If you are currently a registered nurse with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, you should definitely consider pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. There are plentiful career opportunities available for those who seek a master’s degree in nursing. Whether you have intentions on becoming a nurse practitioner, nursing director or a nurse anesthetists, all of these career options require a master’s degree. One of the biggest things that holds people back from pursuing a master’s degree is the time it takes to finish. However, that should not be a concern. Many master’s in nursing programs can be done online and even completed while still working. Here is a quick overview of a master’s degree in nursing program and how long it will take to complete it.

Prerequisites before entry

Before considering a master’s degree in nursing, it is important for potential candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you are a registered nurse with just an associates degree, consider entering an accelerated RN-to-Bachelor’s degree program. Many states are slowly requiring registered nurses to have a bachelor’s degree to continue working in the field. The accelerated option can be completed in less than a year. For those seeking entry into a master’s program, make sure you have graduated with at least a 3.0 for competitive entry. Master’s programs are increasingly becoming competitive and GPA is the number one factor stopping people from entry. Also, it is recommended that potential candidates have at least one to two years of experience under their belt.

Length of Master’s Program

The typical master’s in nursing program will take the average candidate anywhere between a year and a half to two years to finish if they follow the recommend course track as offered by the college or university. However, if you have intentions on going part-time, it can take on average anywhere between three to four years to finish. Many graduate nursing programs time stipulations in terms of how long you can take to actually finish the program. Every school is different. Make sure you do your due diligence before applying.

Different types of concentrations

While enrolled in a master’s in nursing program, individuals will have many concentrations to choose from that will allow them seek a certain specialty. Many master’s in nursing programs prepare individuals to become nurse practitioners. You can specialize to become a family nurse practitioner, cardiovascular health nurse practitioner or even an OB/GYN nurse practitioner. Another career track that is available for master’s in nursing students is becoming a nurse anesthetist. This will usually require an extra year of education and is probably the most difficult of all master’s in nursing degree programs. Anesthetists work side by side with anesthesiologists so the education will be very similar to that of a medical doctor.


After successfully completing required coursework, most graduate nursing programs will require students to complete some form of an internship or practicum to get hands-on experience working a variety of nursing rotations. These rotations will give nursing students experience working in a variety of settings such as a trauma unit, OB/GYN department, radiology, mental health, etc.

If you are looking to take your nursing career to the next level, pursuing a master’s degree in nursing is the best option. Many opportunities will suddenly open up and your salary will rise. There are so many programs available, so do your research to find the one that best suits your needs.