You’ve earned your bachelor’s degree in nursing and have some clinical experience under your belt. Now you’re wondering if it’s worth pursuing a master’s of science in nursing (MSN). Here are six reasons to consider heading back to the classroom:
1. You plan to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). If your goal is working as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife or certified registered nurse anesthetist, you will need to earn an MSN. The three-year program allows you to specialize in the field of your choice and gain valuable nursing experience.
2. A doctorate degree may be required for nurse practitioners beginning in 2015. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommended in 2004 that all nurses pursuing careers as nurse practitioners earn a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree — and the phase-in date is 2015. While states must approve the 2015 deadline and pass laws for it to go into effect, earning your MSN now ensures that you are grandfathered in and not required to earn a DNP to work as a nurse practitioner.
3. You want to teach nursing at a university or hospital. Nurse educators play an important role in helping new nurses prepare for careers in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. An MSN degree can help you land a career as a professor, patient education coordinator, clinical nurse educator or even a director of education at a hospital.
4. You’ll be more marketable as a nurse. Regardless of the specialty you choose when earning your master’s degree, an MSN is a great addition to your resume and will stand out when you’re applying for a job. You may be more eligible for management and administrative positions as well.
5. You can earn more money. Registered nurses make an average of $64,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, while nurse practitioner salaries range from $85,000 – $115,000 per year. An MSN degree also allows you to pursue higher-paying jobs like a nurse administrator or executive.
6. Many schools offer flexible online MSN programs. A master’s degree used to require full-time classroom work, making it difficult to pay off debt from your undergraduate degree or take a strenuous nursing job. Today, you can earn your degree from home and set a schedule that works for you; most programs only require campus visits a few times a semester.
Are you working on your MSN? Share your tips for success below!