Health Care Careers: Why Nurses Should Pursue a Master’s Degree in Nursing
As a registered nurse, it is normal to want to increase your occupational standing by moving up the career ladder. This will usually require a master’s degree. A master’s degree is not a simple undertaking, but it can be managed while working, especially if you decide to pursue your master’s of nursing. Usually this kind of program allows you to complete the academic portion of your work online and schedule clinical work in your local area. In the case of working nurses, they can usually do this where they work. There are many benefits that come with earning a master’s in nursing. Here are just a few:
- Better pay
While nursing is a lucrative career at every level, master’s degree nurses do make more money than associate’s or bachelor’s level nurses. The average salary for registered nurses is about $65,000 per year. Master’s level nurse practitioners earn about $30,000 more each year. Additionally, many employers will either fund your tuition for a master’s program or reimburse you for successfully completed courses.
- Job security
Nursing jobs in general do offer good job security as there always seems to be a shortage of nurses. Rate of increase for registered nurses is at about 19% for the next decade. Nurse practitioner jobs are increasing at an even faster rate of 31% in the next decade.
Registered nurses work under nursing administrators, physician’s assistants, or nurse practitioners. They can perform numerous healthcare tasks, but do not have authority for decision-making. Nurse practitioners are the medical personnel in charge. They have their own caseload of patients and can prescribe medical treatments, medications, and make referrals. A master’s degree provides a much higher level of autonomy in practice.
- More job variety
Registered nurses can generally only work directly with patients, and while this is definitely something a lot of nurses enjoy, some would prefer to move into a different area. A master’s degree will qualify you for nursing administration positions and even teaching positions in nursing education programs. In both of these fields, you can expect the same benefits as in patient care, but with a different type of work.
Becoming a master’s level nurse will definitely benefit your career and give you a greater level of knowledge to care for patients, directly or indirectly. A master’s degree will usually take two to three years, but it will allow you so much more opportunity in your nursing career.