Studying for a master's of science in nursing is beneficial in a number of ways.
Undergraduate nursing programs can prepare you for a solid career in the field, and most institutions only require their nurses to have a bachelor's degree. However, as with pretty much any other field, a masters degree can enable nursing professionals to advance their careers further by taking on more challenging and higher paid roles.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, a master's of science in nursing allows students to specialize in certain areas of healthcare that are pertinent to their future career plans. The source noted that typical specialties include pediatric nursing, nurse management, maternity care and so on. If a student opts to return to education full time, a typical MSN program will last for two academic years or roughly 24 months. However, most nursing professionals will study for their master's while maintaining a full-time job, so it can take longer to complete the program.
Are you a nursing professional wondering if an advanced degree is right for you? Check out the list of benefits below:
1. Career advancement
Perhaps the primary reason that nursing professionals choose to return to the classroom is to advance their careers and improve job prospects, Nurse Journal detailed. Options include becoming a nurse manager, a nurse educator and a family nurse practitioner. There's no doubt that having an MSN listed on your résumé will attract more employers and ensure that you get invited to a greater number of interviews.
2. More money
Having a master's degree is a great way to negotiate more money, Western Governor's University explained. Employers will likely be impressed with the extra knowledge, skill and expertise that a master's title carries and will therefore be more inclined to hire you and offer a competitive wage. Indeed, according to Jacksonville University, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing directors are often able to command six-figure salaries, with some of the highest paid nursing managers earning in excess of $130,000 per year.
"Nursing managers can earn in excess of $130,000 per year."
3. More jobs
Having a master's degree in nursing means that you'll be eligible for a higher number of jobs. Simmons College reported that, according to some studies, for every new graduate from a master's of science in nursing program, there are at least half a dozen potential jobs.
4. Better hours
Although you may not believe it, an MSN could actually be the ticket to a healthier work-life balance. As Health Pages detailed, nurses with higher qualifications are eligible for managerial roles which rarely necessitate working at odd hours – such as at night, on weekends and on holidays. Instead you'll be more likely to reap the benefits of a more standard schedule, allowing you more time for yourself or time with friends and family.
5. It can be convenient
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns that a nursing professional might have about returning to higher education is the increased workload and finding the time to study. Thankfully, as Nurse Journal reported, reported, many MSN programs are now offered online. Studying for an MSN offered online allows you to create a schedule that works best for you. There are also few deadlines in terms of how long it takes to complete the program allowing you to set your own pace for study
6. More knowledge
One simple reason to study for an advanced degree of any kind is for increased understanding. An MSN will allow you to build on the knowledge base you built during your undergraduate years and cultivate a deeper understanding of the medical profession and your area of specialty. With enhanced knowledge you'll likely feel more confident in your work knowing that you are providing your very best care.
7. Option for more advanced study
If you decide that you want to pursue the most advanced degree program in nursing that you possibly can – a PhD in nursing – then it's pretty much essential that you pursue an MSN beforehand. The benefits of achieving a PhD are similar in scope to gaining an MSN – increased job opportunities, higher pay, and more autonomy in your job.