An MSN degree, also known as a master of science in nursing, gives nurses advanced skills and specialized knowledge that is much needed in the current marketplace. They are often a natural progression for nurses and can open doors to tons of other specializations. They’re also a great option for nurses reaching the end of their career who want a change of pace. Here are six great reasons to take your Master of Science in nursing.
The Higher Pay
Many people are reluctant to earn an advanced degree due to the uncertain return on the investment. However, an MSN results in an immediate pay hike right after graduation. If you have an associate’s degree in nursing, the average pay rate is $67,000 a year. The median pay for nurses with a bachelor’s degree is $80,000 a year. If you have a master of science in nursing degree, the average pay rate is just over 90,000 dollars a year.
You also have strong upside potential with an advanced degree. Nurse practitioners with ten years of experience can earn around 100,000 dollars a year. NPs with twenty years of experience earn around $105,000 a year. If you earn an MSN and move into leadership roles, you could earn $75,000 as a home healthcare director or nurse supervisor. Advanced practice nurses earn around $105,000 a year, as well. Nurse anesthetists are among the highest paid medical professionals around; they earn about 150,000 dollars a year. A chief nurse anesthetist can earn as much as 180,000 dollars a year.
While a masters degree in nursing is almost guaranteed to offer a return on investment, it can vary. Vet MSN programs for their quality, cost, and value. Do not pay too much for a degree that does not result in higher pay and better employment prospects.
A benefit of earning this degree online is that you reduce the associated costs with earning the degree like traveling to and from campus, improving its overall ROI. Another point in favor of online degrees is that you gain 24/7 flexibility. You can continue working the night shift or weekends, fitting classes into your schedule. It also allows you to repeat lessons and choose a format that works for you. This increases the odds you actually finish the degree.
You can also choose an accelerated program that condenses two years of material in just one. You’ll still learn everything you need to know, but it will take less time. Then you’ll be able to begin that higher paying job sooner.
The Greater Respect You Receive
If you have a master’s degree, you will have the skills to work in higher prestige roles. Whether you’re working as a nurse practitioner and want to be seen as an equal to the doctor or become a neonatal nurse in the NICU, you’ll be recognized as an expert. An advanced degree may also open the door to management or consulting roles. An MSN can also open the door to a job as a nurse educator, teaching the next generation of nurses.
The Wider Job Opportunities
An MSN opens up many more career paths than if you only have a BSN. For example, an MSN degree could allow you to become a nurse midwife or nurse practitioner. An MSN can prepare you to work in oncology or psychiatric nursing. You could become a patient advocate, a nursing instructor or skilled nurse working in the area of your choice. A master of nursing is a necessity if you want to move into increasingly specialized fields since the RN and BSN are seen as generalist nursing degrees. With an MSN, you will be considered before those with only an RN or BSN.
Once you have an MSN, you could earn a doctorate in nursing and move into a leadership position. Note that you do not have to choose between working in your current role and preparing for the next stage in your career. Baylor has a great online MSN program.
For example, Baylor University’s online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation program is perfect for nurses who want to become the head of the nursing department or move into another hospital administrative role.
This degree prepares you to work as a nurse manager, clinic manager, home health manager or case manager. You will complete it in less than a year and a half. They do not require you to take the GRE or MAT. The only major requirements are two years of full-time experience, a 3.0 or better GPA on your BSN and having a currently unencumbered RN license. You can learn more about their program at https://onlinenursing.baylor.edu/programs/msn.
They are one of the top-ranked nursing programs in the country, so the affordable degree gives you the brand name degree you want to have emblazoned on your resume without costing a fortune. By going with a nationally recognized school, you’ll also avoid the risk of paying for an online credential that doesn’t mean anything to employers.
The Greater Benefits to Your Patient
An advanced degree is an investment in your knowledge base. This teaches you what you need to know to provide the highest quality care to your patients. There is a direct correlation between nursing education and patient outcomes.
If you become a specialized nurse, you will be able to work in underserved communities or fields in dire need of skilled nursing help. If you become a nursing educator, you will either spend your time training dozens of nurses to meet patient demand or educate patients so that they remain as healthy as possible. Or you’ll be in a better position to make positive changes in the organization in ways that benefit patients and your team.
You will be able to contribute to the overall health and welfare of the community in a way you could not have before because the benefits go far beyond one patient at a time. You will be able to lead nursing teams or manage entire departments. Become a family nurse practitioner and you could deliver medical care in underserved areas at a more affordable cost, helping patients to receive the care they need without having to rely on overburdened and expensive emergency rooms.
Access to Less Physically Demanding Positions
Another benefit of earning an advanced degree is that it allows older nurses to find positions that will less physically demanding for them. Whether you work shorter shifts as a specialist or an administrative role is your decision. This lets you get out of working nights, weekends, and 12-hour shifts. It could let you earn more money while working a more predictable, less demanding schedule. For many nurses, higher education is essential to avoiding burnout and being driven from the profession. That you’ll get paid more instead of being forced to retire due to back pain and joint problems is certainly a bonus.
As a specialist, you’ll be in such demand that you’ll have increased flexibility at work. You can request more convenient shifts than most LPNs or RNs. You may be able to take more time off than other nurses in addition to being able to earn the same or better pay for a conventional 40-hour work week.
The Professional Benefits
One of the benefits of a good advanced degree program is that it connects you with like-minded peers. You will be able to connect with other nurses who want to move up in management, become advanced practice nurses or work in administration already but need the certification to get a pay bump.
This gives you a large, professional network that can help you land a job in a new field or a higher paying position in another organization. You will also be able to connect with alumni from the same school, take advantage of the job center with the school, and leverage your professors’ connections. These are people invested in your success because they know that the employment rate and status of graduates is key to justifying the school’s programs to future students. These connections are useful when you want to secure a job in a new city or at a specific facility.
Earning an advanced degree could be the best way to return to nursing, too. Earning an MSN gives you invaluable expertise, while the school network could help you find a new job. Move into nursing informatics or another recently evolved niche in nursing and you will have a bright future ahead of you. Or you could study geriatrics or pediatrics and get involved with the patients you want to take care of. Become an acute care nurse and you will be making decisions that affect the lives of your patients while serving at the front lines of medicine.
Healthcare is continually evolving, and nurses have to invest in their education to keep up. If you were looking for advancement, or simply for something new, we definitely suggest you give the MSN a closer look.