If you’re thinking to yourself, “What is an MSN degree?”, this guide can help you find out. An MSN, also known as a master of science in nursing, helps nurses gain advanced skills and knowledge in specialized areas of nursing. Nursing professionals and students should understand the immense benefits that come from pursuing an advanced degree. While getting an ADN or BSN can certainly get you closer to your professional and personal goals, earning a master’s in nursing leads to many perks you may not have considered. Read on to discover the numerous emotional, professional, financial, and social benefits of earning an MSN degree.
1. Immediate Increase in Salary
Earning an MSN degree can give you a significant pay bump right out of the gate. Associate degree in nursing holders earn an average of $67,000 per year, while nurses with a bachelor’s degree take home $80,000 annually. MSN holders earn considerably more — $92,000 annually on average.
2. Higher Earning Potential Down the Line
Not only do MSN holders earn more than bachelor’s degree holders directly after graduation, their salaries increase drastically over time. Nurse practitioners with over 10 years of experience earn $101,000 per year, while nurse practitioners with more than 20 years in the field take home $105,000 on average.
3. More Respect in the Field
Pursuing a graduate degree in nursing earns you more admiration from colleagues and other healthcare professionals. After you earn your MSN, you may find that your colleagues respect your opinions more or come to you for advice. Registered nurses and professionals in your workplace may defer to you during complicated medical situations.
4. More Respect from Peers
Earning any graduate degree can help you impress friends, family members, and loved ones. An MSN shows others that you possess exceptional drive, determination, and goals. People in your social circle will admire your ambition and accomplishments.
5. Path to a Doctorate
Master’s degree holders might decide to earn a Ph.D. in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice to expand their career opportunities and meet personal goals. A doctorate in nursing can also help you advance to leadership positions. Doctoral programs may require a master’s degree for admission.
6. Become an Educator
Pursuing an MSN or a master’s in nursing education can lead to a fulfilling job as a nurse educator. Nurse educators work in nursing schools, universities, hospitals, and vocational schools. As a nursing teacher, you can impart the knowledge you learned throughout your career to the next generation of nurses.
7. More Job Opportunities
Graduating from an MSN program can open the door to many more job opportunities. While BSN and ADN holders may be somewhat limited in their career options, MSN graduates enjoy a variety of exciting options. For example, nurses with master’s degrees can become licensed as a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife.
8. You Can Pursue a Degree Online
Going back to school can seem daunting, but an online program can take a lot of the stress out of earning a master’s degree. Online students can often attend lectures, read assignments, and complete homework on their own time. Plus, online students can choose from schools across the country.
9. Increased Flexibility at Work
Since MSN holders often rank among the most experienced nurses in their workplace, they can enjoy more flexibility at work than most RNs or LPNs. MSN degree holders can request convenient shifts and may take more time off than other nurses.
10. Enter a Leadership Role
If you have always dreamed of being the boss, you should strongly consider earning your master’s in nursing. MSN programs teach the advanced clinical skills and management strategies that can help you supervise employees. Master’s degree holders can go on to lead nursing teams and run departments.
11. Become More Specialized
Many MSN programs boast specialized tracks that prepare students for a particular line of work. With the help of a master’s degree, you can apply your advanced skills to a job as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, or family nurse practitioner, among other positions.
12. Become a Nurse Anesthetist
An MSN can serve as the key to entering one of the most highly regarded and lucrative medical fields — anesthesiology. Certified registered nurse anesthetists earn around $150,000 per year, and chief nurse anesthetists take home close to $180,000 annually.
13. Choose an Accelerated Program
If you do not want to dedicate two years to a traditional master’s program, consider applying to accelerated programs. Accelerated nursing programs condense two years of material into just one year of study. You will learn all the same skills and concepts, just in a shorter amount of time.
14. You Can Take Advantage of Bridge Programs
If you plan to earn a master’s in nursing directly after college, you should research BSN-to-MSN bridge programs. Some schools let students begin their graduate studies while working toward a bachelor’s degree, significantly cutting down the time it takes to earn a master’s degree.
15. Personal Fulfillment
Many nurses gain personal satisfaction by finishing a graduate degree. Pushing yourself to earn an MSN can improve your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. Your newfound self-confidence might help you earn a promotion, land a new job, or simply lead a happier life.
16. An MSN Can Lead to a Longer Career
RNs work long shifts, spend hours on their feet, and often work in high-stress environments. RNs can develop joint and back pain, making it challenging for them to continue working as they age. MSN careers typically include less strenuous administrative duties, allowing nurses to hold onto their jobs for longer.
17. Affordable Tuition
While getting a master’s degree certainly constitutes a large financial commitment, an MSN might not be as expensive as you think. You may be able to transfer credits and complete your degree in fewer semesters. Additionally, you can reduce tuition costs through grants, scholarships, and military experience.
18. Employer Tuition Assistance
Many hospitals boast generous tuition reimbursement programs that encourage employees to continue their education. Keep in mind that if you take advantage of a tuition assistance program, you will probably need to continue working at the organization for a few years.
19. Increased Impact on Your Community
Many nurses go into the field to help people. They find it satisfying and fulfilling to cure patients, give health advice, and enhance a patient’s overall quality of life. By assuming a more advanced position, you may be able to affect more people and improve more lives in your community.
20. Expand your Professional Network
Master’s programs in nursing help students establish valuable relationships with other nurses and professors. The connections you make during your graduate studies can help you land a new job, discover an interesting field, or get into a doctoral program.
21. Influence the Healthcare Field
After earning an MSN, nursing professionals play a more significant role in shaping patient care and policies. As one of the senior employees in your facility, you may find it easier to implement broad changes and develop best practices for the field as a whole.
22. Expand your Knowledge Base
Many nurses find it incredibly fulfilling to learn from healthcare experts and develop a deep knowledge of the field. Earning a master’s in nursing broadens your horizons and builds new skills. By pursuing a graduate degree in nursing, you can truly learn something new every day.
23. Inspire Other Nurses
A graduate nursing education turns you into a role model for other nurses and healthcare professionals in your workplace or friend group. By earning a master’s in nursing, you may inspire others to follow in your footsteps and pursue a degree.
24. Job Opportunities Are Increasing
Job opportunities for master’s-educated nurses typically expand faster than positions for lower-level nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for registered nurses will grow by 15% from 2016 to 2026. Openings for advanced practice registered nurses, on the other hand, will increase by 31% over the same period.
25. Increased Responsibility
Many nurses enjoy a high degree of responsibility after graduating from a master’s program. Experienced and highly skilled nurses sometimes oversee the overall functioning of a department or facility. They check other nurses’ work while attending to their own patients.