RN to MSN Degree Programs

An RN-to-MSN degree program can be an excellent way for registered nurses to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing degree without earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) beforehand. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Admission Requirements for RN-to-MSN Programs

Nursing students seeking to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) without first obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can apply for acceptance into one of the nation's many RN-to-MSN programs. Specific admission requirements vary from institution to institution, but there are a few standard core requirements that prospective students should be aware of. Most RN-to-MSN programs require students to have a baccalaureate degree, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, a valid RN license, and one year of clinical experience working as an RN. The completion of advanced nursing courses may also be a requirement for some prospective RN-to-MSN students.

Common Courses for RN-to-MSN Programs

Though some RN-to-MSN programs offer specialization tracks that encourage students to focus on areas of study within the nursing field, most RN-to-MSN students will likely take a standard set of fundamental courses. These include advanced nursing and medical courses in addition to courses in leadership and management.

Leadership Roles in Health Care

Nursing students pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree are often required to complete a course covering the leadership roles critical to the health care field. Students often use analytical processes to discuss current models of leadership. Self-analysis is also a crucial component of most leadership courses, allowing students to identify their leadership styles and techniques.

Advanced Nursing Science

A course in advanced nursing science typically addresses broad conceptual subjects, such as the nursing process, nursing philosophy, taxonomy, and evidence-based treatment. This course aims to prepare nursing students for more complex, graduate-level coursework studying the theoretical aspects of the nursing profession.

Population Health

Nursing students enrolled in a population health or community health course will likely study public health concepts in conjunction with theoretical and scientific principals of population health. Epidemiology, epigenetics, and disease prevention as it relates to demography are frequent topics of research and study during these courses.

Health Care Economics

A course in health care economics attempts to inform students of the economic policies and political actions that influence the economics relating to the health care system. Special attention is often given to contemporary economic principles and theories that affect health care.

Health Care Policy

Nursing students pursuing graduate education in health care are often required to complete a course in health care policy. Such a course is usually designed to prepare students to understand how various public policies influence nursing practice. Once students have a firm grasp of this subject, they can begin to think of how their role as a nurse can affect the creation of favorable health policies in the future.

RN-to-MSN Career Paths

Nurse Anesthetist

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can find employment as nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists. These professionals perform a wide range of duties, including diagnosing patients, recording patient histories, and administering treatments and medications. They may also be required to conduct in-depth medical research, so a solid background in an academic nursing environment is a must.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants perform many of the same tasks as physicians. They examine and diagnose their patients' illnesses and injuries, offer various courses of treatment, and prescribe medication. They also counsel patients who may be struggling to process a new treatment or diagnosis. While physician assistants do practice medicine, they are required to be under at least partial physician supervision.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists assist disabled or injured individuals by evaluating their needs, creating a plan of treatment to meet those needs, and helping those individuals perform simple tasks to potentially overcome their disability. Occupational therapists can help patients suffering from a variety of conditions, so therapists need to stay informed and knowledgeable about contemporary therapy techniques.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech therapists work closely with patients to diagnose and treat a wide variety of communication disorders. Speech pathologists must be able to diagnosis the cause of a communication issue, which could stem from a physical deformity or abnormality or a psychological injury. Those employed in this career must exercise patience, kindness, and a willingness to incorporate novel techniques to achieve the best results for their patients.

Postsecondary Teacher

Nursing students who enjoy the research aspect of their MSN program may be best suited for a career as a postsecondary educator. Educators not only plan and give lectures on their chosen subject matter, but they also perform in-depth research and analysis on that subject, contributing to the academic growth within that field. Students with an MSN can apply to teach at a university, passing on the knowledge they've gained to future generations of nursing students.

Job TitleMedian Salary (2018)*Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Nurse Anesthetist$167,95017%
Physician Assistant$108,61031%
Occupational Therapist$84,27018%
Speech-Language Pathologist$77,51027%
Postsecondary Teacher, Nursing $73,490 20%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are several RN-to-MSN degree programs from which students can choose, and many are offered as online or hybrid options. This flexibility grants employed nursing students a more significant opportunity to pursue their MSN.

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:

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