The health care industry is expanding fast, and employment is on the rise. Nursing is one profession where jobs have been consistently created, as nurses of all skills and specializations are in demand, from registered nurses to advanced practice nurses, nurse educators and nurse leaders. Ambitious nurses who want to deliver high-quality care or impact policy at a high level can push their careers forward by completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Here’s some information on how to earn an MSN and what careers offer the best MSN nursing salary.
What’s the benefit of an MSN degree?
Working as a nurse can be rewarding — more so when you have an MSN. This advanced degree can help you compete for better-paying jobs or satisfy minimum education requirements for advanced practice nursing and other positions in management or leadership in business, academia or education.
This is because an accredited MSN degree program allows nurses to refine their skills, gain new knowledge, explore deeper areas of study and build experience through clinical hours. While each program will vary, core courses will cover general areas of nursing practice like evidence-based practice, theories of nursing. An MSN program will also feature courses dedicated to other key aspects of nursing, like health care organization finance and management, policymaking, advocacy, leadership, and informatics and data management.
Depending on the program, earning an MSN can take approximately three years. Certain degrees are on a track and have curricula designed to prepare nurses for specific positions such as advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or nurse leader.
How much do MSN nurses make, on average?
According to PayScale, nurses with a master’s degree make $92,000 a year, on average, in 2019. However, that salary will depend on the position and work setting. For instance, earning a master’s is one of the first steps toward becoming an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse anesthetist According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary in 2018 for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) was $113,930. APRN employment is expected to grow 26% between 2018 and 2028, well above the national average.
Where can MSN nurses work?
Where you work may have an impact on how much you can make. BLS numbers show that average salaries for an APRN can reach:
- $120,540 at hospitals, whether state, local or private
- $115,720 at outpatient care centers
- $112,740 in the offices of other health practitioners
- $111,440 in the offices of physicians
- $104,310 in educational services at the state, local and private level
What are the top careers for an MSN?
While advanced practice nursing is certainly one of the most sought-after careers for a nurse with an MSN, these professionals can find work throughout the clinical and administrative realms of health care. Let’s take a closer look at some of these options, the skills needed and the average pay for each:
- Family nurse practitioner: A specialized nurse practitioner, an FNP can provide primary care to patients across their lifetime. FNPs may work with pregnant mothers, young children, adolescents, middle aged parents and seniors, all in one day. FNPs need strong clinical skills, as well as insight into population health, health care informatics and principles of advanced practice. FNPs can find work in hospitals or health systems, government and independent practice, depending on the state. According to Indeed.com, the national average salary for FNPs in 2019 is around $103,000.
- Nurse educator or teacher: Academia offers several career opportunities for nurses. With a master’s degree, you can find teaching positions at both the undergrad and graduate levels. Typically, this job includes designing curricula and implementing academic programs, as well as participating in research and getting published. Preparing the nursing workforce of tomorrow is also a responsibility of the nurse educator. This role combines the experience of the clinic and classroom. Nurses in such roles can earn around $75,000 a year, on average — according to PayScale in 2019 — and may instruct continuing education courses or mentor nurses in hospitals.
- Nurse director: A management-minded role, the nurse director is often responsible for managing the nursing workforce, evaluating and improving performance, developing workplace policy, and overseeing finances and hiring. An MSN can help prepare nurses for this position with courses focused on health organizations, legal issues and leadership. Communication skills are highly important to this role, as are other competencies in data management and operations. The average national annual salary for a nurse director in 2019 is around $91,000, according to Indeed.
Earn your degree at Bradley
Interested in learning more about how an MSN degree can further your career? Contact an enrollment advisor at Bradley today to learn more about our RN to MSN FNP or BSN to MSN FNP programs that are offered 100 percent online.