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25 Most Affordable Master of Science in Nursing Online Programs for 2021

Are you considering getting your master of science in nursing online? If yes, this article will give you the information you need to choose the right degree, specialization, and school. A master’s in nursing is the right choice for nurses who hold a bachelor’s in nursing and wish to advance their careers. It can open up many opportunities, from being a specialized nurse in advanced clinical roles to various nurse leadership roles. 

An online MSN will help you grow in your career as well as lead to higher salaries. Explore the programs listed here to see the different paths you can take with an MSN and advance your degree. 

The curriculum increases one’s nursing and healthcare knowledge. It teaches them various ways to serve patients from a holistic perspective better. Courses cover areas like public health, ethics, clinical skills, nurse leadership, and healthcare practice. The specialization options that come with a master of science in nursing allows them to focus on particular conditions or patient populations that most interest them. Some of these specializations include: 

  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Certified Critical-Care Registered Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Educator
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Research Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

A master of science in nursing online is a perfect choice for busy RNs who wish to get an advanced degree as they continue to work. The flexible, online format allows them to go to a school of their choice without worrying about locations. Students can arrange coursework and schedules around their professional and personal responsibilities, thus maintaining a life-work balance. 

Most online master of science in the nursing program offers asynchronous classes with no set log in times. Working nurses can now attend classes despite their varying schedules without falling behinde up. 

We have listed the affordable online master’s in nursing programs here. Explore the programs to gather more information about them and find the best match for your career goals. Some of the program listed here are: 

  • Online MSN
  • MSN Online
  • MSN in Nursing Admin Online
  • MSN-FNP Online
  • MS in Nursing Education Online
  • MSN in Nursing Education Online
  • Online MSN in Nursing Education 
  • Online MSN for NE
  • Master’s in Nursing Online

We have ranked the program based on their affordability. We have also considered the school accreditation, program accreditation, curriculum, the faculty experience, formats and flexibility, student support, and nature of clinical experience. 

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points
  • Flexibility of the Program (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item
  • Online Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, etc.)— 1 point per item
  • Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item (5-pt cap)
  • Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item
  • “Wow” Factor – 1 point

#25 Maryville University

St. Louis, MO

Online MSN
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Points: 5

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Maryville University

Maryville University offers a master of science in nursing online. It is designed for nurses who wish to become advanced nurse practitioners and transform the healthcare system. Specialty areas include: 

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Graduates develop a whole new leadership perspective and excel as advanced nurse practitioners. They gain a comprehensive understanding of health and healthcare systems. They learn to approach nursing from an angle of compassion, evidence-based decision-making, and preventive care. 

Fast facts:

  • 41-50 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $339.80 

#24 Stephen F. Austin State University 

Nacogdoches, TX

Online MSN
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Points: 6

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Stephen F. Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin State University offers a master of science in nursing online with a focus on a Nursing Education degree. It is designed for students who have a passion for teaching and wish to teach in a variety of settings. Students need to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to be considered for this program. The coursework provides the core knowledge required to: 

  • Develop a nursing curriculum
  • Develop teaching methodologies using innovative technologies and simulation
  • Evaluate strategies for the classroom or the clinical education setting

Graduates serve as nurse educators in hospitals, nursing schools, community colleges, or universities. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: DeWitt School of Nursing
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: ACEN; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $566.50

#23 Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, KY

Online MSN
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Points: 6

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University offers a master of science in nursing online. The program prepares graduates to think and practice as leaders in healthcare and educational settings. They learn through a blend of theory, practice, and hands-on learning. 

The various concentration options include: 

  • Nursing Education 
  • Nurse Executive Leadership 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Online 
  • Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 

Students enjoy learning experiences that make them critical thinkers and compassionate clinicians. They excel as educators and train the next generation of nurses. They also practice in various clinical and healthcare settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 33-47 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $550

#22 Northcentral University 

San Diego CA

MSN Online
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Points: 6

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers a master of science in nursing online. The flexible program is designed to provide working RNs the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. Students can create their individualized program of study in both full-time and part-time options. Specialization options include: 

  • Management and Organizational Leadership, MSN
  • Quality and Safety, MSN

The format blends online cohort courses with practicum experiences in the student’s local community. Students have to complete an evidence-based research project that offers invaluable hands-on experience. They also explore healthcare administration principles, data-driven decision-making, healthcare law, and resource and financial management. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School Of Health Sciences 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition per credit: $535

#21 Ottawa University

Ottawa, KS

Online MSN
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Points: 7

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Ottawa University

Ottawa University offers a master of science in nursing online. It helps registered nurses gain leadership strategies, critical-thinking skills. The core topics range from advanced health assessment to exploring cultural diversity. Students can choose from two specializations:

  • Nurse Educator – Graduates can take the Nurse Educator Certification Exam from the National League for Nursing (NLN). 
  • Nurse Leadership – Graduates can take the Nurse Executive Certification Exam of the American Organization of Nursing Executive (AONE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Nurse Executive and Nurse Executive Advanced Certification Exam.

The customized study plan helps students gain professional qualifications to take the next step in their careers.

Fast facts:

  • 54 credits
  • Offered through: School of Arts and Sciences 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $499

#20 University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX

MSN in Nursing Admin Online
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Points: 7

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN). It builds on a foundation of undergraduate nursing education and practical experience. Students are prepared to excel in a nurse manager career. The curriculum blends contemporary management theory with core competencies for healthcare settings. Key features of the program:

  • Delivered via a blended learning model 
  • The instructional format is not linked to traditional semester schedules
  • Online technology-enhanced courses 
  • UTA faculty-supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state
  • Students can enter and progress through the program in an expedited manner

Graduates gain advanced knowledge and skills to function in leadership and management roles in varied healthcare settings.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: College of Nursing and Health Innovation 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 
  • Tuition per credit: $494.44

#19 South Dakota State University

Brookings, SD

Online MSN
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Points: 8

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University offers a master of science in nursing online. The competitive and elite program requires 1500 hours of practice as a registered nurse and an RN license before enrollment. The coursework is designed to help students set new standards of healthcare excellence. Specialization options include: 

  • Clinical Nurse Leader – Prepares students for the coordination of care and clinical leadership
  • Nurse Administrator – Prepares students to use concepts and theories from nursing management and health administration
  • Nurse Educator – Prepares students to use theories of teaching and learning in a variety of setting 

The training and job placement prepare graduates with several options for taking their careers to new levels.

Fast facts:

  • 36-58 credits
  • Offered through: College of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $465.80

#18 Frostburg State University

Frostburg, MD 

MSN-FNP Online
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Points: 9

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Frostburg State University

Frostburg State University offers an online master of science in nursing with an FNP family nurse practitioner concentration. The curriculum is based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing. It prepares experienced nurses to provide primary or mental health care in rural healthcare settings. They gain a broad understanding of the discipline of nursing and the expanded role of the NP. Course options include:

  • Full time – Can be completed in 6 consecutive semesters
  • Part-time – Can be completed in 10 consecutive semesters

The Nurse Practitioner concentration aligns with the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education. It also aligns with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Competencies. 

Fast facts:

  • 55 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Nursing
  • Format: Online/Blended
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $437

#17 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online MSN
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Points: 9

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Capella University

Capella University offers a master of science in nursing online. It is designed to help registered nurses specialize in their area of interest and prepare for advanced practice. These specialization options include: 

  • Care Coordination
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Nursing Leadership and Administration
  • RN-to-MSN Care Coordination
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Education
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Informatics
  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership and Administration

The practices are designed to help students apply what they learn in their work right away. They use the best available evidence to solve real health care challenges and real-world challenges. Each practicum involves onsite, part-time, and supervised training. 

Fast facts:

  • 54 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $435 

#16 Purdue University Global

Indianapolis, IN

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Purdue University Global

Online MSN
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Points: 9

Purdue University Global offers a master of science in nursing online. It prepares students for advanced nursing roles that cater to the needs of communities, individuals, and families. It builds on their previous nursing education and clinical experience. Degree pathways include: 

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Executive leader
  • Family nurse practitioner, primary care
  • Nurse educator

Students take specialized courses in organizational theory, health policy, and health care systems. Graduates are prepared to pursue an advanced practice in a variety of health care settings or pursue doctoral education. 

Fast facts:

  • 60-90 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $420 

#15 Wichita State University

Wichita, KS 

MS in Nursing Education Online
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Points: 10 

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Wichita State University

Wichita State University offers a master of science in nursing online. It prepares students to teach the next generation of nursing students. The fully online Nursing Education master’s degree program covers areas like: 

  • Curriculum Design
  • Evidence-based Teaching/Learning Methodologies
  • Patient and Staff Education
  • Evaluation Methods
  • Critical Analysis of Current Research and Trends in Nursing Education
  • Continuing Nursing Education

Candidates should hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in nursing from a nationally accredited (NLN or CCNE) school. RN applicants with a degree in another discipline will be considered after being counseled on an individual basis. Students are prepared to excel in the next phase of their careers as a nursing educator.

Fast facts:

  • 37 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $411.82

#14 University of Missouri–Kansas City 

Kansas City, MO

Online MSN
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Points: 10

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Missouri–Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City offers a comprehensive master of science in nursing online. The flexible online and hybrid formats allow busy RNS to advance their knowledge while balancing life and work. They graduate with the highest level of education and can meet their long-term career goals. The degree options include: 

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Nursing Educator (NE)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP/AC PNP)
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

The school has a 94.7% pass rate for NCLEX-RN. Students develop exceptional leadership skills to excel in the next stage of their careers. 

Fast facts:

  • 46 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $406.70

#13 University of Southern Indiana 

Evansville, IN

Online MSN
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Points: 10

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Southern Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana offers a master of science in nursing online. It provides students with a plan of study that allows for timely graduation and achievement of their goals. Specialty areas include: 

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 
  • Nursing Education

The curriculum is designed to ensure that graduate students are successful in their professional, personal, and academic careers. Students learn to synthesize knowledge and integrate critical thinking with independent judgment. They are prepared to excel in leadership roles and promote the essential values of caring in their work. 

Fast facts:

  • 44 credits
  • Offered through: College of Nursing and Health Professions 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $400.68

#12 Northeastern State University

Tahlequah, OK

MSN in Nursing Education Online
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Points: 11

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Northeastern State University

Northeastern State University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Education. Students gain all-round knowledge to teach nursing at the advanced practice level. They gain the knowledge and credentials to plan curriculum and facilitate learning. The accredited program can be completed in as few as 12 months. Graduates can teach levels like diplomas, associate, and baccalaureate degree nursing programs, along with practical nursing. Coursework includes:

  • Nurse Educator Role Development
  • Curriculum Development
  • Assessment & Evaluation in Nursing Education
  • Facilitating Learning for Healthcare Professionals

Graduates can also provide continuing nursing education (CNE) in academic, clinical, and healthcare settings.

Fast facts:

  • 32 credits
  • Offered through: Graduate College
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: ACEN; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $370.40

#11 American Public University System

Charles Town, WV

MSN Online
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Points: 11

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + American Public University System

American Public University offers a master of science in nursing online. The program is designed for registered nurses who have earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. It prepares them to be agents of change in today’s dynamic healthcare industry. Student nurses need to hold a current, active, and unencumbered license. They can choose from two concentrations: Nurse Educator or Nurse Leader. Coursework includes:

  • Population-based healthcare
  • Research and evidence-based practice
  • Health policy
  • Grant writing

The program includes a 16-week practicum in one’s community, focusing on one’s professional interest area. Students are prepared to cultivate and lead collaborative healthcare teams. They go on to excel in service and leadership roles in a diverse and global society.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Health Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $370

#10 Lamar University

Beaumont, TX

Online MSN in Nursing Education 
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Points: 12

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Lamar University

Lamar University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Education. The program blends core knowledge and teaching methodologies. These help students learn to deliver quality care in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. The curriculum covers:

  • Proven strategies for designing and implementing effective learning objectives and curricula
  • Advanced instructional methods to create an engaging and active learning environment
  • Advanced nursing knowledge and clinical practice 
  • Building leadership abilities and teaching skills 

Students learn to develop the next generation of outstanding nurses in a learning environment and lead the future of nursing education.

Fast facts:

  • 37 credits
  • Offered through: JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: ACEN; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $13,098

#9 Grantham University

Lenexa, KS

Online MSN
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Points: 12

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Grantham University

Grantham University offers a master of science in nursing online. It prepares students to expand their knowledge and skills as Registered Nurses (RN). Students can choose from an area of interest that aligns with their career goals. 

These specialization options include: 

  • Nursing Case Management Specialization 
  • Nursing Education Specialization 
  • Nursing Informatics Specialization 
  • Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership Specialization 

All tracks need students to complete a capstone project. Students build on their knowledge with knowledge and expertise for advanced practice. They learn about research and evidence-based professional nursing practice. They prepare to excel as leaders in nursing. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: ACEN; CCNE; Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $350

 #8 University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Online MSN
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Points: 13

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers a master of science in nursing online. It is designed for students with a bachelor’s in nursing who wish to take on a new leadership role. Students learn to develop leadership, management, and teaching strategies to improve the quality of healthcare. The program offers three tracks to suit individual career goals:

  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing and Healthcare Simulation

Graduates become greater advocates and influencers for patient safety, health, and public policy. They impact lives positively through their critical thinking skills, evidence-based practices, and research skills. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: College of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $327.32

#7 Aspen University

Denver, CO

Online MSN
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Points: 13

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Aspen University

Aspen University offers a master of science in nursing online. The specialized programs are designed for registered nurses who wish to pursue a master’s degree. Students can tailor their degrees per their area of interest by choosing a specific specialization. The specializations options include: 

  • Forensic Nursing
  • Informatics
  • Nursing Administration and Management
  • Nursing Education
  • Public Health

A specialized MSN increases students’ expertise in a particular area of nursing and their demand in the job market. Graduates excel as nurses and enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing & Health Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $325

#6 University of Central Missouri 

Warrensburg, MO

Online MSN
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Points: 13

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri offers a master of science in nursing online. It provides advanced practice nursing knowledge, applying that knowledge, skills, and attitudes for excellent practice. The two areas of emphasis are: 

  • Nurse Educator – Covers topics that stress the use of academic technologies, including simulation in the educator role
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – Prepares students for clinical practice with in-depth knowledge through the needed coursework and practica 

Course work for both covers components for the certification. Students of both areas have to complete a capstone clinical experience.

Fast facts:

  • 33-44 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $317

#5 Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS

Online MSN for NE
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Points: 14

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers an online Master of Science In Nursing for Nurse Educators. The program prepares students for roles in nursing education with the Masters of Nursing Education Track. The 100% online program is best suited for the working RN who desires a nursing education career. Coursework includes: 

  • Advanced Foundations for Nursing Practice
  • Developing Nursing Theories
  • Advanced Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, & Health Assessment for Nurse Educators & Nurse Administrators
  • Teaching Strategies in Nursing
  • Curriculum Planning: Nursing Education

Students can enjoy small class sizes and personalized advising from the faculty. They can complete courses on a timeline that fits their schedule and complete practical experiences in their communities. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: College Of Health And Behavioral Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $298.55

#4 Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, GA

MSN Online
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Points: 14

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University offers a master of science in nursing online. Students have the option to focus either on Chronic Care Management or Nursing Education. Offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, the program allows students to set their own pace of study. Coursework includes: 

  • Epidemiology 
  • Pathophysiology and Differential Diagnosis 
  • Advanced Pharmacology       
  • Biomedical Ethics       
  • Chronic Care Management 
  • Curriculum Design and Evaluation in Nursing Education      
  • Teaching Strategies and Methods in Nursing Education      

Students should note that there is no board certification with this degree. They will earn an MSN degree but will not be in advanced practice. They need to consult with individual course syllabi for specific live session requirements.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $277

#3 Appalachian State University

Boone, NC

Online MSN
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Points: 15

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University offers a master of science in nursing online. The flexible, online MSN program helps students expand their nursing knowledge. It prepares them for educator roles in practice settings and academic positions in nursing programs. The program emphasizes: 

  • Educational creativity
  • Nursing practice
  • Leadership
  • Research

Students learn through a methodology approach that focuses on the preparation of the MSN-RN as a nurse educator. After completion, they can teach using simulation and various methodologies. The faculty integrates holistic best practices into education offerings for individuals and groups. They prepare students to work in academic, patient care, and staff development settings.

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through: Department of Nursing 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 
  • Tuition per credit: $266

#2 Middle Georgia State University

Macon, GA

MSN in Nursing Online
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Points: 15

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + Middle Georgia State University

Middle Georgia State University offers an online Master Of Science In Nursing: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Graduates provide advanced nursing care for adult patients in acute healthcare environments. The curriculum focuses on: 

  • Health promotion
  • Health maintenance
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Disease management
  • Use and prescription of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions

The coursework also covers Lean Management skills and Six Sigma principles in the advanced practice nursing and healthcare environment. Graduates work in varied settings like emergency rooms, intensive care units, trauma units, and advanced diagnostic areas. 100% of 2019 graduates who have taken the certification exam have passed on the first attempt. Over 50% have secured jobs as nurse practitioners. 

Fast facts:

  • 43 credits
  • Offered through: School of Health and Natural Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: ACEN; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $255

#1 University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

Online MSN
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Points: 16

25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Nursing Online + University of Missouri

The University of Missouri offers a master of science in nursing online. It is designed for nurses who hold post-baccalaureate or post-graduate degrees. Students have the option to progress into the DNP program following MS degree completion. Courses are delivered in an online and flexible format to meet the needs of working professionals. They can personalize their degree by choosing a specialization. These specialization options include:

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare Systems
  • Nurse Educator
  • Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care

Graduates work as nurse leaders, nurse educators, and advanced practice nurses.

Fast facts:

  • 43-47 credits
  • Offered through: Sinclair School of Nursing
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $218 

More About Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Nursing 

What does a master of science in nursing online degree mean?

A Master of Science in Nursing degree is designed for working RNs and nurses with a bachelor’s in nursing degree or a related field. MSN graduates are prepared for either clinical roles or non-clinical roles, depending on their specialty areas. Most students choose a master’s in nursing degree to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and specialize in specific population-focused areas.

The possibilities for master’s in nursing degree holders are limitless, in the medical field and beyond. They will find themselves eligible for many more positions and offered much higher compensation. 

How does a master of science in nursing online help?

Nursing is a rewarding career choice

A master of science in nursing online helps nurses advance their careers and grow into senior roles. It also helps increase their earning potential. They can build valuable clinical skills while completing core nursing coursework and specializations. These improve their skills and knowledge and paves the way for them to become advanced practice nurses. It also enhances job satisfaction. 

Advanced Practice Nurses (those holding MSN degrees) have a wide range of available options since they have more choices in both position and specialization. Nurses who have earned their Master of Science in Nursing degree can work in both clinical and non-clinical settings and specialty areas based upon their particular area of interest. 

Since they focus on a specific area, they can enjoy greater job satisfaction than others and truly excel at what they do. They have good relationships with patients and make a positive impact on their lives. They enjoy higher earnings potential, as well. 

Having an MSN degree adds significantly to earning potential. Several studies suggest that nurses with graduate degrees earned 33 percent more than nurses with undergraduate degrees. 

Opportunities range from becoming clinical nurse leaders or advanced practice registered nurses such as nurse administrators, Nurse Practitioners, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to educators or informaticists. Hospitals are actively seeking MSN-degreed nurses to fill various positions as nurse managers, FNPs, and nurse leaders. They showcase their staff as master’s degree holders and specialists to attract patients and investors. 

An MSN degree establishes aspiring nurses as dedicated professionals. It gives them a far greater opportunity to advance their careers. They make a big difference in patient outcomes and overall pride in the delivery of care. MSN degree prepares nurses for several certifications and licenses. Nurses with MSNs work in advanced practice roles, taking on increased responsibility. Those who want to be nurse practitioners are also prepared to get board certification for practice.

How long does it take to complete an MSN online?

Depending on the school and nature of the degree chosen, one can complete an MSN degree between 12 months to 24 months. Many flexible programs allow working nurses to opt for a slower pace and complete their master’s degree in three to four years. The student’s enrollment schedule and prior degrees also make a difference in case they can transfer credits. In such cases, they may be able to graduate sooner than their classmates. 

What are the career prospects with a master’s in nursing online?

The demand for nurses is ever-increasing, both in urban and rural areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for registered nurses is projected to grow 7 percent through 2029. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also states that employment for advanced practice RNs (APRNs) in a clinical setting will change by 31% compared to others. The growth of jobs in fields outside of a patient care setting is expected to be even greater.

The massive growth will occur due to a number of reasons. This include:  

  • Increasing rates of chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity
  • Increased emphasis on preventive care
  • Demand for healthcare services from the baby-boomers 

MSN-degree holding nurses excel in various healthcare leadership, technology, and policy roles. They can work in any medical environment that needs specialty care and hands-on healthcare. 

What jobs can you get with a master of science in nursing?

Types of jobs available with a Master’s in Nursing degree include: 

  • Nursing consultant
  • Research nurse
  • Nurse educator
  • Nurse administrator
  • Advanced nurse practitioner 
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Critical-Care Registered Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Acute Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Research Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

As the names of the jobs suggest, the pathway one takes depends on which track or specialization students choose during their master’s in nursing programs. 

How much do nurses earn? 

Advanced nurse practitioners benefit from much higher salaries than RNs. According to the BLS, while the average salary for an RN earns is around $73,00 a year, APRNs earn close to $114,000 annually. These figures are the national averages, and salaries differ by state and region. Urban area nurses tend to make more, as do more nurses who work in a hospital in affluent areas. Some of the high paying nurses jobs and their accompanying salaries are:

  • General Nurse Practitioner – $111,840
  • Health Policy Nurse – $71,703
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $181,040
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – $106,028
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – $108,810
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $105,658
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $102,487
  • Nursing Administrator – $100,980
  • Pain Management Nurse – $101,916
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – $98,408
  • Registered Nurse First Assist – $96,418
  • Nurse Educator – $83,160
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner – $89,637
  • Informatics Nurse – $79,014
  • Critical Care Nurse – $74,588

Types of Online Master’s Degrees in Nursing

Nurses considering an advanced degree can choose from several types of Master of Science in nursing online degrees. The different routes to earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree largely depends upon the student. Any degree that aligns with one’s desired career path and interests will be a good fit. Some of these routes are: 

  • RN-to-MSN Program – This type of program is a good fit for RNs who can earn a master’s degree without a BSN. It also provides nurses with an Associate’s degree (ADN) with a path to a graduate degree. It generally takes two-to-three years to complete. The program acknowledges the clinical experience that RNs and ADNs bring with them. It incorporates bachelor-level education in the first year followed by two years of Master’s level education.
  • BSN-to-MSN Program – This is a good fit for nurses who hold a BSN or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. It takes into account that they already have some clinical experience. By this time, students gain an understanding of the profession and choose to pursue a specific area of interest or practice. The BSN-to-MSN programs typically take between 18 and 24 months to complete if pursued full time. Part-time students opt for a more flexible route and can complete it in three to four years. 
  • Direct Entry or Entry Level MSN Program – This is a good fit for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing. They have degrees in related fields that have provided foundational knowledge in healthcare. Those passionate about serving patients often choose this degree. It provides them with an accelerated path to learning clinical skills in the first year, followed by two years of Master’s level education. They choose to specialize in an area of focus and soon join the ranks of in-demand nurses. This type of program usually takes three years to complete.
  • Dual MSN Program – This type of program is a good fit for those ambitious students who aspire to grow well into their chosen careers. It is designed for students looking to enhance their graduate nursing education with another related graduate field of studies like Public Health Policy, Business Administration, or Healthcare Leadership. The amount of time taken to complete each of these programs vary by school and students’ prior educational background. 

 What will you learn in a master’s in nursing online program?

Online MSN curricula differ from one school to the other. However, accredited nursing programs mostly follow the framework provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The essential curriculum and core topics are designed to prepare an APRN for various roles and responsibilities. They develop core competencies through topics like: 

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Nursing research
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Nursing theory
  • Health promotion
  • Ethics
  • Disease prevention
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Healthcare economics
  • Social issues
  • Epidemiology 
  • Statistics 

Students are prepared to elevate care in every setting in which they serve, lead change, and promote health. The core of a Master of Science in Nursing program focus on principles and foundational knowledge like: 

  • Organizational and Systems Leadership 
  • Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities 
  • Quality Improvement and Safety 
  • Informatics and Healthcare Technologies 
  • Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice 
  • Health Policy and Advocacy 
  • Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient 
  • Population Health Outcomes  
  • Clinical Prevention and Population Health for
  • Master’s-Level Nursing Practice 
  • Improving Health 

A Master of Science in Nursing program strengthens a student’s understanding of research design and methodology. They also learn to analyze clinical or system errors. While pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, they have the opportunity to focus on the specific area of practice or role. These specializations require MSN students to complete additional coursework. The additional clinical hours help them become nurse practitioners, nurse-midwife, or other advanced practice registered nurses.

What are the different kinds of specializations in an MSN online?

  • Certified Nurse Midwife – They help safely deliver babies and ensure good health and wellness for both mother and child. They also assist in family planning, prenatal care, and gynecological checkups. 
  • Certified Critical-Care Registered Nurse – They provide specialized care to patients in intensive care units. They specialize in treating these vulnerable patients who are severely ill or injured. 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – They maintain patient records, assist primary care doctors, or carry out functions that fall under primary care, prescribe medications, and treat acute and chronic illnesses and injuries.
  • Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner – They specialize in the care of adults from the age of teenagers through old age. They work with patients to help manage chronic conditions and lead a better life. 
  • Nurse Anesthetist – They work with anesthesiologists, surgeons, dentists, and others to provide anesthetics to patients. 
  • Nurse Educator – They teach and train nurses to develop competencies, facilitate their academic and career goals, and help them become better nurse practitioners. 
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – They provide care to high-risk infants who need care due to complications of prematurity, infections, congenital conditions, low birth weights, heart abnormalities, and other conditions. 
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – They specialize in the prevention or management of common pediatric illnesses and conditions. They care for newborns, toddlers, and infants. 

Where do online MSN graduates work? 

MSN graduates work in a wide range of environments like:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Clinics or physicians’ offices
  • Urgent care centers
  • Home healthcare services
  • Educational services
  • Government agencies
  • Support services
  • Schools
  • Community centers
  • Patients’ homes
  • Pharmacies

How can online MSN specializations help?

A master’s in nursing online provides a pathway for nurses to pursue advanced practice roles and grow in their professions. The various specialization options make this growth path smoother by offering them a variety of career options. MSN graduates have greater independence in the way they work compared to RNs. Their advanced knowledge lets them take on more responsibility and help patients in their recovery. 

How to choose the right online master’s in nursing degree?

Choosing an online nursing program can be challenging, especially when one is a busy professional. You need to choose a program that offers the right blend of flexibility and knowledge. Here are some steps to help you choose the right online master’s in nursing program:

  • Look for programs with specializations that align with your interests and career goals.
  • Research the school, program recognition, and value of the degree before you make a selection.
  • Find out the credibility, salary, and growth potential with the specialization of your choice.
  • Ask yourself if it will help you stand out in a competitive market and advance your career?
  • Are the curriculum and specialization going to help you establish yourself as a subject matter expert?
  • Find out how much time and money you will need to invest.

The online format helps students gain the skills and knowledge they need to excel as nurse practitioners and APRNs. They can select the program and school they want without worrying about the location or commuting, even if they are in a day job. 

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