Affordable Online Master’s in Nursing Programs

The master of science in nursing (MSN) degree is intended for working nurses who want to enhance their care skills, work in a managerial role, and earn a higher salary. An MSN degree prepares you to address the ever-changing needs of healthcare services, and the curriculum will improve your ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients. Because the degree is so specialized, the vast majority of MSN students are already registered nurses with significant professional experience.

Most students pursuing an MSN degree are working nurses who want to enhance their education without disrupting their career. In turn, online nursing programs are designed to accommodate the busy schedules of working nurses. Classes are taught asynchronously, allowing you to watch lectures and complete assignments on your own schedule, and to finish any residency requirements at your place of work. Most programs offer students the chance to concentrate in one specific area of nursing and develop relevant skills in your field of expertise. Common nursing specializations include gerontology, anesthesiology, midwifery, orthopedics, and neonatal care.

For students who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in nursing, there are many quality online MSN programs to consider. The schools on our list offer an academically rigorous program at an affordable price. Each offers a strong return on your educational investment, and none will put you into significant debt upon graduation. For more information about these top schools, be sure to read through our list of the most affordable MSN programs in the country.

Most Affordable Online MSN Degrees
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The University of Texas at Tyler

Value Score 8.69
Average Tuition $4,662
Graduation Rate 83%
Number of Online Programs 2

Located on a 259-acre campus in Tyler, Texas, UT-Tyler sits about halfway between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana. The school was founded in 1971 and has since become one of the fastest-growing institutions in the University of Texas System, currently serving more than 8,000 students. UT-Tyler is a comprehensive university, and graduates from the school rank among the most prepared in Texas, according to employers. The school also ranks third in the UT System for graduating students on time.

Students earning their master’s degree in nursing from UT-Tyler can specialize in one of three fully online tracks: nursing administration, nursing education and MSN-MBA. The school also offers a hybrid nurse practitioner degree that requires students to take some on-campus courses. UT-Tyler’s online nursing programs prepare students to sit for national certification exams, and the school boasts some of the top pass rates on nursing exams in the state, including 100% on the MSN exam.

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East Carolina University

Value Score 8.68
Average Tuition $4,223
Graduation Rate 59%
Number of Online Programs 6

ECU occupies a sprawling 1,600-acre campus in Greenville, North Carolina, serving students through nine undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and four professional colleges. Founded in 1907 as a teacher’s college, ECU has since grown into one of the largest educational institutions in the state, with an annual enrollment of more than 28,000 students. The school is also a top educator of minorities in North Carolina, with POCs making up 26% of undergraduate students and 20% of graduate students.

Students interested in a master’s degree in nursing can choose a range of concentrations, including nurse anesthesia, midwifery, nursing education, nursing leadership, gerontology, and more. While all the concentrations are available in an online format, the midwifery specialization is open only to residents of North Carolina and South Carolina. Applicants with particularly strong professional experience may receive a waiver that exempts them from GRE/MAT testing.

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Georgia Southwestern State University

Value Score 8.67
Average Tuition $3,222
Graduation Rate 95%
Number of Online Programs 1

Part of the University System of Georgia, GSW is a smaller school that serves around 2,500 students. The college was originally instituted in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school in the town of Americus, becoming a four-year institution in 1964. GSW’s mission is to encourage intellectual, personal, and social growth among students, faculty, and the community of southern Georgia. The school’s smaller size allows it to maintain a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1, and the its graduate programs are also intimate, enrolling just over 300 students total.

The school offers nursing master’s degrees in coordination with Columbus State University, allowing for increased course options and academic resources for students. Nursing students can choose from one of four tracks, including nursing education, nursing leadership/management, nursing informatics, and family nurse practitioner. All the tracks can be completed in 22 months with a full-time course load.

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Fort Hays State University

Value Score 8.66
Average Tuition $3,094
Graduation Rate 87%
Number of Online Programs 1

With an enrollment of more than 13,000 students, FHSU is one of the largest universities in the state of Kansas, boasting 28 distinct academic departments. Located halfway between Kansas City and Denver, the school occupies a 200-acre campus in the town of Hays. FHSU is a major proponent of distance education in the state, with a Virtual College system dating back to 1999. Today, the school’s online programs educate students from across the world through partnerships with a variety of community colleges, universities, and the military.

Unsurprisingly, the school wins accolades from U.S. News & World Report for the strength of its online programs and its friendliness to military students. Students at FHSU can earn their master's in nursing online, preparing them for advanced roles in nursing and healthcare management. Students study leadership strategies along with advanced healthcare practices, applicable to careers at hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

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Texas Woman's University

Value Score 8.62
Average Tuition $4,200
Graduation Rate 63%
Number of Online Programs 3

TWU is the largest university in the country primarily for women, enrolling around 15,000 students annually. Based in Denton, Texas, the school also maintains health science facilities in Dallas and Houston, along with a host of online programs. TWU has been fully co-educational since 1994, but the school still enrolls approximately 90% female students, focusing heavily on meeting the needs of women in higher education.

The school’s College of Nursing is the largest in the state and the 11th-largest in the country. It’s also prestigious and highly competitive, with many accepted students possessing a 4.0 GPA. TWU graduate students earning their online master’s degree in nursing can choose from a range of concentrations, including nursing, nursing education, and nursing health systems management. The school also offers a master's in nursing administration online that is available through a combination of internet and TV conference courses.

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Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

Value Score 8.51
Average Tuition $3,568
Graduation Rate 47%
Number of Online Programs 3

Located in the coastal city of Corpus Christi, Texas, TAMUCC is the only university in the country that occupies its own island. The school’s campus on the Gulf Coast is home to more than 11,000 students, served through five academic colleges. Part of the prestigious Texas A&M System, TAMUCC is a top institution in the state, ranking as one of the best schools for Hispanic students.

The university’s online graduate nursing program also ranks as one of the best in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. Nursing students at TAMUCC can earn online MSN degrees in family nurse practitioner, leadership in nursing systems, and nurse educator. Preparing students for work in advanced clinical practice, leadership roles, and education, these degree programs also focus on building knowledge to pass certification exams. The programs are intended for working professionals and are typically offered in a part-time format that allows students to maintain full-time employment.

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Georgia College and State University

Value Score 8.38
Average Tuition $5,094
Graduation Rate 59%
Number of Online Programs 2

Since its founding as a women’s college in 1889, GCSU has transformed into Georgia’s public liberal arts university, now serving more than 7,000 students. The school is one of the top educational institutions in the region, ranked eighth among public schools in the South by U.S. News & World Report, which also ranks the school eighth in the country for online graduate nursing programs.

GCSU offers two fully online nursing degrees: family nurse practitioner (with an optional concentration in psychiatric mental health) and nurse educator. These programs require minimal campus requirements, allowing students to complete clinical practices in their own communities under the guidance of a professional preceptor. The School of Nursing can help online students locate a suitable preceptor and schedule clinical rotation hours. Clinical experience for the program can only be complete in Georgia, so the program is typically only open to residents of the state.

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University of West Georgia

Value Score 8.35
Average Tuition $3,672
Graduation Rate 70%
Number of Online Programs 1

Situated on a 625-acre campus in Carrollton, Georgia (about 45 miles west of Atlanta), UWG is a center of higher education in the state, with an annual enrollment of around 12,000 students. Founded in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school, UWG has grown into one of the top colleges in the region. In addition to its strong academics, UWG also ranks as a top value school due to its low tuition and robust financial aid packages.

UWG’s online master’s degree in nursing is particularly strong, ranked 31st in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The school’s MSN degree offers concentration options in health systems leadership or nursing education. Both tracks prepare students for upper-level positions in diverse healthcare settings, focusing on advanced strategies for critical thinking, decision-making, and patient care.

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Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

Value Score 8.23
Average Tuition $3,519
Graduation Rate 72%
Number of Online Programs 1

ENMU is the largest comprehensive regional university in New Mexico, serving a student body of more than 6,000 from its campus in Portales, near the state’s eastern border. The university is a federally-designated Hispanic-serving institution as well as a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, with 33% of students identifying as Hispanic.

The MSN program at ENMU focuses on nursing education, preparing students for roles as nursing instructors in programs at the associate and bachelor level. Student learn to create curricula, utilize leadership strategies, and analyze nursing philosophies using both quantitative and qualitative research. Tuition at ENMU is among the most affordable in the state of New Mexico, and the school’s graduate nursing program also ranks as one of least expensive in the entire country. Out-of-state students taking fewer than six credit hours per semester can receive the in-state tuition rate, further lowering costs.

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Albany State University

Value Score 8.22
Average Tuition $3,402
Graduation Rate 55%
Number of Online Programs 1

Originally founded in 1903 as a Bible and manual training school, ASU is a historically black college (HBC) located in the Southwest Georgia city of Albany. ASU has maintained a progressive tradition throughout its history, playing a role in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s, and the university seeks to empower all students to become positive contributors to society.

ASU offers some of the strongest online education programs in the state, with its online master’s degree in nursing ranking particularly highly. The school offers online MSN programs through its online education portal RamNet. The degree is intended for advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, beginning researchers, or those interested in health policy. Students gain leadership skills along with the ability to critically analyze and improve health care practices.

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The University of Texas Medical Branch

Value Score 8.20
Average Tuition $6,154
Graduation Rate 32%
Number of Online Programs 6

Part of the prestigious University of Texas System, UTMB is an academic health center that operates in the city of Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston. The first state medical school in Texas, UTMB was established in 1891 with the mission of training state medical professionals, a tradition that continues to this day. UTMB serves more than 3,000 students through a range of schools, institutes, and centers, including the renowned School of Nursing.

Nursing graduates of UTMB form collaborative relationships with other health professionals and assume leadership positions. The school’s online nursing programs offer a range of specialized tracks, including family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology, neonatal nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader, and nurse educator. Graduates gain nursing skills applicable to work in a variety of advanced healthcare settings.

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Fitchburg State University

Value Score 8.02
Average Tuition $3,006
Graduation Rate 41%
Number of Online Programs 1

Based out of an urban campus in city of Fitchburg, Massachusetts (about 50 miles from Boston), Fitchburg State is a public four-year university grounded in the liberal arts, with an enrollment of more than 6,000 students. The university’s smaller size translates to a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, giving students a more personalized educational experience. The school also offers a range of campus resources for online students, including career services, student development, counseling services, library access, and disability support.

The master’s degree in nursing at Fitchburg is based around forensics, preparing graduates for careers as nurse examiners, death investigators, legal nurse consultants, correctional nurses, and nurse risk managers. The school’s nursing program is highly selective, and its limited enrollment means that students receive individualized attention from faculty and build closer connections with other students. The nursing program at Fitchburg State typically takes three years to complete.

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Value Score 8.01
Average Tuition $5,520
Graduation Rate 39%
Number of Online Programs 1

A multi-campus health institution based primarily in Lubbock, Texas, TTUHSC also maintains campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and the state’s Permian Basin. The university is a major educational institution in West Texas, enrolling more than 4,000 students annually, and TTUHSC is also a major center of medical research and healthcare.

Known for its flexibility and non-traditional education practices, the school is a strong proponent of online education, offering a respected online nursing graduate program. Students in the nursing program can choose from multiple specializations, including education, nursing informatics, nurse midwifery, and nurse practitioner. All programs build skills for management positions in a variety of healthcare settings. All courses in the program are offered entirely online, but distance students also gain clinical experience in their own home communities, using the assistance of local preceptors recommended by the school.

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The University of Texas at El Paso

Value Score 8.00
Average Tuition $4,480
Graduation Rate 36%
Number of Online Programs 3

Located near the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, UTEP is a nationally recognized university that ranks among the best in the nation. The school is the second-largest Hispanic-serving school in the country, with 80% of its 23,000 students identifying as Hispanic.

The UTEP School of Nursing at is rooted in values of patient potential, diversity, autonomy, and universal needs, with a curriculum grounded in liberal arts, sciences, and nursing theories. Students earning their master’s can choose from one of three distinct tracks: family with primary care focus, pediatrics with primary care focus, and adult/gerontologic nurse practitioner with acute care focus. The majority of instruction is offered online, though students may be required to visit campus a maximum of three times each semester. Students in the acute care nurse practitioner track are also required to spend two weeks in Houston or another approved location for clinical practice.

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University of North Dakota

Value Score 7.97
Average Tuition $6,872
Graduation Rate 51%
Number of Online Programs 4

With nearly 15,000 students from all 50 states and 85 different countries worldwide, UND is the premier education institution in North Dakota, both the oldest and largest in the state. Founded in 1883 in the city of Grand Forks, UND is widely recognized as a top national university and one of the top academic institutions in the Northern Midwest. U.S. News & World Report ranks UND as one of the top 100 public schools in the country.

Nursing students can choose from five concentrations, including adult gerontology, advanced public health, family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and psychiatric & mental health nursing. The degrees can be completed entirely online; all tracks except for adult gerontology require students to attend some live web classes that occur at designated times.

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Utah State University

Value Score 7.95
Average Tuition $4,994
Graduation Rate 45%
Number of Online Programs 1

The state’s flagship university, Utah State serves more than 30,000 students annually from its massive campus in Salt Lake City. Founded in 1850, the university has since grown into a major academic and research institution. Utah State is also a top online college for nursing, ranked 34th in the nation overall by U.S. News & World Report.

The school’s nurse midwifery program is particularly strong, ranking ninth in the country. Students earning their master's in nursing can also choose from a range of concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, adult/gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, and women's health nurse practitioner. Distance education at the school is available only to students residing in the Intermountain West, and students must travel to campus approximately twice per semester for exams, intensive workshops, and the defense of thesis or synthesis projects.

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New Mexico State University-Main Campus

Value Score 7.81
Average Tuition $3,969
Graduation Rate 39%
Number of Online Programs 1

The oldest public university in New Mexico, NMSU was founded in 1888 in the city of Las Cruces. Today, the school occupies a 900-acre campus and boasts an enrollment of over 18,000 students. The U.S. Department of Education classifies the school as a Hispanic-serving institution, with 45% of students identifying as Hispanic. NMSU also ranks a top university for awarding both bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students.

The School of Nursing recognizes New Mexico’s unique multicultural heritage, operating through values of education, research, practice, and public service. The master's in nursing program at NMSU features a concentration in administration, preparing students for management positions in the healthcare field as well as potential doctoral education. The program is offered exclusively in a distance education format, but students are required to travel to campus at least once each year for a three- to four-day orientation session.

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Missouri State University-Springfield

Value Score 7.77
Average Tuition $4,500
Graduation Rate 38%
Number of Online Programs 1

A major public university with a mission rooted in values of ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement, MSU is the second-largest university in the state of Missouri, enrolling more than 26,000 students annually. Founded in 1905 in Springfield, the school has grown into an important center of education in the Midwest, ranking as one of the top 100 colleges in the region according to U.S. News & World Report.

The master’s nursing program at MSU focuses on nursing education, preparing students for careers designing and evaluating nursing curriculum and teaching nursing students. The degree covers modern nursing practices, health policies, and nursing education concepts. In addition to offering one of the cheapest online MSN programs in the state, MSU also maintains a wide selection of general scholarships as well as others specifically intended for nursing students.

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Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Value Score 7.77
Average Tuition $4,524
Graduation Rate 48%
Number of Online Programs 1

Established in 1901 in the town of Weatherford, Oklahoma, SWOSU has consistently ranked as a Tier 1 regional university in the western region according to U.S. News & World Report. The school also maintains a campus in the town of Sayre, as well as a host of online programs. SWOSU’s nursing program was established in 1976, becoming the first rural nursing baccalaureate program in the state.

The online MSN programs at SWOSU are available in three unique concentrations, including administration, informatics, and education. Online courses follow the same schedule as the campus calendar, but are offered in eight-week sessions that commence five times per year, adding to the program’s flexibility. Full-time students can complete the nursing program within 12 months, while part-time students have up to five years for completion. Online students at SWOSU can lower tuition costs by applying for dozens of scholarships, many available exclusively to those studying nursing.

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Western Governors University

Value Score 7.72
Average Tuition $6,500
Graduation Rate 100%
Number of Online Programs 1

A nonprofit, fully online university, WGU has been a leader in distance education for more than two decades, first admitting students in 1995. The school focuses on nontraditional education for nontraditional students, and working professionals comprise most of WGU’s student body. With a mission to increase all students’ access to higher education, the university offers competency-based degrees that emphasize applicable skills, rather than required credits. WGU’s professional emphasis also allows students to gain credit for real life experience, including job skills and professional certifications.

The school offers two distinct online MSN programs: education and leadership/management. The education concentration prepares students to design, implement, and manage nursing education programs, allowing them to become effective educators for future nurses. The leadership track develops interpersonal and organizational skills for higher level management positions in healthcare organizations. Both program tracks also allow students to complete their RN to MSN online.

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University of North Alabama

Value Score 7.66
Average Tuition $5,166
Graduation Rate 70%
Number of Online Programs 1

Established in 1830, UNA is Alabama’s oldest public four-year university and a top-tier public school in the South. The school sits on a 130-acre campus near the Tennessee border in the town of Florence, a part of a four-city region along the Tennessee River called the Shoals.

Offering some of the lowest tuition in the state, UNA maintains two online MSN programs: nursing in teaching-learning environments and nursing leadership in organizational environments. The teaching-learning track prepares students for positions as nursing educators, equipping them with the skills to teach nursing students, colleagues, and clients. Students in the program can choose a specific clinical area to focus on, such as women’s health or pediatrics. The leadership tracks focuses on legislation, budgeting, management, and other topics related to administration in healthcare. Both tracks include required clinical experience courses that online students can complete in their home communities with the aid of an approved preceptor.

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Idaho State University

Value Score 7.61
Average Tuition $4,910
Graduation Rate 55%
Number of Online Programs 4

ISU is a major educational center in Idaho, classified as a doctoral research and teaching institution by the Carnegie Foundation (a distinction awarded to just 5% of universities in the country). Located in the town of Pocatello, the school boasts an enrollment of more than 13,000, serving students from all over the country and the world through more than 250 educational programs. ISU also operates satellite campuses in Twin Falls, Meridian and Idaho Falls.

The master's in nursing program at ISU is concentrated in nursing education, preparing students for teaching positions as well as educational roles in clinics, hospitals, health departments, and other healthcare agencies. Students take courses in curriculum development, nursing theories, public health policy, and more. ISU’s degree ranks as one of the cheapest online MSN programs in the state, but the school also offers a range of scholarships for nursing students, awarding around $42,000 in tuition aid annually.

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Columbus State University

Value Score 7.58
Average Tuition $5,264
Graduation Rate 55%
Number of Online Programs 1

Part of the University System of Georgia, CSU is a distinctive college that serves more than 8,000 students from its campus in Columbus, about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. Though it was founded in 1958 as a junior college, CSU has grown into a major center of regional and national education, enrolling students from every part of Georgia, all 50 U.S. states, and many foreign countries. The school also boasts strong distance education programs, winning top honors from U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its online graduate programs.

CSU’s online MSN programs are offered in collaboration with Georgia Southwestern University, allowing students to take advantage of the resources and class flexibility of both schools. Four distinct concentrations are available to distance education students: nursing education, leadership, informatics, and family nurse practitioner. All the programs encourage development of critical thinking skills and advanced nursing practices applicable to higher level positions in the healthcare field.

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Minnesota State University Moorhead

Value Score 7.55
Average Tuition $6,066
Graduation Rate 66%
Number of Online Programs 1

Based around the unique core values of grit, humility and heart, MSUM is a public regional college located in Moorhead, Minnesota, near the border with North Dakota. The school serves a student body of around 5,800, offering a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio due to its smaller size. MSUM is a respected regional university, ranked as one of the best in Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, and the school also wins praise as one of the most affordable colleges in the state.

The master's in nursing degree at MSUM focuses on helping students build a more advanced nursing practice and form effective partnerships in research, education, and healthcare settings. Students in the program can choose from two distinct tracks: nursing education or nursing administration and organization systems leadership. Nursing students at MSUM can also apply for a range of scholarships to help with tuition, including eight annual scholarships available specifically to those studying nursing.

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Lamar University

Value Score 7.54
Average Tuition $5,724
Graduation Rate 78%
Number of Online Programs 1

Part of the Texas State University System, LU operates out of a main campus in Beaumont, Texas, 90 miles east of Houston near the Louisiana border. The university is one of the fastest growing in Texas, currently serving over 15,000 students. LU is a nationally recognized university, and it wins praise for the quality of both its online graduate programs and nursing programs from U.S. News & World Report.

The school’s MSN program offers two concentrations: nursing education and nursing administration. The education track focuses on teaching strategies and theories, with an emphasis on educational technology. The nursing administration track centers on leadership and organization in relation to healthcare management. The administration track also provides the opportunity for students to complete the school’s dual MSN/MBA degree. Not all required business courses are currently available online, but LU allows students to transfer business credits from other schools for degree completion.

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Delta State University

Value Score 7.52
Average Tuition $6,012
Graduation Rate 89%
Number of Online Programs 1

Located in the town of Cleveland, Mississippi, DSU is located about halfway between Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. With an enrollment of under 4,000, DSU is one of the smaller public colleges in Mississippi, offering students a unique academic experience with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 -- far lower than comparable universities in the state.

DSU offers an interdisciplinary nursing degree that combines liberal arts, behavioral sciences, and life sciences along with nursing theory and practice. One of the more affordable online MSN programs in the state, the degree features three concentration options: nurse administrator, nurse educator, and family nurse practitioner. The program consists of a core of online courses along with specifically scheduled campus seminars throughout the year. Students may also pursue clinical experience opportunities at health agencies near their homes with the approval of program faculty.

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Cox College

Value Score 7.45
Average Tuition $4,056
Graduation Rate 100%
Number of Online Programs 2

A private women’s college in Springfield, Missouri, Cox has offered healthcare-focused education for more than a century, beginning its life as a nursing school in 1907. The college’s tiny student body of 900 means that students at Cox receive individual attention from faculty and build strong working relationships with their classmates.

Cox offers one of the most affordable online MSN programs in the state, allowing students to specialize in one of two tracks: family nurse practitioner or nurse educator. The family nurse practitioner specialization trains students to become advanced practice nurses who offer general healthcare to clients, while the nurse educator specialization trains students to become teachers of nursing in higher education or healthcare settings. Courses at the MSN program at Cox are offered predominantly online, though students may need to visit campus occasionally. Each track also requires a clinical practicum that students can complete locally.

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University of Southern Indiana

Value Score 7.42
Average Tuition $7,796
Graduation Rate 75%
Number of Online Programs 2

USI was founded in 1965 as a regional campus of Indiana State University, becoming an independent institution in 1985. Located on a suburban campus just outside of Evansville, the university is a hub of education in southern Indiana, serving more than 10,000 students annually. The school’s graduate nursing program receives high marks from U.S. News & World Report, particularly in the categories of admissions selectivity, faculty credentials, student engagement, and student services.

Students pursuing their master's in nursing at USI can choose from seven distinct tracks, including nursing management and leadership, family nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, and nursing education. Regardless of focus, all tracks provide students with the skills in critical thinking, leadership, and independent judgement necessary for higher level work in the healthcare field. Online nursing students at USI work with local preceptors to gain clinical experience, with connections facilitated through the nursing program.

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University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Value Score 7.33
Average Tuition $4,968
Graduation Rate 21%
Number of Online Programs 1

Situated on a 332-acre suburban campus slightly outside of Las Vegas proper, UNLV is the premier educational institution in Nevada, enrolling more than 28,000 students annually. The school is nationally recognized for its innovative education programs, and Washington Monthly ranks UNLV as one of the top 200 colleges in the country. The nursing program at UNLV is highly selective, translating to a low student-to-instructor ratio of 8:1.

Students in the program can choose from two tracks: family nurse practitioner and nurse educator, preparing students to serve as either general healthcare providers or nursing teachers. Nursing courses at UNLV only offer fall start dates, but the entire program can be completed in as little as 16 months due to the school’s unique trimester system. In addition to a range of general scholarships, the School of Nursing at UNLV also offers five scholarships specifically available to graduate nursing students.

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University of Central Florida

Value Score 7.32
Average Tuition $6,916
Graduation Rate 37%
Number of Online Programs 3

With an enrollment of more than 63,000 students, UCF isn’t just the largest university in the United States -- it’s also one of the most respected. The school occupies a massive 1,400-acre campus about 13 miles from downtown Orlando, where students can take courses through 13 distinct colleges 41 separate departments and schools. UCF wins accolades for its progressive education practices, ranking as one of the 15 most innovative public schools in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

The school’s online nursing program in also particularly respected, ranking 42nd in the nation among all colleges and universities. Online students at UCF can earn degrees in leadership and management, nurse educator, and nursing and healthcare simulation. Students in all programs learn to analyze the issues affecting nursing practice and develop effective strategies for healthcare delivery. UCF also offers hybrid courses in adult gerontology and family nurse practitioner, combining online courses with some campus classes.

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Kennesaw State University

Value Score 7.31
Average Tuition $6,578
Graduation Rate 40%
Number of Online Programs 1

Home to more than 35,000 students, KSU is the third-largest university in Georgia and one of the largest schools in the country. A highly respected public university, KSU wins praise as one of the best schools in the region from U.S. News & World Report, and the school also ranks as one of the top 30 in the country for veterans. An increased focus on research and innovative academic programs led U.S. News to upgrade KSU’s status from “regional university” to “national university” in 2016.

KSU offers an MSN with a concentration in leadership. Rooted in both theories and actual practices of nursing and healthcare, the program prepares students for upper-level positions in administration and management. Students take courses focusing on a diverse range of topics, from healthcare policy and finance to conflict management and ethical decision-making. Online students at KSU can make use of a range of academic support resources, including advising, library resources, and tutoring services.

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Value Score 7.29
Average Tuition $4,008
Graduation Rate 21%
Number of Online Programs 1

Serving a body of more than 28,000 students, UNCC is the largest educational institution in the Charlotte area and one of the largest universities in the state of North Carolina. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNCC as one of the top 200 universities in the country, and its online MSN program is also highly respected. Rooted in values of integrity, innovation, collegiality, diversity, and scholarship, UNCC’s School of Nursing prepares students to meet healthcare needs through roles as clinicians, educators and leaders.

Online nursing students can specialize in community/public health, nursing administration, and nursing education. Students can also complete their RN to MSN online in one of those three concentrations. The different tracks all focus on modern strategies for healthcare delivery, emphasizing general practice, management, and nurse training, respectively. UNCC is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board Electronic Campus, a consortium of regional colleges and universities that combine academic resources to offer increased course options to online students.

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The University of West Florida

Value Score 7.22
Average Tuition $7,088
Graduation Rate 74%
Number of Online Programs 2

Founded in 1963, UWF is a cultural and intellectual center in Pensacola, Florida, committed to values of caring, collaboration, distinctiveness, innovation, and integrity. UWF occupies a massive 1,600-acre campus (the third-largest in Florida) and serves a study body of more than 12,000. The school is nationally recognized, consistently ranked by Forbes as one of “America’s Top Colleges.”

UWF also receives praise for its online graduate programs, ranked as one of the top online schools in Florida by Best Colleges and as one of the most affordable schools for online graduate degrees by College Choice. UWF’s online MSN programs prepare students for advanced roles in nursing practice, administration or for doctoral studies. Nursing students can choose from two academic tracks: nursing education and nursing leadership & management. For added flexibility, students can choose from three course start dates throughout the year.

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University of Wisconsin-Stout

Value Score 7.15
Average Tuition $6,613
Graduation Rate 71%
Number of Online Programs 1

Based in Menomonie, Wisconsin, UW-Stout is a comprehensive polytechnic university that offers career-focused education to students of all backgrounds. Founded in 1891 to provide vocational education to state residents, the school still maintains a tradition of practical, applicable education in subjects as diverse as industry, technology, applied art and helping professions. Accordingly, UW-Stout offers a strong nursing program that gives students the flexibility and convenience of distance education.

The MSN program at UW-Stout prepares students for advanced work in both clinical and educational settings. Coursework in the program covers subjects including epidemiology, ethics, health promotion, and healthcare policy. Students complete nursing theory courses entirely online, while clinical practice occurs either at local healthcare agencies or on campus. Students at UW-Stout can earn their nursing degree through the UW System’s eCampus system, which allows students to take additional courses through other schools while still maintaining enrollment at UW-Stout.

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Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Value Score 7.14
Average Tuition $8,246
Graduation Rate 100%
Number of Online Programs 4

The only Catholic college in Maine, Saint Joseph’s is a private institution located in the town of Standish, just 18 miles from Portland. With a student body of around 3,500 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, Saint Joseph’s offers an intimate academic experience characterized by personalized student attention. The school was an early advocate of distance education, offering correspondence courses as early as 1976, so it’s no surprise that Saint Joseph’s now maintains a host of strong online learning programs.

The school’s online MSN program combines academic learning with professional experience, allowing students to immediately begin applying course material to work. The program offers tracks in administration, education, and family nurse practitioner. Students who choose the administration track can combine their credits for MSN/MBA or MSN/MHA dual degrees. The school also offers an RN-MSN online fast-track option for students who have already completed 300-level nursing courses. Nursing courses are offered in 12-week blocks that begin four times a year.

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Indiana State University

Value Score 7.05
Average Tuition $6,840
Graduation Rate 53%
Number of Online Programs 2

Combining academic rigor with an emphasis on community and public service, ISU a hub of education in Indiana, operating through a 435-acre urban campus in Terre Haute. ISU ranks as one of the most prestigious colleges in the state as well as the region, and has been lauded by the Princeton Review as one of the “Best in the Midwest” for over a decade.

Founded in 1865, the school now serves over 13,000 students through six distinct colleges offering over 100 majors. Students earning their master’s in nursing online at ISU can focus in either nursing education and family nurse practitioner, preparing them for roles as teachers or healthcare providers. Both tracks are offered entirely online, with clinical placements arranged in students’ own states.

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University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

Value Score 7.02
Average Tuition $6,588
Graduation Rate 23%
Number of Online Programs 1

Located on a portion of a decommissioned Army medical center in Aurora, Colorado, CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus houses the university’s health science schools and colleges, including the School of Nursing. CU’s graduate medical programs rank as some of the best in the country, and the nursing program has ranked been ranked in the top 20 of all national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

CU offers an online degree in nursing leadership and healthcare systems, which trains students for management positions by fostering skills in leadership and decision-making. The program focuses on principles of cultural competence, informatics, and evidence-based practice. Completion of the degree also allows students to transition seamlessly into the nursing PhD program at CU with an emphasis in health systems. Students who are interested in sampling the program can take up to 12 credits as a non-degree student without applying, though this trial option lacks financial aid.

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University of Central Missouri

Value Score 7.01
Average Tuition $6,630
Graduation Rate 37%
Number of Online Programs 1

Formerly known as Central Missouri State University, UCM’s campus sits in Warrensburg, Missouri, about an hour from Kansas City. The school is home to more than 14,000 students, representing most U.S. states and more than 50 countries. UCM’s online nursing programs offer concentrations in family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. Both programs focus on advanced nursing knowledge, skills and attitudes, along with the use of research and modern technology in current nursing practices.

The nurse educator track is available to students anywhere in the country, while those in the family nurse practitioner program must perform clinical practicum in the state of Missouri or the greater Kansas City area. UCM is focused on professional success, and the school boasts a student employment rate of 92% within six months of graduation. The college also offers one of the most affordable tuition rates in the state and awards nearly $5 million in student aid each year.

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Graceland University-Lamoni

Value Score 7.01
Average Tuition $6,965
Graduation Rate 100%
Number of Online Programs 3

Operating out of a residential campus in Lamoni, Iowa (about an hour south of Des Moines), GU is a small, private liberal arts university affiliated with the Community of Christ. The school was established in 1895 and now serves a student body of over 2,000. GU was an early adopter of distance education programs, transitioning to a pure online system in 2000.

The school’s online nursing program allows students to specialize in either family nurse practitioner or nurse educator tracks. Courses are organized around a 16-week trimester system, with full-time students typically able to complete a degree within six to eight trimesters. All courses for the online MSN are offered online, but students must visit campus for a focus session and an advanced practice competencies lab. Students also complete guided practicum experiences either on campus or at health agencies in their own communities.

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University of Louisiana at Monroe

Value Score 6.99
Average Tuition $5,550
Graduation Rate 44%
Number of Online Programs 2

Located in northern Louisiana in the city of Monroe, ULM is a comprehensive public university with an annual enrollment of over 8,800 students. Beginning as a junior college in 1931, the school achieved full university status in 1969. Today, ULM is a respected regional institution, ranking among the top 100 universities in the South and one of the top 50 public universities nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school also ranks as one of the best online colleges in Louisiana and one of the most affordable.

ULM offers a nursing degree with a focus on gerontological clinical nurse leader. The degree prepares students for leadership positions dealing with gerontology patients, emphasizing management skills in human resources, finance, and quality care delivery. Students in the program must complete a minimum of 400 clinical practice hours under the supervision of an approved preceptor.

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University of South Alabama

Value Score 6.92
Average Tuition $6,966
Graduation Rate 66%
Number of Online Programs 1

USA is the only public university on the upper Gulf Coast, situated on a 1,200-acre campus in Mobile, Alabama. Comprised of 10 colleges and schools, USA enrolls more than 16,000 students annually, and the school is the second-largest employer in the city of Mobile. The university has offered comprehensive education for over 50 years, and the nursing and medical facilities at UVA are top notch.

The school’s Medical Center is the only level-1 trauma center in the region, and UVA operates one of just five freestanding women’s and children’s hospitals in the country. The online nursing program at USA has students synthesize theories, research, and hands-on clinical practice in order to become effective leaders in the healthcare field. Students can choose from 13 distinct specializations, including executive nursing administration, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing informatics, and clinical nurse leader. The program also offers an RN to MSN online pathway for registered nurses looking to gain an advanced degree.

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Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Value Score 6.91
Average Tuition $7,945
Graduation Rate 21%
Number of Online Programs 5

Created in 1969 through the merger of two pre-existing schools in Indianapolis, Indiana, IUPUI is associated with both Indiana University and Purdue University. A major public research university, IUPUI enrolls more than 30,000 students and offers over 200 degree programs. The school is highly respected, ranked among the top 200 national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

IUPUI is also host to one of the top online nursing programs in the country, ranked 19th among all universities by U.S. News. Nursing students can choose from several online tracks, including nursing education, pediatric clinical, adult gerontology, and psychiatric mental health. The education track is offered in a completely online format, while the other concentrations require students to sit in on campus classes using video conferencing technology. Nursing students at IUPUI are eligible for around $700,000 in annual scholarships offered through the School of Nursing.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center

Value Score 6.89
Average Tuition $8,180
Graduation Rate 5%
Number of Online Programs 2

Originally established in 1880 as a private medical college, UNMC joined the University of Nebraska System in 1902. Located in Omaha, the school is widely respected, with many of its programs ranking among the best in the country. Though it serves under 4,000 students, UNMC is a major educational institution in the state, and nearly half of all bachelor-educated nurses in Nebraska are graduates of the school.

The graduate nursing program at UNMC is also strong, allowing students to study several tracks, including women’s health, pediatrics primary care, psychiatric mental health, and nurse executive/leader. All the tracks in the program can be combined with the school’s nurse educator program, allowing graduates to gain credential for teaching in addition to developing an advanced nursing practice. Online learning at UNMC is offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, allowing students to work at their own pace or along with the standard campus calendar.

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Briar Cliff University

Value Score 6.86
Average Tuition $7,315
Graduation Rate 95%
Number of Online Programs 2

Briar Cliff is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Sioux City, Iowa, offering faith-based education in the arts and sciences. The school began in 1930 as a women’s college, becoming coeducational in 1966. Briar Cliff a is small college with a student body of under 1,200, which allows for smaller class sizes and personalized attention for students. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school as one of the top regional colleges in the Midwest, and the nursing program is also lauded.

Briar Cliff is home to the only accredited nursing graduate program in Northwest Iowa, allowing students to specialize in either family nursing and adult gerontology. Students in the program develop skills of critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and reflective nursing practice, preparing them for high level caregiving and leadership roles. The program emphasizes maximum student convenience: GRE scores are not necessary for admission, and no final thesis is required.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham

Value Score 6.78
Average Tuition $7,090
Graduation Rate 44%
Number of Online Programs 1

One of three schools in the University of Alabama System, UAB is a major educational center and the largest employer in the state of Alabama. The school was established as an academic extension center in 1936, becoming an independent institution in 1969. Today, the university serves more than 18,000 students annually through 140 programs of study, and U.S. News & World Report ranks UAB 159th among all national universities.

The university also boasts one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, and its nursing department ranks among the best in the country, with many of its graduate programs in particular winning praise. The School of Nursing offers a wide selection of online degrees available in areas including primary care, acute care, subspecialties, advanced roles and advanced generalist. Students can choose from more than a dozen concentrations, including pediatrics, women’s health, forensic nursing, and health systems administration.

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University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Value Score 6.78
Average Tuition $7,704
Graduation Rate 22%
Number of Online Programs 1

Established in 1879 in Little Rock, Arkansas, UAMS is an academic health center that provides medical education along with hospital and outpatient services. The school serves a student body of around 3,000 and maintains some of the most respected medical programs in the country, including nursing. The UAMS College of Nursing was founded in 1953, first offering graduate degrees in 1971. Today the college serves around 800 students annually.

Online nursing students at UAMS can specialize in six focuses, including adult/gerontology, family nursing, nursing administration, and nursing education. The program stresses the synthesis of theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge, emphasizing the intersection between nursing and other disciplines. Graduates of the program are prepared to offer advanced healthcare, develop and implement effective healthcare systems, and utilize and participate in research. Graduates are also prepared to assume leadership or educator roles in the healthcare field.

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Touro University Worldwide

Value Score 6.76
Average Tuition $9,000
Graduation Rate 100%
Number of Online Programs 2

Touro University Worldwide is a conglomeration of non-profit, Jewish-affiliated higher education institutions, with physical campus locations in California, New York, and Nevada. The school traces its history back to Touro University International, which opened in 1998 and offered the first online doctoral program in the world with no residency requirements. Today, the school serves more than 19,000 students around the world, offering academic degrees at all levels.

The graduate nursing program is open to students who possess either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Those with an associate degree can complete the master’s program with 18 months of full-time study, while bachelor’s degree-holders can finish in as few as 12 months. The curriculum covers core topics including healthcare policy, ethics, physical assessment, leadership, and health promotion, among others. Completion of the program also allows students to sit for exams for clinical nurse leader certification.

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Washburn University

Value Score 6.74
Average Tuition $6,120
Graduation Rate 26%
Number of Online Programs 1

Situated on a 160-acre campus in the center of Topeka, Kansas, WU offers liberal arts education to more than 6,000 students annually, with more than 200 academic programs at all levels. Since its founding in 1865, the college has built a reputation for affordable, accessible education that still maintains academic rigor, and WU is consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

Washburn offers a flexible online RN to MSN program intended for working nurses. The degree features an emphasis in clinical nurse leadership, preparing graduates to assume financial and managerial responsibilities in healthcare organizations. Students gain skills to administer and manage care for individuals, clinical populations, and communities in a variety of settings. The program curriculum includes seven core nursing practice courses, five specialized courses in clinical leadership and a culminating graduate project.

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University of Southern Mississippi

Value Score 6.72
Average Tuition $6,980
Graduation Rate 40%
Number of Online Programs 2

Informally known as Southern Miss, the University of Southern Mississippi first opened as a teacher’s college in 1910, becoming a traditional university in 1940. Through more than a century of operation, the school has evolved into a major education center in the South, now serving a body of more than 15,000 students from its main campus in the city of Hattiesburg.

The online program at Southern Miss ranks as one of the best in both the state and the country, and the school’s online nursing program is also strong. The online MSN program emphasizes a scientific, research-based educational model that includes both theoretical and clinical perspectives, preparing students for advanced work in modern healthcare settings. Students can choose from two concentrations: family nurse practitioner and family Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In addition to specialized courses, students in both tracks study core principles of research, ethics, role development, healthcare policy, and finance.

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University of Mississippi

Value Score 6.58
Average Tuition $7,002
Graduation Rate 20%
Number of Online Programs 4

UMMC is the only academic medical center in the state of Mississippi, offering medical education through six health science schools, including medicine, dentistry, and nursing. While it’s affiliated with the University of Mississippi, UMCC is independently accredited and operates semi-autonomously. First opened in 1955, the center sits on a 164-acre campus in Jackson that also houses multiple hospitals and a medical library.

UMMC was the first institution in the state to offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and the program has maintained a tradition of prestige throughout its six decades of operation. The School of Nursing offers eight nursing tracks, all of which include flexible, predominately online coursework. The school’s association with more than 200 state health centers, hospitals, private practices, and community clinics gives online students a huge range of options to complete clinical practicum in their own communities.

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What Will I Learn in My Online MSN Program?


Completing an online MSN program prepares graduates to lead nursing programs at the administrative level, and work in specialty fields such as pediatrics or women’s health.

Many online nursing programs consist of coursework, practice immersion, and a capstone requirement. Students take core and specialized courses, while an immersion provides an application of coursework to a real-world healthcare environment. The capstone requirement represents a culmination of a student’s learning with a final thesis paper or project. While every program is distinct, many will offer versions of the courses below.

  • Healthcare Law and Policy: This course examines the political and economic issues surrounding healthcare policy, in addition to the ethical and legal implications of policy on healthcare delivery.
  • Economics and Decision-making in healthcare: An overview of the economic aspects and business components of the healthcare industry, this course explores the implications of policy on care.
  • Quality Improvement of Interpersonal Care: With a focus on the structural components of delivering quality care, students determine the standards of quality care.


Online nursing programs prepare students for careers in general and specialty nursing. Many students also pursue certification in a specialty field after graduation, which allows them to work in unique healthcare settings. Some of the available concentrations are listed here.

  • Care Coordination: A specialization for nurses to act as a liaison between the patient and the facility. They work with the patient to explain medical conditions and explore cost-effective treatment plans.
  • Diabetes Nursing: A specialty designed for nurses to coach diabetes patients, they perform unique tests on diabetes patients and provide overall care. They also assist diabetics with medication management.
  • Nursing Informatics: This specialty goes beyond the basics of healthcare informatics and explores data management in-depth. Students create and follow models to improve the flow of information within a healthcare facility.
  • Nursing Leadership and Administration: Designed for aspiring leaders of healthcare communities, this specialty prepares nurses to manage and oversee facility operations. Students also learn to navigate the dynamics between nurses and administrators.

Employment Outlook for MSN Graduates


A master’s in nursing prepares students for a variety of careers and specialities within the nursing field. Graduates can pursue supervisory or leadership roles; specialize with a specific population, such as children or diabetics; or teach nursing courses at schools or healthcare facilities. There is also expanding opportunities for nurses to conduct research as an advanced research nurse. Nurses in this field work alongside innovative scientists to find medical breakthroughs.

Once enrolled in an MSN program, students can then select a specialty concentration that fits their personal and career interests. Some of the careers an MSN may lead to are listed below.

Nursing Supervisor

$72,480 Avg Annual Salary
BSN or MSN Degree Required

These nurses work on the floor and with administration to coordinate patient care, plan and implement changes, and manage facility operations. They oversee a team of nurses in a particular department or specialty. Nursing supervisors are required to stay current with policy changes to ensure ethical practices.

Projected Growth Rate 17%

Nurse Practitioner

$90,947 Avg Annual Salary
MSN Degree Required

Nurse practitioners are also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). They specialize in midwifery, anesthesiology, adult-care and much more. APRN’s work primarily at hospitals, clinics, and private practices to deliver care to patients. Midwives work specifically with expectant mothers to prepare for labor and delivery, while a nurse anesthetist works with doctors to deliver anesthesia.

Projected Growth Rate 31%

Research Nurse

$69,544 Avg Annual Salary
MSN Degree Required

These nurses work with clinical trials and testing. They have a vast understanding of patient care and work with a variety of patients. This career requires nurses to treat patients and evaluate medical documents, which may include research, statistics, and outcomes. Research nurses also work alongside doctors, surgeons, and scientists to assist patient recovery after clinical trials.

Projected Growth Rate 16%

Nurse Educator

$72,290 Avg Annual Salary
MSN Degree Required

Nurse educators develop and implement continuing education programs for nurses at medical facilities. They work with administrations to create programs, procedures, and reading materials that improve the quality and delivery of care, and may also enlist the help of other nurses to serve as trainers.

Projected Growth Rate 16%


The nursing field requires every employee to have a degree, licensure, and certification. Graduates interested in working in specialty fields will need to be licensed and certified in that specialty, as well. Registered nurse licenses are distributed by each state’s board of nursing. Certification varies by state and specialty, available fields include pediatrics, psychiatry, gerontology, emergency room care, and more. Nurses eligible for certification must complete an exam and pay a fee.

  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner: The American Academy of Emergency Nurse practitioners (AAENP) supervises the certification process for emergency nurse practitioners. The AAENP administers the certification exam and awards credentials to passing candidates. Nurse practitioners with these credentials work in emergency room settings as practitioners, supervisors, and educators.
  • Pediatric Clinical Nurse: The pediatric nursing certification board oversees the certification process for pediatric clinical nurses. The board administers the exam and provides credentials for those that have passed assessment. Nurses with this certification work at children’s hospitals to administer care, oversee patient outcomes, and educate other nurses.
  • Pain Management Nursing: The American Society for Pain Management nursing offers the exam and study materials via their website. The exam ensures pain management nurses are qualified to handle the various scenarios involved in pain management care. Nurses with this certification work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.


The nursing field continues to grow at a rapid pace, and nurses must stay up-to-date on research and best practices. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicates there is a 16% growth rate for registered nurses within the next decade. An RN to MSN online prepares students for real-world care and specialty careers, while providing better long-term earning potential and faster career advancement. Many administrative and research positions often require an MSN, while a master’s degree in nursing also improves a candidate’s chances of receiving certification in a specialty field. All certification programs have prerequisites that can be completed during a master’s program.


Nursing salaries depend on education-level, experience, and location. Nurses with an MSN are more likely to earn higher salaries and pursue careers in specialty fields. MSN-degree holders often work as administrators, supervisors, educators, and clinical workers. They also work alongside doctors in specialty fields such as oncology, cardiology, and pediatrics. This table displays common MSN occupations and average salaries.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20 years)
Nursing Supervisor $72,480 $64,000 $71,000 $83,000
Nurse Practitioner $90,947 $90,000 $97,000 $105,000
Clinical Research Nurse $69,744 $63,000 $70,000 $79,000
Nurse Educator $72,020 $67,000 $69,000 $80,000
Pediatric Nurse $53,966 $52,000 $59,000 $70,000

Do I Need to Take the MCAT to Enroll in an Online MSN Program?

The MCAT is the Medical College Admission Test administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The test is a requirement for students interested in attending any medical school, but it is not a requirement for MSN students. Some online MSN programs do recognize and accept MCAT scores, however, so students should check with their prospective school to find out more information. The AAMC has no academic prerequisites for the exam program, so students may sit for it regardless of their GPA or academic background. Nurses interested in pursuing their doctoral degree following the MSN program should consider taking the MCAT.

The MCAT is a standardized test in multiple-choice format that covers four sections in eight different subjects. These subjects include biology, biochemistry, physics, general and organic chemistry, psychology, sociology, and verbal reasoning. Each section consists of at least 50 questions, and takes approximately seven hours and thirty minutes to complete. Typically, students take the exam one year before applying for a medical program. The AAMC recommends at least 3-6 hours of study per day for six months prior to taking the exam.

While MSN programs do not require the MCAT for admission, they do have other prerequisites, such as a BSN and a valid nursing license.

Accreditation for Online MSN Degrees

Regional and national accreditation are the two main forms of accreditation for U.S. universities and colleges. Regional accreditation is the most recognized and prestigious form of accreditation, and students from these institutions can easily transfer credits and receive nationally recognized credentials. The U.S. has six agencies designed to oversee regional accreditation.

National accreditation is reserved for trade and vocational schools. These schools are reviewed every three years by their respective accreditation agencies, but degrees and credit hours from these schools may not be widely recognized or accepted by other institutions. The most affordable online MSN programs may be nationally accredited but they may not hold the prestige of a regionally accredited program.

Specialized accreditation is another form of accreditation reserved for individual programs that focus within schools. Many nursing programs receive accreditation from the American Nurses Association, Nurses on Boards Coalition, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Financing Your Online MSN Program

Students interested in pursuing a MSN degree have various options to finance their education. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for federal loans, grants, or scholarships, and requires students to submit information about their residency, citizenship status, and income. Students can also receive educational reimbursement from their employers or seek external scholarships and loans from private foundations.

MSN Scholarships

A.T Anderson Memorial Scholarship $1,000-2,000

This degree is available to graduate and undergraduate students in the medical sciences. Undergraduates receive $1,000 and graduate students receive $2,000

Scholarship Deadline: May 1
Eligibility Requirements: Students must have American Indian or Alaskan Native American ancestry. Students should have a GPA of at least 3.0 and be currently enrolled in a science related program. Students must also have proof of ancestry through tribal membership.

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Alice Newell Joslyn Medical Fund $500-2,000

This scholarship is awarded by the BECA foundation.

Scholarship Deadline: March 2
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be an undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled in school. They must also be of latino descent and live in the San Diego area. There is a 2.5 GPA requirement.

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Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship $2500-3500

This scholarship is for Kansas residents enrolled in LPN and RN programs.

Scholarship Deadline: May 1
Eligibility Requirements: Reserved for undergraduate and graduate students. Students must be currently enrolled in a nursing program with at least 12 credit hours.

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Exceptional College Scholarships $250

This scholarship is awarded by, a resource website for nurses.

Scholarship Deadline: June 1
Eligibility Requirements:

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Colonial Dames Indian Nurse Scholarship $500-1500

This scholarship was created in 1928 to help students of Native American ancestry pursue higher education.

Scholarship Deadline: June 1, December 1
Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is intended for students with Indian or Eskimo ancestry. Students must be in good academic standing.

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