5 different concentrations. Students can become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists or both, depending on the concentration they choose. The nurse practitioner pathway focuses on the diagnosis of medical conditions and management of patient outcomes in the primary and/or acute care settings. The clinical nurse specialist focuses on the improvement of systems outcomes. Rated in the top 10% of nursing schools, UCLA is easily one of the best BSN to MSN programs in the world.

As a whole, the UCLA Nursing School provides rigorous academics in a healthy atmosphere. As a smoke-free campus, this school has become a quality choice for students with allergies, asthma, and other health problems that may be agitated by tobacco smoke. As a research facility with seemingly endless resources, the UCLA Nursing school gives students the skills and confidence that they need to provide their patients with the best care in their top master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: MSN, 5 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
3

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia Master of Science in Nursing program offers 10 different concentrations. Students get to combine their classroom time with hands-on training in the UVA Medical Center. This research-centered school emphasizes the fact that patients’ needs have grown more and more complex in recent years, and they prepare their students to meet those needs head on. If you’re looking for BSN to MSN programs, University of Virginia will both challenge and invigorate you.

The UVA nursing school is fairly small, with fewer than 400 grad students. As part of the nation’s #2 public university, this school offers a fantastic and prestigious education. The campus has a thriving and diverse community of nursing students, so you can get to know peers from all sorts of different lifestyles and backgrounds. No matter which master degree nursing programs you choose at UVA, this school’s commitment to enrich lives and serve the community will certainly help you reach your full potential.

  • Degree: MSN, 10 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
4

Columbia University

Columbia University’s BSN to MSN programs include a direct entry MSN (MDE) for college graduates without a nursing degree; a Masters in Advanced Clinical Management and Leadership; and an MS Nurse Anesthesia (ANES) program. With their specialized areas of focus, Columbia’s master of science in nursing programs provide an ideal foundation for the DNP as well (soon to be a requirement for nurse anesthetists). Columbia’s mentorship and connections throughout New York mean no Columbia nurse is set adrift on the job market.

Columbia University’s School of Nursing began in 1892 and has provided a premium education ever since then. From the start, this school emphasized the importance of nursing to society as a whole. With a focus on research, this nursing school improves patient outcomes every day. In addition to a world-class faculty, Columbia University’s Simulation Center provides a training space for nursing students. The space provides hands-on training with manikins and actors.

  • Degree: MSN, ANES, Masters in Advanced Clinical Management and Leadership
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
5

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC at Chapel Hill’s master of science in nursing programs include a robust RN to MSN program and one of the best BSN to MSN programs in the nation. These programs teach students how to improve patient care in all aspects from clinical progressions to patient transitions. Students can choose from 5 different concentrations. These advanced practice areas include pediatrics, health care systems, and psychiatric health. No matter which of these concentrations you choose, you really cannot go wrong with UNC’s Master of Science in Nursing.

The oldest public university in the US, UNC has more than two and a half centuries of excellence for a reputation. Balancing research and academics, the UNC School of Nursing values respect, excellence, and flexibility in the face of an ever-changing field. This school has both a local and global outreach, aiming to improve patient outcomes in North Carolina and across the world. Overall, UNC’s School of Nursing is best described by its mission: “Distinctly empowered to advance health for all,” which especially goes for its master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: BSN or RN to MSN, 5 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
6

Duke University

Duke University’s Master of Science in Nursing program offers a premium nursing education for students who absolutely need flexibility. They offer 11 different concentrations, and you can even add a speciality to your major. Each major is offered as a “distanced-based or online” program, so students have some wiggle room. That said, each of Duke’s BSN to MSN programs do require some time on campus. During this on-campus time, which takes place once a semester for 2 to 5 days, students will participate in intensives that involve simulations and other hands-on training.

As an Institution, Duke University’s School of Nursing emphasizes scholarship while also maintaining its research. This school places a high value on diversity. In fact, they believe in going beyond “tolerance” in favor of a wholehearted welcome. Their diversity often serves as a springboard into lively debates and discussions. At the same time, students hold a lot of respect for one another. While Duke educates its students, it remains committed to advancing the entire medical field worldwide. Duke truly is one of the best master degree nursing programs, and they have proof. The US News and World Report rated them as the #2 Overall Best Graduate School for Nursing.

  • Degree: MSN, 11 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
7

University of Maryland at Baltimore

The University of Maryland at Baltimore’s Master of Science in Nursing program offers 4 specialties: Community/Public Health Nursing, Health Services Leadership and Management, Nursing Informatics, and the entry-into-practice Clinical Nurse Leader option. Whether you’re already an RN, need BSN to MSN programs, or have a degree in a different field, these programs will help you advance your career while giving you a challenging and hands-on school experience. Any of this school’s Master Degree nursing programs will open a lot of doors in your career.

The University of Maryland ranks among the top ten in several categories with the US News and World Report. UMSON fosters a passion for discovery. Its faculty and staff keep a close eye on health priorities around the world. As a result, students stay up to date on the latest practices. If you value leadership, challenge, and critical thinking, UMSON’s master degree nursing programs offer all students could need from a nursing school.

  • Degree: MSN, 4 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
8

Boston College

The Connell School of Nursing at Boston College’s Master of Science in Nursing program allows students to choose from 5 concentrations. Students may attend as either full-time or part-time students. With the full-time option, students can get their degree in as few as 2 years. With professional development opportunities and support from faculty, Connell students find all types of career advancement opportunities. With BSN to MSN programs as well as direct entry options, Boston College has big school resources with a small school feel.

Boston College was founded as a Jesuit school, and Connell reflects those values. As such, it provides a whole-person approach to nursing education. Nursing students who want both science and leadership in their education will feel at home at Connell. If you have a passion for social justice and want to use your nursing skills to make the world a better place, then check out Boston College’s master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: MSN, 5 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
9

University of California, Davis

In the University of California, Davis Master of Science in Nursing program, students can choose from 4 concentrations. UC Davis trains students to notice problems in healthcare and come up with practical solutions. Students here take a complete approach to healthcare and career advancement. They learn about the latest practices and technologies. They also learn subjects like nutrition, sociology, and public health. Together, these courses create demanding but effective BSN to MSN programs.

The School of Nursing at UC Davis holds the nation’s largest grant for nursing education, and it puts that grant to good use. This school has a culture based on the latest research and most advanced technology. Students and faculty value boldness. They don’t care about the status quo. Instead, they emphasize cutting-edge research and system changes. If you want to add real, valuable changes to the medical field, UC Davis’ master degree nursing programs will empower you.

  • Degree: MSN, 4 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
10

Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s Master of Science in Nursing program is explicitly designed to connect seamlessly to their DNP, reflecting the steadily-raising standards of nursing education. In RN to BSN to MSN programs, nursing students learn how to adapt to changes in the medical field. These programs combine scientific knowledge with practical experience. Through these programs, nursing students gain credentials so that they can enhance their careers. Whether you choose the DNP route or stick with one of their master degree nursing programs, you’ll take your career to the next level.

The College of Nursing at MSU fosters teaching, research, practice, and community outreach. Each of these spheres overlap and influence one another. As a result, this school has become a culture of collaboration. Students and staff use this collaboration to enhance healthcare practices all across the globe. In fact, that’s the crux of the Nursing School’s mission “to enhance the health of the community by providing excellence in nursing education, nursing research, and nursing practice.”

  • Degree: MSN
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
11

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State Master of Science in Nursing program is perfect for students who want different options and pathways. If you need choices and options for concentrations, Ohio State has what you’re looking for. With direct entry pathways and BSN to MSN programs, this school prepares nurses for specialized careers. This schools also leads research on women’s healthcare, agin, health analytics, and more. If other schools’ limited pathways have kept you from advancing your career, check out the Master of Science in Nursing options from OSU.

OSU fosters a culture of diversity and global health improvements. In fact, they’ve set up specific initiatives for both. Faculty and students at OSU value lifelong learning. Many seek out learning opportunities long after graduation. The OSU College of Nursing empowers students both inside and outside the classroom, providing resources to help help students get acclimated. As its mission statement says, “We exist to dream, discover and deliver a healthier world.” Their master degree nursing programs make that motto reality.

  • Degree: MSN, numerous paths and concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
12

George Mason University

George Mason University’s Master of Science in Nursing program gives students the chance to choose from 3 concentrations: Nurse Educator, Nurse Practitioner, or Nurse Administrator. All of these choices provide an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Nursing students learn how to provide care in the most effective ways. They also learn how to become the best educators, administrators, and leaders in the nursing industry. With simulation/skills labs and collaborative learning experiences, GMU’s Master Degree nursing programs blend academia and practicality.

Originally founded in 1949 as an extension campus of the University of Virginia, George Mason University believes in social justice as a core value, building on a tradition of providing opportunity for working adults, underserved populations, and more. The school’s faculty work to maintain well-being and dignity in the healthcare field. Those values become apparent in the classroom, where teachers emphasize both ethics and innovation. Students bring the values of their master degree nursing programs with them into their nursing careers.

  • Degree: MSN, 3 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
13

Marquette University

The Marquette University Master of Science in Nursing program offers a few different options. Students can choose the direct entry option or one of their BSN to MSN programs. Marquette also offers 7 different concentrations, including Nurse Midwifery. Data-driven and analytical, Marquette’s College of Nursing empowers students to take on the challenge of a highly technical field. Marquette provides a smart and highly specialized learning environment with its Master Degree nursing programs.

Marquette University students come from all across the United States. These students take part in research opportunities, service learning, and work study programs. With its urban setting, Marquette’s College of Nursing gives students access to a rich artistic and cultural experience. The fast-paced city environment provides the perfect reflection to the exciting learning environment of Marquette’s master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: MSN, 7 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
14

University of San Diego

Unlike typical BSN to MSN programs, the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Nursing program is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and want to get into nursing. This demanding Master’s Entry Program lasts for 21 months and gives students the skills and training they need to succeed, both as nurses and as leaders. Graduates of the program receive a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as a Clinical Nurse Leader. Upon completion of the program, graduates are also qualified to serve as Advanced Nurse Generalists and are eligible to take the NCLEX.

The Hahn School of Nursing at the University of San Diego runs a high-tech nursing simulation center that has received national and international accreditation. The Dickinson Nursing Simulation Center is used to simulate clinical settings for use in training graduate nursing students in their master degree nursing programs. Simulations are supervised by trained faculty and use actors to simulate clinical scenarios for training purposes. The center is accredited by the International Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.

  • Degree: Master's Entry Program
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
15

University of Missouri

The Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri Master of Science in Nursing degree program is designed for nurses who want to further their education and their careers. There are two tracks to choose from: Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare Systems for nurses who want to become nurse leaders; and Nurse Educator for students who wish to become nurse educators. Both master degree nursing programs are CCNE accredited and the curriculum for each is based on American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommendations.

The MU Sinclair School of Nursing is part of the University of Missouri Health System, which also includes the School of Health Professionals and the School of Medicine. The University of Missouri is known for its outstanding research and teaching, and the MU Sinclair School of Nursing places a huge emphasis on finding new ways to help patients through nursing research. Sinclair students are given opportunities to participate in research mentorships and can earn tuition support by doing so.

  • Degree: MSN, 2 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
16

Emory University

Emory University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program offers nine concentrations to choose from. For nurses who prefer to work with older patients, there is an Adult/Gerontology Acute Care or Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner concentration. The Nurse-Midwifery and Women’s Health concentrations are ideal for nurses who enjoy working with women, and for those who prefer younger patients, concentrations are available in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care, and Pediatric Primary Care. Nursing students who wish to treat a variety of patients may want to consider a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner or Emergency Nurse Practitioner.

Emory Nursing collaborates with over 500 clinical sites to provide training opportunities for their BSN to MSN programs’ nursing students in real clinical settings, not only in Atlanta but all across the country. Students at Emory Nursing can get clinical experience at sites such as the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Coca-Cola Corporation Clinic.

  • Degree: MSN, 9 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
17

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program offers fourteen advanced nursing practice specialties. The schools offers flexible approaches to earning an MSN degree, including programs targeted toward non-nurses, different educational points of entry (for example, ASN to MSN and BSN to MSN programs), and the use of online and distance learning technologies to deliver course materials and enrich the learning experience. Vanderbilt students gain practical clinical experience through Vanderbilt’s collaborations with Community Mental Health, school-based clinics, employer health primary care centers and more.

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing was one of the first nursing schools to collaborate with physicians to provide clinical experiences for its students. The school is a leader in creating and implementing innovative technologies in the classroom and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center has a reputation for excellence in research, patient care, and biomedical education. All of these advantages make Vanderbilt one of the best master degree nursing programs in the world.

  • Degree: MSN, 14 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
18

Pennsylvania State University

The Master of Science in Nursing at Penn State College of Nursing offers master degree nursing programs with three advanced practice options (Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner) and two advanced role options (Nurse Administrator and Nurse Educator). The two APN options are available online and are offered through the Penn State World Campus. The school also offers six graduate credit certificate programs.

The Penn State College of Nursing provides nursing education to more than 2800 full-time students on thirteen campuses throughout Pennsylvania. Research efforts at the College of Nursing are focused on treatments for patients with sleep apnea, end of life and palliative care, dementia, heart failure, and adolescent development. The school’s mission is to train qualified nurse leaders and provide nursing care to improve the health care for patients of all ages throughout Pennsylvania.

  • Degree: MSN, 5 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
19

Johns Hopkins University

The Master of Science in Nursing at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offers several different tracks to fit the needs of different types of students. The MSN Entry into Nursing program is designed for graduates who have received a bachelor’s degree in another field of study and wish to become registered nurses. Upon graduating from the Entry into Nursing program, students will be able to take the NCLEX and become licensed as RNs. Nurses who want to further their education can choose from two options in the MSN Health Systems Management Track or three options within the MSN Public Health Nursing Track.

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is a top-rated nursing school with a 98% NCLEX pass rate and 90% placement of graduates in the Johns Hopkins Health System. The school collaborates with 30 other medical and nursing schools in approximately 20 countries around the world. With some of the strongest BSN to MSN programs and other master degree nursing programs in the nation, Johns Hopkins nurses will have their pick on the job market.

  • Degree: MSN, 4 tracks
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
20

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida’s BSN to MSN programs offered by the College of Nursing all have online courses to accommodate the hectic schedules of working nurses. There are three tracks available for the Master of Science in Nursing: Leadership and Management, Nursing and Healthcare Simulation, and Nurse Educator. Students with non-nursing degrees are welcome to enroll in the programs, but there are additional master of science in nursing prerequisites for students whose bachelor’s degree is not in nursing.

The University of Central Florida College of Nursing was named as one of the nation’s best values by The Princeton Review. The school is CCNE accredited and its its NCLEX-RN pass rates are consistently among the highest in the state. Researchers at UCF are working to develop a child-sized physical-virtual patient bed, which will simulate the size and behavior of a pediatric patient for use in training simulations. The device can be programmed to “behave” as a child would and will be used to help nursing students learn to recognize signals and behaviors in order to correctly diagnose the patient’s condition.

  • Degree: MSN, 3 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
21

University of Miami

The University of Miami’s Master of Science in Nursing program, from the School of Nursing & Health Studies, offers a four concentrations to choose from: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner, and MS – Health Informatics. In addition to their BSN to MSN programs, the School of Nursing & Health Studies also offers a post-master’s certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing and three DNP nursing programs: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and the BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesia Track.

The University of Miami School of Nursing & Health Studies is committed to excellence in healthcare education. The school’s faculty includes some of the best researchers, teachers, and clinicians in the country. Partnerships with over 170 clinical sites ensure that students are able to gain clinical experience as part of their educational journey. The school offers a 41,000-square-foot Simulation Hospital, which provides immersive simulation experiences for training purposes in their master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: MSN, 5 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
22

New York University

The Rory Meyers College of Nursing offers New York University’s MS degree programs in nine concentrations, as well as three specialty sequences. Students can pursue an MS Specialization in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family NP, Nurse-Midwifery, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Pediatrics NP, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP. The specialty sequences available are in Holistic Nursing, Palliative Care, and Substance Abuse Disorders.

The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing was founded in 1932 and was named after Rose-Marie “Rory” Mangeri Meyers. The college’s mission is research-oriented and the school is ranked #11 in the nation for the amount of funding it receives from the NIH. The college has several research centers, including the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and the Clinical Simulation Learning Center. The Rory Meyers College of Nursing is the second-largest among all private university nursing schools in the US. All of the Nursing school’s Master of Science programs are CCNE accredited, and the Nurse-Midwifery MS program is accredited by ACME.

  • Degree: MSN, 12 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
23

University of South Florida

The USF Health College of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing degree is available in seven concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing, Family Health Nursing, Pediatric Health Nursing, Nursing Education, Occupational Health/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing, and Concurrent MPH/MS Degree Occupational Health/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing. The programs range from 40 credits for Nursing Education to 82 credits for the Concurrent MPH/MS degree. Students who completed their bachelor’s degrees in something other than nursing must complete transitional coursework before beginning their BSN to MSN programs.

The College of Nursing is part of the the USF Health family, which also includes the Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Public Health, the School of Physical Therapy, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the College of Pharmacy. The USF College of Nursing is ranked #1 in Florida and #22 in the nation for NIH funding. The school has over 900 clinical partners and logs over 200,000 clinical hours each year in their many master degree nursing programs.

  • Degree: MSN, 7 concentrations
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
24

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona College of Nursing offers two master degree nursing programs, an RN to MSN program and a Master of Science for Entry to the Profession of Nursing (MEPN). The RN to MSN program allows RNs with an associate degree in nursing to attend online courses and earn their MSN degrees quickly. The course can be completed in as little as two years. Nurses who have their bachelor’s degrees can skip a few classes and finish even more quickly. The MEPN program is 15 months long. This program is for students who already their bachelor’s degrees in other fields but want to start a new career in nursing. The program is intense and requires full-time attendance.

The University of Arizona College of Nursing is one of five colleges that make up UA Health Sciences, Arizona’s premiere institution for health research and care, with campuses in both Tempe and Phoenix. In addition, UA’s location near the Mexican border, which allows students the opportunity to learn about the impact of culture on various health challenges. With Master of Science in Nursing programs focused on diversity and excellence, UA produces some of the best nurses in the Southwest.

  • Degree: RN to MSN, MEPN
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
25

University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas Arlington’s Master of Science in Nursing program, from the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, offers concentrations in Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and several Nurse Practitioner MSN degree programs. Nine of the schools’ BSN to MSN programs are also offered online. The school has a 96% pass rate on national certification exams. The MSN program trains registered nurses to be able to take on added responsibility and step into leadership roles following graduation.

The UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation has an enrollment of more than 19,000 students and produces more baccalaureate-level nursing graduates than any other school in Texas. The school is the largest nonprofit nursing school in the US. In spite of its size, the school emphasizes the importance of having students work in small groups with an experienced faculty member to guide them. Because research is a priority, the school offers a PhD in Nursing program to prepare nurses to conduct research, teach college-level nursing classes, and take leading roles in government agencies and private healthcare organizations.

  • Degree: MSN
  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$

What are Some of the Most In-Demand Masters in Nursing Specialties?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for registered nurses is expected to experience growth of 15% between 2016 and 2026. Because 55% of nurses are over the age of fifty, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, they’ll begin retiring between the next ten to fifteen years.

Due to this growing demand for nurses, it’s critical for nursing students to know which masters in nursing specialties have more growth opportunities in comparison to others. The most in-demand types of master degree in nursing specialties include:

Critical Care Nurse: Critical care nurses typically work in the ICU (intensive care unit). They’ll work with a team of other nurses and doctors to ensure patients are receiving optimal care in hospitals or hospices after earning their masters in nursing specialties.

Medical Surgery Nurse: Because 17% of nurses work in this field, it’s considered the largest specialty in nursing. Medical-surgical nurses assist in surgeries, monitoring adult patients, work with medications, and perform many other jobs throughout the hospital.

Nurse Anesthetist: Those working in this field need extensive experience, training, and education in the types of master degree in nursing. It’s a career with significant potential because it’s in such high demand. In addition to administering anesthesia, nurses also take care of patients in the operating room and monitor them following procedures.

What are Some Common Masters in Nursing Requirements for Admissions?

Admission for masters in nursing requirements will vary depending on the masters in nursing specialties, your previous educational experience, and the state in which the student is living. These requirements include if students are looking for the shortest MSN program. However, there are some common masters in nursing requirements including the following for master degree nursing programs:

  • Official transcripts containing all college work from Baccalaureate degree
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher for undergraduate work
  • Some programs require GRE scores, but they may be waived if GPA is higher than 3.0
  • Three letters of reference/recommendation forms must be completed
  • Submission of an updated resume
  • Submission of a written statement containing your goals for nursing

Masters in Nursing requirements for admissions may depend on what types of master degree in nursing programs you are entering, particularly if you are entering and RN to MSN with bachelors in another field.

Can I Get an MSN Without a Bachelor’s in Nursing?

It’s possible to get an MSN without a Bachelor’s in Nursing by participating in an accelerated nursing program. It’s also possible for students to earn their RN to MSN with bachelors in another field. Under most circumstances, it will take students approximately eighteen months to cover the material that’s taught during the BSN program when they earn their RN to MSN with bachelors in another field. Once that’s accomplished, they must pass the registered nurse certification examination and move on to working on material for their master’s degree.

Students can expect their master’s degree to take approximately two years to earn. Under many circumstances, nurses will use online courses so they can continue working while achieving their educational goals. Some of the tracks include the following:

  • RN to BSN to MSN: 30 months
  • RN to MSN: 24 months
  • BSN to MSN: 18 months

These tracks will vary depending on individual progress. Because the study is intensive, some nurses opt for working at a slower pace. Typically, those pursuing these courses have several years of work experience leading them to this type of career advancement. While it isn’t a requirement for an RN to MSN with bachelors in another field, these past life and work experiences will help students regarding the skills and critical thinking they’ll need when studying for their MSN.

Students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field may also qualify for accelerated MSN programs, the shortest MSN program available. In many cases, an accelerated MSN can be completed in as little as 12 months. Even the shortest MSN program, however, still requires clinical hours and the same coursework – just compressed and condensed.

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