RN to MSN Online Degree Programs

Pursuing RN to MSN, online degrees is the easiest way registered nurses can advance their careers. A nurse’s salary can increase significantly when he or she moves  up from a basic RN (Registered Nurse) license to an advance practice nurse, which requires a Master of Science in  Nursing (MSN) degree. You can enhance career prospects and nursing skills through the convenience of an online degree RN to MSN program.

Universities around the country offer these programs and most will also award you a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) as well. However, some programs only give you a MSN. The downside is that if you stop partway through, you cannot qualify for a BSN. Either way, a MSN degree opens door in the nursing field.

Education Requirements

Online MSN programs are no less strict than other master degree programs in terms of admission requirements. Due to the nursing aspect, students must meet additional requirements beyond straight education minimums, such as required courses and grade point averages. A RN to MSN program assumes that students are already practicing RNs. A minimum of one year’s  work experience as a RN is necessary for entrance into an online MSN program. You may need two years for entrance to certain schools. It is also possible that your work experience must be in the area of nursing you are going to specialize in for your MSN.

You must also hold a current state RN license. Although you complete most coursework online, you will have to do clinical hours as well to earn your degree. Your license does not have to be in the state or states you live in while completing online classes, but you do need a RN license for the state where you will complete your clinical requirements. You must also have an active license when you apply and throughout the entire course of your RN to MSN program.

Some completed college courses are necessary for entrance into a RN to MSN program. Registered nurses must have a degree or diploma to get licensed so you should already have a least an associate’s degree or nursing diploma before applying to a MSN program. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 to 3.0 is a standard minimum requirement for acceptance. Some schools may also ask you to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Career Options: What you can do with Online RN to MSN Degree

Registered nurses pursue a MSN degree to obtain the education they need to become an advance practice nurse. Advance practice nurses enjoy higher salaries, more freedom in their careers and greater opportunities for leadership roles. There are four types of advance practice nurses, including:

Not all schools offer RN to MSN programs in each of these areas. It is important to find the right program for the type of advance practice nurse you wish to become.

What to Consider if you Pursue Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Registered nurses with MSN degrees are paid more than their counterparts with BSN degrees, associates degrees, or nursing diplomas. They qualify for all the same positions as other RNs, but can also apply for specialized roles and teaching positions. With a MSN, you can become certified as an advance practice nurse and become one of the highest paid nurses in the country.

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) make around $160,000 annually. They receive the highest nursing salaries, on average. These nurses play a vital role in surgery. If an anesthesiologist is not available, the CRNA administers anesthesia.

Certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNP) are highly paid RNs as well. These nurses are expected to make a median salary in 2012 of $91,201. Nurse practitioners are responsible for examining and treating patients autonomously. Many states allow CRNP the freedom to treat patients without being directly supervised by a doctor, something that other RNs are not allowed to do. However, they do still report to a department head. Nurse practitioners treat illnesses and injury, assist patients in recovery, and provide information for disease prevention.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) also enjoy a high amount of autonomy and latitude in their jobs. They are expected to make a median salary of $89,860 in 2012. A MSN degree qualifies you to work as a CNS but some institutions may require a minimum of 5 years nursing experience in your field. Clinical nurse specialists give clinical direction to nursing staffs in how they should enact programs for patient care. Like a nurse practitioner, a CNS generally reports to someone, but has a lot of leeway in their position to make decisions.

Certified nurse midwives are highly specialized advance practice nurses. They treat patients with gynecology and obstetric needs. A certified nurse midwife helps to ensure the health of pregnant women and babies. They may assist during and after delivery. A certified nurse midwife works alongside doctors. They should make around $92,776 in 2012.

An online RN to MSN program is a quick way to get the education you need to advance your career. Completion of degree program qualifies you for administrative, management and educator positions as well improves your ability to work with patients.