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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Nurses who complete their Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree have a wide variety of rewarding and challenging work available to them.  MSN graduates are prepared for advanced nursing jobs, and will be much more involved in important decisions about patients' diagnosis and care.  They work in the more specific and technical areas of nursing, such as death and sexual assault investigations in forensic nursing, caring for the most delicate and challenged premature and ill newborns in neo-natal nursing, and providing primary care as a nurse practitioner.

MSN Nursing Career Opportunities

Getting your MSN will afford you the opportunity to work in many different environments beyond the more common emergency rooms and nursing homes.  You may even find that you spend far more time in front of a computer than hovering over a patient.  For example, as a forensic nurse you may spend most of your time consulting for lawyers in their offices and meetings, as well as testifying as an expert witness in civil and criminal courts.  If you were to use your Masters of Science in Nursing to become a midwife, you could be spending the vast majority in a midwifery clinic and your patients' homes.

MSN Nursing Education Requirements

There are a few different routes you can take to your MSN.  You may want to start out by pursuing a nursing diploma or Associates Degree in Nursing and becoming an registered nurse (RN), and then take an RN to Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.  Becoming an RN will take you six months to two years, and getting your BSN after that should take one to two years.  Or, you can simply attend a college or university and pursue your BSN in a four year program.  Getting your MSN at that point requires attending a graduate school, where your masters could take one to two years.  The program at Johns Hopkins University, for example, takes from 18 - 24 months to complete, and several areas of concentration are offered such as women's health and nurse practitioner.  For many of the opportunities available for Masters of Science in Nursing, you'll also need certification or a license in your specialty, such as anesthesia or midwifery.

MSN Nursing Salary Potentials

According to, there are a lot of great, high-paying opportunities for those with a Master's of Science in Nursing.  For example, a Nurse Anesthetist can make around $150,000 annually, a certified Nurse Midwife about $90,000.  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median annual income for registered nurses was $62,450 in 2008, and opportunities were abundant with the field growing faster than average.  Nurses with their MSN are qualified for far more advance and specialized positions than those who are only registered, and so will command higher salaries and more desirable tasks and work environments.