In these unstable economic times, many students and professionals are thinking about continuing their education. For many nurses, this means considering a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Most MSN degree programs require a prerequisite degree in nursing, such as a Registered Nursing (RN) or Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), preferably with a GPA of 3.0 or better. However, some programs will admit students who have a background of specific nursing, math, and science courses. While completing the degree, nurses will choose a specialty, increasing their marketability and opening doors for specific career opportunities. Popular specialties include Nurse Education, Nurse Administration, and Nurse Informatics. MSN degree holders qualify for job opportunities such as Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or they may choose to pursue the next level of study to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DPN) degree.
Pros and Cons of Getting an MSN Degree
• It’s expensive. Not many MSN programs provide funding for their students beyond scholarships and federal aid.
• It’s difficult. A masters-level nursing degree requires many hours rigorous study.
• It’s time-consuming. Depending on the program, the degree takes between two and three years of full-time study to complete.
• More specialization. The specialization required in an MSN allows a nurse to move into a field like education, administration, or midwifery, fields that are not open to those without the degree.
• More marketability. Nurses who hold an MSN degree qualify for more jobs than those with less education in nursing, and more qualifications increases the likelihood of getting a job.
• More money. Advanced practice nurses earn more money, because they qualify for the jobs that pay the most.
• Now is a great time to do it. Getting an MSN degree will take time, but there are many excellent online programs that allow busy nurses to obtain their degrees without ever setting foot in a classroom. Top schools such as Vanderbilt University, Benedictine University, and Georgetown University offer highly ranked online MSN nursing programs as well as traditional classroom opportunities.
So: Is Getting an MSN Worth It?
Yes, getting an MSN is absolutely worth it. Although the degree requires time, effort, and some upfront expenses, getting an MSN is a practical and beneficial career move. Getting an MSN degree will increase a nurse’s desirability on the job market, allow specialization in a favorite field, and, most of all, it will increase a nurse’s salary. The national average earnings for an RN fall between $37,000 and $42,000 per year, whereas the national average earnings of a Nurse Practitioner fall between $65,000 and $103, 000 per year. Other jobs available to nurses with an MSN, such as Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Administrator, offer comparable salaries. The abundance of online MSN degree programs means that it has never been easier to get an MSN.
Related Resource: Is Getting a BSN Worth It?