After you become a registered nurse, there are still opportunities for you to grow in your career. This could include going back to school to get your online Master of Science degree in Nursing (MSN). With your master’s degree, you can pursue different areas of patient care. Positions considered as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) include the following four categories: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or Certified Nurse Practitioner(CNP). Also, most Chief Nurse Executives, primary healthcare administrators or nursing educators are required to have a master’s degree.
It can take up to two years of study to earn an online master’s degree in nursing, but this degree also has set requirements before you begin, including clinical experience, a registered nurses’ license and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. People coming from other career fields can earn a master’s in nursing if they have a bachelor’s degree, however, they may be required to take more prerequisite classes that would have been covered by an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
If you know you will be earning your master’s degree, then a RN to MSN program will allow those with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to combine a bachelor’s in nursing and the master’s degree into one continuous program. This may be done faster than earning the two degrees separately.
There are online master’s degree programs available, although sometimes they are geared towards more specific goals. For example, one might have a focus on a certain type of care or may specialize in a leadership or healthcare technology field. For example, if you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, then search for a program that will benefit you in that field of healthcare. Online master’s degree programs allow Registered Nurses who already have a nursing position the opportunity and flexibility to continue their education while still working their current job.
There are several different online master’s degrees, however, typically they are very similar. The main difference between them primarily is in the varied specializations or concentrations of each. All masters in nursing degrees are considered Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees. Some of the degrees available as master nursing degrees include: the Master of Science in Nursing, MSN in Pediatric (Primary Care) Nurse Practitioner, MS in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science in Midwifery, MS with a Major in Nursing and Minor in Nursing Education, MSN Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Executive Leader. Not all schools offer all these options, so you will want to do you own research based on your desired career goal.
Coursework within the master’s program combines theory and application by teaching through seminars, reading, writing, case studies, demonstrations and by examinations. Other courses might include critical concepts and competencies for the Informatics Nurse Specialist, advanced health assessment, advanced nursing concepts, advanced physiology and pathophysiology, in addition to, research methods and biostatistics for healthcare providers.
When choosing an online master’s nursing degree program, verify that the school you wish to attend belongs to the most recognizable accreditations according to your state’s requirements. It is important that you do extensive research when choosing an online program for yourself, therefore, finding coursework that is a good fit for you and specializing in what you are majoring in.
Are you interested in taking the next step to obtain your doctorate degree? If so, earning you master’s degree is the first step in a long and rewarding career in healthcare and allows you the opportunity and prerequisites to earn your doctorate degree. If you would like to pursue a nursing degree, check out our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs.