Types Of Masters Degrees In Nursing

Types Of Masters Degrees In Nursing

If you are interested in a career that is well known for helping people and making a difference in the lives of others, obtaining your master’s degree in nursing is a great place to start. There are many different areas of nursing that you can obtain a master’s degree in that will give you access to the most sought-after jobs and extremely meaningful careers. The looming nursing shortage also means that the master’s degree outlook for finding a job is really good.

Types of Master’s Degrees in Nursing

There are many different types of master’s degrees you can earn. Choose the best option to help you get to the career goal you are looking forward to. 

It is also very important to pick the type of degree that will best fit your current education and job history. Most of the associate’s programs for being a nurse take about two years to complete, but that highly depends on how much time each student spends taking each of their classes and how far spread apart they are. Taking part-time or self-paced online courses could drag a two-year nursing program out to four years and in some cases even more.

Some nursing school programs allow you to go directly from an associate’s degree to a master’s. If you are starting a master’s program without first getting your bachelor’s in the nursing field, you have to complete both degrees at once to complete the education required to earn your master’s degree.


The Four Different Types of Master’s Degrees in Nursing


  • BSN-to-MSN- Bachelors in Science of Nursing to Masters in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN- Registered Nurse to Masters in Nursing
  • ADN-to-MSN– Associate’s Degree to Masters in Nursing
  • ASN-to-MSN-  associates science in nursing to Masters in Nursing


From these four main types, you can then also work on a dual Masters Degree (Earning a Masters Certificates in two different areas of Nursing)


  • MSN/MBA- Masters in the Science of Nursing and Masters in Business Administrations
  • MSN/MPH – Masters in the Science of Nursing and Masters in Public Health
  • MSN/MHA- Masters in the Science of Nursing and Master in Health Administrations
  • MSN/MPA- Masters in the Science of Nursing and Masters of Public Administrations


Specializations for a Master’s Degree in Nursing

Once you have completed the necessary college credits to apply to an MSN degree program, you can choose a specialization or specific field of nursing you would like to go into. Each of these nurse education degrees will give you more knowledge about every aspect of a more detailed and specific area, making you more valuable to your work environment.


There are many specializations you can choose from when you are taking a master’s in nursing program. Here are five of the more popular types of clinical nursing degrees you may want to consider.

1. Gerontology

A master’s degree in gerontology prepares you for working with the elderly population and their families to provide the best care possible, helping and supporting them as they live the best life they can, no matter their limitations.


A Top Rated School with a Masters in Gerontology is the University of South Carolina:


This school is well known for the master’s program in gerontology, preparing students with the best curriculum to provide the proper education in working with and treating the elderly population and helping their families learn how to cope with everyday challenges.


What Should You Expect from This Program?


  • The framework helps students understand human development and the aging adult.
  • Science and biology help students better understand the longevity of the lives of their aging patients.
  • Psychological theories help students understand stability and adaptation to the changes in the body and mind of aging.
  • Science and social theories help students understand the context of aging along with the heterogeneity of aging.
  • Students use critical thinking and research to distinguish all factors that relate to aging and its outcomes.
  • Each student will learn how to use the strengths and positives from each elderly patient to help aid in their weaknesses, physically and mentally.
  • You will learn how to offer a positive social environment for every elderly patient while promoting quality of life.
  • The student will learn how to use the community and its resources to help generate a positive outlook on aging patients.
  • Students will learn how to determine and accurately treat specific patient needs.
  • Each student will work through research to learn from the past and present treatments to help improve each individual’s needs.


Program Information:

Length of Program: 2 years (full-time students) 4 years (part-time students)

Type of Program: Fully Remote

Tuition: $29,630.00 per semester

2. Nurse Anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist is a nurse trained to administer anesthetics to a patient during any procedure or surgery. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist, you will be required to care for the patient before, during, and after administering the anesthesia.


A Top-rated School With a Masters’s Degree in Nurse Anesthetist is Columbia School of Nursing.


This program at Columbia is one of the top-rated nursing degree programs in the nation for a master’s in nurse anesthesia. It offers a full on-campus program that includes a clinical anesthesia residency. This nursing degree program gives every student the right amount of education and experience needed to practice in this field safely and professionally.


Classes You Will Take in this Course:


  • Advanced Clinical Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan
  • Anesthesia and Coexisting Disease
  • Health and Social Policy in the Context of Practice
  • Incorporating Genetics and Genomics in Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • Nurse Anesthesia Advanced Airway Lab
  • Nurse Anesthesia Residency 
  • Pharmacology for Anesthesia and Critical Care
  • Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia
  • Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia: Lab
  • Professional Role of the Nurse Anesthetist 
  • Regional Anesthesia: Theories and Techniques
  • Regional Anesthesia: Theories and Techniques
  • Nurse Anesthesia Practice 


Program Information:

Program Length: 27 Months

Type of Program: On-campus

Tuition: $39,086 per semester


3. Midwifery

A midwifery master’s degree certifies a person to become a professional practicing midwife. This nursing specialty involves much of the same information as someone may learn when becoming an obstetrician, but the approach and scope are different as it is a nursing specialty. You will learn to support mothers throughout pregnancy and childbirth as well as after-care.


A top-rated school for a Master’s Degree in Midwifery is Bastyr University (online and on-campus courses).


Bastyr University offers multiple locations for online and on-campus programs, giving students easy, flexible ways to earn their degree successfully. Bastyr is well known for its midwifery program and the success rate for the students who attend their school.


What You Learn Throughout This Course:

  • The education and knowledge needed to treat and care for healthy pregnant women throughout the entirety of their pregnancy and during labor and delivery
  • How to coach mom throughout all aspects of childbirth and prepare for postpartum complications such as depression, pain, and vitamin deficiencies
  • How to accurately address issues that may need to be referred out to other providers or specialty physicians and collaborate with them as a team to provide a plan of action for the patient’s care
  • The ability to use ethical and legal practices while dealing with the care of their patients
  • To create a positive and friendly environment while maintaining a professional position
  • How to prepare for all types of unexpected situations during childbirth
  • How to be open and understanding with all of the soon-to-be mother’s wishes.


Program information:

Length of program- 3-Years

tuition: $35,000

Program type: on-campus and online

4. Family Nurse Practitioner

A family nurse practitioner works in a similar role as a general practitioner. In their clinical practice, they are responsible for seeing patients, diagnosing illness and injuries, treating, referring patients to specialists, prescribing medications, keeping patient charts, etc. To work in this role, you have to be patient, understanding, and able to work under pressure.


A Top School to Earn a Master’s Degree in Family Nurse Practitioner University of Pennsylvania (Penn Nursing).


The University of Pennsylvania offers an elaborate course for a master’s degree in family nurse practitioner. This master’s program gives you all of the basic information needed to act as a nurse practitioner in a family doctor’s office setting. You are required to understand and treat basic illness, concerns, and preventative diseases.


Classes You Will Take in this Program:


  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics of Nursing Practice
  • Professional Role Issues for Nurse Practitioners
  • Advanced Physical Assessment and Clinical Decision Making
  • Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice
  • Introduction to Research Methods and Design
  • Family and Organizational Systems Across the Lifespan
  • Clinical Management of Primary Care with Young Families
  • Family-Focused Primary Care of the Middle-Aged and Older Adult
  • Advanced Concepts in Primary Care


Length: 2 years full-time 4 years part-time

Tuition: $78,890

Type of program: On-campus

5. Public Health Nurse

A public health nurse is tasked with promoting information and wellness education to the communities they work with. Their role includes identifying and learning about infectious diseases and how they spread and then informing the public regarding this information.


You must have a high level of nursing leadership skill and the ability to take control of a situation at any given time.


A School that Offers a Great Masters Degree in Public Health Nursing is Walden University.


Walden University is ranked #1 for its master’s degree in public health nursing. This school believes its MSN students should leave the program with all the knowledge needed to be at the forefront of public health in their clinical practice. With this collegiate nursing education, you will learn how to transition from working in one-on-one settings with patients to working directly with whole communities regarding their health and safety.


Courses You Will Take in This Program:

  • Transition to Graduate Study for Nursing
  • Public Health Policy, Politics, and Progress
  • Transforming Nursing and Healthcare through Technology
  • Essentials of Evidence-Based Practice
  • Interprofessional Organizational and Systems Leadership
  • Environmental Health: Local to Global
  • Epidemiology and Population Health
  • Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Public Health Nursing Theory and Practice
  • Population-Based Public Health Nursing Interventions
  • Public Health Leadership Nursing


Program information:

Length of program: 79 courses (flexible schedules makes student choose when they finish)

Tuition: $24,810

Type of Program: Online and on campus

Career Paths for Someone With a Master’s Degree in Nursing

There are many fields available to those who have a master’s degree in nursing, all of which are very rewarding in their own way, depending on the career you look forward to working in. Here is a list of career paths you can choose from after you obtain your master’s degree:


  1. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse: A psychiatric mental health nurse accesses, diagnoses, and treats patients with mental health issues. They provide patient care to those who suffer from conditions such as but not limited to depression, anxiety, dementia, and insomnia. 

The average pay rate for a psychiatric mental health nurse is $131,000 annually.

  1. Physician’s Office Nurse Practitioner: A physician’s office nurse practitioner is usually positioned in a primary care doctor’s office, helping to see and care for patients that come in daily. They are tasked with accessing, diagnosing, and treating patients suffering from illnesses or injuries.

The average pay rate for a physician’s office nurse practitioner is $118,800 annually.

  1. Nurse Case Manager: A Nurse Case Manager is tasked with providing care for their patients while also keeping their financial situations in mind. You will assess each patient and come up with a plan of action for their needs, reevaluating their situations from time to time.

The average pay rate for a nurse case manager is $85,000 annually.

  1. Nursing Informatics Specialist: A nursing informatics specialist works much closer on the end of patient information and system technology in the healthcare field. These nurses are tasked with data entry and information processing, compiling a patient’s chart and treatment plans into electronic charts for the doctors to easily access the information.

The average pay rate for a nurse informatics specialist is $93,000 annually.

  1. School Nurse: A school nurse is tasked with assessing and temporarily treating students in a school setting for any illness or injury that occurs while they are on the school premises. It is a school nurse’s job to keep the patient under medical care until they can be transferred to another doctor or the hospital or treat simple issues on site.

The average pay rate for a school nurse is $48,500 annually.

  1. Legal Consultancy Nurse: A legal consultancy nurse is tasked with providing legal health advice to attorneys or court systems regarding injury or illness that may have something to do with legal concerts.

The average pay rate for a legal consultancy nurse is $82,333 annually.

  1. Research Nurse: A research nurse is tasked with studying and researching information to help improve or create new forms of medical treatment to help patients with all types of illnesses and injuries.

The average pay rate for a research nurse is $82,708 annually.

  1. Diabetes Management Nurse: A diabetes management nurse is specifically tasked with diagnosing, treating, and maintaining a diabetic’s medical regiment, keeping their blood sugar level even and the patient stable.

The average pay rate for a diabetes management nurse is $91,197 annually.

  1. Cruise Ship Nurse: A cruise ship nurse works on cruise ships taking care of all illnesses and injuries that can occur while on the water.

The average pay rate for a cruise ship nurse is $76,000.

  1. Parish Nurse: A parish nurse is someone who provides health care practices that revolve around holistic health and spiritual principles.

The average pay rate for a parish nurse is $15,000 annually.

  1. Staff Nurse: A staff nurse is a nurse who normally works in a home health care setting or on a med-surg floor in a hospital. They are responsible for treating patients and monitoring their health on an ongoing basis throughout their stay. 

The average pay rate for a staff nurse is $85,610 annually.

  1. Prison Nurse: The prison nurse is tasked with taking care of the inmates and law enforcement in a prison system. It is the job of the prison nurse to make sure the proper treatment and follow-up care is done properly and efficiently. 

The average pay rate for a prison nurse is $63,263 annually.

  1. Occupational Health Nurse: An occupational health nurse is a professional nurse who takes care of everyone in the workplace and community.

The average pay rate for an occupational health nurse is $73,918 annually.

  1. Pediatric Nurse: A pediatric nurse is tasked with caring for accessing, diagnosing, and treating pediatric patients, and communicating professionally with their caretakers.

The average pay rate for a pediatric nurse is $88,850 annually.

  1. Pharmaceutical Nurse: A pharmaceutical nurse works with doctors and pharmacists to help administer and do research through clinical trials with different medications and pharmaceutical products.

The average pay rate for a pharmaceutical nurse is $92,519 annually. 

  1. Public Health Nurse: A public health nurse is someone who informs the public of illnesses and diseases that are communicable and helps to educate the community on how to properly protect themselves.

The average pay rate for a public health nurse is $71,622 annually.

  1. Home Health Nurse: The responsibility of the home health nurse is to go to their patient’s home to evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage all of their patients’ needs without being in a healthcare facility.

The average pay rate for a home health nurse is $87,906 annually.

  1. Hospice Nurse: A hospice nurse is responsible for caring for end-of-life patients who are facing their mortality. It is their responsibility to not only treat each patient but help them and their family through such a tough time.

The average pay rate for a hospice nurse is $83,144 annually.

  1. Surgical Nurse: A surgical nurse works alongside the surgeon during a procedure. They are tasked with providing the surgeon with all the right tools and instruments needed to perform each task as well as taking care of the patient during the surgery.

The average pay rate for a surgical nurse $82,317 annually.

  1. Critical Care Nurse: A critical care nurse is a nurse who works with critically ill or injured patients, usually in emergencies. Having to think quickly and treat patients within a short period.

The average pay rate for a critical care nurse is $83,822 annually.

How to Choose the Right Master’s Degree for Your Nursing Career

When you decide that you want to move up in your career and enhance your nursing experience, it is important to find the perfect degree program to suit you and your current lifestyle. 

How to Take Your Master’s Program Classes

These days, online classes are almost a guarantee, no matter what program you have chosen to take. Make sure when you choose a college that they offer classes that will fit your schedule. Online courses can be different depending on what schools you attend. Some offer more flexible and personal ways of learning, taking the classes and turning assignments in once they are completed. Other schools offer online classes that are taught through a live feed where you have to be present for every lesson and all assignments have specific due dates and times.


If you choose an in-person school, you have a few options there, too. If you are unable to attend full time there are part-time programs that will take longer to complete but also work around you and your current career schedule. There are also opportunities for weekend and night classes that will help you keep up, finish your program on time, without disrupting your life.


Finally, there is the hybrid option. This seems to be the most popular way to attend any college courses these days, taking some of your classes from the comfort of your own home and the rest of on campus and in the classroom.


Each one of these options is a great way to get your master’s degree in your own time in your own way.

Get a Degree in an Area You are Interested in

It is really hard to get through all of your classes when you are not interested in the subject you are learning about. When obtaining your master’s in nursing, find a specialization that will keep you interested in learning, challenge you, and make you feel fulfilled. 


Many people who didn’t complete their master’s program quit because they were bored with the classes and didn’t want to continue going through the program.

Compare and Contrast

Find a few different areas and do a compare and contrast system to break down the topics you are interested in learning in. Consider all of the information that can help you decide what you would like to spend your future doing. 


    • Look into the time of program completion. Each school has a set curriculum and a certain time frame for completion of the program. There are many different paths to take when looking to obtain your master’s degree, so find one that works with your schedule.
    • Cost of tuition and supplies. The cost of each college credit will differ depending on which school you choose to go to. Find a school that fits into your budget while still giving you a great education.
    • Look for job availability in your area for all of your interests. Find a specialized area of interest when obtaining your nursing degree. Look to see how many jobs are available in your location and the outlook for the need for that specific job.


  • Look into the average annual salary in all of your interest areas. Find a job that will offer you a great wage and salary. Some states pay better in different areas than others. 


Top 10 Schools that offer Online Masters Degree in Nursing

Here is a list of 10 of the highest-rated online schools that are currently offering Master Degrees in Nursing. 


  1. University of Alabama– OnlineMSN Program
  2. University of Arkansas – Online MSN Program
  3. Indiana State University– Online MSN in Health Education
  4. University of Missouri– Online MSN
  5. Cedarville University– Online MSN in Health Administrations
  6. University of Louisiana- Online Lafayette-Online MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner
  7. Queens University of Charlotte-Online MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader
  8. Northwestern State University of Louisiana– Online MSN- Nurse Educator/Nurse Administrator
  9. Georgia College and State University– online MSN- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
  10. University of Kansas– Online MSN


Holding a master’s degree in any area of the nursing field is a reputable and rewarding education that will help you land a job that helps people and entire communities. Finding the right college for you can be a difficult task, so make sure you do your homework and look through each school and all of the details until you find one that will best fit your life.


There are so many options out there to earn a college education while you still manage your day-to-day routines, so don’t jump into a program unless you know it is the one for you. 

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