Accredited online master in nursing programs are generally designed to build on the knowledge and skills of registered nurses who possess a traditional or online bachelor’s degree in nursing. Online master’s degrees in nursing programs prepare nurses for management and other leadership positions in clinical and educational settings, including nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist and nurse educator. Nurses who prefer research over clinical practice typically pursue an online PhD in nursing. Most online masters degree nursing programs do not require theses or capstone projects, but they do require clinical work as part of an internship or supervised practice program.
How long does it take to earn a nursing master’s degree online?
Normally it takes two years to finish the best online masters degree programs in nursing. This is about 63 quarter-credit hours of coursework.
What are the admission requirements for an online master’s in nursing?
For admissions purposes, students who apply to top online master degree programs in nursing may be required to submit the following:
- Application form
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Revised Graduate Records Exam scores (Revised GRE)
- Personal statement or Essay
- Letters of recommendation
Candidates for online masters nursing programs should normally have either a bachelor’s degree in nursing or in a related field, including the following fields:
- Healthcare Management
- Health Studies
- Public Health
- Practical Nursing
What types of online master’s degrees in nursing can students pursue?
Accredited online masters in nursing schools offer a variety of health-related degrees. The following is a list of some of the types of masters degrees that students can pursue in the field of nursing:
- Nursing Education: Students in this online nursing masters degree program will gain an understanding of how to design, deliver and evaluate nurse education programs. They will also explore advanced topics in instructional methods and nursing theory and practice.
- Family Nurse Practitioner: In this program, students will study health promotion and disease prevention, and will train in the assessment and management of common acute and chronic illnesses. They will acquire advanced knowledge in improving the quality of care and outcomes for their patients and implementing restorative care interventions.
- Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner:This online master’s degree nursing specialization teaches students to assess, diagnose, treat and manage a variety of health issues common to adults. Students will take an in-depth look at current health topics to learn how to develop strategies for improving health outcomes through effective communication and collaboration.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist: Students in this specialization will develop skills in theory-based and research-based clinical nursing practices. They will be trained to educate other nurses and healthcare professionals on how to improve healthcare delivery systems while controlling costs.
- Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health: The focus of this online master degree in nursing specialization is to prepare students to manage a woman’s normal obstetrical and gynecological needs and to promote the overall well-being of women and infants. Students will take advanced courses in pharmacology, health assessment and pathophysiology, the study of how the body responds to disease.
What can students expect to learn in an online nursing master’s degree program?
The best online master’s degree programs in nursing teach students fundamental skills such as critical thinking, diagnostic reasoning and active listening while improving their knowledge of healthcare systems and policies, technology integration, health promotion and patient education.
Popular classes taken by students enrolled in top online master programs in nursing include:
- Policy and Advocacy for Improving Public Health- This course examines healthcare reform and its impact on healthcare delivery, nursing practices and health outcomes in the population. Students evaluate the effects of legal and regulatory processes and discuss possible responses.
- Advanced Health Assessment- This course focuses on advanced knowledge in health assessment techniques. Students learn about the collection, interpretation and synthesis of relevant historical, genetic, biological, cultural, psychosocial and physical data for the development of a comprehensive and holistic health assessment.
- Advanced Pharmacology- This nursing masters degree online course provides a foundation in the concepts and principles of drug therapy across the lifespan of individuals. Students study advanced topics in receptor theory, receptor-effector coupling, dose-response relationships, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
What careers can students pursue after graduating from nursing masters programs online?
There is a wide spectrum of career options that nursing master’s programs online graduates may consider, such as:
- Nurse Practitioner- Nurse practitioners provide a combination of nursing and primary or specialty care services to patients. The median average annual salary for nurse practitioners is $65,950. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to grow by 26% between 2010 and 2020.
- Nursing Instructor- Nursing instructors teach patient care to nursing students in classroom and clinical settings. Nursing instructors either teach full-time or engage in a combination of teaching and research. The average annual salary for nursing instructors is $62,390. Employment of nursing instructors is expected to increase by 19% over the coming decade.
- Nurse Anesthetist- Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses with specialized training in the administration of anesthesia. Nurse anesthetists can potentially earn an annual salary of $168,076. Expected growth in this field is 26%, which is nearly twice the employment growth expected for the economy as a whole.
As the American population begins to age, health care professionals are in higher demand than ever before. The options for educated nurses are nearly endless, offering career flexibility in terms of location, specialization, and more. While many nursing professionals choose to stop their education after just an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, a Master in Nursing is a ticket to the top in this profession. Most people who go on to get a Master in Nursing do so after working as a nurse for a number of years. There are a wide range of specializations to study while in graduate school and it’s beneficial for a professional to know exactly which nursing specialty they prefer before going back to graduate school. Most Master in Nursing programs take two years or less to complete and there are even online and part-time programs available for people who wish to continue working as they study. Here are the key elements of a high quality Master in Nursing program.
A Master in Nursing is all about specializing in a particular field of study and professional practice. Some specializations of the top nursing programs include adult-geriatric, family primary care, pediatric primary care, clinical nurse specialist, health systems management, public health nursing, nurse practitioner, and Master in Nursing to PhD. While many master’s programs set nurses up to return to working with the public, some programs branch into research, administration, or management. Nurses with specializations often have an easier time landing jobs and also are paid more. For example, staff nurse makes about $65,570/year while a certified nurse anesthetist (which requires a master’s) will make $156,226/year – a considerable raise.
An extensive research program is often a benchmark for top nursing programs. Nursing programs that focus on research are known for their innovation and making big discoveries that seriously change the field of health care for the better. By graduating with a diploma from a well-known research school, graduates can expect their resume to float to the top of the pile when applying for jobs and with good reason – they have a strong academic base along with experience and passion.
The current outlook for the nursing profession is growing above average at 26%. Professionals with a Master in Nursing will not only enjoy a robust job market but also the flexibility their education and credentials offer them when starting their job search. By researching how long it takes the graduates of different Master in Nursing programs to land jobs after graduation, professionals will be better equipped to choose the best program for themselves.
Below are a ranking of the top Master in Nursing programs. The methodology used for ranking Master in Nursing programs includes interviews with Deans in the field, surveys of students, and more. Rigor of program, program reputation, and previous graduate successes play a large part in program ranking.