Before you pursue an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, you need to have a solid nursing education. However, registered nurses (RNs) don’t all begin their careers with the same educational background. Some RNs have already earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, while others completed only an associate’s degree or a diploma program to attaint their license. You don’t necessarily need a BSN before you begin working toward your MSN degree, but you should consider what different programs offer and what will be expected of you.
Starting With Online RN to BSN Degree Programs
The natural progression after completing just enough school to attain your nursing license is earning your bachelor’s degree before you pursue an online master’s of science in nursing degree. RN to BSN programs are popular because they allow students to do just that, often in a short amount of time.
At many of the top online RN to BSN degree programs in the nation, students can shave several months off of the time it takes to earn a degree. Arizona State University’s program, for example, can allow RNs to earn their bachelor’s degree in as little as 13 ½ months.
Enrolling in Online RN to MSN Degree Programs
For some students, it may not make sense to enroll in an RN to BSN program before you pursue an online master’s of science in nursing degree. Students who don’t want to segment out their education any further by pursuing a BSN and then an MSN degree, can look for a program at one of the many online colleges offering an RN to MSN path.
Choosing Between a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Nursing
Should you start by pursuing your BSN, or jump right into an RN to MSN degree program? That depends on the student. There are benefits to both paths.
Earning your MSN through such a program often takes just one year of extra study time, according to U.S. News & World Report. By completing their bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements in a single program, students can save time and money over earning both degrees separately.
However, a master’s degree program will cover advanced topics. For students who aren’t comfortable jumping ahead into such an intense program, the more traditional RN to BSN degree path might be a better option. The benefit of completing an RN to BSN program before you pursue an online master’s of science in nursing degree is that you have time to finish your higher level undergraduate work before you start thinking about graduate school.
If you don’t want to earn your BSN before you pursue an online master’s of science in nursing degree, choosing an affordable online RN to MSN program can help you finish your education without any further delay – and that means achieving your career goals faster.