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Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

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Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

After receiving an RN license or even a BSN, most new nurses go straight into the workforce for the experience. After a few years, there is often the question of what comes next. One option is to go back to school for higher education, but there are so many questions:

Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

So I have this RN and a BSN– now what? What are all the things I can go back to school for? What does it take? What job can I get and most importantly… Is it even worth it?

Don’t stress! We have put together a quick guide to higher education! Take a look!

1. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses which hold similar responsibilities to a doctor. In some states, they can even operate without a supervising physician. They are trained to assess, treat, prescribe, and create care plans.

What does it take?

● Unencumbered RN license

● Graduate from MSN or DNP program

● Apply for the advanced practice nursing licensure (check with your state)

● Programs can be 18 months to 3 years

Specialties Can Include:

● Adult acute care

● Adult primary care

● Neonatal

● Family

● Pediatric acute care

● Pediatric primary care

● Psychiatry

● Women’s health

What does the future look like?

● BLS expects a growth of 26% before 2028

Potential Job Locations:

● Hospital

● Outpatient center

● Private office

● Home health agency

● Long-term care facilities

● Rehabilitation facilities

● Psychiatric facilities

● Telehealth

● Traveling

What is the salary?

● Though it varies by specialty, location and environment; the national average is $109,000 a year.

Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

2. Midwife

Midwives are advanced practice nurses that assist with pregnancy, labor, and birth. They traditionally have a more natural view of the process, but are medically trained and hold an advanced practice license.

This graduate degree allows you to be able to prescribe in all 50 states and allows for work in women’s health as well.

What does it take?

● An unencumbered RN license

● Typically at least a year of experience in labor & delivery

● Good GRE scores

● Programs can be 2-4 years long

● Pass the American Midwifery Certification Board exam

What does the future look like?

● BLS estimates a growth of 31% by 2026

● As insurance companies continue to push for less hospital stays and c-sections, the midwife profession is likely to continue to grow

Potential Job Locations:

● Hospital

● Private, Outpatient Birthing Center

● At Home Midwife

● Traveling Midwife

● Educational Facilities

What is the salary?

● The national average is $103,640, though it varies by location and experience

Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

3. CRNA

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is a registered nurse who can give anesthesia. They are responsible for getting consent and administering anesthesia based on protocol, a supervising physician or their own autonomy depending on the state.

What does it take?

● A unencumbered RN license

● One year of experience in critical care, trauma, or emergency medicine

● Graduate from a registered nurse anesthetist program with clinical requirements

● Programs take anywhere from 21-51 months

● Pass the national certification exam

What does the future look like?

● BLS estimates a 26% growth before 2028

Potential Job Locations:

● Private office

● Outpatient centers

● Hospitals

● Educational Facilities

● Specialty offices such as psychiatric centers

● Traveling

What is the salary?

● The national average is about $147,603

● Top end of the career can make more than $170,000

Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

4. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialists are focused on evidence based practice, clinical research, and provide education for other nurses. However, a CNS can apply for the ability to prescribe. Specializing is the standard for a CNS.

What does it take?

● Unencumbered RN license

● Graduate of a master’s or doctoral program

● 500 supervised hours in concentration of choice

● Depending on the specialty, there will also be a certification exam

Specialties Can Include:

● Adult health/gerontology

● Acute care

● Women’s Health

● Community Health

● Pediatrics

● Psychiatric

What does the future look like?

● Clinical Nurse Specialists are expected to grow 21% by 2022

● Fun fact: Over 96% of CNS are happy with their position! 

Potential Job Locations:

● Hospital

● Outpatient centers

● Private offices

● Research facilities

● Educational facilities

● Long-term care facilities

● Rehabilitation facilities

● Psychiatric facilities

● Home health agencies

What is the salary?

● The average salary is $99,550

● Pay is usually based on education and certifications

Going For Higher Education: A Quick Guide For An RN

The four we have listed here today are just the beginning of higher education beyond an RN. There are several other programs and specialities. Some of them include:

● Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)/Executive/Administrator

● Nurse Educator

● Public Health Nursing

● Nursing Informatics

Each of these have their own advantages and salaries; however, one thing to note is these are less clinical and involve less patient interaction than those we have covered in more detail today. But, hey! That might be a benefit to you!

Higher education really leads to a lot of options. We are sure you will find one that best suits you. What is next for you? Let us know in the comments below!


https://www.allnursingschools.com/nurse-midwife/

https://www.healthline.com/health/midwives-growing-in-popularity-what-to-know#The-4-types-of-midwives,-at-a-glance

https://nurse.org/resources/nurse-practitioner/

https://www.registerednursing.org/clinical-nurse-specialist/#:~:text=A%20clinical%20nurse%20specialist%20(CNS,practitioner%20(NP)%20and%20CNS.

https://nurse.org/education/np-nurse-practitioner-degree/

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson

Author

Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.

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