Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing?

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, pursuing another degree may be the last thing on your mind. However, earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree can be a great investment in your future, leading to several different career opportunities and benefits.

Benefits of an MSN in Nursing Degree

Earning a master’s degree in nursing — whether it is a MSN in Nursing Education or Nursing Administration — offers a range of intriguing benefits. From immediate to long-term, here are six benefits you may experience from earning a master’s degree in nursing:

1. Better job opportunities. While BSN-prepared nurses may find their degree leads to more career opportunities, nurses with a master’s degree may realize even more job prospects. Depending on your degree focus, you may pursue employment as a nurse educator for hospitals, universities and trade schools, among others. A nursing administration focus may lead to positions such as nursing director, nurse manager or chief nursing officer for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

2. Higher salary. A higher salary frequently accompanies these new career options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health service managers, including nurse administrators, earned an annual median wage of $94,500 in 2015. The BLS data for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers reports an annual median wage of $67,480, with the top 10 percent earning $112,680 in 2015.

3. Increasing demand and job security. Demand for qualified nurse administrators and nurse educators will grow faster than the average job, according to the BLS, which may lead to more job security. Medical health and service manager positions should increase by 17 percent through 2024, while the BLS projects that postsecondary educator positions, including nurse educators — will grow by 13 percent through 2024.

4. Ease of specialization and pursuit of doctorate. Because of the rigorous graduate-level coursework, MSN-prepared nurses are ready to specialize in their field even further. Oncology, pediatrics and gerontology are just a few specialization options. Others may decide to pursue further education and transition into the role of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), which includes careers such as nurse practitioner, midwife, clinical nurse specialist or nurse anesthetist. A master’s degree in nursing is also a stepping stone to a doctoral degree, such as the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP).

5. Better work schedule. Licensed nurses may work a variety of shifts, including overnights, weekends and on-call. Nurses with master’s degrees may move into administrative or educator roles, both of which tend to rely less on shiftwork. Work schedules are more regular, allowing you to achieve a manageable work-life balance.

6. Simplified process. Accelerated programs, many of which are available exclusively online, simplify the process of earning an MSN. Students can complete degree programs in as few as 12 months, and the flexible format means that you can still work full-time if needed. Plus, employers may offer tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness, minimizing your financial commitment.

Are Master’s Degrees Preferred by Employers?

Due to the significant changes occurring in healthcare, many employers are seeking highly skilled nurses who hold master’s or doctoral degrees. These unprecedented shifts in the healthcare landscape — such as the influx of the aging Baby Boomers as well as the delivery of care to a chronically ill and more culturally and ethnically diverse population — led to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), previously called the Institute of Medicine (IOM), issuing educational recommendations for the nation’s nurses.

Specifically, NAM called on nurses to lead the way through these challenges, pulling from their education and experience to provide innovative solutions. To do so, NAM suggested that nurses should pursue lifelong learning and advance their education, even going so far as to recommend doubling the number of doctorate-level nurses by 2020. The report also recommended that employers encourage nurses to seek additional education — for instance, progressing from a BSN to an MSN, and ultimately, a doctorate.

Invest in Yourself

Earning a master’s degree in nursing offers several benefits, including more career opportunities, a higher salary and job security. With healthcare employers demanding more highly skilled nurses, earning a MSN may be a meaningful way to invest in yourself and your future.

Learn more about UTRGV’s online nursing degree programs.


Sources:

Institute of Medicine: The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015 – Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Postsecondary Teachers


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