Accelerated MSN vs BSN: What You Really Need to Know

Accelerated MSN vs BSN: What You Really Need to Know

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, you should definitely go for it. After all, it’s one of the best occupations to be in right now. Plus, there are different routes you can take to get into the profession, which include accelerated nursing programs at the master and bachelor levels. So before you find yourself at a difficult crossroads, let the following MSN vs BSN information be your guide.

Before we explore these fast-track program options, you should ask yourself the below questions. Your responses will be key in helping you decide which education path to take.

  • Am I eligible for an accelerated nursing program?
  • How long do I want to be in nursing school?
  • Can I commit to rigorous, full-time study?
  • What are my long-term career goals?
  • How much money do I want/need to make?

Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Accelerated MSN programs, also referred to as Direct Entry MSN programs, make it possible for qualified students to earn a Master of Science in Nursing in less than two years. These full-time, fast-paced programs cater to individuals who have a BA or BS degree and no nursing experience. One example would be our 20-month MIDAS program.

If your long-term career goal involves an advanced nursing role, you’ll need to earn an MSN sooner or later. You’ll find it’s common for nurses to earn their BSN first, gain a few years of clinical experience, and then go back to school for their MSN and advanced nursing certification. Why do they do this?

Nursing is a vast, highly diverse occupation, with countless specialty areas and practice settings from which to choose. Nursing school graduates don’t always know what area of the profession they’d like to be in for the long haul, so they enter the workforce to find their niche and build their skills for the future. It also helps that many health care employers provide tuition reimbursement to those nursing staff members who want to earn an MSN and advance within the organization.

It’s also worth noting that Direct Entry MSN programs, like Accelerated BSN programs, are for students with no previous nursing experience, which means you shouldn’t expect to graduate with an MSN and have your first nursing job be at the advanced level. You’ll still need to learn the ropes and prove yourself before pursuing advanced certification in any number of nursing specialties, from acute care nurse practitioner to midwifery.

Nursing Careers for MSN Holders

Registered nurses with MSN degrees have access to some of the highest paying jobs in the profession, which include nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner. Based on the most recent data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these advanced practice nurses earn a median annual salary of $117,670.

  • Nurse Anesthetist, a nurse who provides anesthesia and anesthesia-related care to patients before, during, and after surgery. Basic requirements include an MSN degree, acute care experience, and RN Anesthetist Certification.
  • Nurse Midwife, a nurse who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care, and reproductive health. Basic requirements include an MSN degree as well as Nursing Midwifery Certification.
  • Nurse Practitioner, a nurse who can examine, diagnose, and treat patients as well as prescribe medication. Basic requirements include an MSN degree as well as Nurse Practitioner Certification in a particular area of practice.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Given the complex, ever-evolving nature of our country’s health care system, a BSN is becoming the preferred entry degree for professional nursing practice over an associate degree or nursing diploma.

Sarah, ABSN student

“This was the program where I could start the fastest and be done the fastest.”
-Sarah, a 2018 Xavier ABSN program graduate

When compared to a Direct Entry MSN program, Accelerated BSN programs take a little less time to complete. So, if your goal is to make the quickest possible transition into the nursing profession, then our 16-month ABSN program in Ohio is a great place to start.

Building on your existing BA or BS degree, this accredited nursing program makes it possible to earn a quality BSN in as few as 16 months. Furthermore, holding a BSN degree from Xavier University qualifies you to pursue an MSN in the future.

Did You Know?

Xavier University’s American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation endorsement qualifies both MIDAS and ABSN program graduates to take the Holistic Certification Exam right after passing the NCLEX. Nursing graduates of non-endorsed schools, on the other hand, must pass the NCLEX and actively practice as a nurse before they can pursue this certification.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and the drive to become a nurse, our ABSN program can fast-track your career. Download our ABSN Program 101 Guide to help you successfully navigate the accelerated path to nursing.

Nursing Careers for BSN Holders

While hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, there are countless other facilities that have RNs on staff, from corporate clinics to private practices. As of May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary for registered nurses as $75,330 and projects a 7 percent employment growth for this occupation from 2019 to 2029.

With a BSN and the right certification and/or experience, the career possibilities are virtually endless. For example, you can become a/an:

  • Flight Nurse, caring for patients being transported by aircraft to a hospital or trauma center.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse, caring for women and babies before, during, and after childbirth.
  • International Nurse, caring for patients around the world, mainly underserved populations.

The MSN vs BSN Verdict

When you consider the high demand for registered nurses across the country, a quality nursing education is worth its weight in gold. So, whether you have an MSN or a BSN from an accelerated nursing program — as long as you’ve passed the National Council Licensure Exam — you’re able to enter one of the fastest growing and most diverse professions available.

Lauren, ABSN student

“Before I even graduated from nursing school, I was offered a job.”
Lauren, a 2018 Xavier ABSN program graduate

Another positive attribute of the nursing field is that you can decide, at almost any time, to go back to school and earn your MSN degree. As mentioned earlier, this is what a lot of registered nurses do when they don’t really know what advanced area of practice they’d like to pursue over the long term.

In other words, you could earn your BSN via our 16-month ABSN program and then enter the RN workforce to grow your clinical experience — all while making a good living. And when you’re ready, you could apply to an MSN bridge program, which would enable you to continue working as you earn your advanced degree.

Want to know more about our 16-month ABSN program? Contact our admissions team today!

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