ASN to MSN Degree Programs

If you have an associate's degree in nursing science and a valid RN license, there are accelerated MSN programs that allow you to bypass the bachelor's degree requirements and save time and money becoming an advanced practice nurse or nurse leader.

Comparing ASN-to-MSN Degree Programs

RN-to-MSN Accelerated Program

Typically a Master of Science in Nursing (or MSN) degree prepares registered nurses with a bachelor's degree in nursing for roles as advanced practice nurse practitioners (APNP). However, if you have a valid RN (registered nurse) license and practice in the field but do not have a bachelor's degree, there are accelerated programs that allow you to (1) earn master's degree while earning your BSN or (2) skip the BSN requirement and go straight from an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) to a master's degree. These programs save time and money and prepare nurses for roles as advanced practice nurses.

MSN Family Nurse Practitioner

One common track for nurses returning to school for an MSN degree is the family nurse practitioner track. In these programs, students specialize in providing primary care across a lifespan by taking classes in common pediatric problems, chronic problems for adults and elders, gynecologic management, and advanced pharmacology. Because students are already practicing nurses with hands-on experience, many of these programs offer online options and flexible scheduling. It is a great track for registered nurses who want to remain competitive, since the demand for family nurse practitioners is growing.

MSN Nurse Education

In this flexible 1- to 4-year program, students are prepared with the skills they need to train the next generation of nursing professionals. To apply you need an RN license, but are not required to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing. In fact, students come from a variety of backgrounds; some have an ASN, while others have a hospital certificate or a bachelor's degree in an unrelated discipline. Classes include issues and trends in nursing, nursing research, the role of nurse leaders, foundations of evidence-based practice, and policy and advocacy. By the end of the program, graduates can find work as nursing leaders and educators in clinical, classroom, and community settings.

MSN Nursing Informatics

This program is designed for professional nurses who want to learn how to solve complex nursing problems using computers. Students work alongside computer scientists to design, develop, and implement real-world solutions to nursing operations and management issues through new technology. Coursework may include leadership for nursing practice, principles of nursing informatics, data management, healthcare technology, and health informatics systems. To apply you need a valid RN license and an associate's degree in nursing.

DNP Nursing Leadership/Management

If you are more interested in management and administration than clinical practice, you may enjoy an ASN-to-MSN program in nursing leadership. This degree is designed for applicants who are working as registered nurses (but do not necessarily have a BSN degree) and want to move up the ranks of healthcare management. Rather than focusing on a specific area of clinical skills, students learn the complexities of the healthcare system and general practices for managing a nursing team. If you want to write policy and improve the overall performance of healthcare systems, this program provides you with the expertise to take on leadership positions.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
RN-to-MSN General Program 2-3 yearsAssociate's Degree in Nursing Science
Valid RN License
Nurse Practitioner
Nursing Manager
MSN Family Nurse Practitioner 2-3 yearsAssociate's Degree in Nursing Science
Valid RN License
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Nursing Manager
MSN Nursing Educator 2-3 yearsAssociate's Degree in Nursing Science
Valid RN License
Nurse Education Instructor
Staff/Patient Educator
MSN Nursing Informatics 2-3 yearsAssociate's Degree in Nursing Science
Valid RN License
Informatics Nurse Specialist\Clinical Analyst
MSN Nursing Management/Leadership 2-3 yearsAssociate's Degree in Nursing Science
Valid RN License
Operational Leader
Nurse Executive

Getting in to an ASN-to-MSN Degree Program

To apply for an ASN-to-MSN accelerated program, students must send proof of an active unencumbered RN license, proof of completion of an ASN program, a resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Most programs also encourage students to write a strong personal statement describing their passion for nursing, career goals, and why they would like to participate in the program. Because most MSN programs require a bachelor's degree in nursing science, these ASN-to-MSN accelerated programs are competitive. Students must be able to showcase their dedication and passion for the field of nursing.

There are a variety of interesting and flexible degree options for ASN-to-MSN degree seekers. Active registered nurses, even those who do not have a bachelor's degree in nursing, are qualified to pursue master's degrees, advance their careers, and increase their salaries.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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