A masters degree in nursing is required in order to become a nurse practitioner. Many RNs undertake an RN to MSN program in order to gain positions like Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Nurse Anesthetist, or Family Nurse Practitioner.

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs generally take three years to complete and take students through the BSN coursework on the way to their masters degree. An RN to MSN program may not be a good fit for recent graduates, as they generally lack the experience to know what type of nursing they want to focus on. Instead, RN to MSN programs are a good fit for RNs with several years experience who know they want to go on to become a nurse practitioner and understand what area they wish to specialize in. Other reasons for undertaking an RN to MSN program is the salary increase associated with more education. Or the ability to teach at a college or university nursing program.

RN to MSN Coursework

With a RN to MSN Program, you can expect to take a wide variety of coursework related to a bachelors degree in nursing. Here's a list of some of the courses you may take:
  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • End of Life Care
  • Family Caregiving
  • Rural Health
  • Prenatal Care
  • Healthcare for Infants, Children and Adolescence
  • Patient Education
  • Complementary and Alternative Therapies
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Healthcare for Children with Special Needs
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Gerontology
  • Community Health
  • Pharmacology
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Home Health
  • Nutrition
  • Patient Care for Diabetics
In addition, you will take masters level courses based on your area of specialization. These may include nursing classes like:
  • Acute Care
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health Assessment and Measurement
  • Diagnosis
  • Health Promotion
  • Disease Prevention
  • Advanced Practice in Primary Care
  • Nursing Research
  • Human Development
  • Research Applications
  • Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Biostatistics
  • Women's Health
  • Primary Care
  • Ethics in Nursing
  • Nursing Law

Areas of Specialization

Areas of specialty for an MSN program include:
  • acute care
  • adult care
  • family care
  • geriatrics
  • neonatal care
  • palliative care
  • pediatric care
  • psychiatric care
  • obstetrics
  • OB/GYN nursing
  • women's health

Types of RN Careers

Do you wonder what you can do after you complete your RN to MSN program? These are just a few of the careers you can pursue with a bachelors degree in nursing.
  • Hospital nurse
  • Labor and deliver nurse
  • Emergency room nurse
  • Operating room nurse
  • Long-term care nurse
  • In-home care nurse
  • Neonatal nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse

RN to MSN Salary Information

Initially, there may not be much difference between your RN salary and your MSN salary. However, the best thing to do would be to check with your employer. There may be a greater pay differential between RN or BSN level positions and your nurse practitioner level. And to get one of those positions, you'll need a masters degree.

According to an aggregation of Indeed salary data, the average RN salary is $44,000. Advanced nurses like ER nurses make $88,000 and an OR nurse makes an average of $75,000 per year. Nurse practitioners make $96,000 per year, nurse anesthetists make $88,000 and nurse midwives make $95,000. So you can see that a masters degree in nursing may not mean a huge increase in salary if you already have responsibilities as an ER nurse. But many like the additional responsibilities that come with being a nurse practitioner.

Of course, as with all careers, your salary will vary based on the company you work for, the field your in, your level of education and your number of years experience. Nursing degrees have a wide range of possible salaries. You can expect to make less money coming straight out of school, and for your salary to increase as you gain relevant work experience in a area of specialization within a particular type of nursing.

Online RN to MSN Programs

As you consider increasing your level of education, keep in mind that there are a variety of online nursing degrees to choose from. Each offers a different pathway into the nursing field. Based on the information you provide, DegreeTree matches you with the right school that offers the program that meets your needs to advance your career. Take a look at some of the online RN to MSN programs our accredited online schools offer.