What is the difference in the BSN and MSN degrees and which one is right for me?

The field of nursing offers never-ending possibilities to further your education. As a fast-growing field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% growth in nursing related careers between now and 2022. More and more employers are opting to hire Registered Nurses (RN) with a BSN or MSN degree. Nurses with these degrees are capable of taking on more responsibility in the workplace, therefore, providing better salaries, can work in a variety of settings and are qualified to work in specialized areas such as pediatrics or critical care nursing.

There are many different pathways available to a nursing student to help them obtain their goal. If you are a Registered Nurse and therefore, have earned your associate degree and have some experience, then you may want to consider earning your online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The BSN degree typically takes an additional two years of education, while the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree will then take another two years of studies to complete. Earning degrees to this level is usually done ideally within ten years of starting your educational journey in the nursing field.

If an online option in earning your BSN or MSN degree is more convenient than the traditional brick and mortar college or university, then you are in luck. Online classes in these areas are available. They allow the Registered Nurse the ability to further their education and maintain their existing job and busy home life.

Typically, BSN coursework will include classes pertaining to anatomy, physiology, nutrition, chemistry, microbiology, in addition to, the legal and ethics of patient care. Depending on your chosen area of expertise, the online MSN program offers more specialized courses such as, pediatric nursing, geriatric care, maternal and neonatal care and ethical issues.

If you have obtained your BSN degree, then you will work directly with patients, generally in a hospital or clinical setting. If you have a MSN degree, you may decide to choose a more focal specialization such as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse leader or educator, in addition to, becoming a nurse administrator.

Another difference in the BSN and MSN degree is reflected in your earning potential. The BSN degree holder earns an average salary of between $42,343 and $81,768 annually. Compared to the MSN degree holder who earns an average salary of between $62,281 and $195,743 annually, the Master’s program will award you with a more lucrative career. Of course, with all careers, your salary will be based on years of experience, job location, as well as, the focus of your specialization.

For those who are looking for a long-lasting and lucrative career in nursing, the online MSN degree is the way to go. It will allow you to grow in your field and yield you the best salary. The MSN program can be a tedious, time-consuming and sometimes an expensive option that some are not able to commit to, however, since many employers are now requiring a MSN degree, some employers are willing to help fund your additional education.

It’s strictly up to you how far you want to go in your career, however, if you have the desire, there is a degree program that is right for you to help get you there. Generally, the higher the degree, the better your salary. If you are interested in earning an online BSN or MSN degree, check out our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs for additional information.