From small private practices to massive hospitals, registered nurses are an essential part of the American healthcare system. They monitor patients, administer medications, and serve as liaisons between patients and doctors.

Registered nurses can expect to find employment in facilities such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing Homes
  • Rehab Facilities
  • Insurance Companies

According to the BLS, registered nurses earn $71,730 per year on average in the United States. And since the nursing field is expected to grow alongside the aging population in the United States, you can expect to find 12% more nursing jobs by 2028.

Why should I get a Master’s in Nursing?

Many registered nurses can find well-paying jobs with only an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. However, if you’re looking to take your career to the next level, you should consider earning a Master of Science in Nursing.

According to US News & World Report, nurses with a master’s degree can earn up to $20,000 more than nurses with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree alone. Throughout your career, this will add up to be a tremendous amount of money! Therefore, earning a master’s degree is a great choice for the salary boost alone.

However, there are other advantages to earning your MSN as well. According to Jacksonville University, it’s far easier for nurses with an MSN to move up into teaching and management positions. This means that a master’s degree is an excellent choice for someone looking to move onto the next stage of their career and transition away from working with patients.

And if these reasons aren’t enough to convince you to pursue your master’s, you should consider how much more effectively you’ll be able to serve your patients by increasing your knowledge base with a master’s program.

What are the best graduate nursing programs in the United States?

If you’ve decided to broaden your knowledge and boost your earning potential with a Master’s in Nursing, you’re probably wondering how much you’ll have to spend. Luckily, we’ve made your job a whole lot easier by putting together this list of MSN programs sorted by cost.

We’ve separated the programs into three easy-to-follow categories:

  • Affordable (Low-Cost)
  • Average (Mid-Cost)
  • Top-Tier (High Cost)

When you decide on a master’s program, the school will take a look through your undergraduate courses and determine how many credits you’ll need to earn your degree. To keep things simple, we’ve sorted the schools by cost per credit hour. Most MSN programs typically require between 35 and 50 additional credits on top of what you’ve already earned in your undergraduate program.

And remember: Although some of these programs may seem expensive at first glance, your master’s degree is an investment that will serve you for the rest of your life.

Affordable MSN Programs

Although these affordable schools aren’t as prestigious as some of the most expensive universities on this list, they’re still respected for their knowledgeable instructors and high-quality curriculum.

download 19University of West Georgia

Cost: $227 per credit hour

The Tanner School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia allows you to earn your degree entirely online. This fully-accredited program features two tracks you can choose from during your master’s program: Nursing Education and Health Systems Leadership.

Here are some of the main focus areas of the program:

  • Patient-centered care
  • Pharmacology
  • Holistic health assessment
  • Care of diverse populations
  • Leadership and management

For just $227 per credit hour, you’ll be able to study at one of US News & World Report’s 2019 Best Online Programs! You can learn more about the UWG Master’s in Nursing program here.

download 20Lamar University

Cost: $328 per credit hour

The Joanne Gay Dishman School of Nursing at Lamar University is one of the most affordable options on our list. Only 37 credits are required to earn your Master of Science in Nursing: At $328 per credit hour, that brings the total program cost to just $12,136!

At Lamar University, you’ll be able to choose from three different degree options:

  • MSN in Nursing Education
  • MSN in Nursing Administration
  • MSN-MBA Dual Degree (Partnered with the Lamar University Business Department)

After graduation, an impressive 100% of students surveyed had found a job in the nursing field related to their master’s degree! Learn more about The Joanne Gay Dishman School of Nursing at Lamar University here.

Average-Priced MSN Programs

If you’re looking for a program that’s a step above the most affordable ones on the list, the following schools could be perfect for you! They have a good balance of affordability mixed with all the amenities of a high-end school.

download 21Utica College

Cost: $825 per credit hour

Most of the MSN program at Utica College can be completed online. However, students are required to complete supervised practicum work in their home state as well. This ensures that all graduates will have a well-rounded education with plenty of practical experience to impress future employers.

At Utica College, you’ll be able to choose from three exciting degree tracks:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Education

Small, intimate class sizes and experienced faculty make Utica College a great choice for your MSN! To learn more, click here.

download 22The University of Cincinnati

Cost: $724 for in-state residents, $739 for out-of-state residents (per credit hour)

The University of Cincinnati is the perfect choice for nurses who are looking to focus on a specialty while they earn their MSN. You’ll be able to choose from many different options, including:

  • Neonatal
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology (Primary and Acute Care)
  • Women’s Health

After earning your master’s, you can even choose to transfer your credits towards a PhD as well! Learn more about the MSN program at The University of Cincinnati here.

Top-Tier MSN Programs

If you won’t settle for anything but the best, these top-tier nursing programs are exactly what you’re looking for. These schools are respected around the world for their industry-leading faculty and unparalleled learning experiences.

download 23Johns Hopkins University

Cost: $1,742 per credit hour

Johns Hopkins University offers its students an advanced bedside nursing education, which means you’ll graduate from their MSN program with plenty of invaluable work experience. Over 90% of students gain clinical placement within the Johns Hopkins Health System.

Over the course of five semesters, you’ll have access to Johns Hopkins’ world class research facilities and teaching hospitals. The program’s main goal is to give students the skills necessary to practice “wherever and however” they desire.

To learn more about the Johns Hopkins University MSN program, click here.

download 2Duke University

Cost: $1,838 per credit hour

The Duke University School of Nursing is ranked #2 by US News & World Report. Students are able to choose from eight advanced practice registered nurse majors, as well as three non-clinical majors. Students can choose to add a specialty to their field of study as well.

Additionally, students are required to complete 11 hours of clinical core courses for every major. This ensures that you’ll have a good amount of hands-on experience before you graduate, which will make you more desirable to future employers.

Learn more about the Duke University School of Nursing here.

Erica Ciko Campbell

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Biology| Utica College

Associate of Science (A.S.)| Herkimer County Community College

November 2019

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