how long does it take to get a masters in nursing

How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s in Nursing (MSN)?

Gaining a master’s degree in Nursing (MSN) should be an enriching, immersive, and skill-expanding experience. What qualities should you look for in an MSN program that make it stand out from the rest? Besides learning about the curriculum and format of learning (online or hybrid vs. in-person), you should ask questions like, “What will an MSN do for my career?” and, “How long does it take to get an MSN degree?” Before making a significant time and financial investment, ensure that you have all your important questions answered.

How Long Does it Take to Get an MSN?

The length of MSN programs can vary, depending on the school, the format, and the degree specialization.

Some MSN programs, for example, are full-time. Some are part-time, enabling students to continue working their careers while advancing their nursing education.

Some nursing schools ask that students take superfluous classes that don’t apply directly to their area of study. Other schools respect student time, and only ask them to take the courses that matter.

While programs can range in length from months to years, not many can say that you can complete your MSN degree fully online, while studying part-time, in as few as 20 months!

Goodwin University’s Master’s in Nursing is a flexible, 30-credit program that covers important core classes, like Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Physical Assessment, all for Advanced Nursing Practice. These classes educate students about illness, symptomology, pharmaceutical treatment, diagnoses, and health across the lifespan. Research and theory-based classes such as Seminar in Nursing Research, and Theoretical Basis for Advanced Nursing Practice and Leadership, imbue the next generation of nurses with best practices and leadership lessons. Goodwin University’s MSN also emphasizes public health. Courses including Policy, Politics, and Organization of Healthcare as well as Theoretical Foundations of Population Health set students up to achieve during their Capstone, which must be a self-directed project in which the student applies clinical nursing to a population health issue or issues.

Fitting 30 total credits into a part-time and online MSN program means that students benefit in these ways:

  • Continue working full-time while studying!
  • Study and attend class around your existing schedule.
  • Work remotely, from locations that are most convenient for you.
  • Improve your work/life balance, while developing professionally.
  • Never be surprised by tuition costs.

Less Than Two Years to an Advanced Nursing Career

Many people don’t realize the variety of positions that are available to MSN graduates, though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a glimpse of the options. After a 20-month-long MSN degree program, many students use their education in careers that are patient-facing and decide to become Nurse Practitioners or Clinical Nurse Specialists. In these roles, nurses can make $123,780 annually, on average.

Other MSN graduates prefer to enter academia as Nurse Educators, a role that takes home, on average, $82,040 annually. Research and policy are other areas that might interest advanced practice nurses, who may become Clinical Research Nurses or Public Health Nurses. Medical scientists, while more advanced than research nurses in terms of degree achieved (usually a Ph.D.), make $95,310 annually, which serves as a gauge for the approximate pay that a nurse in the research field could achieve.

Healthcare management is often overlooked, though it shouldn’t be, because nurse leaders can make an excellent salary as Nurse Administrators or Informatics Nurse Specialists! Such medical health services managers can achieve $101,340 annually.

As you can see, many specialties arise from an MSN program. For nursing degrees that are tailored for a specific career path, we recommend looking into Goodwin University’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program, and our Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program. Besides the different populations each discipline addresses, what are the other major differences between these two programs and the MSN program length?

  • The PMHNP program asks for a greater time investment than the MSN program at Goodwin University. This is because it is a highly specialized, clinical career path. At 50 credits, it takes up to seven semesters to complete the PMHNP master’s degree, while studying part-time. Almost all courses are offered online, though there are two required on-campus weekends, and of course, clinical practice is part of the curriculum.
  • The FNP program requires 600 clinical hours, plus two immersion weekends in-person. Along with this study, the rest of Goodwin University’s 47-credit FNP program can be completed online. You can earn your FNP master’s degree in as few as 27 months, while studying year-round.

Pursuing an MSN Degree

Getting started on your MSN application is easier than you might think! You will need an RN license, a transcript from your bachelor’s degree program, an in-depth personal statement that outlines your nursing career goals, and a successful interview. Other MSN application requirements include a professional resume, immunization proof, and an application fee.

In an article from the International Journal of Nursing Sciences, authors Parker and Hill indicate that there is significant evidence to prove that advanced practice nurses around the world contribute to: significantly improving patient care and outcomes, lowering hospitalization and readmission rates, and thereby lowering costs.

For the time spent in graduate school, like Goodwin University’s MSN, FNP, or PMHNP programs, we think the payoff to your community and human health wellness is a fantastic contribution! Consider this cost-effective option by contacting Goodwin at 800-889-3282, or visiting us online for more details.