4 types of Master Degrees in Nursing

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4 types of Master Degrees in Nursing

A Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) is an advanced degree for registered nurses (RNs) with a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) degree.

An MSN is usually the entry level academic degree for nurse managers and educators. The degree also prepares RNs for specialist roles to become clinical nurse leaders, nurse administrator or health policy experts. An MSN is also essential for nurses who want to pursue doctorate nursing education because it is a prerequisite.

Some options to gain an MSN degree exist. In most instances, an RN to MSN program is the routs that most nurses take. There is also direct entry program that is very intensive because the students work towards acquiring a BSN and register as registered nurses in the first year and continue with MSN during their second year.

Because of increased demand for nurses, there have been adjustments in the scope or degrees. Universities are meeting the needs of nurses who wish to get advanced degrees in a better way. Due to adjustments students can join a program offering accelerated MSN degrees as part of bridge programs. It requires a transfer of credit units from continuous or previous education to the Master's program to shorten the completion time.

Various nursing schools offer these four types MSN degrees.


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RN to MSN Degree

This nursing program is for nurses who are practicing as RNs and wish to advance their knowledge. Students transfer credits which determine the time it will take to complete the training. In most schools, it takes four years to complete. RN-BSN programs are a reserve for RNs. Some schools or nursing allow students to pursue a combined option of RN to BSN/MSN.

BSN to MSN Degree

A BSN to MSN program is a fundamental program for all the nurses who want to get an accelerated MSN degree. It is possible for students to complete the program in two or fewer years if a student can transfer sufficient credits. Students who have a Bachelors degree in the nursing field will take much longer time to get a Masters degree in nursing. They can take three or more years.

ADN to MSN Degree

Nurses with an AND can directly enroll in a Masters program to earn an MSN degree. The path in this program is an ADN to MSN that continues to MSN without interruption.ADN to BSN (The first part of this program) takes approximately two years. The second part (BSN to MSN) takes more years from three to four.

ASN to MSN Degree

A student taking this program has to adhere to same prerequisites like ADN to MSN. They will complete a BSN program in around two years before they begin studying for a Masters degree which takes an average of two additional years.

Master Degree in Nursing Specialties

Nursing students should know that enrolling in an MSN degree program is only a first part of the journey towards furthering education. They still have to choose a specialty. Choosing one area of nursing is complicated because schools offer many a variety of options. Universities may offer a general MSN, but most expect students to choose a specialization. It requires research on what each specialty involves for a nurse to determine that one that best suits interests and capabilities.

Schools offer different options to choose from, but some are more popular among students. These are the most popular Master's Degree in Nursing Specialties.

  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Gerontology
  • Midwifery
  • Clinic nurse specialist
  • Orthopedics
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner

Nursing Masters Degree requires much dedication from students. Most of the MSN programs include writing a thesis or project at the end of training. Nowadays it is simpler to acquire a Masters Degree even when working as many universities offer partial or full-time online programs.