Average Salary with a MSN Nursing Degree?

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Average Salary with a MSN Masters DegreeWhat is the average salary for a nurse with an MSN? There are many factors that affect your salary besides your level of education, including where you live, what industry you work in, and what your specialty is. This article will cover all of those variables and help you determine what you can expect to earn with an MSN degree. But first, here is some information about what it takes to get an MSN.

The decision to pursue a higher level of education shouldn’t be all about the money. Although you will likely earn more with an MSN, you’ll also open up career possibilities that would be difficult to achieve without a master’s degree. Advanced practice registered nurses working in positions such as nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner are typically required to have a minimum of a master’s degree level education. If you are interested in one of these positions or any type of administrative or managerial position, you will probably need an MSN.

In order to get into an MSN program, you’ll first need a bachelor’s degree (BSN). You may also need several years of nursing experience. The exact requirements vary from one school to another. Many nurses start out as LPNs, then complete an LPN-to-RN program, a bachelor’s degree program, and later finish out their education with an MSN degree. Taking your nursing education one step at a time will allow you to start working as a nurse while continuing your education. However, if you do this, it will probably take longer to get through your education since it is difficult to work full-time and go to school at the same time.

*If you’re an RN interested in entering advanced practice and becoming a nurse practitioner, earning a Master of Science in Nursing is your best option.

Nursing@USC — the Master of Science in Nursing program from the University of Southern California School of Social Work — is preparing a new kind of family nurse practitioner (FNP) who will address both the biomedical and social factors affecting patient health. Through a first-of-its-kind integration of nursing and social work education, the program trains FNPs to deliver care across the life span in a variety of primary care settings.

Eligible applicants are registered nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and at least one year of clinical experience.

Although most MSN programs take two years to complete, some schools do offer accelerated tracks. If your bachelor’s degree is in another field besides nursing, you will need to complete a basic nursing curriculum to become a registered nurse before you can enter into an MSN program. This typically adds an extra year to the length of the MSN program.

As an MSN student, you’ll study advanced nursing practice, management and leadership, research, social and physical sciences, nursing informatics, and clinical practice. There are several specializations you can choose from when selecting an MSN program, including nurse practitioner, nursing education, and clinical nurse leader. The specialization you choose should match the career path you wish to pursue.

Now Is the Best Time to Pursue Your MSN Degree

In the video below, you’ll hear the story of a woman who finally went back for her bachelor’s degree after nine years of thinking about it. She is now the manager of the OB department of the hospital where she works. Just think where she could be now if she had started nine years earlier. There’s another reason you should think about doing it now. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, soon you will need a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, instead of an MSN, to begin a career as an advanced practice registered nurse. AACN member institutions voted to move the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from the master’s degree to the doctorate level by the year 2015.

YouTube Special Feature

This video discusses the MSN degree program available at Cedarville University. It offers a nice insight into what a typical program might look like.

Schools & Colleges Offering Online MSN Programs

As more and more schools race to put their top-tiered nursing programs online, the options continue to grow. Most online programs are fully accredited, accelerated, and made to work around your busy schedule. Some are even available 100% online. Browse through the featured programs below to find one that’s right for you.


Georgetown University Online

georgetown logoNursing@Georgetown is an online graduate program from Georgetown University that prepares nurses who have their BSN with the advanced knowledge and specialty skills they need to make an even greater impact in their field.

Advance your career with one of the following programs:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

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University of San Francisco Online

200x100_usfFeatured! The University of San Francisco was established in 1855 based on the Jesuit values of ethical responsibility, diversity, leadership in service, and creating a more humane world. Our program teaches you to evaluate, design, and implement patient care while staying at the bedside. Designed for both Associate’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree nurses, you’ll learn to deliver evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes, staff safety, and overall health care plans.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Per Credit Hour: Inquire
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Rankings: A top 50 nursing graduate school – U.S. News and World Report
  • Programs: BSN to MSN, ADN to MSN

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Simmons School of Nursing and Health

SimmonsSHHS-2u (1)Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

 

Explore Nursing@Simmons’ online degree programs:

  • RN to MSN: This Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program enables RNs who do not hold a bachelor’s degree to earn their graduate nursing degree. The rigorous curriculum focuses on developing the primary care and leadership skills RNs need to pursue a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • MSN: Designed for RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree, this Master of Science in Nursing program features the same curriculum and faculty that have prepared Simmons’s graduates to pass the Family Nurse Practitioner exam on their first attempt.

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The Average MSN Salary by Specialty

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary statistics for three nursing specialties that require an MSN degree: nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists. This chart compares the average annual salary for these specialties with the U.S. national average salary and the average salary for a registered nurse. As you can see, the highest-paid MSNs are nurse anesthetists, with an average annual salary of $157,690.

U.S. National Average Salary       $22.33/hour       $893.08/week   $3,870/month   $46,440/year

Registered Nurse                             $33.13/hour       $1,325.19/wk     $5,742.50/mo    $68,910/year

Nurse Midwife                                  $44.34/hour       $1,773.65/wk     $7,685.83/mo    $92,230/year

Nurse Practitioner                           $45.71/hour       $1,828.27/wk     $7,922.50/mo    $95,070/year

Nurse Anesthetist                           $75.81/hour       $3,032.50/wk     $13,140.83           $157,690/year

Jobs for People with an MSN Degree

The career choices for a person with an MSN degree are not limited to the three specialties above. There are many others to choose from. Here is a brief overview of some of the career options available for people with MSN degrees.

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Acute care nurse practitioners provide acute care to patients under the supervision of a doctor and, usually, an acute nurse manager. Duties include assessing the patient’s condition and needs, administering treatments, interacting with patients and their family members, recording medical information, and measuring the progress of the treatment.

Adult Nurse Practitioner

Adult nurse practitioners work with patients who are over 21 years of age. They usually work under the supervision of a physician, treating patients with both acute and chronic conditions.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

An advanced registered nurse practitioner is licensed by the state to be able to perform tasks that are normally done by physicians even when the physician is not there. Other duties include coordinating a patient’s treatment and managing staff.

Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified nurse midwives provide exactly the same services as nurse midwives, but because they are certified, their salary tends to be a little bit higher during the early part of their careers. This difference wears off and even reverses toward the top end of the pay scale, though, so it appears that other factors become more important than certification as nurse midwives become more experienced.

Chief Nurse Anesthetist

In addition to performing the duties of a nurse anesthetist, the chief nurse anesthetist is responsible for running the department. This position requires leadership and managerial skills in addition to advanced practice nursing licensure and accreditation by the AANA.

Chief Nursing Officer

The chief nursing officer is responsible for making sure that a hospital’s nursing procedures are being followed and that employees are properly trained. He or she also manages staff levels and creates purchasing plans for supplies and equipment that fall within the constraints of the departmental budget.

Clinical Nurse Manager

A clinical nurse manager manages all of the employees within a nursing department. Job responsibilities include hiring and firing employees, writing and implementing policies and procedures, scheduling, and training employees. This position usually requires at least three years of previous nursing management experience.

Dermatology Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

Dermatology advanced registered nurse practitioners specialize in dermatology. Duties include counseling patients, providing treatments, and assisting physicians with surgery and other procedures.

Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner is an advanced registered nurse practitioner who has earned a certification in family practice. Family nurse practitioners often work in physicians’ offices, providing preventive care and treating common conditions and illnesses.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal nurse practitioners provide special care for newborns requiring extra care due to major or minor problems.  Neonatal nurse practitioners often work night and weekend hours since their tiny patients need constant care.

Nurse Anesthetist

Most nurse anesthetists work in hospitals or surgery centers. Their responsibilities include preparing patients for anesthesia, determining which anesthetic agents to use, and administering the correct dosage of the anesthetics to the patient. Nurse anesthetists must be licensed as advanced practice registered nurses and accredited by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

Nurse Midwife

Nurse midwives oversee all of their patients’ prenatal care, including gynecological examinations. They provide their patients and their patients’ families with education about pregnancy, childbirth and caring for a new baby. They assist their patients during labor and deliver babies. Some work in hospitals exclusively, while others offer low-risk patients the opportunity to give birth at home.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners usually work under a supervising physician. They must possess a master’s degree in nursing and be certified in their area of specialty. Nurse practitioners manage their patients’ care by performing health assessments and physical examinations, making diagnoses, ordering tests and procedures, and prescribing medications. They also provide patient education and promote healthy lifestyle habits.

Nursing Manager

Nursing managers oversee both the facilities and staff in their departments. They must have strong supervisory and leadership skills and be able to communicate effectively with subordinates and other co-workers.

Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner

A pediatrics nurse practitioner is a nurse practitioner who works exclusively with children. Most pediatrics nurse practitioners work in the pediatrics ward of a hospital or medical facility. They frequently treat young patients who are chronically ill.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

A psychiatric nurse practitioner is an advanced registered nurse practitioner with a specialization in psychiatric nursing. Psychiatric nurse practitioners perform mental health assessments, diagnose mental disorders, and prescribe medication and therapy. They usually work under the supervision of a psychiatrist.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Women’s health nurse practitioners specialize in the care and treatment of female patients. These practitioners often work in gynecologist’s offices and women’s health clinics. Their responsibilities usually focus on obstetrics, gynecology, labor, and delivery.

MSN Salary by Specialty

Since the government doesn’t give statistics for every career out there, we turned to Payscale.com for a more complete picture. When comparing the data below to the BLS data above, keep in mind that we took the mean (average) salaries from the BLS data. Payscale provides median salaries instead. The median is the point at which half of the people who have that job are paid more and half are paid less. It is not the same as an average.

Job Title                                                                               10%        25%        50% (median)    75%        90%

Chief Nurse Anesthetist                                                               120k       140k       $166,106              190k       230k

Nurse Anesthetist                                                           87k         110k       $131,654              150k       170k

Chief Nursing Officer                                                      78k         92k         $111,418              140k       170k

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner                                    72k         80k         $89,263 98k         107k

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner                                     68k         79k         $89,014 100k       110k

Adult Nurse Practitioner                                               73k         79k         $86,642 96k         110k

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner                               66k         76k         $85,459 97k         110k

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner                                       54k         73k         $85,032 99k         110k

Dermatology Adv. Reg. Nurse Practitioner           66k         78k         $83,436 92k         100k

Certified Nurse Midwife                                                               67k         73k         $83,215 95k         100k

Family Nurse Practitioner                                             65k         73k         $83,052 92k         100k

Nurse Practitioner                                                           64k         74k         $82,940 93k         100k

Nurse Midwife                                                                  58k         69k         $81,046 96k         110k

Nursing Manager                                                             58k         69k         $80,238 92k         110k

Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner                                      62k         70k         $78,507 87k         96k

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner                        61k         70k         $77,874 87k         96k

Clinical Nurse Manager                                                  55k         64k         $75,612 87k         100k

Salary Range by Location

Salaries for any profession can vary considerably from one city or state to the next. In general, you can expect to make more in areas where the cost of living is higher. However, other factors, such as supply and demand, also play a role. Here is a breakdown of the states, metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan areas that offer the highest average annual pay for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists.

States with the Highest MSN Pay

Three states appear more than once in the table below. Those states are California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, all of which are in the top five for both nurse practitioner and nurse midwife.

Nurse Practitioner Nurse Midwife Nurse Anesthetist
1 Alaska ($111,800) California ($120,450) Nevada ($221,240)
2 California ($110,590) New Hampshire ($112,530) Wisconsin ($200,350)
3 Oregon ($107,560) North Dakota ($107,220) Wyoming ($197,310)
4 Hawaii ($106,770) Massachusetts ($106,780) Maryland ($196,690)
5 Massachusetts ($105,010) Oregon ($105,500) District of Columbia ($187,200)

Metropolitan Areas with the Highest MSN Pay

Surprisingly, only one metropolitan area makes the top ten list for more than one of the three MSN careers. Baltimore-Towson, MD is #5 for nurse anesthetist and #8 for nurse midwife.

Nurse Practitioner Nurse Midwife Nurse Anesthetist
1 Columbus, IN ($146,920) Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division ($129,390) Las Vegas-Paradise, NV ($238,350)
2 Texarkana, TX/AR ($137,880) Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division ($116,790) Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division ($203,540)
3 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($133,930) Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division ($116,790) Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division ($199,720)
4 Stockton, CA ($128,290) Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR/WA ($111,680) Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC ($196,640)
5 Bloomington, IN ($126,470) Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division ($111,580) Baltimore-Towson, MD ($192,950)
6 San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division ($125,720) Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division (103,340) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC/VA/MD/WV Metropolitan Division ($192,840)
7 Yuma, AZ ($123,980) Trenton-Ewing, NJ ($103,210) Indianapolis-Carmel, IN ($192,430)
8 Longview, TX ($122,800) Baltimore-Towson, MD ($101,860) Oshkosh-Neenah, WI ($191,500)
9 Gadsden, AL ($121,430) Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division ($101,820) Duluth, MN/WI ($187,170)
10 Medford, OR ($118,300) New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY/NJ Metropolitan Division ($100,480) Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR/MO ($186,490)

Non-Metropolitan Areas with the Highest MSN Pay

If you don’t like big city life, it looks like Eastern Utah is your best bet for top MSN pay. Texas and Wisconsin also look good. There is no data for highest-paying nonmetropolitan areas for nurse midwives.

Nurse Practitioner Nurse Anesthetist
1 Northwestern Texas nonmetropolitan area ($123,150) West Central Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area ($232,720)
2 Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area ($117,360) Eastern Utah nonmetropolitan area ($214,730)
3 Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area ($113,130) Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area ($214,190)
4 Eastern Utah nonmetropolitan area ($111,250) Eastern Texas nonmetropolitan area ($212,900)
5 Coastal Oregon nonmetropolitan area ($109,340) Eastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area ($204,840)

MSN Employment for the Entire US

As of May 2013, there were a total of 154,260 people working in the U.S. as nurse anesthetists (35,430), nurse midwives (5,460), and nurse practitioners (113,370). The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups clinical nurse specialists with registered nurses, so it’s impossible to get an overall total that includes everyone with an MSN.

Highest Paying Industries for MSNs

Some industries pay more than others for the same job, so it can be helpful to know which type of company is likely to offer a high salary. Here are the top five industries for each of the three careers requiring an MSN that the BLS provides data for.

Nurse Practitioner Nurse Midwife Nurse Anesthetist
1 Personal Care Services ($117,300) Home Health Care Services ($101,420) Offices of Dentists ($179,570)
2 Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals ($109,850) General Medical and Surgical Hospitals ($97,730) Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals ($174,850)
3 Grantmaking and Giving Services ($107,350) Employment Services ($95,880) Outpatient Care Centers ($169,770)
4 Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services ($104,360) Outpatient Care Centers ($94,470) General Medical and Surgical Hospitals ($165,340)
5 Employment Services ($104,010) Offices of Physicians ($93,170) Offices of Other Health Practitioners ($158,930)

Career Outlook for MSNs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is expected to increase 31% from 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than the average job growth rate. Healthcare legislation, increased emphasis on preventative care, and the aging baby-boomer population all contribute to the anticipated growth. However, not all medical professions are expected to be affected equally. The projected growth rate for RNs is just 19%. That is still faster than average, but it is significantly lower than the growth projected for advanced practice nursing fields.

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