What is an MSN?
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a graduate degree that helps nurses qualify for advanced positions. It is a common choice for nurses looking to progress in their careers and pursue roles in specialized clinical practices, administration and education.
What types of MSN degrees are there?
At Herzing University, you could advance your nursing career with one of our six MSN degree tracks: adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP), adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP), nursing education, family nurse practitioner (FNP), nursing leadership and administration and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP).
Here’s a brief overview of what you could do with each degree:
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: Specialize in acute and chronic care of adult patients that often engage in emergency situations.
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: Provide and deliver care to the adult gerontology population. They use scientific knowledge and theoretical foundations to detect psychological, physiological and sociological development and aging.
- Nursing Education: Teach and work with nursing students to provide them the academic and professional education and training they need to become nurses. Nurse educators can also continue providing direct patient care.
- Family Nurse Practitioner: Serve patients across their lifespan by providing counseling, preventative health measures, disease management diagnosis and treatment for some health conditions.
- Nursing Leadership and Administration: Work in management or leadership and administration roles in a variety of clinical and healthcare settings.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Diagnose and treat common mental health conditions in their scope of practice.
Do I need an MSN?
Not all positions require you to earn your MSN, but as more new nurses join the workforce, experienced nurses will have the opportunity to move into specialized roles and leadership positions with their MSN degree.
Is an MSN worth it?
There has never been a better time to advance your nursing career by earning your MSN. The nationwide nursing shortage, fueled by an aging baby boomer population and growing demand for medical care, is expected to increase as 500,000 nurses reach retirement age by 2022, according to the American Nurses Association.
Nurse practitioners are one of the fastest-growing careers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurse practitioners are expected to see a 52% growth from 2020-2030, which is far above the national average.
Nurse educators are as equally in demand. According to a report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), U.S. nursing schools turned away 80,407 qualified applications in 2019 due to an insufficient number of faculty. In October 2019 there were 1,637 faculty vacancies reported across the country.
According to Nurse Journal, the average annual salary for a nurse with a BSN is between $42,343 and $81,768 whereas a nurse with an MSN has average earnings between $62,281 and $195,743. MSNs will generally earn more annually than a BSN although this varies by position, experience and location.
Where can I work with my MSN?
Nurses who hold an MSN work in a variety of environments, dependent on specialization. While nurse educators usually work in schools and colleges, nurse practitioners and nurse administrators will more commonly work in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. Work locations will vary by specialization and demand.
How long does it take to complete an MSN program?
Time to complete your degree depends on which MSN program and pathway you select. While many nurses will earn their BSN before their MSN, those with their Associate in Nursing (ASN) can enroll in Herzing’s accelerated RN to MSN program. RN to MSN programs vary depending on your concentration. If you are an RN without a BSN, it’s a good idea to research whether an RN to MSN or RN to BSN to MSN would work best for you.
Herzing’s traditional MSN programs also vary in length depending on transfer credit and specialization:
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; in as few as 24 months
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: in as few as 24 months
- Nursing Education: as few as 16 months
- Family Nurse Practitioner: an average of 20 months
- Nursing Leadership and Administration: in as little as 16 months
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: in as few as 24 months
We can help you choose a nursing specialty.
If you’re still in the early stages of determining your nursing future, you could take our quiz to find out what kind of nurse you should be. Based on your responses to questions about your background, professional strengths, tendencies and preferences, we’ll give you a starting point to identifying an educational pathway that’s right for you.
No matter which pathway you choose, earning your MSN will help you unlock valuable opportunities for career advancement. With your MSN, you’ll also have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in defining the future of healthcare.
Do you want to explore your quiz results more? Here are some additional resources about the value of earning your MSN:
- Here are three things to know before earning your FNP and learn what FNPs do.
- Hear from one student who discovered her passion as a nurse educator and why it was the perfect program for her.
- Learn more about the nurse educator shortage and discover how to become a nurse educator.
- Discover why advanced practice nurses are needed more than ever.
- Learn how telehealth is changing nursing practice, especially for nurse practitioners.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.