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Online Master's Degree in Nursing

Read on to learn more about online master's degree programs in nursing. See what common admissions requirements are. Get details about what you'll learn and areas of specialization. See what the earning potential is in this field.

Can I Earn a Master's Degree in Nursing Online?

As an alternative to earning a master's degree in nursing on a traditional college campus, you can earn one partially online. Online programs offer flexible scheduling for those working as registered nurses (RNs). Internet-based classes are commonly administered using virtual education software, which could include discussion forums, online course materials or live video lectures. If you decide to enroll in an online master's degree program, you'll need a computer that meets minimum technical requirements and has access to the Internet.

Technology RequirementsVarious types of software, updated computer, Internet access
Common CoursesCultural diversity in nursing, advanced nursing theory, advanced research methods, health assessment, healthcare policy
How to get AcceptedBachelors of Science in nursing, current registered nursing license, letters of recommendation, personal essays, work experience as a nurse
Median Salary (2018)$71,730* (for registered nurses)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)12% growth* (for registered nurses)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect From the Program?

Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are commonly designed for licensed RNs who want to advance their careers. Many programs allow you to pick from clinical and non-clinical specializations, such as nursing education, gerontology, neonatal care or community health. The didactic portion of your studies may be completed online, while the clinical portion must generally be completed in person at an approved site. Some programs may require that you take examinations in person as well. In addition to courses related to your chosen specialty, you may take courses in:

  • Cultural diversity in nursing
  • Advanced nursing theory
  • Advanced research methods
  • Health assessment
  • Healthcare policy
  • Theories in Nursing

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Admissions requirements vary from program to program. Minimum requirements typically include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a current registered nursing license. Other application requirements could include standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses, nursing experience and personal essays.

How Much Do Nurses Get Paid?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $71,730 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The top ten percent earned $106,530 or more, while the bottom ten percent earned $50,800 or less. California was the highest paying state and also had the highest employment levels. The 294,510 RNs working in California in May 2018 earned an average annual wage of $106,950.