So, you’ve finally graduated from nursing school with your BSN. Congratulations! That is an amazing accomplishment in itself. However, if you’re here, you’re likely considering continuing your education to earn your MSN, or Master of Science in Nursing. Going from a BSN to MSN can help you earn more, have more job opportunities, and have more autonomy in your work.
How long does it take to earn an MSN?
Depending on what you want to focus your practice on, the amount of time it takes to complete your MSN program varies. For students at Wilkes University, there are three MSN programs with slightly different program lengths.
- Family Nurse Practitioner (F.N.P.) concentration: 2.3 years
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A.G.P.C.N.P.) concentration: 2 years
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (P.M.H.N.P.) concentration: 2.3 years
These times will also vary depending on how many classes you take per semester, whether you take classes in winter and summer semesters, and so on. When considering the potential focus of your MSN studies, try to keep in mind the amount of time you want to be in school. You’ve already spent several years earning your BSN, and may not want to spend longer than necessary earning your next degree.
Furthermore, while most MSN programs require a BSN for admission purposes, some schools will let you enter their program with special permission from an employer, with another degree, or things of that nature. Make sure you spend some time researching the requirements for the school you want to attend so you can be sure you have the correct experience.
How do I get into an MSN program?
Typically, you need to have your BSN to get into an MSN program. You’ll also likely need an RN license, at least one year of clinical experience, and a current resume with a cover letter. Again, you should probably check with the school you want to attend to be sure of their admission requirements.
If you want to stand out from your peers, try to get as much experience during your BSN studies as you can. Learn from your instructors and get them to write recommendation letters for you, get any extra certifications that you can, and involve yourself in extracurricular activities. Try to treat your MSN admissions the way you did your undergraduate school, and do what you can to build an impressive and well-rounded resume.
What are the benefits of having an MSN?
While a BSN is a great degree to have, an MSN will provide you with more benefits over time. Advanced degrees like MSNs bring in more money, so even in the same positions as people with their BSN, you will earn more. There are also more job opportunities for people with MSNs, with The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 26% increase in advanced practice nurses from 2018 to 2028.
Having an MSN will also allow you to have more responsibilities in your career, such as managerial or administrative nursing positions. More responsibility also means the potential for a higher salary and the respect that comes with a higher title. The healthcare industry is one of the most stable industries you can be in, as nurses are always needed.
Another benefit of MSN programs is their flexibility. Since many people who want to gain their MSNs have jobs, families, or other responsibilities, it can be daunting to think of adding more classes to your list of priorities. However, many schools offer online MSN degree programs, so you can get your degree at your own pace. Having control over your school schedule is a benefit many people use to their advantage to get their degree at the rate that makes the most sense for them, and you can still complete your program in as little as two years if you want to.