Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN): Online Degree

About this article
Master of Science in Nursing (RN to MSN) programs teach students about management, leadership, medicine and communication in a healthcare setting. Graduates go on to become case managers, nurse educators, nurse managers, nurse practitioners and nurse administrators.
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Why Earn an Online Master of Science Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN)?

If you are a registered nurse (RN) looking to boost your career opportunities at your current healthcare employer, then earning your online Master of Science degree in Nursing (RN to MSN) may be your answer. Transition programs are designed for RNs who graduated with an associate degree (ADN) or diploma in Nursing. Many programs bridge the educational gap between the diploma or ADN and MSN by enabling students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) prior to earning their Master of Science degree in Nursing. Some programs offer concentrations, which allow you to tailor your education, to some extent, towards your own goals. Concentrations offered may include care and outcomes manager and family nurse practitioner.

Career Possibilities

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, overall employment of nurses (which includes case managers, nurse educators, nurse managers and nurse practitioners) is projected to grow much faster than the average occupation through the year 2016. Employment of medical and health services managers (which includes nurse administrators) is projected to grow faster than the average occupation.

Salary Information

Salary.com states that median annual earnings for case managers were $58,617 as of April 2008 reportings. Median annual earnings for nurse educators were $70,795. Median annual earnings for nurse managers (also known as head nurses) were $84,067. Median annual earnings for nurse practitioners were $79,869. Median annual earnings for nursing administrators (also known as nursing directors) were $105,746.

Degree Specifics

Coursework Requirements

The course requirements in an RN to MSN degree program are a little different than traditional degree programs. Most of the RN to MSN programs have essentially two separate sets of course criteria: the BSN course requirements and the MSN course requirements. In addition, many programs allow students to use their current employment as an RN to fulfill some coursework requirements by keeping a nursing portfolio. The following lists represent the BSN and MSN coursework requirements, respectively:

BSN Course Requirements

  • Healthcare Systems and Policy
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Nursing Portfolio Workshop
  • Professional Role Transition
  • Health Assessment
  • Ethics in Nursing
  • Introduction to Leadership and Management
  • Nursing Synthesis

MSN Course Requirements

  • Advanced Health Promotion for all Ages
  • Role for the Advanced Nurse
  • Research, Evaluation and Analysis
  • Primary Care
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy, Issues and Ethics
  • Resource Management
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Nursing Informatics

Skills You Will Learn

Skill sets vary depending upon several factors including school, program and chosen concentration among other things. The following skills are just some of the many typical skills graduates of a Master of Science Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN) have:

  • Design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of health policy
  • Assume leadership role in a healthcare environment
  • Provide quality and cost effective healthcare to patients

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Management
      • Masters in Health Care Administration
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Acute Care
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Long Term Care
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Service Organization
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. University of the Southwest

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. Nursing - Primary Care
      • M.S. Nursing - Associate to Master's - Nursing Administration
      • M.S. Nursing - Nursing Administration (Post-MBA)
      • M.S. Nursing and Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
      • M.S. Nursing - Associate to Master's - Nursing Education
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
      • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Sacred Heart University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • RN to BSN to Master of Science in Nursing
      • MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader
      • MSN - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
      • RN-BSN-MSN - Clinical Nursing Leader
      • RN-BSN-MSN - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
      • MSN - Nursing Education
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education
  • MS - Healthcare Management

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Northcentral University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin

Are you a US citizen?

Utica College

  • MBA - Health Care Management
  • Masters in Health Care Administration
  • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Acute Care

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

University of the Southwest

  • MBA Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • M.S. Nursing - Primary Care
  • M.S. Nursing - Associate to Master's - Nursing Administration
  • M.S. Nursing - Nursing Administration (Post-MBA)

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
  • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education

What is your highest level of education?