What is an MSN? blog header

What Is an MSN in Nursing?

An online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is an advanced nursing degree that can be completed in as little as two years. An MSN is highly valuable in today’s health care environment. More independence and practice authority are being granted to nurse practitioners; the nursing shortage requires more nurse educators to educate nurses; and the growing aging population will require more care in the near future. These are just three reasons why MSN grads are highly sought after.

What is the Salary Range Earned by a Nurse with an MSN?

Depending on their degree focus, MSN graduates may work as nurse practitioners, health care administrators, nurse educators or even hospital executives. Median annual salaries depend on the type of MSN and career path but range from $71,260 for nurse educators to $110,930 for nurse practitioners.

There are several different types of MSN programs. Some options for nurses include a Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Practitioner degree, a Master of Science in Nursing-Education degree or a Master of Science in Nursing/Master in Business Administration dual degree. It is not necessary to have a BSN to get an MSN. Nurses with associate degrees may directly pursue an MSN or may opt to get a BSN first.

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner (MSN-NP)

An online Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Practitioner degree leads to a rewarding career as a nurse practitioner. Those interested in becoming an NP can choose from different program specialties, such as family nurse practitioner (FNP), or adult-gerontology and primary care nurse practitioner, for example. An FNP degree enables an NP to work in primary care for patients of all ages. Adult and gerontological NPs care for adults and the elderly.

While most nurses with an MSN-NP work as nurse practitioners, degree holders are not limited to this career alone. Many NPs also enjoy teaching as instructors and professors in nursing programs, or serving as managers and executives.

Nurses with associate degrees may skip obtaining a BSN and directly pursue an online MSN-NP through the RN-MSN bridge program.

Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSN-NE)

Nurses who enjoy precepting and teaching new grad nurses may enjoy a fulfilling career as a nurse educator. The current nursing shortage is partially due to a shortage of nurse educators, making them in high demand. More educators are needed to teach the current and future generations of nurses.

A Master of Science in Nursing-Nursing Education degree prepares nurses to take the Certified Nurse Educator exam (CNE). Students often continue working their full-time jobs while pursuing an MSN-NE. While studying nursing education, students learn effective teaching strategies, develop lesson plans and study advanced nursing topics.

Nurses with associate degrees can also directly obtain this degree with an Associate of Science in Nursing-Master of Science in Nursing Education program that allows for skipping the BSN.

Master of Science in Nursing – Master of Business Administration Degree

Ambitious nurses with strong leadership skills may benefit from a Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration dual degree. 

Popular careers for graduates of the MSN-MBA program include nurse manager and chief nursing officer. Chief nursing officers earn an average annual salary of $126,038.

This online program leads to earning two degrees and is 63 credits. Some of the subjects that students study include health care policy, leadership and strategic planning and management. The RN to MSN/MBA bridge program is an excellent option for nurses who hold an associate degree and prefer to pursue their masters directly.

The Value of GHE’s Online Master of Science in Nursing Degrees

GHE online students also benefit from having a strong support network. Each student is matched to a Student Success Coach who provides support, helps students with work-life balance and encourages students to pursue career goals. 

Global Health Education’s online degree programs were designed with working nurses in mind. Pursuing an online MSN allows nurses to continue building their careers while being able to provide for themselves and their families.

If you are interested in more information about GHE's nursing schools and programs, visit our Students page!