You can specialize. According to Nurse Journal, a master's can put many appealing specialties within reach. "Once you hold an MSN degree, you can specialize in certain interesting fields of nursing," the article said. "You may, for instance, be interested in mental health care, pediatric care, oncology or any other specific field. Only with an MSN degree can you have true specialization."
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You'll make more money (usually). RNs don't often make as much money as MSNs, according to Nursing.org. One particularly appealing wage boost comes with the move from RN to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, which can almost double your income.
There are lots of good choices. There have never been more options for obtaining an MSN than there are right now, according to Nursing.org., including part-time, accelerated and even online programs. "Students can basically go at their own pace, and customize their course schedules thanks to schools catering more to adult students, and technology that allows for distance learning," the site noted. "This is especially helpful for people who would like to continue working while they go to school."
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On the downside:
MSNs cost a pretty penny. Look for a master's to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Even though you'll be earning lots more when you graduate, your short-term budget may not be able to sustain the outlay.
The coursework is tough. After all, this is an advanced degree. "Master's programs are challenging, there's no doubt about that," Nursing.org said, "but even more so for nurses who are continuing to work and juggle family responsibilities as they take classes. It can certainly be done, as thousands of students prove each year, but it's not an endeavor to be taken lightly."
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The clinical hours can be brutal. If your time is at a premium for any reason, particularly with a young family or other recent life transitions, now may not be the time for a master's. "Even if you decide to take your time or go the online MSN route, you should still be prepared to dedicate a significant number of hours per week to your studies and/or clinical requirements," Nursing.org encouraged. "Doing so will likely require some shuffling around of responsibilities, and a strong support network at home and work."