Types of Master's Degrees in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing (or MSN) can open the door for many job opportunities and higher salaries.  Essentially, it can mark the start of a whole new chapter in their career. That said, you do not want to enter a masters program blind. With so many paths and specializations, you want a clear goal in mind before anything else. 

Unsure of what path to take? Don’t even know when to start? Read on to learn more about the different Masters Degree tracks, along with the Best Master Degrees in Nursing, in 2022

Types of Masters Tracks in Nursing 

 

Before getting into the different specializations, it is important to go over various MSN tracks. MSN students can vary in education and career standing. To account for this, universities offer a variety of MSN degree types that allow students to start at different points.  

 

Registered nurses with their Bachelor of Science In Nursing, can take the BSN to MSN track. This track is perfect for nurses seeking specialized education, as they tend to build on the foundation of the undergraduate program. Typically, they tend to only take two years or less. 

 

RN-to-MSN Bridge Programs, meanwhile, were made for registered nurses with their Associates Degree in Nursing, or a nursing diploma. In this program , students can work towards earning their BSN and Masters Degree in Nursing at the same time. They typically take two to three years to complete, and will include the BSN-level content that students may have missed. 

 

For nurses with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, the Direct Entry Master’s Degree is a fantastic MSN Degree type. The program fills in the gaps of knowledge in BSN-level coursework, while allowing students to complete their MSN degree more quickly. For students who want to start with master's-level nursing as soon as possible, this is the perfect track for them.

 

Finally, there are Dual Master’s Nursing Degree programs. Of the types of master's degrees in nursing, this is one of the more unique. For nurses who want administrative roles, such as CEO, this is the path to take. You study for your MSN alongside leadership-centric degrees such as your Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Health Administration or a Master’s in Public Health, if that route interests you. 


 

Specializations

 

You may be asking yourself: What jobs can you get with a Masters in Nursing? Luckily, you have a host of specializations to choose from, as you study for your MSN. . 

 

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing is the most common route. APRNs take on advanced, specialized clinical roles that pay significantly more. Do note that once you are done with your education, you have to pass a certification exam for your chosen profession. Other MSN degree specialization types prepare you for non-clinical nursing roles such as nurse informatics or public health. While they pay less, they provide the opportunity to affect healthcare on a systematic level. 

 

Best Master’s Degree Jobs for Nursing in 2022:

 

There is a wide variety of available specializations, if you have a Master’s Degree in Nursing. To make your choice easier, we have listed a handful of the best paying MSN roles with the highest projected growth. 

 

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist- 

 

CRNAs are responsible for applying anesthesia before, during or after various different procedures. They are also expected to ask questions regarding a patient’s medical history and administer post-operative care, among other responsibilities. Because of the importance of anesthesia in healthcare, these nurses rank among the highest paid types of post-Masters jobs in nursing. According to the BLS, average pay reached as high as $192,514, this year.

 

Nurse Practitioner- 

 

These APRNs work with their patients on a personal and daily basis. They assess their individual needs, provide diagnostic tests and provide carefully-crafted treatment plans and lifestyle suggestions. There are many specializations within the NP work itself, from family health, to Pediatrics, to dermatology and more. Income can vary depending on your field-of-choice and experience, but the median salary sits at $114,109. Slightly less, but still high among jobs across various MSN degree types. 

 

Nurse Midwife-

 

Among jobs that require a Master’s Degree in Nursing, this is one of the more unique. These nurses provide a specialized form of reproductive healthcare for women. Certified Nurse Midwives (or CNMs) are responsible for giving prenatal care, gynecological checkups, baby delivery, family planning, postpartum care and peri-post menopause care. $114,441 is currently the average salary, as of 2021. 

 

Clinical Nurse Specialist-

 

These clinical experts operate with advanced education and training in a specialized area of nursing. This can include geriatrics, pediatrics or acute care. CNS nurses can also act as consultants for other advanced practitioners. These nurses currently earn $108,295 a year, on average..


No matter what MSN degree type or specialization you choose, the future looks bright. Because of high demand, all four of these jobs are expected to grow 45% from 2020 to 2030. When it comes to immediate income and future prospects, few other MSN jobs compare.