Should I Pursue an MSN or FNP degree?

From 2020 to 2030, the demand for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) is expected to grow an incredible 52 percent, with nearly 115,000 positions being added to the field. As one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions, it’s clear that now is the best time to obtain a master’s degree in nursing. The question is, which specific degree is right for you? There are several advanced nursing programs that can provide you with the specialized knowledge, skill level, experience, and qualifications needed to become a nurse practitioner. The best path for you will depend on your professional goals and areas of interest.

Two predominant pathways for advancing nurses are a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) degree. Both of these programs are offered at the master’s level and can provide you with the advanced skills needed to become more autonomous in your nursing career.

Although FNP and MSN degrees are very similar, the curriculum and career outcomes can vary. Having a better understanding of these differences and similarities will help you decide what degree aligns best with your career goals.

MSN vs. FNP Curriculum Topics

To begin understanding the real difference between the MSN vs. FNP, you must understand what each program entails. An MSN degree is the standard master’s level nursing award, designed for those looking to enhance their nursing careers. An FNP program is more specialized in nature, in that it prepares nurses to become nurse practitioners and work in primary care settings.

Both MSN and FNP curriculums include classes in advanced nursing practice. These topics include pharmacology, pathophysiology, as well as physical assessments, and nursing research. However, the curriculum of these two degrees does vary. In an FNP curriculum, you should expect more focused courses in how to provide advanced clinical care to families. At Goodwin University, the FNP program curriculumincludes classes that focus on every part of the human lifespan. These classes are broken up into three separate courses that teach about primary care for adults, pediatric and women’s health, and even complex clients. This allows nurses to gain the knowledge needed to work in family practice effectively.

The MSN curriculum offered at Goodwin University, meanwhile, offers a more wide-ranging curriculum than the FNP. These MSN courses focus more on general leadership topics as well as population health as it relates to nursing. Students learn how to lead nursing departments, communicate with larger medical teams, create policies, plan budgets, manage resources, and advocate for a higher quality healthcare system.

Despite the differences, both the FNP and MSN curriculum offer exciting and informative classes that can take you to the next level in your nursing career.

MSN vs. FNP Career Outcomes

In addition to high-value coursework, both the FNP and MSN degree paths offer a variety of rewarding career options post-graduation. The job outcomes for either degree are both highly paid and in high demand. However, the specific career outcome you desire can help you decide which degree is right for you.

With your FNP degree, you can work in a variety of clinical settings that include hospitals, private practices, hospice centers, school clinics, home healthcare, outpatient clinics, and community health centers. After becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner, you can expect to create treatment plans for patients facing both acute and chronic ailments. FNPs are often the primary care provider for their patients and work with a wide range of individuals from infants to the elderly. Family Nurse Practitioners can also work as nursing educators, in academia and administrative roles. Those interested in being a primary care provider for a variety of age groups may find that earning an FNP degree is the best possible path.

With your MSN degree, you will also have many job opportunities to choose from. The advanced skills you acquire through earning this degree will prepare you to take on higher-level leadership roles in nursing. For example, you will be prepared to work as a nurse manager, administrator, or even population health director. In these types of roles, you will have the opportunity to oversee healthcare campaigns, nursing departments, and medical teams. Working as a nurse educator is also a great career path for those looking to help other nurses grow.

So, which degree is right for you? With your specific career goals in mind, you can decide whether the FNP or MSN degree pathway aligns most with your future. Ask yourself whether you wish to take on a managerial role in nursing, developing policies and ensuring quality healthcare systems? Or, do you wish to work directly with patients, providing patient care as an APRN? All of these careers are financially rewarding, emotionally fulfilling, and will enable you to make an impact in the greater healthcare field.

No matter what degree you decide to pursue, an FNP or MSN, your first step is to find a highly reputable university to begin your journey. Goodwin University offers both accredited FNP and MSN programs. The flexibility of Goodwin University’s online classes will allow you to earn either degree at your pace and according to your schedule. With incredible financial aid options, anyone can earn a degree that will take their career to the next level. So why wait? Earning an FNP or MSN degree will allow you to advance your career and set you up for a highly successful future in nursing.

If you are ready to start your exciting journey to gain your Master of Science in Nursing or Family Nurse Practitioner degree, reach out to Goodwin University today! For more information call 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online.