The nursing profession is growing rapidly in the US, and there is high demand for skilled and educated nurses. Earning a nursing degree will provide you with a rewarding and lucrative career.
However, if you would like to expand your career prospects even more, there is another option. You can earn a nursing degree in combination with another degree. This is known as a dual degree program, and there are many high quality programs available around the country, depending on your interest area.
The primary advantage of these dual programs is time: You can earn both degrees at the same time in three or four years. Taking each program separately would take at least four and as many as six years.
Earning your MSN allows you to become many different types of advanced practice nurse, such as a clinical nursing specialist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, nurse educator and other related positions. The other degree you earn will provide you with additional related skills that can really put you on the path of career success.
Different Types of Dual Degree Programs
There are more than 120 types of dual degree nursing programs in the US today. Some of the most common dual degree programs include these:
This dual degree program is typically a three year program and results in both a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Business Administration. It is designed for those who want to gain clinical nursing skills, but also want to have a strong business background. Many professionals who opt for this dual degree seek a healthcare management or consulting career. This type of program will prepare you for the challenges of healthcare management in the context of all of the healthcare reforms that currently are happening in the US.
In most cases, there are virtually no differences between the individual MSN and MBA programs and the dual MSN/MBA program.
The MBA will provide you with a general management foundation, while the nursing degree will give you a thorough understanding of clinical nursing and nursing administration.
This is another popular three year program that results in a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Health. This combination of degree teaches you both clinical nursing theory and practice. It also will teach you how to apply those skills in a community and population-based setting.
You will learn how to guide healthcare teams in developing appropriate health care services for higher risk populations. Also, you will develop advanced management knowledge that cyou be applied to public healthcare. You will be highly qualified to design, implement and evaluate health care programs in many public health agencies. And, you can exert a strong influence on health promotion and disease prevention in highly vulnerable populations.
If you are interested in both a nursing and health administration career, this could be the dual degree program for you. This program will result in both a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Health Administration. The MHA degree will provide you with specialized training in health care topics, including leadership, innovation, organizational behavior, quality, operations, financial management, and healthcare law and policy.
With the MHA degree you should be able to excel in a senior administrative role in a healthcare organization. For example, you may be able to obtain a role as Director of Nursing, VP of Nursing or even Chief Nursing Executive.
This dual degree program will result in the MSN and a Master of Public Administration or MPA. This degree is well suited for the nurse who also wants to possess the skills to run or manage a public sector organization or non-profit. You will learn how to implement government policy, manage government programs, and drive the latest institutional changes.
Some of the topics that you will study in your MPA program include the management of public organizations, public and nonprofit finance, HR, law in the public sector, leadership and communication, and how to properly evaluate public programs and policies.
In combination with your MSN degree, your MPA degree will ready you for many leadership roles in the public sector.
Some of the best dual degree programs online in nursing include:
- University of Texas-Tyler: You can earn your Master of Science in Nursing, and your MBA online, so that you will be fully prepared to affect the business environment of a medical facility and to improve patient care. You will be able to finish this dual degree program in just 57 hours, which will save you many months of study time.
- University of Mary: This accredited, online university will give you a Master of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Health Care Administration. You will be able to graduate in about three years with a dual master’s degree that will provide you with an excellent toolkit of clinical and administrative skills.
- University of Alabama-Birmingham: This top university offers a dual Master of Public Health/Master of Science in Nursing. This unique program is set up to provide you with the skills that you need to address the changing health care needs of women and children around the world.
- Johns Hopkins University: This three-year program prepares and inspires new nurses to deliver much needed nursing services in local communities around the country and globe. This degree will teach you how to guide teams to develop highly innovative health care services for our most at-risk populations. You will take classes in statistical reasoning in public health, biostatistics, principles of epidemiology, environmental health, population dynamics, public health nursing and population based public health nursing interventions.
- University of Pennsylvania: This leading university offers an MSN in Health Leadership, along with an MPH. Required courses for both programs include Introductory Biostatistics, Methods for Public Health Practice, Public Health Ethics, Law and Policy, Environmental and Occupational Health, Leadership Development For Health, Health Systems Analysis, Current Issues in Health and Social Policy, Negotiation for Change Agents, and Historical Foundations of the Nation’s Health.
- Saint Joseph’s College Online: This university offers a dual Master of Nursing/Master of Public Health Administration (MPHA). This is a good choice if you are a nurse who also wants to be a CEO or the head of a health administration department or facility. Also, this accredited college provides a dual Master of Nursing/Master of Business Administration that is well suited for RNs who want to be health organization managers, a director of nursing or a chief nursing officer.
- California State University-Long Beach: You may earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Master of Science in Health Care Administration. This will provide you with the advanced preparation that you need to excel as an advanced practice nurse in many administrative areas on the health field. You will gain great competence to design, implement and evaluate nursing programs and activities at many health organizations around the globe.
- Wilmington University: You can earn a Master of Science in Nursing, along with a Master of Science in Management, with a health care administration focus. Or, you can earn your MSN combined with an MBA, with a health care administration focus. Both dual degree programs are 51 credits, and you can complete both of these innovative programs in less than 3 years.
- Baruch College: This university offers a Master’s in Nursing Administration and a Master’s of Public Administration. This dual degree program will prepare you for managerial and leadership roles in nonprofits as well as public and private health organizations. You will learn the most important research skills and also will learn best practices in how to professionally manage complex systems.
- Xavier University: This university offers an unusual MSN Master of Science in Criminal Justice. The nursing degree will give you the most advanced preparation in the field of nursing science. Meanwhile, you will be prepared in the criminal justice field as well. You will be well equipped to deal with the changing needs of the country to prepare you for working in disaster planning and bioterrorism. The field of forensic nursing is a growing area, and you will learn how to apply the art of nursing to criminal, civil and legal matters.
- Florida Memorial University: This online university is affiliated with the University of Miami and Florida International University, and offers a dual bachelor’s degree in nursing and biology. You will receive both a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and Biology.