While many people who pursue MSN degrees are hoping to become a registered nurse, that’s far from the only career you’re qualified to pursue. A master’s degree can open up a variety of job opportunities for those who complete their degree program, no matter what area your clinical interests lie in.
Even before you complete your master’s degree, many MSN programs offer the ability to specialize in your final years of study, which you should take advantage of if you already have a particular affinity for a certain segment of your field. If you’re considering an MSN, have one already, or are about to graduate, read on to learn more about four career paths for an MSN candidate.
1. Nurse Practitioner
Nursing masters programs will put you on the path to being able to become a nurse practitioner or an RN, which can provide great benefits and a high average salary. There’s a lack of qualified healthcare practitioners in the United States, so becoming a family practitioner can offer great job security. Rural and remote locations are particularly under-served when it comes to having quality healthcare providers, so you can often make a real difference by working in these areas.
Family nurse practitioners can provide a wide range of services, though there are restrictions in certain states on prescribing some medications. You will need to be prepared for situations from loss of consciousness to seizures to high fevers. You’ll be responsible for both regular health care and in a medical emergency, which can be difficult for many people.
2. Nurse Educator
Many nurses or people with MSN degrees choose to enter the world of academia as educators or staff at MSN degree programs. A nurse educator has the responsibility of preparing students for the challenges of a career in a field related to nursing. For many who are interested in the science and subject of nursing but don’t want to work in a clinical setting, becoming a nurse educator is an ideal career path.
While you can learn a lot from a collegiate nursing education or an associate’s degree, an MSN is the best preparation for pursuing a career as an educator. Many programs require a master’s degree in order to be seriously considered for teaching positions.
3. Legal Consultant
Your MSN degree makes you an expert in the nursing field, which means that you can use those skills in other professions that require that type of expertise. Becoming a legal consultant with a specialty in nursing can be a lucrative and secure job for anyone interested in applying their nursing degree to the advanced practice of law. Many careers involving legal consultation involve assisting police officers and lawyers when it comes to analyzing evidence and in other legal matters.
4. Clinical Researcher
Whether your clinical interest is researching types of seizures or advances in the treatment of infectious disease, there are thousands of research opportunities for MSN candidates all over the country. People with MSN degrees can find opportunities to assist with everything from gene therapy to developing treatments for low blood sugar to sleep disorders to addressing broader public health issues. You can pursue whatever specialty is more appealing to you.
While becoming a registered nurse is the most common choice for those who have a nursing degree, there are a variety of jobs that are available to those with a master of science in nursing. Whether you’re interested in pursuing the educational field, legal work, or medical research, you’ll find that there are opportunities out there that will provide you with both a reasonable and consistent salary in addition to job security. If you’re considering an MSN degree, it’s essential for you to be aware that it’s incredibly versatile and will give you the ability to find a position in a medical field that appeals to you.