As the country moves into a new and technologically advanced way of life, medical professionals may discover the need for expanding their skills and abilities to evolve with it.

This changed has marked the need for more advanced degree programs, which can provide specializations for current nursing professionals. These programs can provide concentrated specialties for current nurses that are interested in pursuing greater endeavors throughout the course of their career, including the ability to work individually with patients in a clinical setting, diagnose and treat various illnesses and even prescribe helpful medications for various ailments.

In comparing the curriculum of BSN programs versus MSN programs, our experts were able to determine that each has their own special considerations in the healthcare field. The BSN is an overall introductory educational program for people that have not previously been involved with the healthcare field. Some of the topics at this level can help students become more familiar with healthcare terminology, practice and ethics. The MSN, however, can be modified to fit your goals as a professional. If you want to work in specialized fields such as oncology or pediatrics, you can likely find a specialization to fit. There are also programs for professionals that are interested in becoming nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.

Online MSN programs can provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to be independent practitioners in the field. After engaging in years of experience in the field of nursing, professionals may determine that their skills would be better applied at the practitioner level.

nurse taking classes onlineThere are programs that can accommodate this need as well as those that can open up new doors for nursing professionals. Specialized programs are available for students that may also be interested in the leadership components of working in the nursing field or even those that show an interest in the education of other nursing professionals.

As you look for methods for increasing your worth in the healthcare field, our experts recommend that you consider these advancing online MSN programs for your future.

Probably one of the most attractive features of online MSN programs is flexibility. These programs were designed with professionals in mind. Students enrolled in these programs can work at times that are convenient for their schedule, which can be an excellent attribute for busy nursing professionals.

The competitive nature of the healthcare field may also bring to light the importance of having an advanced degree. People currently employed in the field may choose to pursue this degree to simple stand apart from others applying for the same positions. Regardless of your intentions, the pursuit of a higher degree can be an excellent life choice and provide you with deeper knowledge within the field of nursing.

Common Courses in an Online MSN Degree

Nurses that decide on moving to more exciting experience in their career may enroll in online MSN programs to help support their goal. These programs consist of many intriguing components, including online discussion boards, a convenient email tool for contacting instructors and other students and the ability to engage in studies and testing through the online forum.

This convenient method for achieving a master’s level degree may be one of the most preferred methods for upcoming professionals that seek the most flexibility with their online degree program.

If you are a BSN holder that is currently working as a nurse in hospitals or other healthcare facilities, you may be looking for a way to gain more power or influence within your field. Most professionals that have busy work schedules cannot realistically quit their current position and pursue higher degree programs at their convenience.

With this being the case, more and more online degree programs are opening up for current professionals to enroll in. These programs contain flexible scheduling opportunities and can allow students to tend to their studies at their own pace.

The curriculum can also vary depending on the type of specialization you choose. There are numerous specialized options available in online MSN programs, some of which may require some additional certification before working in the field.

By choosing a concentration, you can change the course of your curriculum to include ideas and techniques that may be relevant to the field you plan to work in. Our team of educational experts has years of experience researching higher education programs in the U.S. They have provided a list of concentration options for the online MSN below this section for you to review.

  • Nurse Midwife
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Leader
  • Nurse Educator
  • Neonatal Nurse
  • Nursing Health Policy

As you can see, there are several different tracks available to students at the master’s level. Each of these concentrations may require specialized knowledge within different sectors of nursing care.

This can greatly change the course of your curriculum depending on which direction you choose. Students within practitioner programs may take more courses that focus on diagnostics and treatment while those in health policy may perform more research regarding changing health policies current found in America. This list in not exhaustive by any means, there are many different areas of expertise for upcoming MSN students to choose from.

The curriculum for the online MSN program should consist of advanced topics in nursing that build upon what was learned at the BSN level. As you can see from the helpful list below, some of the ideas covered in the MSN program are related to the management techniques and regulations that may be present in the field of nursing.

A lot of online MSN learners choose to pursue this degree in order to obtain leadership positions or specialty practice certification in their field. Students that choose a specialization from their program may also diversify their curricula with the addition of concentration courses. Take a look at the course list below.

Evidence-based Practice in Nursing

While enrolled in this course, students can learn the importance of providing proven-effective care to patients in a clinical setting. The historical implications of evidence-based practice may be discussed, as well as the critical nature of providing good quality services to patients. Ethical and legal standard may also be a part of this course.

Lifespan Pathophysiology

As a nurse, it is important to understand how age and size differences can affect treatments, diagnostics and long-term care. This course outlines the differences present in all age groups, as well as the efficiency of certain treatment methods in relationship to age. Disease prevalence and processes may also be included throughout the duration of this course.

Healthcare Finance

Leaders in the field of healthcare should have some training in the financial aspects of management in the field. Budgeting, overhead and employee benefits and payroll may be part of what students can learn throughout this course. Policies concerning healthcare finance can guide financial processes in healthcare settings, so this topic may also be covered.

Health Promotion

This course outlines the importance of providing good quality health assessments, prevention programs and wellness guidelines for the general public. Students can learn how to properly assess the needs of their communities, educate the public on the various health-related concerns present within society and allow for access to state-funded services that can help to promote good health for individuals and families.

Physical Diagnosis

Students involved in this course can learn the proper protocol for assessing the health of adults. Different theories and techniques regarding diagnosis of physical ailments may be investigated as a means for better educating the nursing professional.

How Long and How Much Does an Online MSN Cost?

The time you spend completing a degree program can also be an important component during your search. One interesting fact about online MSN programs is that there are many available that contain accelerated completion times.

Since these degree programs were designed for busy working professionals, time is of the essence for those that created them. There is no need to settle for long and drawn out online MSN programs when there are so many programs that can be completed in as little as 1-2 years. Some interesting program choices have been listed below this section for you to browse.

  • Penn State University: Online MSN – $10,235 per semester – 1-2 years for completion
  • The University of West Florida: Online MSN – $385 per credit hour – 1-2 years for completion
  • The University of North Alabama: Online MSN – $21,868 per year – 1-2 years for completion

How Much Can An Online MSN Graduate Make?

If you are interested in knowing how much you can earn in each of these fascinating fields, our team of experts has just what you need. In the list below, you can see the national averages for salaries in each of these fields.

You are not limited to just these options as a MSN-earner, though. There are many different concentration options for students that are willing to take the plunge into higher educational programs. Some other common MSN specialties include Nursing Leadership and Nursing Education.

The online MSN program can be a door-opener for nurses that have spent years working as a professional nurse in busy hospitals and medical clinics throughout the country. This program can provide for further education that can contribute to the acquisition of better paying jobs and more job satisfaction for those that want something more with their career.

Some of the most popular paths for MSN learners are in specialty fields such as nursing practice, anesthesia and midwifery. Each of these fields can be a great option for upcoming professionals, since they all make great contributions to the field of healthcare.

Common Questions About the Online MSN Degree

Will I need to complete the GRE to be considered for the online MSN program?

Some online MSN programs require that students complete the GRE and submit scores during the application process. However, there are many schools that consider a student’s GPA before requiring GRE scores and others that do not require the GRE at all. While you are looking for the right school, you should definitely locate this requirement in order to determine which route to take.

Do I need nursing experience to enroll in the online MSN?

Some online MSN programs require that BSN holders have at least 1-2 years of work experience in the field. There are programs available that do not specify any nursing experience, but do require that applicants are licensed as a nurse in their state. Depending on where you look, this requirement may be different or non-existent.

Can I enroll in the online MSN program if I have not completed the NCLEX-RN exam?

Since the online MSN may have a clinical component, students currently enrolled in the program should have the NCLEX-RN exam completed and current licensure as a nurse.

Can the online MSN program qualify me to be a nurse practitioner?

Choosing the MSN – Nurse Practitioner track for your degree program is a great way to start this process. However, students will require additional clinical experience and certification in order to become a licensed nurse practitioner.