The demand for well-educated, dedicated nurse practitioners is rapidly climbing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job openings for nurse practitioners to increase by 31 percent between 2014 and 2024. As the baby-boom generation ages, now more than ever, nurse practitioners with the knowledge and skills to function autonomously and as leaders are critical to patient care—and to healthcare as a whole.
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) helps nursing professionals advance their careers and achieve professional goals from both a financial and personal perspective. Research indicates that nurse practitioners enjoy high job satisfaction, based on work environment, work-life balance, and workload, among other factors. Also, graduates often see a strong return on their investment in an MSN, according to Salary.com findings that RNs who pursue an MSN can receive a $25,000 salary increase.
What can you do with an MSN? The three sections of this guide will describe the career options MSN graduates may choose to pursue:
- What Are the Benefits of an MSN?
- A Growing Need for Specialized Nurses
- Maryville’s MSN Concentrations
- What Opportunities May Be Available to MSN Graduates?
- The ROI of an Online MSN
What Are the Benefits of an MSN?
Expanded career possibilities
Earning an MSN not only can open doors to nursing roles in a variety of specialties and environments but also allows professionals to pursue managerial or administrative-level positions. From a work-life balance perspective, an MSN can mean a 9-to-5 workday, instead of varying shifts, allowing for a more consistent schedule.
Potential for a higher salary
Achieving an MSN not only gives professionals the power to choose their career paths; it also often increases earning potential. According to BLS, the median nurse practitioner salary was just under $111,000 in 2017—significantly higher than the median RN salary ($70,000).
The ability to specialize in specific areas
Programs that offer specialized areas of learning allow professionals to focus on their particular interests and become experts in their fields of choice.
Increased job satisfaction
All of the benefits mentioned above contribute to overall job satisfaction, in addition to greater professional confidence (due to greater expertise). Nurse practitioners also often enjoy a healthier work-life balance and a manageable workload in an environment (and specialty) suited to their interests.
A Growing Need for Specialized Nurses
As the demand for healthcare continues to rise, so does the need for experienced, knowledgeable specialized nurses to address specific demographics and healthcare needs. The following statistics demonstrate the growing need for specialized leaders in nursing:
- Adult-gerontology and pediatric endocrinology are two of the 10 highest-paying nursing specialties, according to Scrubs Magazine. Salaries start at $75,000.
- According to the American Nurses Association, the need for adult-gerontology nurse practitioners is expected to increase into the middle of the 21st century as baby boomers age.
- The need for family nurse practitioners (FNPs) will likely increase steadily, considering that the nation is expected to be short at least 100,000 family medicine doctors by 2025.
While the need for specialized nurses is clear, so are the benefits. The ability to gain in-depth industry knowledge in areas of interest can bring not only greater workplace satisfaction but also career versatility and higher salary opportunities.
Maryville’s MSN Concentrations
Below are the concentrations available in Maryville’s MSN program:
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
The Family Nurse Practitioner concentration trains nurses to work in a rewarding, autonomous environment while making a difference in the lives of families.
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
The AGPCNP specialty can help active nurses expand their skill sets to provide care to adults of varying ages.
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
The AGACNP specialty allows nurses to focus on particular areas of interest, which can include oncology, cardiovascular, and intensive care, to provide care to adults of varying ages.
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
The pediatric nurse practitioner concentration focuses on providing care to children.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
As mental health awareness increases, the need for the PMHNP specialty matters more than ever. The program is designed to help professionals develop the skills to promote mental health, and treat acute and chronic mental illnesses.
What Opportunities May Be Available to MSN Graduates?
Below are some of the careers you can pursue with an MSN.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
The growing shortage of family practice physicians is contributing to the increasing need for FNPs, creating more employment opportunities for graduates. FNPs work with patients of all ages, typically in a family, or “general,” medical practice. Their functions are similar to those of physicians—they are able to diagnose and treat conditions and prescribe medication. The average salary for FNPs is $89,043 per year.
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners provide primary care to adults of varying ages, typically in outpatient environments, such as clinics or medical practices. As the baby-boom generation ages out of the workforce, the demand for skilled AGPCNPs will increase. The average pay for an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) is $85,163 per year.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners typically work in a hospital environment, providing care to patients with serious, or critical, health issues. They may specialize in specific areas, including cardiovascular care, oncology, and intensive care. Similar to AGPCNPs, the career outlook for AGACNPs is promising because of the growing need for more leadership and expertise in the nursing discipline. The average salary for an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner is $97,541.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Psychiatric nurse practitioners provide care for patients with a mental illness. This type of care includes prescribing medication and providing counseling and treatment. Patients under a PMHNP’s care can be diagnosed with varying illness, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder. As awareness of mental illness continues to increase nationally, PMHNPs will continue to see growing demand for their services. The median salary for PMHNPs is $97,800.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
Pediatric nurse practitioners focus on the primary healthcare of children, from birth to young adulthood. They work to educate families about preventive care and healthy lifestyles and provide treatment for various conditions. The average median salary for pediatric NPs is $99,058.
The ROI of an Online MSN
What can you do with an MSN? There are many possibilities. An MSN program, particularly one with an online option, can provide ease and flexibility for professionals who are ready to earn their MSN degrees. As the healthcare landscape continues to change and the demand for nursing leadership roles grows, an investment in an MSN degree now can bring greater job satisfaction and financial rewards sooner. Learn more about the transformative career opportunities through Maryville University’s online MSN program.