While working as a registered nurse has its benefits, taking your career to the next level can open a lot more opportunities for you.
One of the best ways to do that is to complete your master’s degree. However, before you actually go ahead and look for schools that offer Master of Science in Nursing, it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons first. This will help you determine if it’s the right decision for you.
If you’d like to get a better understanding of the advantages and drawbacks of getting a master’s degree in nursing, read on.
Provides better career opportunities
There are nursing specializations and roles that require a master’s degree, such as nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Some positions in healthcare institutions and hospitals favor nurses with an MSN degree, too.
If you are planning on focusing on one nursing specialty or working towards a managerial role in your hospital, getting your master’s degree should be one of the first things you need to consider.
Allows you to gain a deeper knowledge of the nursing specialty you want to focus on
Completing an MSN program will allow you to go more in-depth with your studies so you can be an expert in your chosen area. Whether it’s working with newborns in the neonatal unit or taking care of cardiac patients, a master’s degree will allow you to have that advanced skill set you need to safely and successfully perform your job.
Entitles you to receive a higher salary
Getting your MSN degree means getting a significantly higher salary than what you used to get as an RN. While the rate can vary based on your specialty and location, you can expect to earn an average salary of $94,000. In comparison, a registered nurse earns around $64,000 on average.
Gives you a chance to get reimbursement
Now, this doesn’t work with all institutions but if you happen to work at an organization and you decide to go back to school to complete your master’s degree, they may sponsor you or pay a part of your tuition fee. Take note that if you agree to that, you’ll be required to work for them for a certain number of years.
More time at school
Spending 4 years in nursing school is already difficult. To complete your master’s degree, you’ll be required to spend about 1.5 to 2 more years at school.
If you’ll be working while completing your degree, you’ll need to learn how to balance your responsibilities. You’ll miss out on a lot of occasions at home as well as sacrifice time for yourself. Having a really strong support system will be a big help in surviving.
MSNs are definitely expensive. You’ll need to come up with a way to pay for the tuition fee, such as borrowing loans or getting a side job. Despite its cost, it’s a big investment that would open up a lot of opportunities for you.
Gaining more skills and obtaining a higher position means having more responsibilities. Your work will be more difficult and you’ll gain more legal responsibilities.
Not always necessary
If you don’t have any plans of advancing your career, you can always remain an RN. Being one doesn’t limit your potential to do better at work. You can always study more and learn more department-specific information through post-baccalaureate certificate programs.
In general, the programs are hard to get into. To qualify, you’ll need a GPA of 3.0 or higher. And even if you have that GPA, it’s still not a guarantee that you’ll be given a spot.
How to Earn Your Master’s Degree in Nursing
If you feel like getting a master’s degree in nursing would really help your career, then you need to know how exactly you can do that.
There are different routes you can take to earn your degree. The most standard way is for you to finish your BSN program. If you don’t have a BSN degree, you can go through an RN-to-MSN program. Take note that this route is generally longer and more intensive since it covers more materials.
An ADN-to-MSN program, on the other hand, is best for applicants who possess a 2-year nursing degree. If you are considering this route, take note that some programs require applicants to possess an associate’s degree in nursing and may not allow those that only have diploma RNs.
All MSN programs will teach you about general nursing topics and certain coursework in different nursing specializations. This will depend on what track you want to pursue.
Apart from that, you will also be required to complete a specific number of hours for clinical rotation.
Should You Get A Master’s Degree?
This will definitely depend on your plan for your career.
If you want to earn more or secure a more specific nursing role, then definitely complete a master’s degree. However, it’s not something you need to secure right away.
As an RN, it’s perfectly fine to wait and prepare for it. Save up so you’re financially ready to get into the program. This is particularly important if you’re not planning on working while studying.
If you decide to enroll in a master’s program, you can consider joining the Graduate Nursing Student Academy. This organization can help you meet your professional development needs.
Getting your master’s degree is an important step in your career so make sure to weigh the pros and cons first. Take everything into consideration before making the next move.