Whether you hold a baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing, an associate’s in nursing or already have a master’s degree, you have several options when it comes to graduate study in the field of nursing. This article will outline every path you can take to a graduate degree in nursing.
What Are the Options for Master’s Level Study in Nursing?
If you hold a bachelor’s degree in any academic field, you can enter a master’s program in nursing. You can also earn a nursing master’s degree if you already hold a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) degree. Your options for master’s level study in nursing include:
Entry-Level Master’s Degree: This degree program is for people who have bachelor’s degrees in fields other than nursing. This degree program can usually be completed in two to three years of full-time study.
RN to Master’s: An RN to Master’s degree program is for nurses who have an associate’s degree. Even though many of these programs take place in brick and mortar classrooms, more and more schools are offering online or blended academic environments. Many students complete this program in two to three years of full-time study.
Baccalaureate to Master’s: Students who follow this academic path usually have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program involves building on the core work done in baccalaureate nursing studies and can be completed in 18 to 24 months of full time study.
Dual Master’s Programs: Apply to this type of program if you want to do work in a related field of study. Some available dual master’s programs include:
- Business (MSN/MBA)
- Health Administration (MSN/MHA)
- Public Administration (MSN/MPA)
- Public Health (MSN/MPH)
Post Master’s Certificate: For those nurses who want to strengthen their skills in some of the following areas:
- Nursing Education
- Specialty Practice
Are There Opportunities for Doctoral Work in Nursing?
There are several opportunities for academic work beyond a master’s degree. Consider doctoral work if you wish to pursue leadership positions, faculty appointments and specialist positions. Pursue a PhD or DNS (Doctor of Nursing Science) if you want to do research. A DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) works for those who want advanced specialist positions.
What is Work in a Nursing PhD Program Like?
PhD work qualifies you to do research in nursing and other related fields. Many of these fields include the sciences. Once you get a PhD in nursing, you will be able to train future nurses as well as collaborate with other scientists to discover the next innovations in the field of nursing.
Post-doctoral programs take your PhD work even further by turning you into a researcher capable of cutting edge, independent research that changes clinical practice for the better. Students in post-doctoral programs are expected to go even further in their scientific work, so you should only pursue this path if you have evidence of excelling in the sciences.
No matter where you started from, you have a few avenues available to you when it comes to graduate study in nursing. Choose the path that is the most satisfying to you.