Wondering if it’s worth it to earn an MSN to start your nursing career? Today, there are more paths to a nursing career than ever before. People who want to make the change to a nursing career (like you), can choose from a variety of different program options, including associate degree programs, accelerated bachelor degree programs, and now, direct entry master of science in nursing (DEMSN) programs.
Direct entry MSN programs go by other names, including:
However, they all have the same purpose: to offer career changers with a bachelor’s degree in another field the opportunity to enter the nursing profession with advanced skills for patient care, research, and leadership.
There are many benefits to entering the nursing profession with a master’s-level qualification. Here are a few to consider as you research your options.
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a graduate-level degree that offers advanced preparation in:
Direct patient care, including care for specific populations of patients
Nursing research, patient advocacy and nursing ethics
Administrative and leadership skills
By earning a DEMSN to start your career, you can enter nursing knowing you are set up to provide quality care to patients—and to benefit the profession in ways as varied as administration, research, or education.
An MSN is a graduate program, therefore an undergraduate degree is required prior to enrolling. Traditionally, students would earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then move up to the MSN. With a DEMSN, students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any field of study (and who meet other requirements) can apply to earn an MSN.
You may know you want to become a nurse, but you may be wondering if earning an MSN is worth the investment.. There are different factors to consider when deciding whether or not to enter the profession with an MSN.
The benefits of earning a DEMSN to start your career include:
There may be a few reasons you might not want to start your nursing career with an MSN degree. They may include:
Nursing salaries vary by location, employer, and qualification. However, average salaries reported to Payscale.com suggest that MSN-qualified nurses have the potential to earn more than BSN-qualified nurses. In March 2021, the average reported salaries for each degree were:
$86,091 for Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates 
$95,470 for Master of Science in Nursing graduates 
While salaries vary greatly, MSN graduates can enjoy enhanced earning potential compared to BSN graduates. This is especially true for MSN graduates who go on to obtain certification in a specialty area. Salaries for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse educators can be excellent.
The entry-level MSN programs on directentrymsn.com have tuition costs between $50,000 and $65,000 (not including fees, books and materials).
Average costs for MSN programs nationwide are difficult to calculate because tuition costs and program lengths can vary so much from school to school. One rule of thumb is to expect an MSN to cost about as much as a bachelor’s degree—even though the program is shorter, the material is more advanced and technical.
However, remember that financial aid is available to you if you qualify, and the fact that an MSN is a graduate degree means you may have more room to borrow compared to earning a BSN degree.
This is because if you have student loans from the U.S. government, earning a BSN as a second bachelor’s degree can put you at risk of running into federal borrowing limits for undergraduate programs.
While our entry-level MSN programs are available to qualifying students who earned a bachelor’s degree in any field, you will need to have some background knowledge in science, math and statistics in order to succeed in your program.
Many DEMSN programs require you to have taken prerequisite courses. These vary from program to program, but usually include bachelor’s-level courses in:
Biology, chemistry, and human anatomy
Psychology and/or human development
The courses you take in an entry-level MSN program cover nursing theory, clinical skills, research and nursing leadership. The exact sequence of courses will vary from degree to degree. Common courses you may take include:
MSN salaries vary depending on location, experience and specialty area. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for an MSN graduate in the U.S. was $95,470 as of March 2021.
It’s difficult to give a national average because tuition varies so much from school to school. The programs on directentrymsn.com range between $50,000-$65,000.
Yes! Earning your MSN degree can help you gain advanced skills, set you up for advancement into specialty practice faster and help you stand out in the job market.