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. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Accelerated BSN to MSN
      • MS in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master of Science - DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner
      • Master of Science - DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    2. 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
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Leadership & Management
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Educator
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. University of the Southwest

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education
  • Online Programs Available
    8. 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
    9. Abilene Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Administration
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Accelerated BSN to MSN
  • MS in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MS in Nursing

Which subject are you interested in?

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?

Regent University

  • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - Nurse Leadership & Management
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management

What is your highest level of education?

University of the Southwest

  • MBA Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education

Are you a US citizen?

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?