RN-to-MSN Nursing Degree

RN-to-MSN degree programs are specifically designed for registered nurses who already hold either Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees, and who want to earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. RNs with an ASN who complete an MSN program are awarded with both an MSN and a BSN simultaneously. RNs with a BSN can typically apply credit hours from their BSN program toward their master's degree, allowing them to complete the program much more quickly. Many schools also offer joint degree programs, allowing nurses to earn a master's degree in nursing as well as a master's degree in hospital administration, public health, or business administration.

Nurses in MSN programs can also choose an area to specialize in, such as:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Researcher
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Executive/Administrator
  • Nurse Educator
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Clinical Nurse Midwife

Not all schools offer joint degree programs or areas of specialization. Before committing to any program, make sure it offers you the training and credentials that you're looking for.

RN-to-MSN Programs for RNs with Associate's Degrees
RN-to-MSN programs are streamlined, rapid educational tracks for moving from an associate's degree to a master's degree. Students do not skip the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) material, of course. Students must first earn a BSN while working towards the MSN. The RN-to-MSN program is the quickest way to do this.

Earning a BSN within this program involves taking the many liberal arts core classes required by most bachelor degree programs. Students of traditional BSN programs are required to complete about 60 credit hours of these core classes, in addition to the 60 required credits of nursing classes. RN-to-MSN programs, however, allow RNs to apply credit earned from their associate's degree, and from their on-the-job experience, to the bachelor's degree.

RN-to-MSN programs are often called "bridge" programs. They incorporate many of the more advanced BSN courses into the MSN coursework. This has the effect of lowering the number of required credits for both the BSN and the MSN.

RNs who hold an associate's degree can usually complete an RN-to-MSN program in 3 years.

RN-to-MSN Programs for RNs with Associate's Degrees
For RNs who already hold a BSN, the process of completing an RN-to-MSN program takes less time than described above. Because they already completed their BSN program, these RNs can apply more credit from their previous education towards their master's degree, greatly reducing the number of required credits and courses.

RNs who hold a BSN can typically complete an RN-to-MSN program in 2 years.

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