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How Much More Do You Earn with a Masters of Nursing?

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In the field of nursing, salaries range from fairly low for nurses with just an associate’s degree and very little experience to relatively high for nurses with a doctorate in nursing and years of hands-on experience in the workforce. If you have a masters in nursing (MSN) degree, chances are that your salary expectations can fall closer to the high end of the spectrum. The time it takes to complete your master’s degree once you have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is 18 to 24 months, but that is time and money well invested when you realize your earning potential as an advanced nurse practitioner.

In order to qualify for a master’s degree in the nursing world, you have to first complete you BSN and be registered as a nurse. Afterward, you can register as an advanced registered nurse practitioner, or ARNP. Registration is important if you want to truly advance in your field, as hospitals, private practices, and other healthcare organizations will want to ensure that you’re licensed to work in your state. For those with MSN degrees, salaries range, on average, from $57,000 to $88,000, but the exact average salary for any scale depends on the career path you take. Some of the most common choices, along with average annual salaries, are as follows:

  • Cardiovascular ARNP: $87,985
  • Director of Nursing: $87,429
  • General Nurse Practitioner: $77,752
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: $73,684
  • Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner: $66,444
  • Nurse Case Manager: $57,824

This data is all according to Payscale.com, which also reports that nurses with an MSN can expect to receive $850 to $4,000 per year in bonuses, two to four weeks of paid vacation time, and other perks. As you can imagine, the more time you spend working in your field, the higher your salary and the better your benefits will be. Over time, especially if you stay at one hospital, you’ll only see your paycheck go up every year.

Your salary also depends on where you work. For example, for those with an MSN who work in a school setting, average salary is expected to be around $92,000. On the other hand, nurses with an MSN who work in hospitals make an average of $78,391 and nurses with an MSN who work in the non-profit sector make an average of $79,480. Location matters too. In general, you’ll make more money if you’re willing to live and work in a larger city. The states with the highest average salaries for nurses are California ($90,000), Texas ($80,202), and Pennsylvania ($79,262).

Lastly, your specialty and exact training as a nursing major play rolls in the salary you can expect once you graduate with an MSN degree. The highest salaries are found with nurses who work in cardiovascular disease, acute care, emergency room care, and care in the intensive care units of hospitals. Typically, areas of hospitals that are more fast-paced and stressful have jobs demanding higher salaries, though it depends on the need in your area. Remember, once you have your MSN, you can go on to get a doctorate in nursing, which means you’ll be qualified for even higher-paying jobs.

Featured Schools With Online Master's in Nursing Degrees


Walden's School of Nursing offers academically rigorous and culturally relevant programs that prepare you to improve the quality of patients' lives, communities, and healthcare institutions.

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Capella's master's degree in nursing gives you access to a wealth of new information and knowledge within the health care system. Their flexible program allows you to achieve your goals and advance your career by earning your msn degree online.

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Earn your dual master's degree in business and nursing, along with specialties in clinical care, education, family nurse practitioner, or nursing leadership at Grand Canyon University's college of nursing and health sciences. Each course can provide you with the skills and techniques you need to become the best in your field.

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Liberty University's School of Nursing prepares students to become nurses who are committed to Christian ethical standards and view nursing as a ministry of caring based on the Patricia Benner's theoretical framework.

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