Iowa has a growing need for highly educated nurses, and registered nurses in the state are rising to the occasion by going back to school to earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. A graduate degree nursing is allowing RNs to enter high-level specialty careers in the field which come with much higher salaries. With options for those who currently hold an ADN or a BSN, RN to MSN programs in Iowa are growing steadily in popularity.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Iowa

Nurses interested in applying to an RN to MSN program will need to meet all entrance requirements, which may include:

  • Must hold an ADN or BSN from an accredited program (degree level requirement varies by program)
  • Currently working at least part-time as a nurse
  • Current and valid Iowa RN license
  • Must meet administrative requirements including passing a criminal background check, health insurance coverage, immunization status compliance, CPR certification and more

RN to MSN Courses

The curriculum for most RN to MSN programs includes a mix of core nursing courses and specialized courses that may relate to a nursing concentration. Once this coursework is completed, students must typically complete a certain number of clinical hours in order to receive their degree. Students beginning with an ADN must also typically complete some "bridge" courses before they can start the MSN portion of the program.

Graceland University in Lamoni, for example, offers the following core courses as part of their RN to BSN to MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Advanced Practice Nursing in Primary Care
  • Leadership Roles and Issues in Nursing

Online RN to MSN Programs in Iowa

Online RN to MSN programs are a popular option for busy RNs who wish to continue working through graduate school or who want maximum flexibility. These online programs are the same rigorous academics that classroom-based programs do, but students are typically able to move through the coursework at their own pace. Additionally, the clinical requirement this type of program is usually able to be arranged in the student's local area, making it ideal for those who don't live near a university.

Featured Online School

Briar Cliff University, based out of Sioux City, offers an online MSN program that is CCNE-accredited. Geared towards those who hold a BSN, the program offers a choice between two different tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner or Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. With experienced faculty, convenient online courses that can be taken at the student's leisure, and help with finding clinical preceptors near the student's home, Briar Cliff University's MSN program makes earning an MSN easy.

Admissions and Program Length

While RN to MSN programs can vary in length, a typical program requires around 45 course credits, along with a minimum number of clinical hours. Part-time or full-time study will impact the amount of time it takes to complete the program, but 2-3 years is an average estimate of how much time it usually takes. Start times for most in-person programs are at the beginning of each semester, while online programs tend to have more frequent entrance points.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

Paying for a graduate degree in nursing can seem challenging. Students will need to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and other mandatory expenses. Luckily, there are many financial aid and scholarship options available for those who qualify. As an example on cost, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids charges approximately $583 per semester hour for tuition. This does not include extras like fees or course materials.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Iowa

Registered nurses with graduate degrees can enter rewarding nursing specialties, such as:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

Nurses who complete an MSN program can expect to make a higher salary than those who hold lower degrees. For example, a Family Nurse Practitioner in Cedar Rapids, IA, earns an annual base salary of $94,213, while a general registered nurse in the same city earns an average annual salary of $40,963. With a little extra schooling, an exciting and lucrative career in nursing awaits.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

Full-time and part-time options are available at Iowa institutions that offer RN to MSN programming. Nurses that obtain their MSN degree have been known to find careers in an array of different fields including home health care, clinics, health administrator roles and more, and having an MSN degree can give each graduate the ability to diversify your career.

ProgramWebsite
Allen College
Campus
School of Nursing
1825 Logan Avenue, Gerard Hall
Waterloo, IA 50703
(319) 226-2044