Benefits of Online MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) Degrees
Registered nurses (RNs) who have an associate or bachelor degree in nursing (BSN) should consider applying to online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs if they want to increase their opportunities to earn more money, widen their employment opportunities and increase their value to employers. Graduate online nursing degree programs provide multiple benefits, such as increasing nurses’ knowledge and expected salaries while giving students the freedom to take classes on their schedule.
To apply for an online MSN program you must have met a program’s prerequisites. A standard educational requirement is a bachelor’s in nursing from a school with an accredited program. Both the National League for Nursing Accreditation Center and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education offer accreditation for undergrad programs. A minimum GPA is usually required too. Expect a 3.0 GPA or higher requirement.
Students should take research and statistics as part of their undergrad courses. International students may have to meet additional requirements, such as demonstrating proficiency in English or passing an examination from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.
You should also have one year or more experience working as a registered nurse, which also means you have to have a current RN license.
Career Options: What you can do with an Online MSN Degree
Getting an online MSN degree provides advanced training that qualifies you for more responsibilities and autonomy. In some states, having an MSN lets you practice medicine without direct doctor’s supervision. Your specific job duties will depend upon what track you choose for your education, but you will be able to apply for management, administrative and teaching positions at hospitals, nursing care facilities, colleges, universities, and nursing schools. You can even pursue an advance practice nurse certification, which is the highest level of nursing available.
With your MSN degree, you can select of one four advance practice career paths, including:
Each of these areas of nursing is a specialization, giving you the opportunity to practice more of what you want to do in the field that interests you the most, as well as apply for higher paying jobs. In general, nurse practitioners are in the highest demand, partly due to the more general duties that these nurses perform. Nurse practitioners work directly with patients in a specific field of medicine. Certified nurse anesthetists provide surgical anesthesia and certified midwives provide assistance to pregnant women during labor and postpartum services. Clinical nurse specialists, like nurse practitioners, specialize in treating patients in a particular field, such as geriatrics or critical care.
What to Consider if you Pursue an Online MSN
One of the primary benefits of pursing an online MSN program is the flexibility to work while earning your degree. This could mean an opportunity to work as a registered nurse to gain experience and meet any personal or family obligations. However, because the programs are primarily online, you will need basic computer skills.
The time spent pursuing an online MSN program could lead to a significant pay increase. In 2011, registered nurses earned around $69,000 per year. However, the top 10 percent took home more than $96,000. Nurses with advanced degrees and certifications qualify for higher pay.
The most highly paid nurses are certified registered nurse anesthetists. Certified registered nurse anesthetists take home around $160,000 annually.
The job outlook for nurses with advance degrees is good. Although workers in many industries are struggling in the current economy, the medical field is holding strong. Jobs are increasing. A primary reason for the increasing medical jobs is the aging population. The demand for nurses with advanced degrees is expected to increase as the large baby boomers generation continues to age.