The Best Online MSN Programs

The increase in available healthcare in the United States has led to a higher demand for different, more specialized types of care, and for skilled nursing professionals who can offer it. Today, nurses are frequently taking on more of the responsibilities that used to fall on doctors — from diagnosing and treating illness to prescribing medication — and new medical technologies require advanced skills to operate. Many nurses now find that a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) is a worthwhile choice for professional development and increased job opportunities.

While a bachelor’s degree in nursing typically focuses on general knowledge for healthcare delivery, an MSN degree is more specialized, allowing students to concentrate on a specific area of nursing, such as education, administration, or women’s health. The MSN also prepares students for higher-level leadership roles, and the increased responsibilities of these positions lead to an increase in pay. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a nurse practitioner commands a median salary of $98,190, while a nurse anesthetist’s median salary is around $154,390.

What is an Online MSN Program?

The convenience and flexibility of an online MSN degree makes it a popular choice for students with career or family obligations. Online programs allow students to create their own class schedules and require few, if any, visits to campus. In addition to courses, many graduate nursing programs require a clinical practicum to help students gain hands-on experience. Most distance education programs allow students to complete clinical practice hours near their homes under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Typically, nursing departments can help students locate an appropriate healthcare center to perform their practice hours.

To help you find the best online MSN program available, we’ve ranked these schools according to a wide range of factors, taking into account everything from the percentage of students enrolled exclusively in online courses to the tuition price and graduation rate. The schools on our list represent the intersection of affordability, academic strength, online resources, and course flexibility. Whatever nursing career you’re interested in pursuing, there’s a school on this list that’s bound to fit your needs.

The Rankings

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