The Role of the Accelerated MSN Educated RN

The role of the MSN-educated RN is as a provider, leader, and steward of health. Master’s educated nurses are important to the nursing profession because they demonstrate strong leadership roles for nurses.

Master’s educated nurses choose a specialty that determines their role in nursing. These specialties are:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH)
  • Public Health Nurse (PHN)
  • Nurse Educator

What's a Direct Entry MSN Program Like?

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject and know you want to enter advanced nursing practice, enrolling in an Accelerated MSN program is a streamlined way to get to where you want to go. If you know you want to enter a niche specialization, the similar Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) program may also be a good option. Keep in mind that Accelerated MSN programs require a full-time commitment to intensive study, and are best suited for highly motivated students. Other names for AMSN but may have different applications include:

  • AMSN or Accelerated MSN
  • Direct Entry MSN or DEMSN
  • Entry Level MSN or ELMSN


Tuition can range from $70,000 to $120,000. However, the first year of this program for many schools is considered the “non-licensed” year and after completion, the student is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and technically can begin working as an RN. But, working during any accelerated program is not recommended and many schools strictly do not allow it.

Fees to consider which may not be included in tuition include:

  • Uniforms
  • Stethoscope
  • Penlight
  • Medical scissors
  • White shoes
  • School and clinical location parking passes
  • Meals
  • Gas or transit costs

Program Length

The Accelerated MSN program may take up to 3 years to complete, though some can be much shorter. Clinical hours or a preceptorship are required. Usually, these programs are structured as an accelerated BSN followed immediately by two years of graduate school.

Accelerated MSN Admission Requirements

Admission criteria for the Accelerated MSN program generally include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major from an accredited college or university
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Letters of reference, usually 2 academic and 1 professional
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within 5 years of application
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is not the student’s primary language

The AACN has developed The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing which outlines 9 areas of the core curriculum which must be covered in Master’s-level education. These core curricula are:

  1. Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities
  2. Organizational and Systems Leadership
  3. Quality Improvement and Safety
  4. Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice
  5. Informatics and Healthcare Technologies
  6. Health Policy and Advocacy
  7. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes
  8. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health
  9. Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

Exam and Licensing

Examinations vary because different specializations exist for the MSN degree. But for all Advanced Practice degrees, each state’s board of nursing will issue and maintain licensure. The state usually requires the applicant to have an RN license.

All state boards of nursing require the Advanced Practice RN to register and receive a state license to practice. However, only the Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist specialties require an examination. These are national exams and are available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Nurse Practitioner Examination

To take an NP exam through the ANCC to become certified as a Nurse Practitioner, the applicant must meet these requirements:

  • Currently, hold an RN license
  • Be a graduate of a nurse practitioner program who is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)
  • Completed a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours

Have completed these courses:

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the life span
  • Advanced health assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts, and approaches
  • Advanced pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Examination

To take the CNS examination through the ANCC the applicant must meet these requirements:

  • Currently, hold an RN license
  • Be a graduate of a nurse practitioner program who is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)
  • Completed a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours

Have completed these courses:

  • Advanced physical/health assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced pathophysiology

Once the graduate passes the examination he or she is eligible to be working as an advanced practice RN.

List of All Accelerated MSN Programs

See a full list of accelerated MSN programs by State.

Jump to Your State Listings


School of Nursing
1720 Second Avenue South, NB 204
Birmingham, AL 35294-1210
(205) 934-5360

College of Nursing
HAHN 3071, 5721 USA Drive North
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
(251) 445-9400


College of Nursing
1305 N Martin Ave
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6152


School of Nursing
8432 Magnolia Avenue, Lambeth House, Room 7
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 343-4700

Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing
1748 East 118th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 568-3304

School of Nursing
1600 Holloway Avenue, Burk Hall 371 B
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-6850

252 Berk Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-5011

School of Nursing
700 Tiverton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-8690

School of Nursing
505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-3105

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4548

School of Nursing & Health Professions
2130 Fulton Street, Cowell 102
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
(415) 422-2959

College of Graduate Nursing
309 East Second Street, College Plaza
Pomona, CA 91766-1854
(909) 469-5523


School of Nursing
Yale University West Campus P.O. Box 27399
Orange, CT 06516
(203) 785-2393


Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
1520 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980


School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
2528 McCarty Mall, Webster Hall 402
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8522


School of Nursing, College of Science and Health
990 West Fullerton Avenue, Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60614-2458
(773) 325-1887

Deicke Center for Nursing Education
190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3296
(630) 617-3314

School of Nursing
1184 West Main Street
Decatur, IL 62522-2084
(217) 424-6366

College of Nursing
600 South Paulina Street, Suite 1080 Aca. Fac.
Chicago, IL 60612-3873
(312) 942-2308

College of Nursing
845 South Damen Avenue, Suite 118, M/C 802
Chicago, IL 60612-7350
(312) 996-7808


School of Nursing
555 South Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 852-8300


School of Nursing
3101 Wyman Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 955-4766

School of Nursing
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 505
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579
(410) 706-6741


William F. Connell School of Nursing
Cushing Hall, 140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-1710

School of Nursing
36 First Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129-4557
(617) 726-4547

School of Nursing
360 Huntington Avenue, 102 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5096
(617) 373-3649

School of Nursing
235 Wellesley St
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7091

School of Nursing
352 Lafayette Street, South Campus
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 542-7149

School of Nursing and Health Sciences
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 521-2139

Graduate School of Nursing
55 Lake Avenue North (F1-853)
Worcester, MA 01655-0115
(508) 856-5081


College of Nursing and Health Sciences
700 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000
(651) 793-1368

Henrietta Schmoll School of Health
2004 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-6000


School of Nursing
3525 Caroline Mall
Saint Louis, MO 63104
(314) 977-8909

New Hampshire

2500 N River Rd.
Manchester, NH 03106
(888) 387-0861

School of Nursing
105 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2285

New Jersey

College of Nursing
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079-2693
(973) 761-9282

New York

School of Nursing
116th St & Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 305-3582


Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-4904
(216) 368-2545

Department of Nursing
5701 Delhi Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45233
(513) 244-4325

College of Nursing
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1289
(614) 292-8900

College of Nursing
2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(513) 558-5500

College of Nursing
3000 Arlington Avenue, M.S. 1026
Toledo, OH 43614-5803
(419) 383-5858

Graduate School of Nursing
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-7351
(513) 745-3815


Kramer School of Nursing
2501 N Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 208-5904


828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
(154) 134-3164 x1


School of Nursing
4881 Taylor Cir
Collegedale, TN 37315
(423) 236-2942

School of Nursing
461 21st Avenue South, 111 Godchaux Hall
Nashville, TN 37240-0008
(615) 343-8876


School of Nursing
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 471-4100


12257 Business Park Drive
Draper, UT 84020
(801) 816-1444


School of Nursing
194 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401-3596
(802) 656-3131


School of Nursing
907 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23284
(804) 828-5174


School of Nursing
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447-0029
(253) 535-7672


College of Nursing
530 North 16th Street, Clark Hall, PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-3812

College of Nursing
3253 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 229-4173
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