Nursing (2024)

Why Accreditation for Online MSN Programs Is Important

Choosing a nursing program is an important decision, and it is essential to find one that meets the highest standards of quality and care. American Public University is part of American Public University System. The master's degree program in nursing at American Public University System is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( CCNE sets national standards for quality in nursing education. But why is it important for nursing programs to be accredited?

Accreditation ensures that education programs meet certain standards of quality and care. Through rigorous evaluation processes, accrediting bodies such as CCNE ensure that students are receiving a high-quality education that meets their needs. This helps to ensure that graduates are well-prepared for their future roles in the healthcare industry. Moreover, accreditation also promotes greater confidence among employers when hiring new nurses who have graduated from an accredited program.

APU’s accredited MSN program gives you access to faculty members who are experienced in their field. Additionally, graduating from an accredited program may make you more competitive in the job market and may factor into your confidence levels when applying for positions after graduation.

MSN Degree Concentrations

Registered nurses who enroll in our Master of Science in Nursing will need to first choose a concentration. American Public University offers three tracks for aspiring MSN degree nurses–nurse educator, nurse leader, and community and public health nursing.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (AACN) is expecting record retirement numbers over the next decade, with as many as one-third of nursing faculty members leaving the profession by 2025. Fewer faculty means fewer available programs for nursing students who will then need to be turned away, further worsening the nursing shortage. As an MSN with a concentration in nurse education, you can help fill the gap for this vital role.

Similarly, burnout and retirement have contributed to a shortage in other more administrative positions, such as Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNL) and Health Policy Experts (HPE). These roles, which are emerging positions of importance in healthcare settings, require a certain level of clinical competence and a more specialized approach to patient care.

Each concentration presents its own unique set of roles and responsibilities. For RNs ready for a next step, a master's degree in nursing can open the door toward building specialized knowledge and experience.

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Can I Earn My MSN Online?

American Public University's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) combines the advantages of an online format with those of a traditional campus-based program. Online MSN programs allow students to access all the academic benefits of a traditional program, without the rigid schedule and daily commute.

Our online MSN programs are flexible and allow you to work on your schedule and at your own pace to complete weekly assignments. There are no set login times forAmerican Public University classes. SomeAmerican Public University faculty members also host virtual drop-in sessions for those who want additional information or opportunities to network with classmates. These live sessions are optional.

American Public University’sCCNE-accredited MSN online program is designed to prepare registered nurses to lead in today’s world of health and wellness—both professionally and personally. Students have access to expert faculty who are industry leaders and healthcare professionals to help students reach their goals.

Each course in the MSN online program contains career-relevant subject areas making the program well suited for nurses at all levels of practice. Our online master’s in nursing program may open the door to provide health assistance to a wide range of patient populations. MSN nurse graduates may go on to lead and supervise nurses in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations.

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Who Should Enroll in This Online Master's in Nursing?

The MSN at American Public University is designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing and are seeking an advanced degree in nursing. APU’s online MSN programs provide students with the opportunity to advance their knowledge in nursing and make a difference in the healthcare system.

An online MSN program offers students flexibility to fit their studies around their work or personal commitments, while still providing an immersive learning experience delivered by faculty with real-world expertise, and the option for students to interact directly with their peers and professors. Additionally, APU's Academic Advising team is available to help all students navigate their academic journey, from enrolling in classes to completing course requirements. With dedicated support from experienced advisors and faculty, earning a Master of Science in Nursing can become a reality while pursuing your professional goals.

Whether you are just exploring the nursing field or looking to advance to a master's degree, an online MSN program can give you the skills and knowledge you need. Successful nursing practicum placement and completion can help prepare you with specialized knowledge and skill. It can also prepare you to start studies toward a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice).

Note: This online master’s in nursing program is different from APU’s RN-MSN program. Visit our RN to MSN programfor more information.

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Benefits to Earning a Master's in Nursing

  1. Potential Access to More Job Opportunities
  2. According to, graduating from an MSN program may help open the door to many more job opportunities. MSN graduates may enjoy a variety of exciting options, including leadership positions and corporate-level positions.

  3. The Ability to Specialize
  4. Many MSN programs have specialized tracks that prepare students for a particular field or specialty in nursing.

  5. The Opportunity to Influence Future Policies;
  6. An MSN is designed to help prepare for senior-level positions, which may provide an opportunity to play a more significant role in shaping patient care and policies.

  7. The Option to Teach
  8. Nurse educators work in a variety of settings, including universities, schools, and hospitals. As a nurse educator, you could influence and share your knowledge with nurses on every level.

What Comes After Completing an Online Master’s in Nursing?

Depending on your specialization, a Master of Science in Nursing degree is designed to advance knowledge related to higher levels of professional responsibility in specialty areas like:

  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner
  • Nurse manager
  • Director of nursing
  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Nursing instructor
  • Mental health nurse
  • Nurse educator
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner

Another possible option once you complete your MSN degree is to move on to earning your doctorate or a nursing graduate certificate. American Public University offers two graduate certificate programs for registered nurses who have already obtained their master’s in nursing or hold a nursing license and a master’s degree in another closely related field: the post-master’s certificate in Nursing Education and post-master’s in Nursing Leadership. If you undertook one track in APU’s MSN degree and wanted to pursue the other, you have the opportunity to do so by earning the post-master’s certificate.

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As long as I had a Wi-Fi signal, I could complete my assignments anywhere, and I pretty much did.

Rebecca Gabriel

MSN Graduate

What to Expect from American Public University's Online MSN Program

American Public University's Online MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This ensures that you will receive a quality education backed by professional standards.

The faculty members atAmerican Public University have real-world experience in their respective fields and bring this expertise to their online classes. You'll be able to benefit from the faculty's years of experience and knowledge.

As an MSN nurse student, you'll have access to online libraries, databases, and research materials throughAmerican Public University's Online Trefry Library. This wealth of information will help you stay on top of current trends in the nursing field.

Even as an MSN online student, you'll be able to connect with other students and faculty members through discussion boards and forums. Share insights and experiences with your peers while gaining valuable feedback from experienced faculty members.

Courses forAmerican Public University's online MSN program are offered every other month. This enables students who already have a bachelor's degree in nursing to pursue their MSN degree on their own schedule with the potential to graduate in as little as two years, depending on their course load and the amount of credits they transfer in from previous programs.

MSN in nursing education or leadership courses cover a variety of career-relevant subject areas, including nurse management, healthcare finance, nursing research methods, and quality improvement.

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Paying for This MSN Degree

Even as an online program, American Public University's master’s in nursing gives students access to many of the same options for paying as any traditional brick-and-mortar university would. The first step for students looking to pursue advanced nursing education through an online master’s degree in nursing is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®1). The information you provide on this form will help you determine how much you may be eligible to receive in federal student loans or financial aid.

If you are a working RN, you can check with your company’s human resources department to see if they have partnered with American Public University for educational benefits. The process is different for each employer, but you can see all the necessary steps on our Employer Benefits page.

American Public University does not offer any scholarships. If you are seeking a scholarship, organizations such as AACN offer an updated list of scholarships for nurses to be able to continue their education.

How to pay for an advanced degree such as the Master of Science in Nursing is an important decision. If you need help evaluating your options, please email us at [emailprotected] or call 877-755-2787.

1 FAFSA is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Education

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How to Transfer Graduate Credits

There are a variety of ways to earn transfer credits at American Public University and make the most out of your knowledge. Accredited institutions with regional or national accreditation may be eligible, and for graduate degrees, the credit earned should be within the last 10 years, with a B or higher grade, and also not used for an undergrad degree.

Depending on the program you’ve chosen, as well as the unit of measure and course level from your previous learning institution, American Public University can award up to 15 credits toward transfer for master's degree students. Transferring credits is a great way to save time in furthering your education and makes it easier to reach student goals in a timely manner.

If you think you may have prior knowledge worth transferring into credit courses at American Public University, we encourage you to apply for transfer credit evaluation so that you can make the most out of prior learning experiences.

ExploreAmerican Public University's Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) Process

A preliminary transfer credit evaluation can be completed in 2 to 3 days. Our team will review your evaluation request and communicate the results. We recommend not enrolling in any classes that may be covered by anything under review for credit transfer.

Please note that the University reserves the right to accept to deny credits according to policies outlined on the University website and actual time to completion will be based upon transfer credit evaluation and eligibility. Please see the University’s transfer credit policy webpage for complete information.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might be wondering if an MSN is the same as becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). While there are similarities between these two nursing degrees, they are not the same. Here’s how they differ:

  • An online master’s in nursing (MSN) is a post-baccalaureate degree. Through this online master's in Nursing program, you will gain advanced knowledge and skills related to the nursing profession. Upon completion of the program, you may designate yourself as a nurse specialist or educator. In addition, some programs have a specialty track that is designed to prepare students to become Nurse Practitioners or earn a related doctorate.
  • NP, a specialty within an MSN program, is designed to train nurses in advanced clinical practice and medical management. A Nurse Practitioner is a registered nurse who has earned a master’s degree and completed additional educational requirements, including certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). APRNs typically have prescriptive authority and a broad scope of practice that allows them to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage health problems independently.
  • So while both the MSN nurse and the Nurse Practitioner specialty involve advanced training in the nursing field, our MSN online degree focuses on improving knowledge and skills related to a specific area of nursing such as patient care management and leadership or teaching. An NP program focuses on clinical practice and medical management, allowing graduates to become independent health care providers.

If you are exploring the nursing profession, take the time to research the difference between an MSN degree and the NP specialty to see which one is right for you. With an online program at American Public University, you can earn your MSN without having to disrupt your schedule as you prepare for the rigor and rewards of the nursing profession.

The pros and cons of any degree often revolve around an assessment of your learning goals.

  • Education offers an opportunity to establish new professional connections, which may help broaden your knowledge of and exposure to diverse areas within the profession. You may specialize in pediatrics, but you could have a chance to network with faculty who share experience as a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthetist. Fellow students may also share experience from diverse settings, like small rural hospitals, large urban healthcare settings, or inner-city clinics. Some consider this a great value of higher learning.
  • There are many program options: With the variety of options now available, ranging from part-time or full-time programs, accelerated programs, and online MSN degrees, aspiring students have abundant choices for continuing their education. Furthermore, many schools are creating courses that are tailored to fit the schedules of adult students while still providing a top-notch educational experience.
  • Technology has made completing coursework remotely much easier than ever before and has removed geographical barriers for distance learning.
  • You can advance your knowledge by specializing in niche areas of nursing: RNs who obtain master’s-level education can gain advanced knowledge for specialized roles, such as nursing education, informatics, and community health.

An RN who has obtained their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is not necessarily “higher” than an RN who has not earned their MSN. One is an educational degree, and one is a professional designation. However, it’s worth noting that an MSN program can include important credentials that may lead to different career paths. For example, MSN-prepared nurses build the knowledge and skill for non-clinical responsibilities, such as nursing administration or healthcare policy, and these would not be accessible for RNs without a Master of Science in Nursing.

Nursing (2024)


How many years is nursing in? ›

Fast Facts About Nursing School

The majority of nurses attend nursing school for 2-4 years to become a registered nurse (RN). An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is a two-year program and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is a four-year program.

What is a career in nursing? ›

Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients with illnesses. When treating a patient, they observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress. Nurses work alongside doctors when it comes to treatment plans and exams, administering medications, and monitoring patient recovery.

Is nursing job hard? ›

It is well-documented that a career in nursing can be stressful. Nurses often face high levels of stress in dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of the job – including the emotional toll that some patient situations and scenarios may bring in addition to the everyday stressors.

What is nursing and meaning? ›

Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people.

Is a 2 year nursing degree worth it? ›

Is Getting an RN Associate Degree Worth It? An ADN can be worth pursuing if you want to become a registered nurse and begin working in the field as soon as possible. It's the quickest path to working as a registered nurse and provides you with the real-world skills you'll need to provide excellent patient care.

What is a 2 year nursing degree called? ›

Associate in Nursing (ASN)

You can become a registered nurse (RN) in just two years with your associate degree in nursing (ASN). RNs are the first line of care in many healthcare settings, and they are in increasingly high demand as healthcare organizations strive to accommodate a growing patient population.

What is the highest paying nurse? ›

According to Medscape's 2023 APRN Compensation Report, CRNAs earn, on average, $235,000 annually, making it the highest-paid nursing profession.

Is nursing worth the money? ›

So, is nursing school worth it? Yes, it is, especially for students who aim to have a career with a favorable outlook. In addition to vast job opportunities and career stability, having a degree in nursing allows students to earn at least $48,000 annually.

Is it fun being a nurse? ›

As a nurse, there is never a boring day at work.

I never know what kind of assignment I will get when I step onto my unit. Every patient is different with their own unique plan of care. As nurses, we also have to float to other units when they need an extra hand.

Are nursing exams hard? ›

The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is a critical exam that every nursing student must take to become a licensed nurse. Passing the NCLEX is essential to begin your nursing career, but it is also one of the most challenging exams you will ever take.

How do I know if nursing is for me? ›

If you enjoy interacting with others and helping them in their time of need, nursing might be the perfect career for you. As a nurse, you'll be providing care and support to patients on a daily basis.

What are the 4 types of nursing? ›

  • Mental health nurse. You'll deliver care and support to patients who are struggling with their mental health, helping them manage their condition with medication or relevant therapies. ...
  • Learning disability nurse. ...
  • Adult nurse. ...
  • Children's nurse. ...
  • Nursing associate.

What does a nurse do every day? ›

One of the most critical nursing duties is patient assessment, including the physical exam, checking vital signs, evaluating mental status, listening to heart and lung sounds and assessing pain. Nurses also collect lab samples — urine, blood, sputum — and report results such as blood analysis and x-rays.

Is nursing 8 years? ›

Registered nurse: two years in an associate program to earn an associate degree, or four years to earn a bachelor's nursing degree. Advanced practice registered nurse: at least six years of total education to earn bachelor's and master's degrees; more than eight years if your specialty also requires a doctorate degree.

What kind of nurses make the most money? ›

Highest-Paid Nursing Jobs:
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - $212,650.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife - $129,650.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse - $128,211.
  • General Nurse Practitioner - $126,260.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist - $124,374.
  • Pain Management Nurse - $121,916.
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - $119,801.

What age do you usually become a nurse? ›

How old are nurses when they start? The average age of a new nurse ranges from mid twenties to late thirties and forties, depending on when the student started school. The youngest age someone could achieve RN status is 20,assuming the student graduated high school at 18 and immediately entered a2-year ADN program.

What's the highest level of nursing? ›

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal nursing degree, meaning that it is the highest possible practice-based degree in nursing.


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