RN to MSN degree programs are designed to enable registered nurses with an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. During the program, RNs with an ASN will be able to complete their BSN and MSN simultaneously. RNs entering the program with a BSN will be able to apply their previously earned credit toward their MSN degree. In addition, nurses can choose to earn dual degrees in business administration, hospital administration, or public health, or choose an area of specialization.
Specializations offered by RN to MSN degree programs include:
- Certified Nurse-Midwife
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Researcher
- Nurse Educator
- Nurse Executive/Administrator
If you’re interested in pursuing a dual MSN degree or nursing specialization you’ll want to check to make sure your school provides these programs.
RN to MSN with an Associate’s Degree
If you’re an RN who has an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN or ASN), there is no direct track to earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). You’ll still need to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) while progressing toward your MSN. The nice thing about the RN to MSN program, however, is that it bridges the gap between the ADN and MSN by streamlining the process and helping you earn your MSN as quickly as possible.
Within the RN to MSN, the RN to BSN step includes many of the core liberal arts classes found in any general bachelor’s degree program, as well as basic courses in nursing science and patient care. In a conventional RN to BSN program students are required to complete about 60 credits in general liberal arts classes and the same number in nursing. However, in the RN to BSN step, the nursing credits are offset by the associate degree and prior work experience as an RN.
An RN to MSN program, often referred to as a “Bridge” program, usually incorporates upper division BSN courses into the MSN curriculum. This lowers the credit obligation for an RN to MSN program that requires completion of both the BSN and MSN degrees.
An RN to MSN program for registered nurses with an associate’s degree typically takes 3 years to complete.
RN to MSN with an Associates Degree
The RN to MSN program for registered nurses with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree is very similar to the RN to MSN program for nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN or ASN), with some obvious differences.
The biggest difference between earning an MSN degree from the position of having an bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) versus an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is the time required to complete the program. Registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees are able to apply more of their previous education towards the credit obligation of an MSN degree. Specifically, they are required to complete many of the core liberal arts courses required of an MSN, as they already completed these courses during the process of earning their BSN. In addition, nurses with a BSN are able to transfer more of their BSN nursing credits toward their MSN degree.
The typical takes about 2 years to complete an RN to MSN program if you already have your BSN.
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