Nursing is a well-paid career, whether you have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Registered nurses earn around $65,000 a year, and there is significant upside potential. For example, you can earn more if you work night shifts or travel. However, you can do so much more if you have an advanced degree. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider getting a master’s degree in nursing.
The Higher Average Pay Rate
A master’s degree typically results in a pay raise. We already mentioned how much RNs earn. Nurse midwives earn roughly $25,000 more than registered nurses. A nurse practitioner earns around $100,000 a year. Other advanced nursing specialties pay between $60,000 – $90,000 a year, depending on your area of specialization, the type of facility you work in, and your work schedule. For example, nurse anesthetists earn around $150,000 a year if they work full-time, while a chief nurse anesthetist can earn over $180,000 a year.
You Can Get It Online
You don’t have to put your career on hold to take it to the next level. You can earn your degree while you continue working through an accredited online MSN program from an institution like Baylor University. Getting your master’s online could allow you to earn a specialized degree such as an MSN in leadership or another specialization that isn’t available at a local university. Getting it from a reputable and accredited course will make sure it will be both respected within your state, the country, and abroad.
What are the typical requirements for an advanced nursing program?
- An unencumbered RN license
- Currently employed in nursing
- Several years of experience in the nursing field
- A 3.0 GPA or better for your last degree
- A BSN or MSN from an accredited nursing school
You can find online nursing MSN programs for ones that don’t have a GRE requirement or have a lower minimum amount of full-time experience that you must have before you can enroll. You can also choose accelerated programs that let you finish in one year instead of two. Bridge programs allow you to start graduate work while finishing your masters, allowing you to move from an associate’s degree to a master’s by the time you finish.
Better Work Hours
An advanced nursing degree provides the training you need to arrange patient consultations, educate patients, create care plans, and manage other nurses. This doesn’t just open up more career paths; it often leads to a job in care management or nursing management.
Now you can provide personalized care for patients or oversee care for an entire ward, and you don’t have to work a 12-hour shift to do so. Instead, you’re more easily able to secure a 40-hour workweek. Nurse anesthetists are not just well paid but can often earn a decent salary working part-time. In other cases, the MSN is so valued that they can request specific shifts and get them because their employer wants to keep them happy.
The Ability to Move Up the Ladder
An advanced degree in nursing doesn’t just open up specialized nursing jobs to you; it often allows you to move up in the organization. There are a number of administrative jobs an MSN allows you to hold. A few of the top spots include:
- Chief nursing officer
- Clinical nursing director
- Nurse supervisor
- Home healthcare director
- Department head
Many advanced nursing degrees teach you how to lead teams and manage departments. That may be the expertise you need to start your own business, whether you want to run a home healthcare company or nurse recruiting firm. Or it will give you the skills to move up in the department far sooner than would happen if they relied entirely on seniority.
A Greater Level of Service
If you earn an advanced practice registered nurse degree, you’ve become equivalent to a general medical doctor. For example, you wouldn’t just diagnose someone’s cough or skin rash, but in many states, you can prescribe the medicine they need.
You could become the affordable primary care practitioner that so many people require. You could move from labor and delivery nursing to delivering babies as a nurse midwife. You could also provide gynecological care to women and give them family planning advice.
Conversely, a master’s degree in nursing is a boon to your patients if you remain an acute care nurse or work in another traditional role. Higher levels of education for nurses are correlated with lower mortality rates in patients.
Another reason why you should consider getting a master’s degree is that it will allow you to tackle more serious responsibilities, and have an impact on the macro level.
When asked why she decided to get an advanced degree, Alyssa Craig said:
“I wanted a bigger role when it came to providing care for patients.”
She also stated how she loves working on the administrative side of things:
“While it is true that bedside nurses do have a role to play when it comes to educating patients, they don’t have a say in managing patients at the provider level.”
Extend Your Career
Many nurses quit as they suffer back pain and other physical effects of walking miles every day and moving heavy patients. Others quit because they burn out. They’re over-stressed dealing with medical emergencies and demanding patients, and problems are made worse by the chronic under-staffing in the nursing field.
Earning an advanced degree may allow you to work longer without having to work in the same role. Perhaps you will become a patient educator or nursing instructor after completing an MSN. Then you could work at a trade school teaching the next generation of nurses. Or you could work in the administrative office. Now you can continue to work into your retirement years in nursing.
Furthering your education has always been a way to advance your nursing career. A master’s degree in nursing truly takes your nursing career to the next level while opening up a wide range of opportunities.