Overview of an Online Master's Degree Program in Nursing Administration
Are you a registered nurse (RN) who is interested in taking on greater responsibilities within the healthcare industry? If you find yourself still passionate about healthcare, but are looking for a career in administration, consider pursuing your online master's degree in nursing administration. Nursing administrators are vital members of a medical team at healthcare facilities, as they are responsible for being the link between the patient and nursing staff.
This master's degree program trains you to be a leader in your profession, equipping you with the management and administrative skills to lead a team of nurses. The online format is convenient for nurses who need to continue working while they are earning their degree. It allows students to complete their coursework on their own time so they can continue to take care of their work and family responsibilities.
The job market today is highly competitive, and a master's degree can give you the edge you need to start your career in nursing administration. While there are bachelor's programs in nursing administration, more employers prefer to hire applicants who have earned their master's degree. You might be able to start in an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree, but many employers will still require you to have a master's degree in order to earn a promotion. After graduation, you will have knowledge on human resources, training, accounting and other helpful management skills to offer employers.
Applying to an Online Master's Degree Program in Nursing Administration
All applicants to an online nursing administration master's degree program must have already earned their bachelor's degree. Most programs require students to have earned their bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and have already earned their RN license. But, don’t worry if you don’t have any previous nursing experience. There are also accelerated programs for ambitious individuals who wish to pursue their BSN and MSN at the same time.
The materials that are required in your application package will vary by graduate school. However, there are a few general requirements that most graduate schools follow including, your college transcripts, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, 370 personal statement explaining why you will be a good fit for the program, and two to five letters of recommendation. Typically, the minimum GPA requirement for masters degree programs in nursing administration is a 3.0. However, there are programs with higher and lower GPA requirements, so make sure you check each schools GPA requirements before applying.
How to Choose an Online Nursing Administration Master's Degree Program
Which type of online nursing administration master's degree program you should pursue depends on your nursing and general education experience. Direct enter MSN programs are for students who have no prior nursing experience, but have earned their bachelor's degree in another field. These programs offer students credit for any liberal arts courses taken during college, so the rest of the time can be spent developing and strengthening their nursing skills. This program also prepares students to take their NCLEX-RN exam, which leads an RN license.
RN-to-MSN programs are specifically for registered nurses who wish to earn their MSN directly after earning their bachelor's degree. This program is for individuals who already have a clear idea of their career goals. Students in this program are allowed to take advanced courses while pursuing their bachelor's degree to avoid having to repeat classes in the master's degree portion.
Not all online master's degree programs are offered entirely online. Some programs have residency requirements in which the student must attend courses or seminars on campus from between a few days up to a few semesters. However, there are also programs that are offered 100% online, so check with your school to make sure you are choosing the right type of program to fit your scheduling needs.
What to Expect in a Nursing Administration Online Master's Degree Program
Typically, an online program for a master's degree in nursing administration takes between two and three years to complete. In your program, you will learn the skills needed to manage patient intake, oversee the financial department, maintain scheduling and employee benefits and other related tasks.
Most of your coursework will teach you management skills. Lectures are typically held through a live Webinar format, or a via a pre-recorded video. Courses that may be included in your curriculum for nursing administration include nursing theory and research, nursing leadership, advanced care management, organizational theory, managerial communication, health program planning, etc.
Although you might be taking all of your courses online, each program requires you to perform clinical training at a healthcare facility such as a hospital or retirement home. Clinical training provides you with hands-on experience in the field. If you are already employed at a healthcare facility, most schools will allow you to complete your clinical work with your employer.
Most programs have a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students who choose the thesis option must complete an in-depth research paper or scholarly project demonstrating extensive knowledge on a specific area of nursing administration. Make sure you are passionate about the subject you choose to research because you will be working on it for the majority of your program.
Top 10 Online Grad Schools for Nursing Administration
- University of Phoenix - Online School
- Walden University - Online School
- Capella University - Online School
- Grand Canyon University
- Purdue University Global
- Nova Southeastern University - Online School
- South University’s Online programs
- Mercy College - Online School
- California University of Pennsylvania - Online School
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