Registered nurses looking to enter advanced, specialized fields of nursing, along with those who want to earn more money, are turning to higher education in North Carolina. Through one of the state's RN to MSN programs, RNs who hold an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in nursing can earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. These degrees can lead to prestigious nursing careers in education or administration, amongst others.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in North Carolina

As some programs limit admission to only the most qualified candidates, prospective students should ensure that they meet or exceed all entrance requirements, which may include:

  • Prior completion of an ADN or BSN degree program (degree level requirement varies by program)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Active, unencumbered North Carolina RN license
  • Minimum one year clinical experience as a registered nurse

RN to MSN Courses

Coursework for an RN to MSN program typically consists of bridge courses (for those entering with an ADN), core nursing courses, and specialty courses. The specialty nursing courses generally relate to the student's chosen concentration, such as Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Administrator. There is also usually a minimum amount of supervised clinical hours required before the degree can be bestowed.

The RN to MSN program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for example, offers the following courses:

  • Improving Nursing Practice: Application of Concepts, Theories and Research
  • Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing Practice
  • Community Health Nursing for the Public's Health
  • Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Interpreting Research Reports

Online RN to MSN Programs in North Carolina

Those wanting a flexible learning environment have the option of taking an online RN to MSN program. These programs make it convenient for busy working RNs and others with hectic schedules to complete their graduate coursework from their own computers, and usually on their own time schedule. Students have access to experienced nursing faculty, and the clinical component can usually be arranged in their local area.

Featured Online School

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a 100% online RN to MSN program via their Distance Education division. It's designed specifically for the outstanding student who wants to pursue an accelerated path to an MSN. Those enrolled in the program can choose one of three specialty concentrations: Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, or Community/Public Health. Upon completion of the program, students will have earned both a BSN and an MSN.

Admissions and Program Length

RN to MSN programs can take anywhere from 2 years to 5 years, depending on how many credits a student needs to complete, and whether part-time or full-time study is chosen. Most students can finish the program in around 3 years of dedicated study. Most classroom-based programs allow admission at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Online programs may have more frequent entry points.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

The cost of an RN to MSN program will look similar to that of an undergraduate nursing program. Students must account for tuition, mandatory fees, and course materials like textbooks. To provide an example on expenses, the MSN-Nurse Anesthesia program at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee costs an estimated $57,506.48 for in-state residents, inclusive of all related fees and expenses. Financial aid and/or scholarships are usually an option for qualified applicants.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in North Carolina

An MSN degree can lead to advancements in a nurse's career, including the ability to hold coveted jobs such as:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

The advanced careers that an RN with a graduate degree can hold tend to come with substantially higher paychecks. For instance, a Clinical Nurse Specialist (a career that requires an MSN) in Charlotte, NC earns a median annual salary of $97,131. Compare that to the median annual salary of a general registered nurse in the same city, which lands at roughly $52,941.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

North Carolina has at least 5 RN to MSN programs offered as either full-time, part-time or online studies. Different methods of delivery are being offered as to attract the working nurse to a flexible course schedule that will allow a degree to be earned while continuing to work. Careers such as critical care nurse, gerontological nurse, or perinatal nurse are all opportunities that become openly available upon completing an MSN degree.

ProgramWebsite
Gardner-Webb University
Campus
Hunt School of Nursing
110 S. Main St., P.O. Box 997
Boiling Springs, NC 28017
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Campus
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, S Columbia St
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Campus
School of Nursing
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
University of North Carolina - Pembroke
Campus
Department of Nursing
1 University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Western Carolina University
Campus
School of Nursing
1 University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723