Master's degrees in nursing can help RNs advance to positions of teaching and management

Graduate degrees in nursing can help nurses advance in their careers.
Graduate degrees in nursing can help nurses advance in their careers.

Registered nurses (RNs) provide critical support roles in the healthcare system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing is one of the most stable professions, and it is anticipated that many positions will open up over the next years. RNs who were employed during May of 2008 earned an average income of $65,130.

Whether they possess an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), RNs must sit down to take a certification exam before practicing. Upon passing the National Council of Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses, they are then licensed to work in every state in the U.S.

In order to both provide best care practices and progress to higher-paid positions in their field, nurses are expected to continue their education by completing advanced coursework.

The master’s degree in nursing (MSN) degree may train some of these professionals in nursing theory, practice and methodology. RNs who graduate from these programs can become teachers, or move up to manage other nurses in their healthcare facilities.

Some may choose to enroll in an online MSN degree program to be able to update their credentials as they continue to work full-time. One MSN program at a Minnesota-based university allows professionals to earn a graduate degree in one to two years, and take classes at their convenience through web-based classrooms.