Affordability is a key concern for many students who apply to and enroll in online master of science in nursing (MSN) programs. It's important, however, to look beyond the cheapest online MSN programs in terms of tuition and fees. There are many affordable online MSN programs available that will provide true value and a return on the investment of time and money.

What are the most affordable Nursing programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

  1. Appalachian State University - Boone, NC
  2. University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL
  3. California State University - San Bernardino - San Bernardino, CA
  4. Duke University - Durham, NC
  5. University of Iowa -Iowa City, IA
  6. University of Connecticut - Storrs, CT
  7. SUNY Polytechnic Institute - Utica, NY
  8. California State University - Chico - Chico, CA
  9. George Mason University - Fairfax, VA
  10. University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

Accredited online programs are designed to prepare graduates to work as managers, policy experts, or educators in the field. An MSN degree is also a required prerequisite for some doctoral programs in nursing education. Many graduate-level nursing students are registered nurses (RNs). Some MSN programs, however, admit students with undergraduate degrees in other fields. These students from other backgrounds are usually required to take additional entry-level nursing courses.

Most Affordable Online MSN Programs of 2020

Coursework in online MSN programs covers a variety of topics, including healthcare ethics, health care policy, advanced practice nursing, biochemistry, and pharmacology. Additionally, online MSN students pick a specialty in the field, such as health care leadership, nurse-midwifery, gerontology, pediatrics, or psychiatry. The flexibility of online coursework allows students to continue working as RNs or as full-time professionals while they earn their degree.

In the interest of helping students evaluate the most affordable online MSN programs, we use our College Affordability Score methodology to rank programs based on several factors, including financial aid opportunities, the number of students who take out loans, graduation rates, and loan default rates for graduates. The list below is not a ranking of schools by lowest tuition rate; that is, they're not necessarily the "cheapest" online MSN programs. Instead, our rankings reflect the overall economic value these colleges offer online MSN students.

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1

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Appalachian's 39-credit online MSN program features a concentration in nursing education. Designed to prepare RNs for educator roles in academic, clinical, and staff development environments, the program emphasizes leadership, research, nursing practice, and educational creativity.

The core curriculum includes study of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and program development and evaluation. All courses are offered online, supplemented with in-person clinical practicums and a final research project or thesis. Part-time time students can complete requirements in as little as 24 months.

Admission requirements include a 3.0 minimum GPA, one year of nursing experience, and satisfactory GRE or MAT scores (for those with a GPA below 3.5). Applicants should possess a current RN license from North Carolina or a participating Nurse Licensure Compact state. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nursing education
Tuition: $266/credit in-state; $925/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE/MAT for applicants with a GPA below 3.5
Work Experience: One year of nursing experience and current, unrestricted RN license in North Carolina or a state participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact with North Carolina

Contact

Phone: (828) 262-8039
Email: fiskeea@appstate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

UCF offers an online MSN degree with three tracks designed to fit a variety of career goals: nursing leadership and management, nurse educator, and nursing and healthcare simulation. Students can complete the 31- to 36-credit program in as little as four semesters.

Core courses include study of theory, legal and professional behavior, and research methodology for advanced practice nursing. Each online MSN track requires on-site clinical practicums, totalling 60-315 hours. Prior to graduation, students must conduct independent scholarly work in the form of an evidence-based nursing project.

Admission requirements include a current RN license, completed BSN degree, and minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. UCF does not require work experience or standardized test scores


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nursing leadership and management; nurse educator; nursing and healthcare simulation
Tuition: $327/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 31-36 credits
Program Length: 4-7 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on-campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN license

Contact

Phone: (407) 823-6274
Email: gradnurseadvisor@ucf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

California State University - San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

The master's program in nursing at CSUSB offers a convenient hybrid learning format. The majority of courses follow an asynchronous online format, supplemented by a limited number of face-to-face sessions at the San Bernardino or Palm Desert campus. Students complete the degree in as little as two years.

The program features core courses in advanced nursing roles, advanced theory and research, and program planning and evaluation. Students can customize their degree plan by selecting one of three specializations: advanced community and public health nursing, population-based nursing, or nurse educator. These tracks require 71, 57, and 65 credits, respectively.

Eligible applicants should possess a 3.0 minimum GPA and current RN licensure in California. During the program, students must complete a clinical practicum and comprehensive exam.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; advanced community/public health nursing; population-based nursing
Tuition: $1,388/semester part-time in-state; $2,392/semester full-time in-state; out-of-state students pay an additional $264 per unit
Credit Requirements: 57-71 credits
Program Length: 2-2.5 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered, unrestricted California RN license

Contact

Phone: (909) 537-5380
Email: nursinginfo@csusb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Duke University

Durham, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

Duke offers nearly a dozen different majors for its distance-based MSN program, including options in adult-gerontology, neonatal care, women's health, and psychiatric nursing. All majors require several 2-5 days of on-campus intensives, which feature face-to-face sessions, simulations, and hands-on activities.

All students take four core courses focusing on evidence-based practice, study design and statistics, advanced nursing practice, and population health. Depending on choice of major, learners take 42-49 total credits, including 11 credits of clinical practicum courses. A culminating experience requires a residency under the mentorship of an experienced clinician.

The nurse anaesthesia, neonatal nurse, acute care pediatric, and adult-gerontology acute care specializations require 1-2 years of experience prior to enrollment. Duke recommends all MSN applicants hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. State residency does not impact tuition rates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner - acute care; adult-gerontology nurse practitioner - primary care; family nurse practitioner; health informatics; neonatal nurse practitioner; nursing and healthcare leadership; nursing education; pediatric nurse practitioner - acute care; pediatric nurse practitioner - primary care; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $1,838/credit
Credit Requirements: 42-49 credits

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum preferred
Work Experience: 1-2 years preferred or required depending on major

Contact

Phone: (877) 415-3853
Email: SONAdmissions@dm.duke.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

UI's college of nursing boasts a 98% job placement rate for graduates. Students seeking professional advancement can complete their online MSN in 2-3 years. Courses are available in a hybrid or fully online format, with a clinical immersion capstone experience required during the final semester of study.

The 39-credit program incorporates a clinical nurse leader (CNL) focus. Students gain advanced knowledge and skills applicable to various roles, including clinician, educator, advocate, and outcomes manager. If desired, graduates can apply to take the CNL certification exam at the UI campus.

Applicants must possess a 3.0 GPA, a bachelor's in nursing, and a current RN license. All students enrolled in a distance program at UI pay the same tuition rate regardless of state residency.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Clinical nurse leader
Tuition: $337/credit
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on-campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN license

Contact

Phone: (319) 335-7018
Email: collegeofnursing@uiowa.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

RNs looking for an advanced career as a neonatal nurse practitioner can pursue an excellent degree option at UConn. The 44-credit online MSN with a neonatal nurse practitioner concentration can be completed in as little as 5-7 semesters of full-time or part-time study.

Required courses include advanced neonatal embryology and physiology, statistical methods in nursing, and application of genetics to healthcare. Students participate in three neonatal nursing practicums throughout the program, focusing, respectively, on moderately ill, high risk, and critically ill high-risk neonates and their families.

Applicants should hold at least two years of full-time RN experience in a level three neonatal ICU. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and three letters of recommendation. Online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of state residency.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Neonatal nurse practitioner
Tuition: $925/credit
Credit Requirements: 44 credits
Program Length: 5-7 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus) with 3 on-campus visits

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years of full-time RN experience in a level 3 neonatal ICU required prior to clinical practicum courses

Contact

Phone: (860) 486-8063
Email: sandra.bellini@UConn.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

SUNY Poly offers a master of science in nursing education for professionals seeking careers in academia or staff development. The majority of online course content at SUNY Poly is available 24/7 in a convenient, asynchronous format. Students can graduate in 4-6 semesters of part-time or full-time study.

The college's 39-credit program requires study of theory, research, health policy, legal and regulatory issues, and grant proposal writing. A culminating internship experience provides a minimum of 150 clock hours of directed educational experience.

Admission guidelines require a minimum 3.0 GPA, a current RN license, and at least 2,000 hours of work experience. Newly accepted graduate students must attend an in-person orientation day at the Utica campus in August.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing Education
School Status: Public
Tuition: $471/credit in-state; $565/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 4-6 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unrestricted RN license and at least 2,000 hours of RN work experience

Contact

Phone: (315) 792-7283
Email: delprad@sunypoly.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

California State University - Chico

Chico, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

Since 1970, CSU, Chico has offered an MSN program geared toward serving the needs of rural area nurses. Two concentration options — nurse educator and nursing leadership — prepare graduates for careers as health advisors, college faculty, and health organization administrators.

All courses in each 30-credit program are available online, supplemented by 180 on-site practicum hours. Core courses explore study of nursing research, nursing theory, conceptual models, and advanced nursing leadership. All learners must complete a culminating research project or thesis to graduate.

Qualified applicants demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework, a current RN license in California, and 4.0+ writing analytics score on the GRE. Students who are not residents of California pay an additional per-credit fee to attend.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; nurse leadership
Tuition: $3,116/semester for 0-6 credits in-state; $4,622/semester for 6.1+ credits in-state; out-of-state students pay an additional $396 per credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 5 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online, with a required practicum
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: Current RN license in California

Contact

Phone: (530) 898-5891
Email: sbrownblake@csuchico.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

At GMU, working professionals can pursue pathways to advanced opportunities in clinical practice, nursing education, and leadership. Courses in the MSN program are primarily available online, with some classroom attendance required. Students must complete 39-49 credits to graduate, depending on their concentration.

All students complete core courses in theoretical and ethical foundations, nursing informatics inquiry, and nursing research and biostatistics. Nurse practitioner students engage in hands-on laboratory simulations to learn essential skills. GMU requires relevant practicum experiences for all concentrations.

Learners need a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, active RN license, and documented RN work experience to apply. The nurse practitioner concentration requires a minimum of one year of experience. In-state and out-of-state MSN students pay the same per-credit tuition rate.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Adult gerontology nurse practitioner; family nurse practitioner; nurse educator; nursing administration
Tuition: $850/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-49 credits

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus), with a required practicum component

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Active RN license and RN experience; minimum of one year required for nurse practitioner concentration

Contact

Phone: (703) 993-1961
Email: vhough@gmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

With the exception of required practicums and one on-campus visit for the nurse educator concentration, students at Mizzou can earn their MSN entirely online. The program boasts a 71% nursing job placement rate at the time of graduation.

Two specialization options — leadership in nursing and healthcare systems, and nurse educator — require a total of 33 and 41 credits, respectively. Core courses include public health and sociocultural issues, advanced nursing role acquisition, and translational evidence-based nursing practice. The program fulfills education requirements for the Certified Nurse Educator and Advanced Nurse Executive exams.

Admission requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and current RN licensure. State residency does not impact online tuition. Accepted students can begin coursework in the fall, spring, or summer, with part-time and full-time plans available.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Leadership in nursing and healthcare systems; nurse educator
Tuition: $460/credit
Credit Requirements: 33-41 credits

Delivery

Format: Online, with a required practicum for all students; hybrid (online/on campus) for nurse educator students
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN licensure

Contact

Phone: (573) 882-0277
Email: nursing@missouri.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

CU Denver offers an extensive selection of nursing programs both online and on site at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Students can select from four specializations for their online master's, including healthcare informatics, leadership, family nurse practitioner, and veteran and military healthcare — one of the first programs of its kind in the nation.

Depending on specialization, students need 30-56 credits to graduate, with completion possible in 2-3 years. Most programs offer 100% online course completion, although the family nurse practitioner specialization requires several on-campus intensives. Local clinical placements and internships can be arranged for out-of-state students.

The college of nursing requires applicants to demonstrate a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and hold a current RN license. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 must submit GRE scores or hold 12 graduate-level credits.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; healthcare informatics; leadership; veteran and military healthcare
Tuition: $690/credit in-state; $1,115/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30-56 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus), depending on specialization
Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (303) 724-1812
Email: nursing.admissions@ucdenver.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

The four online MSN tracks available at Ohio State prepare graduates to sit for specialty certification exams. Track options include family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse leader. Depending on their selection, students complete 55-63 credits.

The neonatal nurse practitioner option requires on-campus attendance for an orientation and three seminars. With the exception of clinical practicums, all other program components are available online in synchronous and asynchronous delivery formats. Full-time students can complete their master's degree in as little as two years.

Admission requirements include a completed bachelor's degree, active RN license, and minimum cumulative undergraduate 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must record a brief online interview after application submission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; neonatal nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; clinical nurse leader
Tuition: $995/credit in-state; $2,469/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 55-63 credits
Program Length: 2-3 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus), with clinical practicum requirements, plus 4 on-campus visits (orientation and seminars) for the neonatal specialization
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE/GMAT
Work Experience: Current RN licensure, 2 years of full-time NICU experience required prior to beginning clinical practicums in the neonatal specialization

Contact

Phone: (614) 292-4041
Email: osuonline@osu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

The School of Nursing at IUPUI has prepared students for leadership roles and clinical careers since 1914. The school's MSN program offers nine different tracks, including five distance learning options: nursing education, nursing leadership, pediatric CNS, adult-gerontology CNS, and psychiatric-mental health NP.

Core courses in the MSN program primarily follow an asynchronous format, while track-specific courses typically allow for attendance either in person or via synchronous video conferencing technology. IUPUI requires on-campus attendance for orientation, lab days, and select class sessions. Students must complete clinical hours in Indiana.

Admission criteria include a completed, accredited BSN program; a cumulative undergraduate 3.0 GPA; and an active RN license. IUPUI participates in the Midwest Exchange Program, allowing residents of select states to pay a discounted nonresident tuition rate.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse education; nursing leadership in health systems; adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist; pediatric clinical nurse specialist; psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $578/credit in-state; $1,553/credit out-of-state; $867/credit out-of-state Midwest Exchange Program
Credit Requirements: 42-43
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Active, unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (317) 274-2806
Email: nursing@iu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

UTRGV offers an online MSN with two specialization options in nursing administration and nursing education. The nursing education option requires limited laboratory and clinical experiences, but the majority of UTRGV courses feature a fully online format. Students need 36 credits to graduate.

Core courses include theoretical foundations in nursing, advanced nursing informatics, and advanced nursing research. All students develop and present a capstone project prior to graduation. The accelerated program utilizes asynchronous delivery with seven-week classes. Learners can complete the program in as little as 12 months.

Applicants should possess a bachelor's or associate degree in nursing, a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA, and an unencumbered RN license in their state of residence. All online learners pay the same tuition rate.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nursing administration; nursing education
Tuition: $444/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: Online, with required clinical experiences
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (956) 296-1622
Email: juanita.acebedo@utrgv.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu, HI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

UH Manoa is the premier nursing school in the state. Pathways to an online MSN are available for RNs with a bachelor's in nursing along with RNs with an associate in nursing and a non-nursing bachelor's. Learners can complete the program in one or two years.

All online MSN students at UH Manoa pursue a specialization in advanced population health nursing, which requires a total of 30 credits to graduate (39 credits for thesis option). Required courses include biostatistics, disaster nursing, and global health. Distance learners can complete fieldwork and capstone practicum hours in a local healthcare setting.

To apply for rolling admissions, prospective students should possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and current RN licensure. Applicants with a non-nursing bachelor's must meet additional competency requirements.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Advanced population health nursing
Tuition: $1,001/credit in-state; $1,896/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30-39 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unrestricted RN license

Contact

Phone: (808) 956-3519
Email: msnurs@hawaii.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Georgetown University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Georgetown's online MSN offers four specialization tracks, including adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, and dual nurse-midwifery and women's health. Depending on track selection, students complete 40-49 credits. Part-time students can complete the program in as little as 23-27 months.

The program utilizes both synchronous, weekly class meetings and asynchronous, interactive course content. In-person clinical experiences and on-campus immersions supplement online learning with hands-on activity. Distance students receive dedicated support via clinical placement assistance, online tutoring, and professional development opportunities.

Georgetown's MSN programs are designed for working professionals. Applicants should possess a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. The school recommends at least one year of full-time experience for the adult gerontology track.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; family nurse practitioner; nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $2,319/credit
Credit Requirements: 40-49 credits
Program Length: 23-27 months

Delivery

Format: Online, with clinical placement experiences and 2-3 on-campus learning immersions
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN license

Contact

Phone: (877) 910-4692
Email: onlinenursingadmissions@georgetown.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Online nursing students at UTA can select from seven CCNE-accredited online MSN programs. Options include nursing administration, nursing education, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and pediatric nurse practitioner. Depending on selection, students take 36-39 credits and complete the program in 20-36 months.

UTA's nurse practitioner programs feature asynchronous, accelerated formats with five-week course sessions. The college requires local clinical practicums for all students. Graduates boast a 97% pass rate on national certification examinations from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

All MSN applicants should possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and current RN license. Students must complete two years of clinical experience for all tracks excluding primary care. Students who complete their program without enrollment interruptions can receive a locked-in tuition rate.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nursing administration; nursing education; family nurse practitioner; adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner; pediatric acute care nurse practitioner; pediatric primary care nurse practitioner
Tuition: $494-$654/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-46 credits
Program Length: 20-36 months

Delivery

Format: Online, with clinical practicum requirements
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years clinical experience for all concentrations excluding primary care

Contact

Phone: (817) 272-2776
Email: nursing@uta.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Johns Hopkins was founded as America's first research university in 1876. Nursing professionals seeking career advancement can pursue an online MSN or DNP in primary care, acute care, critical care, or anesthesiology. Dual-program options are available in public health and health systems management.

A combination of online study, clinical practicums, and hands-on campus visits provides rich, interdisciplinary learning opportunities throughout every Johns Hopkins program. Graduates can enter leadership positions in a variety of healthcare settings. DNP tracks require completion of an original final project.

Admission materials and requirements vary. Applicants must possess a current RN license and minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. The college requires two years of work experience for the MSN/MBA dual option.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing; MSN/Master of Public Health Joint Degree; MSN/MBA Joint Degree; Doctor of Nursing Practice
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Health systems management (MSN or MSN/MBA); public health nursing (MSN/MPH); adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner (DNP); adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner (DNP); family primary care NP (DNP); pediatric primary care NP (DNP); pediatric dual primary/acute care NP (DNP); adult-gerontological health clinical nurse specialist (DNP); adult-gerontological critical care CNS (DNP); pediatric critical care CNS (DNP); nurse anesthesiology (DNP)
Tuition: $1,688/credit for MSN; $1,772/credit for DNP
Credit Requirements: 35-36 credits for MSN and MSN/MPH; 65 credits for MSN/MBA; 75-88 credits for DNP
Program Length: 2 years for MSN; 3-4 years for DNP

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus), with clinical practicum requirements and some on-site visits required, depending on track

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN license; 1 year of full-time RN experience preferred for DNP tracks; 2 years of work experience required for MSN/MBA

Contact

Phone: (410) 955-4766
Email: jhuson@jhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

The online MSN program at U of A prepares aspiring nurse educators for doctoral study or employment in academic and clinical settings. Students may select either a 39-credit non-thesis option or a 42-credit thesis option. The program offers full-time or part-time scheduling and asynchronous course delivery.

The curriculum requires study of technical writing, curriculum design, and health assessment. Students complete teaching and clinical practicums in their local community. Learners can complete coursework in as little as four semesters, with a maximum of six consecutive years of enrollment allowed.

Admission to the MSN program requires a minimum 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA, current RN license, and submission of GRE scores. The college accepts applications on a rolling basis. State residency does not impact online tuition rates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator
Tuition: $574/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-42 credits
Program Length: 4 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online, with required clinical and teaching practicums
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (479) 575-6493
Email: online@uark.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Centrally located in Los Angeles County, CSUDH enrolls more than 14,000 students annually. The university's online MSN program extends flexible academic opportunities to working professionals. The college boasts role-specific specialization options for aspiring clinical nurse specialists (adult/gerontology or pediatric), family nurse practitioners, nurse administrators, and nurse educators.

Depending on specialization selection, students must complete 30-48 credits to graduate. All programs require in-person clinical hours, and the family nurse practitioner track requires 1-3 on-campus meetings per semester. Prior to graduation, MSN students must complete a professional portfolio and presentation as a culminating activity.

Prospective students should possess an active RN license and 3.0 minimum undergraduate GPA. Specific work experience requirements (typically 1-2 years) vary by track selection.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Clinical nurse specialist - adult/gerontology; clinical nurse specialist - pediatric; family nurse practitioner; nurse administrator; nurse educator
Tuition: $2,082/semester for 0-6 credits; $3,588/semester for 6.1+ credits; out-of-state students pay an additional fee of $270/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-48 credits

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus), depending on track selection
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: CNS tracks require 1-2 years recent acute care practice; nursing educator track requires 1 year of patient care experience plus 1 year of experience teaching RN-related courses or completion of a postbaccalaureate course with RN teaching practice

Contact

Phone: (310) 243-3596
Email: sondepartment@csudh.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

The TESU School of Nursing stands out for its innovative online programs designed to meet the educational and professional needs of working RNs. The online programs at TESU offer asynchronous coursework, self-paced scheduling, and no time limit on degree completion.

RNs can complete 36 credits for the MSN, or, for those without a bachelor's degree, 147 credits for an RN-to-BSN/MSN pathway. The master's degree offers three areas of specialization: nurse educator, nursing informatics, and nursing administration. Core courses include health policy, evidence-based nursing practice, and nursing leadership in a global community.

Prospective students can apply year-round. MSN admission guidelines recommend a minimum 3.0 GPA and two years of nursing experience. TESU accepts up to 12 transfer credits toward the MSN.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing; RN-to-BSN/MSN
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; nursing informatics; nursing administration
Tuition: $450/credit in-state for BSN; $550/credit out-of-state for BSN; $668/credit for MSN
Credit Requirements: 36 credits for MSN; 147 credits for RN-to-BSN/MSN
Program Length: Self-paced schedule

Delivery

Format: Online, with in-person practicum hours required
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum recommended
Work Experience: Current RN license; 2 years of nursing experience recommended for MSN program

Contact

Phone: (609) 633-6460
Email: nursing@tesu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

UArizona offers some of the most respected nursing programs in the nation, including a flexible online RN-to-MSN option. The program provides a focus on clinical systems leadership, asynchronous courses, and tracks for both bachelor's and associate degree-holders. These tracks total 31 and 44 credits, respectively.

Students can complete the BSN-to-MSN pathway in as little as 15 months and the ADN-to-MSN pathway in as little as two years. Required courses include healthcare business dynamics, leadership for patient-centered care, and population health. All students complete a culminating 16-week leadership immersion, resulting in the development of a comprehensive care management plan.

Classes start three times each year. Applicants should possess a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and 1-2 years of RN experience. All online students pay the same per-credit tuition cost, regardless of state residency.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Clinical systems leadership
Tuition: $680/credit
Credit Requirements: 31-44 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current RN license; minimum 1-2 years of RN work experience

Contact

Phone: (520) 621-6676
Email: msnonline@email.arizona.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

Depending on track selection, online MSN students at UofSC can complete their 30- to 47-credit program in 3-11 semesters. Available areas of study include family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing informatics.

All tracks require core study of research methods, basic statistics, and theoretical and conceptual foundations. Online courses adhere to a flexible, asynchronous format, although students must complete on-site practicum hours and limited on-campus immersion experiences.

Admissions criteria include a completed bachelor's degree in nursing, a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and a current RN license. Nurse practitioner tracks require at least one year of full-time nursing experience. State residency does not impact tuition prices.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; nursing administration; nursing informatics
Tuition: $572/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-47 credits
Program Length: 3-11 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered RN license; 1 year full-time nursing experience required for nurse practitioner tracks

Contact

Phone: (803) 777-7412
Email: nursgrad@mailbox.sc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Cedarville University

Cedarville, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Cedarville offers a variety of online programs, including a flexible master of science in nursing. Specializations include family nurse practitioner, global public health nursing, nurse educator, pediatric nurse practitioner, and nursing leadership in healthcare improvement. Depending on selection, students can complete the 38-44 required credits in 6-8 semesters.

Cederville's curriculum integrates a Christian worldview, with required courses including biblical basis for advanced nursing practice. All students complete on-site practicums. The family and pediatric nurse practitioner tracks require four on-campus experiences for clinical orientation.

Admission to the MSN program requires a bachelor's degree in nursing, minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and current RN license. Applicants must profess faith in Jesus Christ and provide a recommendation letter from a Christian leader. State residency does not impact online tuition rates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; global public health nursing; nurse educator; pediatric nurse practitioner; nursing leadership in healthcare improvement
Tuition: $623/credit
Credit Requirements: 38-44 credits
Program Length: 6-7 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus), depending on specialization

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unrestricted RN license

Contact

Phone: (937) 766-7715
Email: via online contact form
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Headquartered in Milledgeville, GCSU offers an online MSN program for professionals with a bachelor's degree. Concentrations are available in family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, and nurse educator.

Depending on track selection, students must complete 39-40 credits to graduate, with completion possible in 6-9 semesters. Courses utilize both asynchronous and synchronous technology to maximize flexibility and engagement opportunities. All students must attend a limited number of face-to-face, on-campus immersions throughout the program.

Prospective students should possess a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, at least one year of clinical practice, and current RN licensure in the state of Georgia. The school conducts admission interviews. Students must complete clinical practicums in Georgia.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner; nurse educator
Tuition: $373/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-40 credits
Program Length: 6-9 semesters

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work Experience: Current, unencumbered RN licensure in Georgia; at least 1 year of clinical practice

Contact

Phone: (478) 445-1076
Email: sallie.coke@gcsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Nursing Program?

Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Nursing

To enter an online master's program in nursing, you must hold a bachelor's degree. Most programs require an undergraduate degree in nursing from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or a similar body. Some schools also require a valid license as a registered nurse.

Professional experience requirements vary from program to program. Some schools cater to recent graduates, while others prefer applicants with at least three years of relevant work experience. Even when not required, experience as a nurse can improve your chances of earning admission into a master's program.

Academic requirements also vary. Generally speaking, graduate schools of nursing look for candidates who maintain an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, though some programs conditionally admit students with a slightly lower average. Schools may also ask that you submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE. GRE scores remain valid for five years.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master's Degree in Nursing

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners train to treat certain medical conditions without the supervision of a doctor. They may focus on caring for a particular population, such as adolescents or the elderly, or specialize in a particular area of health, like providing mental health therapy to patients.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: General nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner

Public Health Nursing

Public health nurses work to address issues of health and healthcare access, most often in communities underserved by private healthcare organizations. Generally, they work for either nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Students specializing in public health nursing often take coursework in both direct health service and program administration.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Population health nurse, program director

Leadership and Management

The quickly evolving fields of nursing and healthcare need dynamic leaders. Nurses who choose a concentration in leadership and management often take courses in areas like planning, finance, human resources, and decision-making. They take on roles leading nursing departments and smaller healthcare settings. They may also act as consultants to multiple organizations.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Nurse manager, clinical nurse leader

Nursing Education

Many students seeking a master's degree in nursing hope to educate the next generation of healthcare providers. Through coursework in adult learning, curriculum development, and the integration of technology into the classroom, a concentration in nursing education helps them develop the knowledge and skills to become educators.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Assistant professor of nursing, assistant dean of nursing

Nursing Informatics

Nursing informatics involves the enhancement of patient care through the use of technology. For example, students specializing in this area may learn how to develop patient databases that help improve the accuracy of diagnoses, eliminate redundancy in care, and lower overall cost. Students who choose this concentration often possess a strong academic or professional background in a field like computer science or information technology.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Clinical informatics specialist, chief nursing informatics officer

Sample Courses for an Online Master's in Nursing Program

Your exact course of study in an online master's in nursing program varies depending on the electives and concentration you choose. However, five courses commonly offered in these programs appear below.

  • Biostatistics: This course introduces students to the principles and practices of collecting and analyzing data for use in health-related contexts. Topics covered include probability theory, hypothesis testing, probability theory, confidence interval testing, and multivariable methods. This course helps lay a foundation for students pursuing a thesis option or who plan to continue their education and earn a doctorate in nursing.
  • Healthcare Quality and Improvement: In this class, students explore the current healthcare environment in the United States, including its evolution over time, the impact of shifting demographics in the country, and potential solutions to pressing issues. The course also looks at how healthcare technologies can promote quality at the organizational and systemic levels.
  • Advanced Nursing Concepts: Students in this course analyze the history of the nursing profession and various conceptual models and theories related to it. They apply these theories to real-world nursing situations through communication, critical thinking, and decision-making. They may also collect quantitative and qualitative data in a healthcare setting, aiding in future research projects.
  • Advanced Pathophysiology: Building on undergraduate coursework in pathophysiology, this course explores the relationship between normal physiology and the changes caused by disease and injury, helping to enhance clinical reasoning skills. The course focuses on topics like pathogenesis, environmental influences, and the clinical manifestations of major health problems.
  • Global Health and Diversity: Students in this class examine issues related to global healthcare delivery systems. They analyze political, financial, and social constraints on those systems and learn how to both work within those constraints and press for change when needed. This elective provides invaluable training for nurses who plan to work internationally.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's in Nursing?

Most full-time students earn their online master's in nursing in about two years. However, several factors can affect the amount of time it takes to earn your degree.

For example, if you did not earn a bachelor's degree in nursing, programs require that you complete this coursework before you enroll in graduate-level classes. If you plan to study on a part-time basis so that you can remain in your current job, you may need up to four years to complete your program's graduation requirements.

Some self-paced programs do allow you to earn your degree in less than two years. On these accelerated tracks, students can advance through their course material as soon as they demonstrate mastery of the core concepts. While graduating sooner appeals to working professionals, remember that self-paced programs do not offer the same level of support as more traditional, cohort-based master's program.

Skills and Competencies Gained in an Online Master's in Nursing Program

Nursing requires a wide range of skills and deep expertise in a variety of content areas. To succeed as a nursing professional, you need to hone all of the skills listed below.

Critical-Thinking Skills
As the primary monitors of their patients' health, nurses must know when to take corrective action to address a change in a status. For example, a nurse may need to make the call to transfer a patient to emergency care if their condition rapidly deteriorates.
Communication Skills
Nurses must know how to explain medical conditions and proposed treatments to patients and their families. They must also communicate with doctors, explaining patient concerns and needs that may influence care.
Organizational Skills
Especially in larger organizations and urban settings, nurses may work with dozens of patients. Keeping track of charts, medicines, and schedules requires exceptional organizational skills and tremendous attention to detail.
Diagnostic Skills
Nurses sometimes see patients before doctors, meaning they often form the first opinion of a patient's illness or injury. To diagnose and convey this information accurately, nurses must possess expertise in pathophysiology.
Life-Saving Skills
Nurses often must provide emergency care, necessitating training in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and other first-responder techniques. This kind of training often makes the difference between life and death.

Additional Requirements for an Online Master's in Nursing

Most master's in nursing programs do not require an internship or practicum, as students have already completed one during their undergraduate studies. Instead, students can complete either a research-based thesis or a more practice-oriented capstone project as a culmination of their graduate program.

On a thesis track, students collect and analyze data from a healthcare setting and document their findings in a research paper. While some students conduct original research, others may use an existing data set or combine data from multiple sources. Students often work closely with a faculty adviser when writing their thesis.

On a capstone track, students take a course near the end of their studies that allows them to apply their learning to an actual issue in nursing. For example, they may partner with a local hospital to examine its nurse staffing policy and make a recommendation for how to meet the needs of patients.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Nursing Prepares For

  • Registered Nurse License: Registered nurses must hold a license to practice. To receive a license, you must graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses. Additional requirements vary from state to state, but often include a criminal background check and an application to a state board of nursing.
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Nursing Certification: Dozens of voluntary certifications exist within the field of nursing. Neonatal resuscitation certification ensures that a nurse possess the skills necessary to provide emergency care to infants, especially premature babies. This certification can help you qualify for jobs in obstetrics and requires passing both a training course and an exam.
  • Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Certification: This certification signals expertise in caring for patients with various forms of cancer. Many healthcare employers look for an oncology certification when hiring nurses for both home and hospital care positions. To qualify, you must complete 1000 hours of work in a field related to oncology, pass an exam, and earn continuing-education credits to remain certified.

RN-to-MSN Online Programs

What are RN-to-MSN Online Programs?

RN-to-MSN online programs allow students to earn both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in nursing, often in less time and for less money than earning these two degrees separately. Generally speaking, applicants to these programs hold an associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Before entering an RN-to-MSN online program, you must possess a license as a registered nurse.

Admission requirements for these programs closely resemble those of bachelor's programs in nursing. Schools may require you to maintain a minimum GPA in your undergraduate nursing classes before you enroll in graduate-level courses. Students who want to continue their education and pursue a master's degree often take on roles as nurse leaders, nurse educators, or nurse practitioners after graduating.

If you hope to continue working while completing coursework, make sure that your online RN-to-MSN program allows for part-time study.

How Long Do Online RN to MSN Programs Take to Complete?

The amount of time it takes you to earn your RN-to-MSN online depends largely on your level of education entering the program. For example, if you hold an associate degree in nursing, you can complete all of the requirements for both a bachelor's and master's degree in just four years of full-time study. Part-time students, or those without any undergraduate credits, may need six to eight years to earn both degrees.

Employment Outlook for MSN Graduates

Master's in Nursing Careers

Many career paths exist in the field of nursing. You may want to provide general care to your patients as a registered nurse. You may want to specialize in obstetrics, working as a nurse midwife to aid mothers during pregnancy and labor. You may want to take on greater levels of responsibility as a nurse practitioner, diagnosing and treating patients without the supervision of a doctor. Or you may hope to share your knowledge and passion for healthcare with aspiring nurses, working as a nurse educator.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses provide care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and health clinics. They may also educate the public about health issues, provide advice to patients and families dealing with chronic illnesses, and consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Median Annual Salary: $71,730

Projected Growth Rate: 12%

Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia to patients preparing for surgery and other major medical procedures. They also provide care to patients as they recover from the effects of anesthesia. You must hold a master's degree and complete coursework in this area to qualify for a position as a nurse anesthetist.

Median Annual Salary: $167,950

Projected Growth Rate: 17%

Nurse Midwives

Nurse midwives offer care to pregnant women, such as gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care, and support both during delivery and after. Some nurse midwives provide wellness education during infancy. You must hold a master's degree to take on this role.

Median Annual Salary: $103,770

Projected Growth Rate: 16%

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners receive specialized training that allows them to diagnose and treat certain medical conditions without the supervision of a licensed doctor. They may act as primary care providers or focus on a particular area of health, such as geriatric care.

Median Annual Salary: $107,030

Projected Growth Rate: 28%

Postsecondary Teachers, Nursing

Postsecondary teachers work at colleges and universities instructing students and conducting research. While most of these jobs require a doctorate, nurse educators often qualify for academic positions with just a master's degree.

Median Annual Salary: $73,490

Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Master's in Nursing Salaries

According to the BLS, the median registered nurse $71,730 per year in 2018. The lowest 10% of registered nurses earned less than $50,800 that year, while the highest 10% of earners brought in more than $106,530.

Earning a master's degree can qualify you for more advanced positions and higher salaries. For example, the BLS estimates that the median nurse anesthetist earned a staggering $167,950 in 2018 more than four times the median salary for all other occupations.

The table below uses data from Payscale to illustrate potential earnings over the course of five different careers in nursing.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Salary for Entry-Level Employees (1 Year Experience) Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-9 Years Experience) Salary for Late-Career Employees (10-19 Years Experience)
Registered Nurse $63,393 $51,520 $60,700 $66,040
Nurse Anesthetist $148,187 $131,000 $151,000 $163,000
Nurse Midwife $93,279 $87,000 $92,000 $99,000
Nurse Practitioner $93,622 $88,000 $97,000 $101,000
Nursing Instructor $61,140 $60,000 $60,000 $64,000

Where Can You Work With an Online Nursing Degree?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly half of all nurses employed in the U.S. work outside of a hospital setting in places like schools, homes, and private businesses. After you earn your online master's in nursing, think carefully about what kind of work environment fits your professional goals. Recent graduates may also consider relocating for a job, as the demand for qualified nurses varies considerably from state to state.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes, also known as assisted-living facilities or convalescent homes, provide 24-hour nursing care for the elderly, disabled, or chronically ill. In addition to coordinating medical care, nurses who work in these settings must perform administrative tasks related to the housing, feeding, and socializing of their patients. Nurses who prefer to develop closer and long-term relationships with their patients may seek out jobs at nursing homes and other extended-care settings.

Schools: School nurses provide healthcare services to students. The type of care provided depends greatly on the educational setting in which the school nurse works. For example, a nurse employed by an elementary school can expect to deal largely with minor injuries and infectious diseases common among juveniles. A nurse working at a high school may also need to educate students on issues of sexual health and substance abuse. Nurses working at colleges or universities may need to offer or coordinate family planning and mental health services for their students.

Businesses: Many private businesses employ nurses and other healthcare professionals to offer more convenient care for their employees. For example, a construction firm may keep a nurse on staff to respond to minor job-related injuries that do not require a visit to the hospital. Nurses in these roles may also perform a variety of healthcare services for their colleagues, such as administering flu vaccines, offering regular check-ups, or leading a program to help employees quit smoking.

Corrections: The logistical challenges associated with bringing incarcerated individuals to a hospital or health clinic means that correctional facilities often hire nurses to work on staff and provide on-site care. Nurses working in jails, prisons, and rehabilitation centers must know how to treat illnesses and disease, respond to emergency situations, and assist individuals with mental health issues arising from their imprisonment.

Median Annual Salary for Nurse Practitioners by Setting
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private $120,540
Outpatient Care Centers $115,720
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $12,740
Offices of Physicians $111,440
Educational Services; State, Local, and Private $104,310

Source: BLS

Professional Organizations

After completing a BSN-to-MSN online program, you should consider joining a professional organization for nurses. These groups provide a wealth of resources to help you advance in your career, including local and national networking events, online and in-person professional development opportunities, and mentorship programs. Many associations also host job boards and provide guidance to both recent graduates and established professionals looking to change directions in their career.

American Nurses Association:

Founded in 1896, ANA represents more than 4 million registered nurses working in the United States. The association establishes standards and codes of ethics for the field, advocates for more effective healthcare policy, offers continuing-education resources to its members, and organizes networking events and research convenings.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners:

AANP represents nurse practitioners qualified to diagnose and treat medical conditions without the supervision of a doctor. The association uses national conferences, affinity groups, and regional chapters to help its more than 102,000 members network and collaborate.

American Academy of Nursing:

The Academy works to advance the nursing profession by promoting organizational excellence and effective nursing leadership. Through public education programs and expert testimony, the organization plays a key role in advocating for health equity.

National Black Nurses Association:

Since 1971, NBNA has supported the professional interests of African-American nurses. The association publishes a scholarly journal, hosts online training opportunities, awards scholarships to both aspiring and established nurses, and administers a career center.

National Student Nurses Association:

NSNA specifically serves students on the path to a career in nursing. In addition to scholarships, networking opportunities, and a job board, the association provides invaluable advice to students preparing for licensure exams and to those considering graduate-level education.

Financing Your Online Master's in Nursing Program

Students should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal grants, work-study opportunities, and low-interest student loans. States typically also use the FAFSA to award need-based aid to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Many states and private organizations also provide financial aid specifically to students pursuing a career in nursing. For example, certain states forgive student loan debt if you agree to work for a certain number of years in a high-need healthcare setting.

Financing Your Online Master's in Nursing Program

Students should first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal grants, work-study opportunities, and low-interest student loans. States typically also use the FAFSA to award need-based aid to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Many states and private organizations also provide financial aid specifically to students pursuing a career in nursing. For example, certain states forgive student loan debt if you agree to work for a certain number of years in a high-need healthcare setting.

Scholarships for Online MSN Programs

Promise of Nursing Regional Faculty Fellowship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be registered nurses enrolled in a master's or doctoral program in nursing education. Students must also attend school and pledge to work within regions of high need. The foundation offers awards based on academic excellence, established financial need, and commitment to the profession.

Amount: $1,000-$7,500

View Scholarship
American Association of Nurse Practitioners Master's in Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship serves registered nurses currently seeking their master's or planning to enroll in an accredited master's in nursing program. Applicants must be members of AANP. The association offers awards largely on the basis of academic achievement.

Amount: $2,500-$5,000

View Scholarship
Graduate Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Practice

Who Can Apply: To receive this award, you must pursue an advanced degree in nursing with a concentration in oncology. The program caters to international applicants attending accredited institutions, and recipients may qualify to receive up to two years of funding at $10,000 per year.

Amount: $10,000, up to two years

View Scholarship
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, this program addresses the critical shortage of nurses. Applicants must pursue a degree in nursing and commit to work in an underserved community. The program awards scholarships based largely on financial need.

Amount: Up to the full cost of tuition

View Scholarship
Emergency Nurses Association Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The ENA foundation awards scholarships to aspiring emergency nurses pursuing associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. To apply, you must submit academic transcripts, a professional resume, a personal essay, and letters of recommendation. The foundation prioritizes individuals with a strong record of academic excellence and financial need.

Amount: Varies

View Scholarship
Nurses Educational Funds Scholarships

Who Can Apply: This program serves nurses pursuing an advanced degree. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, complete at least 12 credits of a master's program by the time of application, and maintain at least a 3.6 GPA in their graduate studies. Applicants must also hold a registered nurse license.

Amount: Varies

View Scholarship
March of Dimes Dr. Margaret C. Freda Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: This scholarship program supports nurses pursuing a graduate degree in either maternal or child care. Applicants must be a registered nurse and a member of a nursing organization partnered with the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes Foundation offers awards based primarily on academic achievement.

Amount: $5,000

View Scholarship