Explore 20+ Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs—Find the Best School for You

Earning an online master’s in nursing (MSN) degree can be your gateway to a more advanced career, one that leads to management, specialization and entrepreneurship opportunities as well as more income. Accredited MSN programs offer convenient ways to earn an advanced nursing degree online, such as accelerated BSN-to-MSN programs, RN-to-MSN bridge programs, entry-level master’s degrees and RN-to-APN programs.

When considering a master’s in nursing online, check out admissions requirements, curriculum, focus areas and whether the institution is accredited. Also, ask about modes of learning. For instance, are there set times each week you’re required to be online? Are computer simulations available? Find out the length of courses, experience of the faculty, how you can interact directly with faculty and students, and what kinds of student support are available.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Simmons University

info

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Earn an MSN online from Simmons University. Choose from two program options — FNP or PMHNP — and prepare to raise the standard of patient care.

  • Choose from two program options — FNP or PMHNP
  • Complete in as few as 24 months
  • Full-time and part-time tracks available

Georgetown University

info

Master of Science in Nursing

Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 23 months. 

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

St. John Fisher University

info

Master of Science in Nursing

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing. Bachelor’s in nursing and RN license-required. 

  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

University of Southern California (USC)

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Master of Science in Nursing – FNP Program

Nursing@USC delivers the online Master of Science in Nursing program from the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing. RN and BSN req’d.

  • Designed for registered nurses (RNs) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Offers a part-time option for active RNs to earn a Master of Science in Nursing online
  • Can be completed in as few as 21 months

info SPONSORED

Compare 20 + Accredited Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Programs

The following list was last updated October 2021. Check the school’s official website for the most up-to-date information.

Angelo State University

Department of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

San Angelo, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 39-49

Concentrations:

Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An unencumbered RN license
  • U.S. citizen and reside in Texas
  • Acceptance into the College of Graduate Studies and Research
  • Undergraduate statistics with at least a grade of C
  • At least one year of RN experience
  • Three references
  • Personal statement
  • Resume/CV
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Angelo State University

Benedictine University

Master of Science in Nursing

Lisle, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36-39

Concentrations:

Nurse Educator, Nurse Executive

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Official transcripts
  • RN license
  • One letter of recommendation
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of goals
  • Proficiency in word processing
  • Student Success Strategies Orientation Exercise
  • TOEFL (for international applicants)
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Benedictine University

Drexel University

College of Nursing and Health Professions

Master of Science in Nursing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 45-46

Concentrations:

Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Informatics, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, Nursing Education, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing (CCNE or ACEN accredited) 
  • Rn license 
  • Official transcripts 
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Personal statement 
  • CV/resume
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Drexel University

Excelsior College

Master of Science in Nursing Education

Albany, New York

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing Education

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 36+

Concentrations:

Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • An unencumbered RN license
  • Transcripts
  • Completed MS Capstone Requirements form
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing Education from Excelsior College

Eastern Kentucky University

College of Health Sciences

Master of Science in Nursing

Richmond, Kentucky

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 3 years

Credits: 47-49

Concentrations:

Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • RN license
  • Course prerequisite in statistics
  • Nursing experience (FNP and PMHNP applicants)
  • Official transcripts
  • Professional statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Interview
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Eastern Kentucky University

Ferris State University

Ferris State University

Master of Science in Nursing

Big Rapids, Michigan

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 24+

Concentrations:

Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, Nursing Informatics

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An unencumbered RN license
  • Recommended two years of clinical nursing experience
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Ferris State University

Jacksonville University

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Jacksonville, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 30-49

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Unofficial/official transcripts 
  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing (CCNE, NLN, or ACEN accredited) 
  • CV/resume 
  • RN license 
  • Statement of intent
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Jacksonville University

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Jacksonville, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 38+

Concentrations:

Population Health Nursing, Population Health – Nursing Education, Population Health – Emergency Management

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • An unencumbered RN license
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Jacksonville State University

Johns Hopkins University

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing – Healthcare Organizational Leadership

Baltimore, Maryland

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing – Healthcare Organizational Leadership

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 35

Concentrations:

Community Health, Health Policy, Nurse Educator, Nursing Administration, Nursing Informatics

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing (ACEN or CCNE accredited) 
  • Official transcripts 
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Statement of goals 
  • RN license 
  • Interview 
  • CV/resume 
  • Course prerequisite in statistics 
  • TOEFL/IELTS (for international applicants)
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing – Healthcare Organizational Leadership from Johns Hopkins University

Lewis University

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Romeoville, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 49

Concentrations:

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • BSN degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Resume/CV
  • Essay
  • Two recommendation forms
  • Current unencumbered RN license
  • Statistics course and Nursing Research course
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Lewis University

Liberty University

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Lynchburg, Virginia

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 153

Concentrations:

Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, Nursing Informatics 

Norwich University

Master of Science in Nursing

Northfield, Vermont

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36-45

Concentrations:

Healthcare Systems Leadership, Nurse Educator, Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • CV/resume 
  • Official transcripts 
  • Three references 
  • Letter of intent 
  • Undergraduate degree
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Norwich University

Nova Southeastern University

College of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Submit all college transcripts 
  • Current resume or Curriculum Vitae 
  • Purpose and Goals Statement 
  • Three Letters of Recommendation 
  • Supplemental application for current or former Ohio State graduate students 
  • 3.00 GPA 
  • Valid, unrestricted RN licensure in an approved state
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Nova Southeastern University

Ohio State University

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Columbus, Ohio

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 54+

Concentrations:

Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • BSN degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Resume/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Purpose and goals statement 
  • Recorded video interview
  • Active, unencumbered RN license
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Ohio State University

Sacred Heart University

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Fairfield, Connecticut

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 39

Concentrations:

Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Management and Executive Leadership, Nursing Education

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited college, or a BA/BS in a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.0 
  • Current unencumbered U.S. RN license
  • Transcripts
  • Criminal background check
  • Statement of professional goals
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Prerequisite undergraduate courses in statistics and health assessment
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Sacred Heart University

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Standish, Maine

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 42+

Concentrations:

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, Education

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a CCNE-accredited program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An active unrestricted, unencumbered RN license in the United States
  • Official transcripts
  • Prerequisite undergraduate statistics and health assessment courses with at least a grade of B
  • Resume or CV
  • Career statement
  • Three references
  • TOEFL (international students)
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Saint Xavier University

Master of Science in Nursing

Chicago, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 35-47

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Personal Statement
  • Resume/CV
  • 3 Recommendations
  • Official transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Current health insurance coverage 
  • Current CPR certification
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing from Saint Xavier University

Southern New Hampshire University

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Manchester, New Hampshire

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 39

Concentrations:

Generalist MSN, Nurse Educator, Patient Safety and Quality, Clinical Nurse Leader

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An active, unencumbered RN license
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Southern New Hampshire University

Texas A&M University

College of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Brazos County, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 36+

Concentrations:

Nursing Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Forensic Nursing

Admission Requirements:

  • Completion of elementary statistics with a minimum grade of C
  • Recommended minimum 3.0 cumulative and last 60 hour GPA
  • Admission essay(s)
  • Three academic and/or professional references
  • Official college transcripts from each institution attended
  • Online interview and online written assessments, as necessary
  • Professional resume
  • FNP: Preferred 1-2 years work experience as a baccalaureate RN 
  • TOEFL (international students)
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Texas A&M University

University of Central Florida

College of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Orlando, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 31+

Concentrations:

Nursing and Health Care Simulation, Nurse Educator, Leadership and Management

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Undergraduate statistics course
  • RN license
  • Written essay
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Three recommendations
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from University of Central Florida

The University of Texas at Arlington

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Arlington, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 3+ years

Credits: 41+

Concentrations:

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • BSN degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • An unencumbered RN license
  • Undergraduate statistics course
  • AGACNP & PNACNP: Two years clinical RN experience in an acute care setting
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from The University of Texas at Arlington

University of West Florida Online

University of West Florida Online

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Pensacola, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 39+

Concentrations:

Nursing Education, Nurse Executive, Family Nurse Practitioner

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • A current, unencumbered U.S. RN license
  • Transcripts
  • Application
  • GRE or MAT scores
  • Undergraduate statistics course with at least a grade of C
  • Resume/CV
  • For FNP Applicants: Be in good standing at all previous institutions of higher learning; have approval by the School of Nursing Graduate Admissions Committee
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from University of West Florida Online

Western Governors University

College of Health Professions

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Salt Lake City, Utah

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Leadership and Management, Nursing Informatics, Education

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Transcripts
  • Active, unencumbered RN license in state of residence or state of employment
  • Must submit to criminal background check
Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Western Governors University

Things to Consider When Choosing an Online School

Accredited MSN programs offer convenient ways to earn an advanced nursing degree online, such as accelerated BSN-to-MSN programs, RN-to-MSN bridge programs, entry-level master’s degrees and RN-to-APN programs. An MSN degree requires a set of core classes plus electives or specialty-focused courses and hands-on clinical hours. 

Goals

Are you hoping to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)? Do you consider yourself a leader? The answers to these questions may help you develop your goals for earning an online MSN degree. All APRN licenses across the United States require a graduate-level degree. Earning your MSN degree may help prepare you for APRN positions. An online MSN program may be flexible enough for you to pursue a graduate degree while still maintaining your current employment.

Schedule

If your time is limited due to career obligations, an online MSN degree program may be dynamic enough for you to earn your degree during your free time. Some MSN online programs incorporate asynchronous learning, which means that you learn on your own time. However, live classes may also be integrated. Full-time and part-time enrollment options are available at most MSN programs for students to create schedules that meet their needs.

Program Length

Full-time MSN online programs are likely to be completed within two years, part-time within four years. Be sure to check requirements for nursing licensure in your state with your preferred university.

Clinical Hour Experience

All accredited online MSN programs will require some level of clinical experience hours. Each university that offers an online MSN program has varying hours, mostly depending on concentrations available. CCNE-accredited programs will have a clinical hours requirement that is often a part of your nursing licensure, once you complete your program.

Potential Earnings and Jobs

Because U.S. states require a graduate degree for APRN careers, consider what that job outlook is for your state. For some APRN careers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% more nurse anesthetist positions, 11% more nurse midwives and 52% more nurse practitioner jobs.

Skills Obtained From an Online MSN Program

When enrolling in an MSN program online, you may already have specific medical/nursing skills. According to the CCNE-accredited program standards, you will likely learn more about core courses such as advanced physiology, advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and population-focused or state-focused coursework. 

The skills you obtain from an online MSN program may prepare you for a career as a nurse practitioner. According to an O*NET report, nurse practitioners have skills in:

  • Active learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Systems evaluation
  • Negotiation

If you are hoping to become a nurse practitioner, you may want to pursue further education. Currently, nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are required to have completed a master’s degree in nursing in order to begin practicing. However, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) has stated that by 2025, the education requirement for entry-level nurse practitioner positions will shift to a doctoral degree

Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is the highest practice-based degree in the nursing field. The curriculum of DNP programs often builds upon master’s in nursing coursework, focusing on evidence-based practice and quality improvement. Most DNP programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing or a related field, according to the CCNE DNP Essentials (PDF, 163KB). The skills and education you gain from completing an MSN program may help you succeed as a DNP student.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Simmons University

info

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Earn an MSN online from Simmons University. Choose from two program options — FNP or PMHNP — and prepare to raise the standard of patient care.

  • Choose from two program options — FNP or PMHNP
  • Complete in as few as 24 months
  • Full-time and part-time tracks available

Georgetown University

info

Master of Science in Nursing

Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 23 months. 

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

St. John Fisher University

info

Master of Science in Nursing

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing. Bachelor’s in nursing and RN license-required. 

  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

University of Southern California (USC)

info

Master of Science in Nursing – FNP Program

Nursing@USC delivers the online Master of Science in Nursing program from the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing. RN and BSN req’d.

  • Designed for registered nurses (RNs) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Offers a part-time option for active RNs to earn a Master of Science in Nursing online
  • Can be completed in as few as 21 months

info SPONSORED

Education Requirements for Online MSN Degree

Acceptance into an online master’s in nursing program typically requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing higher education program.
  • GPA of 3.0 to 4.0.
  • Current, unrestricted U.S. or a National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) registered nurse (RN) license.
  • Active, unencumbered RN license for the state in which the student’s clinicals will be conducted.
  • Letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, and high school or GRE transcripts may also be required.

Curriculum for Online MSN Programs

The core curriculum for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online may include courses in advanced physical assessment, ethics, healthcare quality, safety and regulatory management, pharmacology, research and evidence-based practice, healthcare delivery systems and policy, information systems, transcultural theories, and disease prevention.

Along with the core curriculum, online MSN programs allow students to specialize in a specific area of study, such as administration, public health or informatics. Specializing in a practice is a sure way to set the course for a career in in-demand nursing fields.

Is an Online Master’s in Nursing Right for me?

The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” states that building a culture of lifelong learning and competency-building is essential for nurses as healthcare becomes more complex.

With nursing and doctor shortages, and nurses aging out of work, nurses with master’s degrees are urgently needed to serve as primary care providers, managers and leaders, educators, researchers, clinicians, case managers, specialists (especially in geriatrics, informatics, public health, and quality and safety), and policy and public consultants.

MSNs are uniquely qualified to change, design, innovate and implement evidence-based practice. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), nurses with MSN degrees earn higher salaries and increased respect from administrators, physicians and fellow nurses.

An online master’s in nursing degree is a graduate-level academic program that typically requires a BSN degree, an unencumbered RN license, and may be completed in two to three years. However, the AACN also notes there are RN-to-MSN bridge programsaccelerated master’s programs, and dual-degree programs. Similar to an online MSN program, some bachelor’s in nursing programs can also be completed online, such as online BSN programs.

RN-to-MSN or APN programs require courses to bridge the gap between an associate and graduate degree. Bridge courses may include topics such as research and evidence-based practice, health assessment, informatics, statistics, population health/epidemiology, leadership in clinical settings, nursing theory and scientific inquiry.

Additional Nursing Programs

While an online MSN degree program may be right for some students, there are opportunities to further specialize in different career paths in nursing. Consider the following programs:

Direct-Entry MSN Programs

If you have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing but are ready to switch fields, a direct-entry MSN program may be on your radar. These programs are designed for students who want to attain a graduate nursing degree with an undergraduate degree in a different discipline. In a direct-entry MSN program, you’ll earn a BSN before becoming a registered nurse. After gaining work experience as an RN, you’ll complete the requirements for an MSN degree. 

RN-to-MSN Programs

Also catering to those with nontraditional educational backgrounds are RN-to-MSN programs. If you’re an RN with an associate degree in nursing, an RN-to-MSN program enables you to take a step toward becoming an APRN in less time than if you went back to school to complete a bachelor’s degree first. Keep in mind that a number of programs require applicants to have at least one full year of work experience as an RN before applying to the RN-to-MSN program. 

Post-Graduate Nursing Certifications 

Nursing certificates may help you to grow your education after completing a master’s degree. They often focus on particular areas of practice within the nursing field, preparing students to earn certification for that speciality. Obtaining certificates may help you advance your nursing career by strengthening your knowledge in certain focus areas and displaying your specialized skill set to potential employers. 

Unlike online MSN programs, which are full-length degree programs, nursing certificate programs may be completed within a year or two and tend to be more specialized. The length of your post-graduate certificate in nursing may vary by institution and speciality.

What Are the Application Requirements?

The requirements for obtaining a post-graduate nursing certificate vary widely depending on what type of certificate you are pursuing and what school you are attending. Since post-graduate certificates supplement your graduate education, most programs may require students to have completed a master’s degree in nursing before applying. 

Certain certificate programs may also require academic transcripts, letters of reference, submission of a resume, a personal interview and proof of active licensure. Information regarding specific requirements can often be found on the website of the school administering the certificate program. For some speciality certificate programs, schools may require that students have previous work experience in that field or that they have completed specified coursework. 

What Type of Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates Are Offered?

Post-graduate nursing certificates are offered for numerous specializations within the nursing field. Some common post-master’s nursing certificates include:

  • Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Online Programs
  • Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
  • Online Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Programs
  • Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) Programs
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs Online

The types of nursing certificates available vary from school to school, but with many schools offering nursing certificate programs online, it’s likely that you’ll find a certificate program that matches your career goals and fits into your schedule. Keep in mind that details such as length of program and curriculum may vary based on the school’s particular requirements. 

Program Accreditation

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits online Master of Science in Nursing programs. The CCNE is recognized as a national accrediting agency for bachelor’s, graduate and residency programs in nursing. Programs and schools of nursing may also be regionally accredited by agencies such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. However, some states may require a CCNE-accredited degree.

Scholarship Options for Nursing Students

There are numerous options for nursing student scholarships. Some states offer scholarships for nurses pursuing education locally such as the California School Nurses Organization’s graduate scholarship for school nurses. There are also options for undergraduate, graduate and minority students, and opportunities to apply for grants and fellowships. Most states also offer a loan repayment program for healthcare professionals. Be sure to check with your university, state organizations and state health departments for more information.

FAQs

How do online MSN programs work?

Most online MSN programs will follow the same curriculum and have the same faculty as on-campus programs with learning via a computer instead of a lecture room or hall.

How is course content delivered in an online MSN program?

Some online MSN programs have asynchronous and synchronous coursework – not live and live. You will likely need to complete weekly discussions with classmates, assignments, research and other academic responsibilities.

Are there in-person requirements for online MSN students?

Some universities may require on-campus visits as immersions, or to meet your cohort and faculty members. However, this isn’t always the case. Clinical placements and experiences are likely to take place in-person at your approved site of practice. Be sure to check with your preferred online MSN program.

Do I need a nursing degree to enroll in an online MSN program?

You do not need a nursing degree to enroll in a direct-entry MSN program online. This type of MSN program accepts students who are career changers with different undergraduate or graduate degrees looking to make the transition to nursing. There may be additional admission requirements for non-nursing students. Be sure to check with your preferred program and university for more information.

What are the differences between an MSN and a DNP?

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the first graduate-level nursing degree required for most APRN state licenses. A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, degree may help prepare students for advanced clinical nursing roles in clinical research trials as well as executive-level positions in patient care.

Last updated October 2021.

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