While most people think of beautiful beaches and island culture when they think of Hawaii, some might be surprised to find that Hawaii values increasingly advanced healthcare. Many registered nurses in the state are opting to go back to school to earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Whether you are a nurse with an ADN or BSN, a graduate degree in nursing is highly attainable in Hawaii, and advanced specializations and higher salaries await those who earn this prestigious degree.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Hawaii

Schools may offer MSN programs geared towards those who already have a BSN, or a bridge program for those starting out with an ADN. Other requirements in the state may include:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Current, active Hawaii RN license

RN to MSN Courses

For RNs who don't yet have a BSN, "bridge" courses are generally required before a student can move on to the advanced core nursing portion of the program. Once the core nursing courses are completed, specialized courses are taken which usually relate to a nursing concentration, such as Family Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Educator. There is also typically a clinical component required.

To provide an example, the core nursing courses at Hawaii Pacific University's MSN program include:

  • Advanced Practice Roles in a Diverse Society
  • Epidemiology
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Community Health Care Policy and Program Planning
  • Advanced Nursing Research
  • Advanced Physical Assessment

Online RN to MSN Programs in Hawaii

Distance learning via online RN to MSN programs are becoming more and more popular. These programs allow busy RNs the opportunity to complete coursework at their own pace, and in some cases RNs can complete their graduate degrees while continuing to work. Clinical hours can usually be arranged in the student's local area.

Featured Online School

The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers numerous online MSN options, including the concentrations of Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist and Advanced Public Health Nurse. Students in these programs learn critical population health skills including health policy analysis, program management, and education. There is also an option for students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree to obtain an MSN.

Admissions and Program Length

While program length can depend on a number of factors, typical RN to MSN programs require completion of between 30 and 45 credits, once bridge courses are completed. Part-time and full-time study options are usually available. In-person programs usually accept students at the beginning of each semester, while online programs may have more entrance points throughout the year.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

RN to MSN programs consist of a few different expenses. Tuition is the main expense, but mandatory school and program fees and course materials will also need to be accounted for. Luckily, numerous options for financial aid and scholarships exist for well-qualified students. To provide an example on cost, Hawaii Pacific University charges approximately $18,000 for tuition for full-time graduate students, along with $150 in fees and an estimated $900 in books. This does not include personal expenses like room and board or transportation.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Hawaii

Upon earning a Master's degree in nursing, RNs will have the opportunity to enter a variety of high-profile nursing specialties, some of which include:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Administrator

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

Aside from rewarding specialties, an MSN can lead to substantially higher annual salaries than RNs with an ADN or BSN typically earn. For example, a nurse practitioner (a concentration that requires an MSN) in Honolulu, HI earns an annual base salary of roughly $105,737. By comparison, a general registered nurse in Honolulu earns a median salary of approximately $65,000. These increased earnings are a driving force behind the upswing in higher education for RNs.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

Although there are not as many options for RN to MSN programs within Hawaii, there are a couple of colleges that provide full and part-time studies, meaning there can be some flexibility in how you earn your degree. Nurses moving from RN to MSN have the opportunity to specialize in such fields as private practice, urgent care, community health clinics, and more.

Hawaii Pacific University
College of Health and Society
1 Aloha Tower Drive
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 236-5811
University of Hawaii at Manoa
School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
2528 McCarthy Mall, Webster Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8522