Online Master’s in Nursing
Nursing is one of the most in-demand occupations in healthcare today, and the ongoing nursing shortage in the United States makes it even more likely that you’ll find an appealing position upon completion of an online nursing degree.
An online master’s degree in nursing will provide you with the background, skills, and training needed to become a qualified and certified nurse. Of course, the type of degree you choose will also determine the work you do. Before deciding on an online master’s degree in nursing program, take a closer look at what each degree offers.
What can I do with an online master’s in nursing?
Nurses with a Master’s of Science in Nursing (often called a MSN) are called advanced practice nurses (APN). APNs deliver healthcare services that were once delivered by physicians, and can focus on one of four advanced practice areas. With training, APNs are qualified to become:
- Certified Nurse Midwives, providing healthcare to women in various stages of pregnancy and the birthing process.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists, working with other nurses to advance nursing practices, and improve patient care. Clinical nursing specialists specialize in one of five areas:
- Particular medical populations, such as the young or the elderly;
- Particular medical settings, such as home care or emergency rooms;
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes or cancer;
- Certain types of care, such as psychiatric or rehabilitation hospitals; or
- Certain types of medical problems, such as wounds or muscle stress;
- Certified Nurse Anesthetists, specializing in the use of anesthesia.
- Nurse Practitioners, treating physical and mental conditions in family practices, similar to physicians.
What does it take to earn an online master’s in nursing?
A master’s in nursing generally takes 18 to 24 months to complete. Some students also pursue a degree in a related field, like hospital administration and public health.
Most master’s degree programs in nursing require applicants to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), as well as a registered nursing license (RN), a minimum grade point average in school, and a set amount of clinical experience.
What other choices do I have when earning an online master’s in nursing?
RNs who want to earn their MSN immediately after receiving their BSN should consider the RN-to-MSN program. Classes are tailored to suit the specific needs of the students, so they might receive as much advanced placement credit for their BSN work as possible.
Non-nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in some related field are allowed to complete their nursing education at an accelerated pace through a direct entry MSN. Direct entry MSN programs give students credit for having completed certain undergraduate requirements, and they typically take three years from start to finish. Entry-level nursing coursework is typically completed in the first year, with the second and third years devoted to master’s-level study, combining preparation for RN licensure with training in a specialty.
What is the future outlook?
Despite the economy and unemployment rates, nurses are much in demand. If you’re considering entering nursing, or if you’re licensed but considering getting an online master’s in nursing, now is the perfect time.