It’s possible to have a fulfilling career as a nurse without your master’s degree, but earning one can set you up for an extra career boost and help you get where you want to go. With the ability to work as a nurse with no more than your RN license, many nurses decide to step away from school and commit to nursing full time.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need your MSN in order to land the job you want, it can still be incredibly helpful to your career. In fact, here are just a few ways that a master’s degree can boost your career whether you plan on advancing or not!
1. Better Pay
Nurses make a pretty good salary already, but adding a master’s degree to your education background can lead to a higher annual salary than your coworkers who only have their bachelor’s. Nurse practitioners, for example, earn over $113,000 annually with an MSN while registered nurses without an MSN earn around $90,000 annually.
There are many other factors that may come into play when determining your salary, but your education is certainly one that should not be overlooked. If you really want to increase your chances of a higher salary, earning your MSN is a good place to start.
2. More Career Opportunities
Some nursing positions require you to hold a master’s degree. If you don’t, then you’ll have more limitations on the type of work you can do and what positions you can hold. Even if you have several years of experience, some medical facilities will only hire nurses with a master’s degree for certain work.
Many of the common nursing careers require a master’s degree anyway. If you want to be a director of nursing, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, or travel nurse you’ll need a master’s degree. Some specialized careers such as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will require you to earn your doctorate, which means you’ll first need to get your master’s.
3. Allow You to Specialize
Some nurses really love a particular field of healthcare while others enjoy a variety of tasks. If you have a particular specialty in mind or you know you enjoy the work, earning your master’s degree will allow you to specialize and deepen your knowledge of a certain medical aspect and provide better care.
When you complete a master’s degree, you can choose a specialty that you’re exceptionally passionate about and have more direct control over your work. If you aren’t particularly fond of operations, you can steer your studies in a different direction and towards pediatrics or another area of interest.
4. Improved Care
Master’s degrees are designed to help nurses provide better care for their patients no matter where they work in healthcare. Whether you specialize in trauma, geriatrics, or somewhere else, the care you provide your patients will be greatly improved as you expand your knowledge with an MSN.
Master’s students learn patient care tricks that are unique to their specialty and will help them ensure that their patients receive the best care possible. You’ll master new skills, learn helpful techniques, and deepen your understanding of the medical world. All of that combined will not only improve your personal patient care, but reassure patients that they’re in good hands.
5. Leadership Opportunities
With a master’s degree in hand, you’ll qualify for leadership opportunities that arise during your career. Whether there’s an opening for a nurse manager or a position on the hospital board, simply having an MSN on your record will make you qualified to take on the role.
In a leadership position, you’ll have the opportunity to improve healthcare practices and organize your team. You can make a difference in the lives of not only patients but also the nurses and staff that work under you.
6. Better Working Hours and Conditions
As you work your way up, you’ll notice that having an MSN will allow you to apply for better positions that have better working hours. Whether this means you get to schedule your own hours for the week or you work the same hours every week, having a master’s can put you in the perfect position to improve your schedule and arrange it how you want.
Master’s degrees often lead to leadership opportunities and specialized work. You can choose to work in a private practice and have set hours every week, or take a managerial position at a public hospital and still benefit from a routine schedule.
7. Scholarship Options
There are a lot of nursing scholarships available out there for master’s students. The US government, healthcare corporations, and private donors alike are all eager to provide future nurses with the money they need to complete their education.
Whether you decide to go directly into a master’s program after you complete your BSN, or you decide to wait a few years beforehand, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities that are available for MSN students. It won’t take much work to find one that you qualify for.
8. Mentorship Ability
Many young nurses sign up to join a mentorship. As nursing is a very fast-paced and often overwhelming career, having a mentor to guide and support young nurses will help them in the career. When you earn your MSN, you can become a mentor and work to help your mentees navigate the world of nursing.
As a mentor, you can share the knowledge you earn during your MSN program with nurses who may have just received their license or have limited experience. You can continue doing the work you love, but also work to guide new nurses so that one day, they can help mentor new nurses too.
Give Your Career the Boost it Needs
As a nurse, you’ll work hard to help your patients and provide top-quality care while they’re with you. While you may be able to do this without an MSN, your caregiving abilities and career advancement opportunities will greatly improve if you take the time to study for and earn your master’s degree. With online, hybrid, and on-campus degree programs available in every state, it’s only a question of where you’ll choose to go.