Graduate Degrees in Nursing Increase Mobility – as well as Salary

Graduate nursing students typically see a hike in their salary once that coveted degree is obtained, however experts believe that most students pursue the degree for non-monetary reasons.

A master’s of nursing online degree can be quite expensive. In fact it can be upwards of $60,000 at some universities. The pay raise; however, will in time make the up front investment well worth it. While the National Association of Colleges and Employees reported starting salaries for nurses with bachelor’s degrees in 2011 to be on average of $50,000, a starting salary for a nurse with a master degree in nursing averaged around $60,000 – $65,000.

But, the incentive is not always money according to Patricia Coyle-Rodgers, director of graduate nursing at Clarkson College of Nursing in Omaha, Nebraska. “It’s esoteric in a way – they do it because of the kind of care they can give,” she said.

Graduate nurses have the education and ability to make bedside decisions that an RN may not be quipped to make. In many states, obtaining a nurse practitioner license allows the nurse to provide a broader spectrum of duties including writing prescriptions and ordering diagnostic testing. This added responsibility and diversity is often why many students continue with their master’s education.

Another reason is to have the ability to leave the traditional floor unit, which often has grueling hours. The master’s degree allows nurses the chance to climb the corporate ladder of the facility and become a supervisor. Most hospitals require a master degree for any supervisory position.

Some hospitals will offer bonuses to the nurses who agree to pursue their master’s degree as well.

Which nursing specialty has the biggest monetary impact? According to Coyle-Rodgers, nurse anesthetist can make anywhere from $125,000 to $150,000 per year.