If you are investigating the possibility of studying towards a masters in nurse education online or at a traditional college, you may be wondering whether it is a wise move regarding your blossoming career. Is it better to continue working with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or is your career likely to progress faster if you take some time off to further your education and get your masters degree under your belt? In most cases, it is worthwhile to study further.
Here are just 11 reasons why you cannot go wrong by completing a masters degree in nursing education.
1. More job opportunities
Like in most other vocations, the higher your education as a nursing practitioner, the more variety you will be presented with on the job front. Not only will you have a far greater selection when it comes to positions that you are qualified to fill, but you are also certain to gain access to positions that offer a more significant salary than you would get if you were practicing nursing with a BSN or a nursing diploma. This is often because obtaining a masters in nurse education online makes it possible for you to be granted advanced practice nursing licensure – something that is bound to get potential employers’ attention for the duration of your career.
2. Optimizing your existing skills and learning new ones
Studying towards a masters in nurse education online means that you will have the opportunity to hone the skills that you have acquired throughout your previous studies and during the years spent working in a hospital or clinic setting. Undoubtedly, this will aid you in becoming the best nursing practitioner that you can possibly be.
Along with brushing up on your existing skills, you will also be granted the opportunity to learn new ones. Most nursing masters degree programs delve deeper into the existing knowledge of a registered nurse and expose the individual to a variety of new disciplines that he or she has yet to explore. For instance, you can expect to study nursing science’s theoretical development, advanced pathophysiology, nursing education, and several teaching strategies.
3. Making a difference in your community
There has never been a time when highly qualified healthcare professionals were more needed. Unfortunately, despite the demand for these healthcare professionals, a worrying shortage remains. According to research conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges, it is estimated that there will be a shortage of 122,000 physicians by the year 2032. Why is this shortage likely to occur? For numerous reasons, including the fact that:
- The United States’ population is constantly growing and aging
- Health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, are on the increase
- The COVID-19 pandemic, and the various health-related consequences that it will leave behind, is likely to result in an even higher demand for qualified healthcare workers
As such, by obtaining your masters in nurse education online, you will be filling a need and playing a huge role in helping and healing your community as a whole.
4. The ability to specialize
Perhaps during your time spent working as a nurse, you have discovered that you have a special talent for a particular aspect of your job. Or maybe you have always had dreams of becoming a specialized nurse with greater levels of respect and responsibility. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to take the next steps, a masters in nurse education online is the way to go if you are keen to specialize. There are countless nursing specialties to choose from, such as:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Cardiac nurse
- Pediatric nurse
- Mental health nurse
- Geriatric nurse
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- ER nurse
- Critical care nurse
- Perioperative nurse
When pursuing a masters in nurse education online, or any other nursing specialty for that matter, you can expect to complete a practicum and seminar in that chosen nursing specialty.
5. Taking on a leadership role
Nurse educators often step into a leadership role and take action to mold the nursing professionals of the future. This is a massive responsibility that is equal parts challenging and rewarding. If you are hoping to find a nursing specialty that allows you to feel a greater sense of fulfillment, then working towards a masters in nurse education online is a viable option for you.
6. Plenty of freedom
Not too long ago, nursing practitioners had few options for furthering their education and completing a masters degree. Luckily, nowadays, nursing practitioners can often study and work simultaneously due to the emergence of online learning and the advancement of the technology supporting it.
When studying towards a masters in nurse education online, you will enjoy the benefits of completing the theoretical aspect of your course 100% via the internet, followed by completing the remainder of your degree in a clinical setting. This enables you to work around at your existing job for a longer period, so you are not missing out on earning money while you study. Some colleges even allow you to decide on your own clinical placement, meaning that you can continue working at your current workplace without a hitch. This enhanced level of freedom makes the possibility of studying further a much more viable option for many ambitious nurses of today.
7. More manageable hours
Unsurprisingly, most registered nurses in possession of an undergraduate degree tend to work 12-hour shifts, which can prove exhausting over the long term. A registered nurse with a masters degree – and particularly a masters degree in nurse education – tend to work much shorter, more manageable hours. Also, considering the fact that you will be teaching prospective nurses, usually in a college setting or as a mentor at a hospital or clinic, it is highly unlikely that you will have to continue working any night shifts. As expected, most nursing program lectures take place during the day.
8. Improved respect at work
Are you tired of having to answer to superiors? Are you sick of feeling as though you are working at the bottom of the food chain? If so, it will be pleasing to learn that a masters in nurse education online is bound to earn you a great deal of respect from your peers and the other healthcare professionals with whom you work daily. You may often find that your co-workers and even your superiors will often seek you out for your opinion, advice, or guidance regarding an important matter at hand. This can leave you feeling more fulfilled and appreciated in your job.
9. The opportunity to get involved in research
You will love pursuing a masters in nurse education online if the notion of getting involved in exciting research projects appeals to you. Most masters degrees revolving around nursing will carry a strong research component, such as a thesis. To give yourself a head start, remember to think if there is an enthralling aspect of your field that you are keen to look into before applying for a masters in nurse education online, that way you can state in your application specific reasons for wanting to take your masters and what you want to achieve through your research.
Note that while some online and traditional colleges may insist on specific requirements surrounding your research to complete your masters degree, others will allow you maximum freedom of choice.
10. Exciting opportunities
Highly qualified healthcare professionals have more exciting opportunities available to them that they can easily choose to take full advantage of. For instance, shortly following the completion of your masters in nurse education online, you may opt to get in touch with the Peace Corps and work as a volunteer, or you could decide to join the Doctors without Borders program.
There is no doubt that a registered nurse with a masters degree would get into such programs with far greater ease than a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing, an associate degree, or a nursing diploma.
11. The chance to study even further
Not yet satisfied with a masters degree? The reality is that you will need to be awarded your masters degree before you can consider taking your education even further in the future. A masters degree in nurse education online, or in any other specialty, opens up a number of doors in terms of tertiary studies. For example, you might decide to pursue a Ph.D. in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Undoubtedly, these impressive degrees will unlock even more impressive job opportunities for you as you continue advancing your career and climbing that proverbial ladder of success.
What to consider & need-to-knows
First and foremost, if you are worried about a masters degree in nurse education online taking too long to complete and holding up your career development, fear not! Countless online nursing colleges make it possible for you to obtain your masters degree in as little as just five semesters, so be sure to be on the lookout for this particular benefit. Some colleges offer the course in as little as eight weeks (two months) if you have the necessary time on your hands to study full-time. Alternatively, you can approach the program on a more flexible part-time basis and complete the course in approximately 16 weeks (four months).
Next, remember to investigate the various requirements relating to studying towards a masters in nurse education online. While there is often no GRE or GMAT required, you will almost always need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited school of nursing under your belt, as well as a valid unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license. Of course, be sure to get hold of your official transcripts from all academic institutions attended in the past before applying to help streamline the process.
It is also vital that you thoroughly assess your career goals before taking the plunge and studying towards a masters in nurse education online. Do you enjoy working in a fast-paced hospital or clinic environment? Or do you think that you would prefer a workplace that is a little bit more stable and predictable? If you answered ‘yes’ to the latter, then a career in nurse education could be a great fit for you. Note that the majority of nurse educators work in a college or university setting. However, it is also possible to find a nurse educator job within a surgical hospital, a general medical hospital, a junior college, or a technical and trade school. After all, all nursing practitioners need mentors and guidance, and the opportunity to continuously brush up on their skills is beneficial for everyone involved – registered nurses, their employers, and their patients alike!
Finally, it is good to do some research before applying to any online nursing colleges to pursue a masters in nurse education online. This is because not all online nursing colleges have been created equal! Most importantly, make sure that the Commission fully accredits the college you are most interested in, Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). If it is not, your masters degree might not be recognized by the necessary authorities, making it difficult to find a job in your chosen specialty, or in the location that you want.
It is also recommended to double-check that the college is also deemed an approved institution by the National Council for State Authorization. If the college in question ticks these boxes, you can be rather sure that its masters program is of a high standard and will provide you with an advantage when it comes to advancing your career.
Now that you know the many reasons why it is worthwhile to obtain a masters in nurse education online, there is nothing stopping you from taking those next steps and turning your dreams for career development into reality. Pay special attention to the various programs and colleges out there and take your time finding the one that is right for you. Good luck!