So many nursing schools today tout the best online MSN programs. However, the truth is, trying to figure out the actual best online MSN programs just from face value can be quite misleading.
The good thing is; we’re really honored to make the selection much easier for you.
By analyzing and evaluating the trends of online nursing programs for quite a while now, we believe we have mastered the knack to distinguish the best online MSN programs from not-so-great ones.
Registered nurse looking to get into advanced practice or a non-nursing degree holder looking for a direct entry MSN program, this review of the Top Online MSN Programs surely has something convenient and efficient for you.
A Master of Science in Nursing Program (MSN) is an advanced level post-graduate degree nursing program that takes qualified nurses through advanced clinical practice and leadership training. Generally, an MSN program helps registered nurses specialize in different areas like;
That said, even if you have a non-nursing degree and wish to make a career cross-over to the nursing profession, you can pursue a Direct-Entry MSN program and realize your career dreams.
Most MSN programs run for 2 years, but some MSN programs can take up to 3 years, especially if you wish to study part-time or if your MSN specialization requires longer clinical hours.
The difference between a BSN and MSN degree is akin to the difference between any Master’s and Bachelor’s degree.
Notably, a BSN degree is an undergraduate degree designed to help nursing students cover a wide base of nursing knowledge. On the other hand, an MSN degree helps registered nurses hone specific skills. Usually, an MSN degree provides nursing professionals with an avenue to get into specialized nursing roles, especially in education, leadership, and administration.
The biggest perk that comes with getting a master’s degree is the increased wages. The average annual salary of an MSN nurse today is stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at $108,000.
Entry-level MSN nurses make about $69,610 a year while very experienced MSN nurses can make upwards of $131,000 a year. Even so, entry-level MSN nurses can make over $100,000 a year with a few years of experience in the bag.
Here’s an overview of MSN nurse salaries;
|MSN Nurse Experience||Hourly Pay Rate||Annual Salary|
|MSN Nurse Specialty||Average Annual Salary|
|Certified Nurse Anesthetist||$183,580|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$111,1300|
|Clinical Nurse Specialist||$106,407|
|Clinical Nurse Leader||$104,107|
Best Online MSN ProgramsBy specialization:
The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins.…....Agricultural Studies Biology Biotechnology Chemistry
Estimated Annual Tuition: $57,712
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
Online MSN Programs Offered: MSN (Healthcare Organizational Leadership Tracks) / MSN/MBA (Master of Business Administration)
Evidently, Johns Hopkins University is the ultimate online MSN guru.
The Baltimore-based private research university offers tons of online programs in 8 out of 9 of its schools. Better yet, they’ve been offering online programs for years now, so rest assured they know how to make it work.
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Nursing offers two convenient small class online MSN programs to help registered nurses balance work, personal life, and school. Along with that, are tons of online support resources to ensure nurses get the best virtual learning experience.
One of the robust programs revolves around a 35-credit specialty in Healthcare Organizational Leadership for nurses that wish to get into leadership roles.
Uniquely is JHU’s dual MSN/MBA program (65 credits) in collaboration with Carey Business School. This online MSN degree program allows for a tailored schedule to help nurses get both an MSN and BSN degree in as little as 3 years.
So you know, the two main MSN courses are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
The Texas A&M Health Science Center, a component of Texas A&M University, offers health professions research and education in dentistry, medicine, nursing, biomedical sciences, public health, and pharmacy.....Chemistry Dietetics Health and Wellness Health Education
Estimated Annual Tuition: $12,780 In-State / $25,880 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99%
Online MSN Programs Offered: MSN (Nursing Educator) / MSN (Forensic Nurses) / MSN (Family Nurse Practitioner)
A child of the wider Texas A&M University, Texas A&M center caters to a health niche to produce innovative leaders, educators, collaborators, and researchers into the world of nursing and science.
The College of Nursing here aims to provide registered nurses with a flexible, engaging, and transformational learning experience with its three master’s degree programs.
The part-time and full-time online MSN courses range from Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, and even the stand-out Forensic Nursing program for nurses that would want to help patients that have gone through violent and traumatic events.
Although the programs are offered primarily online, nursing students will be asked to visit the Bergen College Station on two visits to complete their on-campus 45 clinical hours.
North Carolina is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered…....Acting & Performing Arts Biology Chemistry Computer Engineering
Estimated Annual Tuition: $57,633
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult Gerontology – Acute Care / Adult Gerontology – Primary Care / Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) / Health Informatics / Neonatal Nurse Practitioner / Nursing Healthcare Leadership / Nurse Educator / Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care / Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care
Duke University School of Nursing offers a medley of distance education MSN programs and certifications. Suffice to say you might just find a nursing program that fits your bill.
Duke makes its place among the best as it appears to be a tad ahead of the pack with its online programs. This includes the use of advanced simulation software and even wellness resources, e.g. psychological services to cope with the hassles of online learning.
The research-based university also boasts tight-knit educational relationships between faculty and students. Additionally, they seem to offer tailored learning opportunities to better place you towards your career goals.
Depending on the nursing program, successful completion takes between 42-49 credit hours. Furthermore, the school also offers virtual MSN certificates if you want to make yourself more marketable.
Stony Brook University, officially the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is a public research university in Stony Brook, Long Island, in the metropolitan area of New York…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Estimated Annual Tuition: $10,091 In-State / $27,761 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult Gerontology Primary Care / Adult Gerontology Acute Care / Family Nurse Practitioner / Neonatal Nurse Practitioner / Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner / Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner / Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner / Nurse Midwifery / Advanced Certificates
Looking at that tuition, Stony Brook University is one of the most affordable nursing schools here.
The more assuring thing is regardless of affordability, the quality of education is still something to marvel at. This is supported by the fact that Forbes has ranked it in the top 15 best value universities.
This public research university ranks up there with the likes of Duke University in regard to the range of online MSN nursing programs. Moreover, Stony Brook University just pips most nursing schools with its 5 advanced practice certificates that may help nurses like you further broaden your nursing skills in areas of specialization.
All Stony Brook master’s degree programs are offered online with a few on-campus visits, usually to fully exhaust the required clinical hours.
The Ohio State University, commonly Ohio State or OSU, is a public land-grant research university in Columbus, Ohio. The flagship of the University System of Ohio, it is considered a…....Accounting Agricultural Business Agricultural Studies Art
Estimated Annual Tuition: $11,518 In-State / $33,502 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Clinical Research / Healthcare Innovation / Advanced Specialty Certification / Traditional MSN
The fact that Ohio State University College of Nursing has had its online Master’s program ranked in the top 3 MSN programs before should be a great incentive to consider the public research uni for your master’s degree in nursing.
Apart from a good reputation, The College of Nursing offers 11 specializations for its traditional MSN program, e.g. Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and more.
Trying to give you the most convenient learning experience possible, the nursing school lets you take clinical practice wherever you are situated.
Depending on your area of specialization, you might visit campus a maximum of 3 times. For some specializations, everything can be done without ever going to campus.
Saint Xavier University is a private Catholic higher education institution in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, the university enrolls 3,896 students.....Art Art History Arts and Design Arts and Humanities
Estimated Annual Tuition: $37,730
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.20%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Clinical Nurse Leader / Executive Leadership / Family Nurse Practitioner / MSN/MBA / Nurse Educator
More often than not, seasoned educational institutions tend to offer the best and most effective learning programs, and St. Xavier University’s 175-year experience just shows its dedication to education.
Building on the staggering repute, the private catholic university was ranked as having the fifth-best online graduate nursing programs. Most noteworthy is its School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ virtual dual MSN/MBA course for graduate students that want to combine business administration and health practice.
Most of the virtual MSN nursing programs take about 2.5 years and 35-38 credit hours for successful completion.
All in all, St. Xavier University is a great school for nursing professionals that want to get into management, administration, education, and primary care.
The George Washington University is a private federally chartered research university in Washington, D.C. Chartered in 1821 by the United States Congress, GWU is the largest institution of higher education…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Estimated Annual Tuition: $58,640
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner / Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner / Family Nurse Practitioner / Nurse Leadership and Management / Nurse-Midwifery / Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner / Online RN-MSN
Chartered in 1821, George Washington University is one of the old-timers on this list. And it’s not just about reputation here. In 2021, the school placed 7th best by the US News and World Report in online MSN degree programs; quite an assuring starting point for new nursing students.
Although only its bridge RN-BSN nursing degree is offered fully online, the school of nursing at GWU is a boon for hybrid MSN programs that combine online classes and on-campus training in simulated health care centers and clinical hours for necessary specialties.
Needless to say, GWU is a stellar choice if you don’t mind a sprinkle of on-campus learning.
Depending on the MSN specialty taken, credit hours range from 30 to 48. Also, you can apply for financial assistance from the school’s diverse financial aid programs for a chance to ease the tuition weight.
The University of Texas at Tyler is a public university in Tyler, Texas. Founded in 1971, it is a part of the University of Texas System.....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Estimated Annual Tuition: $9,416 In-State / $23,736 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nurse Administrator / Nurse Educator / MSN/MBA / Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner
One of the members of the University of Texas system, this Tyler-based public university UOT has been ranked first in Texas by the US News and World Report as far as online master nursing programs are concerned.
The best part of the school of nursing here is there are 100% online programs, which, coupled with the affordable tuition, helps you cut on potential additional; costs, e.g. travel expenses. This is with an exception to MSN courses that would need you to undertake on-school clinical hours.
Along with convenience, the classes here are pretty small to help you get personalized educational attention. Even better, you’re at liberty to choose between full-time (2 years) or part-time tracks (3 years).
The University of Central Florida is a public research university in unincorporated Orange County, Florida, northeast of the city of Orlando. It is part of the State University System of…....Biology Biomedical Laboratory Science Computer Engineering Computer Science
Estimated Annual Tuition: $6,368 In-State / $22,467 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nursing Leadership and Management / Nurse Educator / Nursing and Healthcare Simulation / Healthcare Administration
Touted as the largest public university student body in the country, we really do see why the University of Central Florida is a popular haven for students.
One of the reasons for its popular status could be its outstanding online programs, in this case, online MSN programs.
Unlike some schools, the College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida feeds the distance-learning experience with online student support services like learning tutorials, proctored exams, and most importantly an online success instructor to ensure you’re getting the best virtual education.
The college of nursing at UCF is a nice choice for nurses that want to get into advanced practice in leadership, administration, and education. Just so you know, all online MSN programs take 2-3 years depending on the types of tracks taken.
We are dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and service. We provide a robust campus environment where our students can reach their greatest potential while learning from the best and…....Accounting Aeronautical Engineering Aeronautical Science Art History
Estimated Annual Tuition: $11,620 In-State / $31,090 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.32%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nurse Administration / Nurse Practitioner
Well, it’s not just good food and friendly people down south, but also great nursing schools too.
The University of Alabama makes for the oldest and largest university in Alabama. In matters of online education, the learning institution currently offers 70+ flexible online programs, asserting its reliability in the online learning world.
With two online master nursing programs in Nurse Administration (Fully Online with 33-39 credit hours) and Nurse Practitioner (Primarily online with 45-72 credit hours), the school of nursing at UOA allows for affordable learning with its reasonable distance education tuition rates.
To even give you value for your buck, the school offers a first-class grant to sit your first class for free and get a grasp of the online MSN degree program adventure.
Baker University is a private liberal arts university located in Baldwin City, Kansas, United States. Founded in 1858, it was the first four-year university in Kansas and is affiliated with…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Estimated Annual Tuition: $30,770
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.22%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nursing Administration / Nurse Educator / Post Masters Certificates in Nursing Administration and Education
Private liberal school Baker University has been an esteemed figure in the education industry since 1858.
Baker University’s school of nursing aims to provide nursing students with a robust and evidence-based care practice. The success of the school is illustrated by the consistent high NCLEX-RN first-time pass rates.
With a dedication to providing effective online MSN programs, Baker University even provides innovative virtual instructors for any online guidance.
Additionally, the classes here are pretty small to maintain intimate educational and professional relationships with the faculty.
The nursing school offers two distance-based MSN courses; Nursing Administration and Education. Also, after you complete your online MSN program, you can take post-master certifications of the same programs to further boost your career prospects.
Welcome to the University of South CarolinaChoosing the International Direct process at the University of South Carolina will allow you to benefit from a wide range of services designed to…....Accounting Advertising Aeronautical Engineering Anthropology
Estimated Annual Tuition: $12,688 In-State / $33,928 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.2%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner / Adult-Gerontology – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner / Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner / Nursing informatics / Nursing Administration / Post Masters Certificates in Nurse Administration and Nursing Informatics
The waters of distance learning in USC run deep. Matter of fact, the university claims that it’s been offering distance education for over 50 years now (not necessarily online).
To add, the school currently offers more than 50 online undergraduate and graduate programs. To suggest the effectiveness of their online programs, the school was ranked first in the country for its online MSN programs by the US News and World report.
Looking to provide a flexible and convenient pathway for registered nurses to advance their education without hurting much of their professional and personal lives, South Carolina’s flagship university offers five online MSN programs.
Along with the main online master of science, programs are post-master certifications in nurse administration and nursing informatics to create more of a one-stop online MSN school.
Georgetown University is a private research university in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.....Accounting Business Business Administration Business Analytics
Estimated Annual Tuition: $57,928
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.30%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner / Family Nurse Practitioner / Healthcare Systems Administration / Nurse-Midwifery Health Nurse Practitioner / Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program
The School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University understands the importance of convenience. With this, the school provides both hybrid and online options for its programs to help nurses choose the best online-based model for themselves.
Worth noting is, even though the courses are largely online, some MSN specializations will require that you make a few on-campus visits to spend clinical hours. And to give you a more individualized experience, the student-to-professor ratio is just 11:1.
Fort Hays State University is a public university in Hays, Kansas, United States. It is the fourth-largest of the six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, with…....Accounting Agricultural Business Agricultural Studies Agriculture and Natural Resources
Estimated Annual Tuition: $5,430 In-State / $15,870 Out-of-State
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nurse Educator / Nursing Administration
Fort Hays State University keeps up with the times with a wide array of 200+ online degree and certificate programs. So, rest assured the school isn’t making a trial and error shot at online education but is an established distance-learning option.
The school of nursing at FHSU offers aspiring nurse educators and administrators the most affordable education yet, with low tuition and fully online master of science in nursing programs. Remarkably, although being a public school, FHSU still manages to keep a student-faculty ratio of just 17:1.
Ball State University is a public research university in Muncie, Indiana. It has two satellite facilities in Fishers and Indianapolis.....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nurse Educator / Nurse Administrator / Family Nurse Practitioner
Our favorite part about the school of nursing at Ball State University is that all virtual MSN programs are offered fully online as they don’t require any clinical hours. And, the nursing degree programs are quite great, they’ve been ranked 17th by the US News and World Report.
The school has perhaps the most flexible online learning system, and online learners can receive technical support, academic advising, peer mentoring, and more right at the comfort of their home.
The University of Cincinnati is a public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1819 as Cincinnati College, it is the oldest institution of higher education in Cincinnati and has…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner / Family Nurse Practitioner / Nurse-Midwifery / Systems Leadership / Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
In comes the oldest Cincinnati-based higher learning institution, and the second-largest university in Ohio. The University of Cincinnati’s nursing school offers five online masters of science courses. Amongst them is an Accelerated MSN to allow people with non-nursing degrees to bag an MSN degree in just two years.
The University of Texas Medical Branch is a public academic health science center in Galveston, Texas. It is part of the University of Texas System. UTMB includes the oldest medical…....Biology Chemistry Education Health and Wellness
Online MSN Programs Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner / Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner / Adult-Gerontology Primary Care / Neonatal Nurse Practitioner / Clinical Nurse Leader / Executive Nurse Leader / Nurse Educator
The University of Texas Medical Branch bills itself as having the best general online programs, according to US News and World Report rankings. The nursing school offers 7 main specialization areas online, and an array of tracks in FNP, Adult-Gerontology (Primary and Acute Care), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and more.
Georgia is a southeastern U.S. state whose terrain spans coastal beaches, farmland and mountains. Capital city Atlanta is home of the Georgia Aquarium and the Martin Luther King Jr. National…....Accounting Biology Biomedical Laboratory Science Business Administration
Online MSN Programs Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner/ Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner / Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner / Nurse-Midwifery / Nurse Educator
On top of a student-faculty ratio of just 17:1, Georgia College of Nursing at GSCU complements small classes and great online master of science courses especially for nurses that want to advance in care and educator roles. Additionally, the nursing school provides post-master certifications for anyone that would wish to dive deeper into their MSN concentration.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public historically black land-grant university in Tallahassee, Florida. Founded in 1887, It is the third largest historically black university in the United States…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Online MSN Programs Offered: Adult-Gerontology / Women’s Health
Possibly the best historically black institution right now, Florida A&M University is a good harbor for nurses from minority backgrounds to pursue their goals towards advanced practice. Compared to many online msn programs, the online MSN degree program on Women’s Health here takes just 42 credits, which means you get to graduate faster.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a public research university in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina system. UNCG, like all members…....Accounting Art Art History Arts and Design
Online MSN Programs Offered: Nurse Leadership and Administration / Nurse Educator / MSN/MBA – Health Management
The University of North Carolina Greensboro is one of the best universities to attend if you’re on some sort of budget. The low tuition may raise questions over the quality of education, but for confidence, UNCG has been ranked as the best value university in North Carolina.
We like that the school offers a dual online master of science program in MSN-MBA (Health Management) nursing degree for nurses that want to use business to develop effective healthcare systems.
There you go, the best 20 accredited online Master of Science in Nursing programs to propel your nursing career. Even though all these schools are great, they do have varied strengths and perks.
Generally, Johns Hopkins University ticks most if not all the boxes of all-around online master nursing programs in a pleasant virtual experience, tailored schedules, high exam pass rates, effective programs, and more.
A good rule of thumb is to gauge the different strengths of the schools and pick the right fit for yourself.
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