Few professionals are as in-demand as nurses. Nurses are a critical part of the healthcare system in the United States, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, for our system to function without them. The demand is set to increase as time passes rather than waning over time, which makes it a great career to enter. But once you have earned your degree and have some experience under your belt, where do you go next? For many, the answer is an advanced degree.
What is an advanced degree in nursing?
An advanced degree in nursing is a degree that goes beyond the one required to become licensed. There are two main advanced degrees that nurses can earn: the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Of these, the DNP is the more advanced of the two and is one of the most complex and advanced degrees you can earn in the field.
While a lot of time and effort is required to pursue a DNP, there are a few ways to ease the burden, so to speak. Some students earn their post master’s DNP online from an accredited institution, which allows them to adopt a more flexible study schedule than traditional courses. If you are interested in going this route, make sure to pick your program carefully. The program at the University of Indianapolis, for example, prepares students for the ANNP certification example and is a nationally ranked institution. These are the qualifications you want to see in an online DNP program.
What are the benefits of an advanced degree in nursing?
There are a few reasons why so many nurses decide to pursue advanced degrees. From earning more money to maintaining a better life-work balance, here are some of the top reasons pursuing an advanced degree in nursing is often the right choice.
Nursing is incredibly rewarding but is not known for a great work-life balance. While many nurses have no problem, there is always room for improvement, and some prefer shorter, more conventional shifts. An advanced degree helps these nurses find a job in the field that is not strictly tied to on-the-floor action. Nurse managers, for example, and nurse educators have more traditional 40-hour work weeks, and advanced degrees can help get you to get hired.
Another reason nurses pursue advanced degrees is salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn an average of about $77,000 per year. Nurse practitioners, on the other hand, a position that requires advanced education, make an average of about $118,000 per year. Advanced degrees typically lead to better salaries.
Nurses with advanced degrees often have more career opportunities than those without. As mentioned previously in this article, professionals with MSNs and DNPs often have access to nursing management positions, nurse practitioner positions, and nurse educator positions.
If you are interested in earning an advanced nursing degree, keep our tips above in mind, and you will find the best program in no time!