Online masters in nursing for advanced practice or management

By Clare Kaufman

A master's degree in nursing can bring access to employment opportunities such as administration, advanced practice nursing or specialized health care careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects excellent job opportunities for registered nurses, and it includes advanced practice nurses with master's degrees in this category. Due to growing demand for health care services and an aging population, the U.S. should see 581,500 new registered nurses between 2008 and 2018.

The online Master of Nursing

The master's degree in nursing is a gateway to the top careers in the field. The MSN generally takes two years to complete, and is available online or on campus. The bachelor's degree in nursing is a prerequisite for this graduate program. Aspiring master's degree students must also pass the national licensing examination, NCLEX-RN, to obtain a nursing license. Students with a bachelor's degree in another field can accelerate their nursing education with a combined bachelor's and master's degree in nursing; these programs take three to four years to complete and earn both the BSN and MSN degrees.

The Master of Science in Nursing degree features specialized training in advanced practice nursing roles, such as clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner. Specialty areas include forensics nursing, geriatrics, rural health, family and child health, neonatal nursing, psychiatric nursing, and clinical informatics.

For more extensive study in certain specialties, some universities offer combined degrees like these:

  • Master of Nursing and Public Health, or MSN-MPH
  • Master of Nursing and Business Administration, or MSN-MBA

Some schools differentiate between a Master of Science in Nursing, which may be more focused on research, and the Master of Nursing, or MN, which is an advanced clinical practice program.

Master of Nursing: health care advanced training

Master's degree programs in nursing combine classroom instruction, supervised clinical experience and, in some cases, research. To facilitate the hands-on component of the course, online master's degree programs may help arrange a local internship or clinical rotation.

MSN degree programs offer instruction in advanced nursing practice, theory and research methodology. Typical courses at the master's degree level include these:

  1. Clinical pharmacology
  2. Health assessment and measurement
  3. Diagnosis and treatment
  4. Pediatric care
  5. Geriatric care
  6. Community or public health nursing
  7. Statistical methods in nursing or public health
  8. Epidemiology

Depending on the specialty, online nursing master's degree programs may incorporate courses in biostatistics, health informatics, forensic examination, case management and health care systems management.

Advanced practice careers for master's degree graduates

A master's degree in nursing often leads to a career as an advanced practice nurse, in one of the four chief specialties: clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner. Advanced practice nurses work independently and provide some primary care. Many nurses develop a specialty within advanced practice. Clinical nurse specialists, for example, may focus on psychiatric care, pediatrics, geriatrics or forensic nursing.

Online master's in nursing for health care management

Administrative nursing careers are another option for graduates of master's programs. Students from an online grad school who want to be nurses may take on management responsibility, working as a case manager, health informatics specialist, nursing unit manager or chief of nursing. The BLS reports that hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and managed care organizations hire nurses with master's degrees for health planning and development, quality assurance and policy development.

A master's degree in nursing typically affects compensation rates. The BLS estimates a mean 2010 salary of $67,720 for registered nurses, including advanced practice nurses as well as those without graduate education. Salary.com lists significantly higher salary averages for graduate-level nursing specialists:

  • Certified nurse anesthetist, $155,840
  • Certified nurse midwife, $91,130
  • Nurse practitioner, $89,677
  • Clinical nurse specialist, $87,759
  • Head nurse or nursing manager, $88,652

Overall, the BLS expects employment of registered nurses to grow 22 percent in the 2008-2018 period, with high demand for the four advanced practice specialties, especially in underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.

Notable nurses with graduate degrees

Some of the most distinguished nurses in the field got their start from a graduate program. Examples include pioneering pediatric nurse Florence Guiness Blake (1907-1983), who completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree before launching a career as a nursing educator and advocate for graduate-level nursing education. Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first African-American woman general, leveraged her training at West Chester School of Nursing to become chief of the Army Nurse Corps and dean of the Walter Reed Army Institute School of Nursing. Jeanne Prentice, a certified nurse midwife, used her graduate professional training to promote natural childbirth via the PUSH! initiative. And Virginia Avenel Henderson forged her reputation as the "first lady of nursing" and pioneer of nursing theory after receiving a master's degree in nursing education from Columbia University.

An online master's degree program in nursing is a stepping stone to opportunity, helping registered nurses make a difference in the lives of patients and the well-being of communities.

Schools Offering Related Degree Programs

Campus Type :
Zip :

Matching School Ads
Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
  • More Programs..

Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
  • More Programs..

Keiser University Graduate School

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

Jacksonville University

The University

With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.

  • MSN Clinical Nurse Educator
  • RN to MSN in Clinical Nurse Educator
  • RN to MSN in Leadership in Healthcare Systems
  • More Programs..

Sacred Heart University - Online

Sacred Heart University Online 

  • MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN - Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
  • MSN - Nursing Education
  • More Programs..

South University, Online Programs

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the similar curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

  • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner (RN-MSN)
  • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (RN-MSN)
  • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
  • More Programs..

Wilkes University

Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student.

  • RN to MS - Nursing Informatics
  • M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Informatics
  • M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nurse Executive
  • More Programs..

University of Saint Mary

Grow Your Career with the University of Saint Mary

  • MSN: Nursing Education Specialization
  • MSN: Nursing Administrator
  • More Programs..

Grand Canyon University

Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • M.S. in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • More Programs..

Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • More Programs..

Saybrook University

Be a part of the world’s premier institution for humanistic studies at Saybrook University. Pursue an advanced degree in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, and human science.

Walden University

Walden University
  • Master of Public Health
  • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - BSN Track - Nurse Informatics
  • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - RN Track - Nurse Informatics
  • More Programs..

Concordia University Nebraska

Concordia University Nebraska
  • MHA - Master of Healthcare Administration : Gerontology
  • Master of Human Services - Gerontology
  • More Programs..

Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni make a real difference in the world.
  • Master of Business Aministration - Healthcare Administration
  • More Programs..

GWU-Pub Health

MPH@GW is the online Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

American University

Change the World with American University

Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management
  • More Programs..

Northcentral University

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • MS Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • Health Care Administration - MBA
  • More Programs..

University of Arizona

Located in the breathtaking Sonoran desert of southern Arizona and within an international border region, The University of Arizona is consistently ranked as a top public research university, offering graduate degrees in more than one hundred fields and is widely recognized for its cutting-edge research and innovation.

Widener University

Why Choose Widener University?

At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • More Programs..

The University of Scranton

Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs.

University of Nevada - Reno

At the University of Nevada, Reno, we teach public health practitioners how to look beyond physical conditions and consider environmental, economic and sociological factors that impact individual and community health, happiness and well-being.

The online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice is designed to prepare you for employment in nearly any area of the public health field.

Utica College

What They’re Known For

Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.

Saint Joseph's University

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

  • MS in Health Administration - General Track
  • MS in Health Administration - Informatics Track
  • More Programs..

Regis College

Regis is a leading Catholic university in greater Boston with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the arts, sciences and health professions devoted to engage, serve and advance in a global community.

University of Southern California

One of the world's leading private research institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880.

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • More Programs..

Norwich University - Online

Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

Adelphi University

Adelphi University’s roots reach back to 1863 and the founding of the Adelphi Academy, a private preparatory school in Brooklyn, New York. The Academy was incorporated in 1869 and its Board of Trustees was charged with establishing a first class institution for the broadest and most thorough training, and to make its advantages as accessible as possible to the largest numbers of our population. The school quickly gained a reputation for its innovative curriculum, particularly in physical culture and early childhood education.

Post University Online

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

Matching School Ads