The Best Online RN-to-MSN Programs 2021

The Best Online RN-to-MSN Programs 2021

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Nurses with an MSN degree often qualify for higher compensation and leadership roles. An online RN-to-MSN program offers an accelerated route to becoming a nurse practitioner. After earning an MSN, registered nurses often secure advanced practice roles as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these high-level professionals earn a median salary of $117,670 per year.

This page ranks the best accelerated nursing programs online for 2021. Nurses can use the ranking to begin researching RN-to-MSN programs that fit their career goals and budget. The following sections also explore common RN-to-MSN courses and scholarships for graduate-level nursing students.

RN-to-MSN Questions

true Q. What is an RN-to-MSN program?

An RN-to-MSN program offers an accelerated path to a graduate degree in nursing. During the program, nurses take BSN and MSN courses to earn their graduate degree.

true Q. Can I get my MSN without a BSN?

Registered nurses can enroll in an accelerated nursing program to earn their MSN without completing a separate BSN program. During an RN-to-MSN program, degree-seekers take courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

true Q. How long is the RN-to-MSN program?

RN-to-MSN programs typically take about three years to finish. Nurses complete BSN coursework during their first year, before beginning graduate-level classes. Some advanced practice specialties, such as nurse practitioner, may require additional time.

true Q. What can I do with an MSN degree?

MSN degree-holders can work as nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse administrators. Many of these roles offer median salaries of more than $100,000 per year, according to BLS data.

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Why Get an RN-to-MSN Degree?

An RN-to-MSN degree can help nurses increase their earning potential and secure specialized roles with increased responsibilities. Many leadership positions, such as nurse educator, nurse administration, and nurse practitioner, require an MSN degree. Learners can pursue their BSN and MSN separately. However, accelerated nursing programs allow students to earn the advanced degree faster, and learners often save money on tuition.

Online learning often appeals to working nurses seeking career advancement. By attending accelerated nursing programs online, nurses can complete coursework around their work schedule. Many online programs also allow students to complete clinical rotations at their current workplace.

How Much Does an RN-to-MSN Degree Cost?

The cost of an RN-to-MSN degree varies depending on the nursing school, the student's enrollment option, and the total credits required. Some accelerated nursing programs also charge significantly lower per-credit rates for BSN coursework than for MSN classes.

Students attending accelerated nursing programs online often save on tuition and expenses. Many online RN-to-MSN programs charge a flat tuition rate for distance learners, regardless of their residency status, which can save out-of-state students a significant amount.

Because costs vary, prospective MSN degree-seekers should carefully research the cost of tuition, fees, textbooks, and other expenses for each prospective program before applying.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Nursing Majors Make?

Many nurses earn high salaries and benefit from strong demand. According to BLS data, registered nurses earn a median salary of $75,330 per year. However, factors such as experience and education level can impact earning potential. The highest 10% of registered nurses earn more than $116,230 per year.

Factors including geographic location and employer also influence a nurse's salary. For example, RNs who work in government roles or at hospitals earn higher median salaries than their peers.

Advanced practice RNs, including nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, earn a median annual salary of $117,670. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 45% from 2019-2029, significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse - Nursing Timeline

A typical nursing degree can take 2-4 years to complete. Each level of nursing has its own timeline, and that timeline can vary depending upon factors like part-time vs. full-time enrollment, certification, and the type of program. 

Below is an overview of the typical amount of time it takes to complete a nursing degree, keep in mind that the length provided is for the amount of time it takes to complete that segment of the degree, not the entire academic path overall:

Nursing Degree Level Time of Completion
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 2-3 years
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) 1-2 years
Registered Nurse (RN) 4 years
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 4-5 years
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 1.5-3 years
Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) 1-3 years

RN-to-MSN Program Requirements

Accelerated nursing programs applicants must typically hold an RN license and an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Schools may require applicants to provide NCLEX-RN scores. Some programs also require professional experience in the field.

Students admitted to RN-to-MSN programs complete coursework at the undergraduate and graduate levels. MSN degree-seekers also fulfill clinical practicum requirements, and some programs require a capstone project.

Courses in RN-to-MSN Programs

RN-to-MSN programs prepare nurses for advanced practice and leadership roles. Coursework emphasizes evidence-based practice, advanced health assessment, and nursing analytics. MSN degree-holders often pursue leadership positions in healthcare organizations.

Nurses in an RN-to-MSN program typically complete BSN coursework before beginning graduate-level classes. Nursing students often choose a specialization such as nurse educator, nurse practitioner, or nurse administrator. Learners also complete clinical practicum hours to gain hands-on training in their specialty area.

This section introduces courses common to many RN-to-MSN programs. However, available courses vary by program and specialization. Students should contact their prospective institution for curriculum information.

Scholarship for Nursing

Nursing students can pursue various scholarship opportunities. Many professional associations, government agencies, and private foundations administer funding to nursing students. The following list highlights a few scholarship opportunities for students in accelerated nursing programs. Learners can also research scholarships based on their state, school, or career goals.

Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship

$2,500 AfterCollege and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing partner to offer this quarterly scholarship. Nurses in RN-to-MSN programs, aspiring nurse educators, and students in accelerated programs receive preference.

Geraldine 'Polly' Bednash Scholarship

$5,000 Graduate nursing students can apply for this scholarship from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Candidates must attend an AACN member institution or submit their nursing school application through NursingCAS. Applicants need a minimum 3.2 GPA.

CastleBranch-GNSA Scholarship

$2,500 The scholarship supports graduate nursing students who demonstrate innovation and leadership skills. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and submit an essay detailing their contributions to the nursing profession.

The Best Online RN-to-MSN Programs 2021

University of Central Florida View School Profile Orlando, FL $4478

The online MSN degree program at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is designed for students who already have a bachelor's degree in nursing. Students who have a non-nursing bachelor's must fulfill specific prerequisites to be eligible for admission. Three tracks are available including leadership and management, nursing and health care simulation and nurse educator. Each track has a different set of graduation requirements. The leadership and management track is fully online and requires 36 credit hours and 315 clinical hours. The nursing health care simulation track is available online with some on campus activities and requires 11 courses and 60 clinical hours. The nurse educator track is fully online and requires 35 credit hours and 240 clinical hours. Online UFC students may access a range of support services such as academic advising, writing tutors, a resource center with peer-assisted learning, career services and the UCF library online. No special discount rate is offered to online students; tuition is $372.32 per credit hour for in-state students and $694.82 for out-of-state students. To qualify for admission, students must submit official transcripts from each college/university and have a BSN degree from a program accredited by the CCNE or ACEN, or a non-nursing bachelor's degree with certain prerequisites including 3 courses: Dimensions of Professional Practice, Public Health Nursing and Nursing Research. In addition, students must have taken an undergraduate statistics course and have an RN license. They must also submit an essay and CV, and they may also be required to participate in a faculty interview.

The University of Alabama View School Profile Tuscaloosa, AL $10470

The RN to BSN/MSN program at the University of Alabama gives qualified registered nurses an accelerated route for completing both BSN and MSN degrees. To graduate from this program, students must complete 50 credit hours and a practicum. Two tracks are offered to students including clinical nurse leader and case management. The clinical nurse leader track prepares students to oversee a team of care providers and evaluate patient outcomes. The case manager track equips students with the knowledge and skills to work closely with patients and create long-term health care plans for those living with diseases like HIV/AIDs or cancer. Courses are offered online, and no campus attendance is required. The Bama By Distance Student Services team is available to offer personalized support to students navigating the admissions and financial aid process and to help coordinate proctored exams. In addition, students can access an online library, technical support and tutoring assistance. Distance learning tuition rates are the same as on campus, in-state tuition rates; $364 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $394 per credit hour for graduate courses. At various times, scholarships are available to nursing students through the College of Continuing Studies and the Capstone College of Nursing. To be eligible for admission, students must have an unencumbered RN license in the U.S., an associate degree or diploma from a program accredited by the Accredited Commission for Education in Nursing, ACEN, a 3.0 GPA in lower-division core courses and a 3.0 for the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work.

University of Alabama at Birmingham View School Profile Birmingham, AL $8040

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing offers an RN Mobility program for RNs looking to earn a master's degree. This program has a wide variety of MSN specialty tracks are available including family, adult-gerontology primary care, adult-gerontology acute care, psychiatric/mental health, pediatric primary care, pediatric primary and acute care, pediatric acute care, neonatal, women's health, clinical nurse leader, nursing health systems administration and nursing informatics. Graduation requirements vary depending on the specialty track; for example, the family nurse practitioner specialty requires 45 total credit hours, 13 clinical and 32 didactic, with 600 total hours of direct patient care. In contrast, the clinical nurse leader specialty requires 31 total credit hours, 9 clinical and 22 didactic, with 420 hours of clinical contact. The RN-MSN nursing program offers flexible scheduling, and clinical experiences are designed on an individual basis with students working under a clinical preceptor such as a certified nurse practitioner or physician. Courses are all offered online. Students can access tutorial videos and contact support for help using the Canvas portal. As an added resource, the UAB Nursing Network also broadcasts monthly 30-minute live video discussions with expert nursing faculty. No special tuition discount is offered for online students; however, residents and nonresidents are charged the same amount, $505 per undergraduate credit hour and $656 per graduate credit hour. To qualify for admission, applicants must complete a bachelor's degree or higher in a field other than nursing and have an associate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited institution. Students must also have at least one year of clinical experience and a nursing license, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit three letters of recommendation and transcripts from all previous educational programs. Students who have a GPA of 3.2 or higher may waive the GRE/GMAT/MAT requirement.

South Dakota State University View School Profile Brookings, SD $7155

The Registered Nursing to Masters of Science Nursing Program (RN-MSN) at South Dakota State University provides RNs interested in furthering their education. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing with a 3.0-3.3 GPA, completed all baccalaureate admission requirements, have coverage by a non-employer sponsored RN liability insurance, and complete certain courses within a certain time frame prior to completing required graduate courses at SDSU. Eligible students can request to substitute 2 graduate level courses in place of undergraduate courses. Within the RN-MSN program, students can opt for several different degree specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Clinical Nursing Leadership. The Clinical Nursing Leadership specialization offers Administration or Clinical Nurse Leader emphasis. These specializations can provide students with focused information and knowledge to accommodate their professional goals. Different tracks have different credit requirements, and depending on concentration, programs may be offered completely online with an on campus requirement or a hybrid of both distance and in person learning. Students should consult with academic advisors for assistance. Online students have access to SDSU's library which provide a multitude of services such sending books, articles and other materials electronically, providing technical help and research assistance. The South Dakota State Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner program has met the American Nurses Credentialing Center certification eligibility educational requirements. Students who complete these programs are eligible to sit for the ANCC certification.

University of South Florida View School Profile Tampa, FL $4559

The University of South Florida's RN-MS program is highly competitive. Interested applicants must be registered nurses and have bachelor's degrees (which can be in a non-nursing field). They must have a GPA of at least a 3.0, and must complete and submit an application. Different concentrations within this program include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Health Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing Education, Occupational Health Nursing/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing, and Pediatric Health Nursing. one concentration can be selected. Depending on concentration and field of study within the program, additional requirements may be necessary. Some core classes may be completed online, but the majority of courses are offered on campus with students required to participate in person for didactics, labs, clinicals, etc. The program can be completed in 5-9 semesters for full time students and 7-12 semesters by part time students. Information sessions are available for interested students as an introduction the program, application process, as well as to provide an opportunity for additional information. Upon graduation, students are prepared with a variety of skills applicable to the workplace, including professional research, leadership, implementation of health policy, case management and consultation. Financial aid and scholarships are available along with graduate assistantships and research assistantships to qualified students. The USF College of Nursing has Florida Board of Nursing approval, and the University of South Florida is accredited by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Troy University View School Profile Troy, AL $7224

The RN to BSN/MSN at Troy University is a track for registered nurses who have associate degrees in nursing or an accredited diploma from a nursing program. Offered online, students have access to faculty and advisors on 4 campuses - Montgomery, Troy, Phenix City, and Dothan, Alabama. Students have the opportunity to take master's level courses while completing the BSN, with the ability to select their clinical location. Many academic advisors can be reached by telephone or email. Students interested in applying should provide official transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation and proof of their RN license. Students should have at least a 2.5 GPA, completed prerequisite courses and a certified background check. Progression to the MSN program requires additional clinical requirements as well as GRE or MCAT scores. A 4 semester nursing sequence, this program generally takes 18 weeks to degree completion and offers several different routes of study. Students can select the Family Nurse Practitioner Track, the Nursing Informatics Specialist Track, or the Clinical Nursing sequence, with varying course requirements for each. Online students can generally expect more affordable tuition as well as financial aid and scholarships. Troy University also provides financial assistance to currently serving military students. Additional support is provided by free online unlimited tutoring in a variety of subjects offered through a program called NetTutor, and access to alumni as well as online career services help students with setting goals, career objectives, as well as interviewing skills, obtaining jobs etc.

Washington State University View School Profile Pullman, WA $9324

The RN-Master's of Nursing Program (RN-MN) at Washington State University is designed for students with bachelor's degrees in nursing who want to pursue their master's. As such, full time as well as part time programs are available to accommodate working schedules. Once accepted into the program, students can choose between two tracks - Nursing Leadership or Nursing Education. These will be merged in the Fall of 2019, so qualifications for graduation may change. Those who obtain the nursing leadership certificate are eligible to sit for the national certification exam. Full time students can expect to complete the program in as little as 2 years whereas part time students usually complete the program in 3-4 years. The program is a hybrid program with students meeting on campus 5 times for each course, with the rest online. Those interested in applying must be currently registered nurses with bachelor's degrees licensed in the state of Oregon or Washington. Interested applicants must have an overall GPA of a 3.0 for all college courses with a minimum grade of a 2.0 in each prerequisite course. Certain additional required courses include statistics, chemistry, and microbiology to name a few. In order to bridge the gap between the bachelor's and master's program, students are expected to take 2 additional graduate level nursing courses before applying. These courses are offered online with one date on campus. RN-MN advisors are available for consultation before applying to the program for assistance in determining additional admission requirements and the application process.

Missouri State University View School Profile Springfield, MO $6150

The Accelerated Master's program at Missouri State University is available to students who are already enrolled in the Nursing Completion Program for Registered Nurses (BSN-C program). The BSN-C program is offered completely online for registered nurses who already have an associate's degree in nursing. Several courses are counted as undergraduate requirements as well as prerequisites to the graduate program. Students who graduate from the Accelerated Master's program can obtain a master's degree in the Nurse Educator specialization. Students interested in this transition program must apply prior to admission and enrollment in courses required for the BSN program. Students on the accelerated track must go through a pre-admission interview as well as submit documents including their GRE test scores, 2 letters of recommendation, and the current American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers certification. In addition, students meet all of the admission requirements for the BSN completion programs, have 1 year of full time experience as a registered nurse, and have an overall GPA of a 3.25 or higher. A minimum of a B average must be maintained in all of the undergraduate as well as graduate courses taken. The program is offered as a hybrid program of online and on campus courses. Missouri State offers specific online support with custom training, a help desk, tutoring, navigating Missouri State's online system and providing access to its library, among others. Scholarships, financial aid, and assistantships are available for graduate nursing students.

Winona State University View School Profile Winona, MN $7103

Winona State University's RN to Graduate Nursing Pathway is for highly motivated nurses currently enrolled within the WSU RN-BS Completion program. Students must have professional experience as registered nurses and an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Graduate courses will be substituted for baccalaureate level credits in the RN - BS Completion program. Students will take 10 credits of graduate level courses in place of undergraduate level courses and have 10 credits waived towards their graduate program, thus reducing the amount of graduate level credits required and reducing the time necessary to obtain their master's. Interested students must fill out a separate application for this advanced plan of study, and can consult with advisors from both the undergraduate as well as graduate nursing programs for assistance in course selection as well as with the application process. This pathway allows graduate students to select a program of Nurse Educator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Nursing Organization Leadership. Graduates of the nursing master's programs are prepared for continued graduate studies or for advanced nursing roles in the workforce, with specific skills developed within each program. As these programs are directed towards working professionals, courses are offered in a variety of methods including online, one day per week on campus, or a hybrid of both. Winona State has 3 campuses located in Winona and Rochester, Minnesota. Different programs have different requirements, and different plans of study can affect how long it takes to complete the program.

University of Southern Mississippi View School Profile Hattiesburg, MS $7549

The RN-MSN program at The University of Southern Mississippi allows registered nurses to obtain their master's in Family Nurse Practitioner or a Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner. Both offer coursework fully online with varying requirements for on campus work. The length of completion varies with each program, but the general time frame for full-time students is 1.5 to 2 years. A part time plan is also offered to accommodate working schedules but does prolong the length of the program. Interested students must be licensed nurses in the state of Mississippi, submit scores from the verbal and analytical sections of the GRE, have proof of current CPR certification, criminal background check and certain immunizations. This program allows registered nurses to obtain their master's but upon completion, students in this program will not receive a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. Requirements include graduate core courses, courses from each specialization, as well as clinical coursework. Academic policies are the same for all students pursing master's degrees. A comprehensive exam is required and the entire program of study must be completed with at least a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate. Online students pay resident tuition instead of out of state tuition with financial aid and scholarship opportunities available. A military friendly school, military or service members can also seek financial aid and scholarships specific to them. Graduates of the program have secured positions as nurses in rural and urban community health settings, as Psychiatric Registered Nurses and Primary Care Psychiatric Mental Health nurses.

Ball State University View School Profile Muncie, IN $8992

An online Master of Science in Nursing is available at Ball State University. Students can select the nurse educator, nurse administrator or family nurse practitioner track. Registered nurses who hold an associate degree in nursing and a bachelor's degree in another field may pursue the RN to MSN program; however, since their undergraduate degree is in a field other than nursing, these students will be required to take 16 credits of upper-division nursing courses at the bachelor's degree level. The RN to MSN program usually takes 9 to 10 semester to complete and leaves students with a master's degree. Admission requirements for Master of Science in Nursing program include a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (this is not a requirement for the RN to MSN track) and a registered nurse license. Prospective students must undergo a criminal background check and meet certain health requirements. Students who enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing at Ball State University are encouraged to work with a graduate adviser who can help them develop a plan of study for their track of choice. They will begin the program by taking an introductory course that discusses information technology in nursing practice, research and education. Then, they'll focus on their core nursing courses and move on to the specialized nurse educator, nurse administrator or family nurse practitioner courses. Nursing Theory, Issues in the Aging Adult Population and Primary Care of Adults are a few examples of the core nursing courses students will be required to take. Although Master of Science in Nursing programs are flexible, they must be completed within 6 years.

Tarleton State University View School Profile Stephenville, TX $3900

Tarleton State University offers an RN to MSN that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This program is designed for students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Students who enroll in the RN to MSN can specialize in nursing administration or nursing education. The nursing administration specialization is for nurses who would like to pursue leadership positions in various health care organizations. Those who opt for the nursing education specialization will learn how to teach patients, families, nurses and nursing students. Although most courses are taught online through the Blackboard Learning Management System, there are some in-person courses on Tarleton State University's campus. Prospective students are required to hold an associate degree or diploma from a nursing program that is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on their last 60 hours of completed coursework. In addition, they must have at least 2 years of nursing experience, complete 57 general education and nursing prerequisites, hold a registered nurse license and submit GMAT scores, a resume and 3 letters of recommendation. Additionally, students must earn a grade of "C" or better on a basic statistics course. Once enrolled in the program, students are required to complete 39 to 42 credit hours. Two of the courses in the nursing administration and nursing education routes involve clinicals. Prior to registering for their initial clinical course, students must submit evidence of certain immunizations, a CPR certification and TB screening.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs View School Profile Colorado Springs, CO $6624

At the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, students can earn an online Master of Science in Nursing. This program enhances clinical problem-solving and research skills and prepares students for clinical nursing positions. Students who enroll in this program may select the nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialty. Those who opt for the nurse practitioner specialty may take courses to become an adult nurse practitioner, adult/geriatric nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner. All Master of Science in Nursing students are required to take core courses such as Philosophical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice, Advanced Nursing Practice and Health Care Policy, and Nursing Research. Admission criteria for the Master of Science in Nursing program includes a current registered nurse license, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all previous coursework, the completion of a bachelor's degree in nursing and prerequisite undergraduate courses in subjects including statistics, nursing research and health assessment. In addition, prospective students must show proof of current nursing experience. Transfer students are required to meet all admission criteria and can transfer a maximum of 12 credits. Registered nurses with bachelor's degrees in fields other than nursing may apply for the RN to MSN program as long as they meet all other Master of Science in Nursing requirements. Once enrolled, students attend a new student orientation and work with an assigned adviser to design a plan of study and receive assistance with any issues. To graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing, students must take 37 to 47 graduate-level credits, earn at least a 3.0 on all required nursing courses and complete the program within 6 years.

Ferris State University View School Profile Big Rapids, MI $11144

Registered nurses may enroll in an RN to MSN at Ferris State University. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and can be completed online, with the exception of a few courses in the nursing informatics concentration. It is designed for registered nurses who have completed an associate degree or diploma in nursing and would like to earn their bachelor's degree and master's degree in nursing in a shorter period of time. Students will begin by completing all of the 16 Bachelor of Science in Nursing bridging courses that will prepare them for the Master of Science in Nursing program. Once they complete these courses and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, students can apply for accelerated admission to the MSN program and bypass 10 nursing credits. Organizational and Systems Leadership, Critique of Evidence for Practice, and Clinical Prevention and Population Health are a few examples of the core courses in the MSN program. To be considered for admission to the RN to MSN at Ferris State University, students are required to hold a valid registered nurse license and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in their nursing associate or diploma courses. Since many students of this program work full-time, 1 to 2 courses are typically taken each semester. Those who take at least 9 credits a semester are considered full-time students and may qualify for federal financial aid. Graduation requirements include a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 as well as the completion of all courses and a professional portfolio within 5 years from the time the MSN courses are started. After graduation, students are prepared for advanced specialty roles in nursing administration, nursing informatics or nursing education.

West Texas A&M University View School Profile Canyon, TX $4989

West Texas A&M University offers a Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN. This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and offers 2 role specializations. The online comprehensive MSN prepares students for nursing administration and management or nursing education careers. It consists of courses such as Advanced Nursing Education and Leadership and Bioethics and Advocacy. Those who graduate with the comprehensive MSN often work in hospitals, outpatient environments and nursing schools. The family nurse practitioner specialization is a hybrid program for students who are interested in advanced practice registered nursing and would like to evaluate, diagnose, manage and care for patients who are sick, injured or living with chronic diseases. It includes courses like Family Nurse Practitioner Primary Health Care and Nurse Practitioner Role Development. After completing the comprehensive MSN or family nurse practitioner program, students will be able to use patient-care technologies to deliver excellent patient care, communicate and consult with other health professionals and apply research to promote change in various healthcare environments. To apply for the MSN, students must hold a registered nurse license and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for their last 60 hours of college credits. They are also required to participate in a phone interview and submit a resume, goal of statement and 2 clinical references. In addition, they must meet certain immunization requirements. To graduate with an MSN from West Texas A&M University, students must complete 39 to 40 credit hours for the comprehensive MSN and 46 credit hours for the family nurse practitioner specialty. In addition, they must earn a "B" or higher in all courses and complete a thesis or comprehensive exam.

Stony Brook University View School Profile Stony Brook, NY $6470

A Registered Nurse Baccalaureate to Master's Program is available at Stony Brook University. It's intended for students who hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing and hope to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing. While many of the courses can be completed through distance education, there are some courses that must be taken in person. Admission requirements for this program include a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, at least 1 year of clinical experience as an RN in a clinical area of interest and 57 college credits with a minimum grade of "C." In addition to meeting these requirements, students who would like to pursue the Registered Nurse Baccalaureate to Master's Program should submit a personal statement, 3 letters of recommendation, proof of at least 1 year of clinical nursing experience and their official transcripts. They must also complete 3 prerequisite science courses by the application deadline and submit a clinical practice portfolio that will be evaluated to determine whether they qualify for the program. Once admitted, students will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to use the CastleBranch web-based software system so that they can undergo a background screening process. Students who enroll in this 71-credit-hour program can expect to take a variety of professional socialization, health sciences, clinical nursing and core courses. A few examples of these courses are Professional Role Development in Nursing, Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Population Health Nursing. Registered nurses who would like to learn more about the Registered Nurse Baccalaureate to Master's Program are encouraged to attend the information session.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh View School Profile Oshkosh, WI $6422

At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, students have the opportunity enroll in the RN to BSN to MSN program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The RN to BSN to MSN program is designed for registered nurses who would like to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) while completing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Registered nurses who would like to pursue this program must hold an associate degree or diploma from an accredited nursing program and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. During this program, students attend online and distance-education courses to complete their BSN, which is 120 credit hours. They may apply for the MSN program while they are in their first semester of the BSN. Students have the option to take some MSN courses as electives in the last year of their BSN. A few examples of the courses that can be taken include Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Roles, Foundations for Advanced Nursing and Interprofessional Collaboration, and Healthcare Informatics. Although all courses feature assignments and deadlines, there are no structured class times, so students can easily fit this program into their varying schedules. Students are encouraged to work with an academic advisor from the College of Nursing so they can determine an appropriate plan of study that will allow them to complete their BSN and MSN. To graduate from the RN to BSN to MSN program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, students must earn a minimum grade of a "B" on all graduate-level courses and complete their MSN within 5 years.

Western Governors University View School Profile Salt Lake City, UT $5780

Western Governors University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Education that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This program is designed for registered nurses who would like teach and train nursing students, nurses, school children, parents and community organizations. It consists of 37 courses and is typically completed in 1 to 4 years. Advanced Professional Roles and Values, Essentials of Advanced Nursing Practice Field Experience and Evolving Roles of Nurse Educators in Diverse Environments are a few examples of the courses in this curriculum. Students who would like to pursue this degree are required to hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing and must be a current registered nurse license. Prospective students must also submit a resume and be working as a nurse at the time they apply. Since nurses are typically busy and tend to have unpredictable schedules, this online program allows nurses to study and complete tests at times that fit their schedule. It focuses on competency-based education, which measures success by learning rather than class time. How quickly students learn, the time they devote to studying and their previous knowledge will all determine how a student progresses through a course. All students will receive access to a program mentor who will guide them from their first day up until they graduate. After completing the Master of Science in Nursing Education, students will be prepared to work in hospitals, schools, community agencies, business and a variety of other environments. Western Governors University Master of Science Nursing Education graduates can be seen teaching and training at Kaiser-Permanente, Purdue University, University of Utah and Hospice Care of California.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte View School Profile Charlotte, NC $3737

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte gives students the opportunity to pursue an RN to MSN. This program can be completed entirely online and is designed for nurses who would like to further their careers. Students in this program can specialize in community public health nursing, nursing administration or nursing education. The community public health nursing specialization teaches students how to develop community-based nursing interventions, while the nursing administration specialization prepares students for administrative positions such as nurse executive or nurse manager. Students who opt for the nursing education specialization gain the knowledge and skills necessary to teach nursing. To enroll in the RN to MSN program, prospective students must meet all the admission criteria for the RN-BSN program, have 1 year of professional nursing experience and write a statement of purpose that describes their experience and the reason they'd like to pursue a master's degree in nursing. Additionally, prospective students must hold a current registered nurse license and earn at least a "C" in all required prerequisites. A few examples of the core courses in the RN to MSN program include Design and Coordination of Care, Health Policy and Planning in the U.S. and Theoretical Foundations of Nursing. While the nursing education specialization is 39 credits, nursing administration is 36 credits and community public health nursing can be completed in 38 credits. All courses are delivered through Canvas, a learning management system that allows students to access course content, submit assignments, participate in discussions and take exams in a secure online environment.

Lamar University View School Profile Beaumont, TX $5664

Lamar University's streamlined online RN to MSN program is for current registered nurses who wish to advance their practice in nursing and enter nursing administration or nurse education. The program strives to give students a foundation in strategic management in a health care setting - teaching methodologies, ensuring patient safety through safe and healthy work environments for nurses and, overall, delivering quality care. All graduates of the program will earn their bachelor's in nursing and can complete the program in either the Nurse Administration or the Nurse Education concentration. By pursuing what the program calls an RN-MSN articulation track, the program eliminates 9 credit hours that would be taken if students completed their BSN and MSN separately. Both concentrations require the completion of 56 credit hours of master's level coursework (29 of those credits go toward the BSN). Some of the core courses in each track are the same including Comprehensive Holistics Health Assessment, Theoretical Foundations and Advanced Nursing Issues. Some courses are track-specific such as the Marketing Concepts and Health Information Systems for the Administration track and Curriculum Design and Nurse Educator Practicum for the Education track. Nursing students are also eligible to apply for over a dozen scholarship programs specific to nursing students pursuing their degree full-time. Graduates of the program often go on to careers in executive leadership, training and staff development, nurse education or facility administration.

University of Arizona View School Profile Tucson, AZ $10160

University of Arizona's online RN to MSN program provides an accelerated approach to career advancement for current registered nurses. Students with an associate in nursing can complete the 11 required courses in as few as 24 months if enrolled full time, and students entering the program with a bachelor's can complete the required 8 courses in as few as 15 months. Courses are offered in a 7-week online format. Full-time students typically take 2 courses per term totalling 6 courses per year to complete at an accelerated pace. However, because most students are full-time practicing nurses, the online courses may be paced out in the best way for the student. The master's program is in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership and the upper-level courses are not focused on clinical practice, but more on health systems. The program touts coursework that builds on students' existing nursing knowledge and skills and can be applied directly to day-to-day nursing and health practice to position students for leadership positions. Examples of courses include Foundations of Systems Leadership, Population Health, Health Care Business Dynamics and Health Promotion and Risk Reduction. Coursework for students entering with an associate also include classes that would typically be covered in a BSN undergraduate program. Incoming students must have passed a 3-credit, college-level statistics course prior to beginning the program (this may be completed at the beginning of the program in addition to other course requirements). Many graduates from the program go on to pursue careers in nurse leadership in positions such as as clinical care coordinators, nurse educators, patient navigators and quality and safety coordinators.

Texas Woman's University View School Profile Denton, TX $4950

Texas Woman's University offers a streamlined program for current registered nurses to advance their careers while continuing to work full time through the online RN-MS program. Because the program leads to both a bachelor's and master's degree, prospective students receive concurrent admission to the College of Nursing. To complete the bachelor's in nursing, students must earn 120 undergraduate credit hours total. However, 60 of those credits must be completed before admission and may be transferred from the associate degree program. Once students have earned their BSN, they may choose from 4 clinical specialties: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Educator, Nurse Practitioner and Health Systems Management with a business or health care administration minor (each 40-46 credit hours of study). Each of the tracks requires up to 22 required nursing core courses which range from more practice-based courses for the Nurse Practitioner track (e.g. Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Nursing Practice) to theory, policy or research courses for the Nursing Health Systems Management or Nursing Education programs (e.g. Health Policy & Health Promotion and Research & Quality Improvement in Nursing). A unique aspect of the program for students who have participated in prior continuing education courses are the "challenge exams." For several upper-level courses (e.g. Introduction to Nursing Research, The RN Nursing Experience with Families and Groups and Promoting Wellness in the Aging Family), students may submit proof of prior coursework in the subject or evidence of work experience in that subject. The specific requirements depend on the course.

University of South Alabama View School Profile Mobile, AL $7248

The University of South Alabama's College of Nursing touts itself as an early adopter to online nursing education. With a variety of programs to choose from, they offer a flexible program for registered nurses to achieve their bachelor's and master's in one program, the RN to BSN/MSN Pathway. The program is designed in phases for diploma and associate degree RNs. The first phase of the pathway is the undergraduate track where students follow the RN to BSN track which includes 19 courses (62 semester hours) of standard bachelor's prerequisites and a professional component (31 of the total BSN semester hours), which includes courses such as Concepts of Professional Nursing, Accelerated MSN Advanced Pathophysiology and Community Health. Many of the assignments in the professional component are practice-based that can be completed in the students' home community and often within their current nursing position. To continue to the MSN pathway, students must apply for BSN graduation. Upon completing the BSN, students move to the second phase of the program, the MSN degree. Within this phase, students may choose from 6 specialties: Informatics (37 credit hours), Nursing Administration (37 credit hours), Clinical Nurse Leader (30 credit hours), Clinical Nurse in Adult/Gerontological Nursing (32 credit hours), Nurse Practitioner Programs (39 credit hours) and Dual Role as Family Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (51 credit hours). Students who pursue the nurse practitioner tracks must have 2 years of clinical experience by the time they begin the MSN stage of the program. Students must have a current registered nursing license to be admitted to the program.

University of North Alabama View School Profile Florence, AL $6336
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania View School Profile Bloomsburg, PA $7238
Salem State University View School Profile Salem, MA $910
Clarkson College View School Profile Omaha, NE $11976
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health View School Profile Omaha, NE $13632
Clayton State University View School Profile Morrow, GA $3886
Georgia College View School Profile Milledgeville, GA $7180
University of Connecticut View School Profile Storrs, CT $11224
University of Pittsburgh View School Profile Pittsburgh, PA $17688
Austin Peay State University View School Profile Clarksville, TN $6216
Thomas Edison State University View School Profile Trenton, NJ $6350
Georgia State University View School Profile Atlanta, GA $6846
Charleston Southern University View School Profile Charleston, SC $24100
Worcester State University View School Profile Worcester, MA $970
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center View School Profile Lubbock, TX $5890
Lourdes University View School Profile Sylvania, OH $19920
Goodwin College View School Profile East Hartford, CT $19500
Allen College View School Profile Waterloo, IA $16464
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing View School Profile Peoria, IL $18850
University of Maryland, Baltimore View School Profile Baltimore, MD $8496

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and earned tenure as a history professor at the University of Louisville. An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a freelance writer and consultant.

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