What are BSN to MSN online programs?

Taking Your Knowledge to the Masters Level

As a BSN degree holder, you are already in a good position to further your knowledge because you have strong foundation of nursing. Making the decision to enroll in a BSN to MSN online degree program means that you will open yourself up to the possibility of working as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified nurse specialist, certified nurse anesthetist or other specialized nurse. There are also a number of online BSN to MSN degree programs for nursing administration and education.

Regardless of which program you choose to purse, making the decision to continue learning can be a difficult one. You will find more than 330 masters degree programs in existence, many of which are offered online. So before you decide on a program, there are some specific things you may wish to keep in mind.

Financial Aid
If you’re concerned about the cost of pursing a BSN to MSN degree, be sure to explore options for financial aid. Many online programs offer different types of financial aid to help you fund your education. Look to see if a school offers federal aid, loans, scholarships, fellowships or teaching posts. All of these could help to lessen the financial burden for obtaining your masters degree.

Learning First-hand from Those Who Have Been There
You will find that certain universities have faculty who are very strong and highly rated in a specific nursing specialty. Learning from experts in the field gives you a leg up because these people are knowledgeable in teaching and working as a nurse. They can provide you with insider information that less experienced instructors may not be aware of. You can find out about faculty backgrounds by contacting admissions offices of universities.

Speed of Program
Most masters degree programs in nursing take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete. Online BSN to MSN degree programs give you the chance to complete coursework in about two years while also giving you the flexibility to learn at your convenience, as it fits into your schedule. Online programs enable you to continue working while you learn so that you can keep gaining real-world experience and begin applying learned principles as you work.

Convenience of Study
As previously mentioned, convenience is certainly a factor that might entice you to choose to pursue your BSN to MSN degree program online. Not only do online nursing graduate programs offer flexible schedules that encourage you to continue working while you study, but they also enable you to complete clinical practice hours at facilities close to your home.

Career Advancement
Whether you in role in a BSN to MSN degree program to prepare yourself to sit for a certified exam, extend your knowledge in the area of nursing you’re currently practicing or looking to take the plunge into a new specialty, pursuing an advanced degree positions you for career advancement. Masters programs are often research based and incorporate the most current research methods pertaining to your specialty. This helps you stay abreast of changing trends and prepares you to overcome challenges in the ever-evolving field of nursing.

Learning More Than Nursing
BSN to MSN degree programs teach much more than nursing. Deeply rooted in leading-edge research, you will learn how to apply research methods and model practice after the most current research findings. Graduate nursing programs also teach leadership skills and how to interact with a range of health care providers and fellow nurses, at all different levels. Upon graduating, you will be better prepared to communicate and navigate through the most challenging situations that you may encounter in everyday nursing practice.

Increased Salary
With a more advanced degree comes more opportunity and with greater opportunity comes higher income. Advanced practice nurses working right out of school typically make between $60,000 to $90,000, depending on geographic location and previous experience. Certified nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives typically make $90,000 annually. After practicing for five years, APNs typically make $60,000 to $100,000 annually and certified midwives can make up to $120,000. Again, salary ranges vary depending on many factors but you can usually expect a higher salary once you have a masters degree.

Healthy Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that registered nurses held about 2.6 million jobs in 2008 and that employment is projected to grow by 22 percent, until 2018. More specifically, advanced practice specialties–clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists–will be in high demand, especially in medically underserved areas. Getting your MSN degree will enable you to fill some of these positions.

Job Opportunities Right Out of School
According to a 2011 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, MSN students have high employment rates fresh out of school. The survey of 538 schools includes 144 with an entry-level masters program (MSN). Average job offer rate at time of graduation was reported to be 56% for new BSN graduates while it was 74% for entry-level MSN graduates. Across the board, through various geographic locations, MSN graduates were offered more jobs than were BSN graduates. Job offer rates further expanded throughout U.S. geographic locations 4-6 months post-graduation, with 84% in the West, 92% in the South and North Atlantic, and 95% in the Midwest.

Sources:
http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/msn-article
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-1
http://www.aacn.nche.edu/leading_initiatives_news/news/2011/employment11

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