RN to MSN Programs in Maryland

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that as of 2013, there were 1795 students enrolled in MSN programs in Maryland. Of this number, 804 were preparing to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNS). Roles for APRNs in Maryland include Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Psychotherapist, Nurse Midwife and Clinical Nurse Specialist.

According to the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland, as of 2015 there are 3493 such professionals working in the state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as of 2013, there were 490 nurse anesthetists and 110 nurse midwives working in Maryland. Still – many more APRNs are needed to fill the shortage of nurses in Maryland in the various specialty areas of advanced practice.

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More than half of the state’s residents live in Health Professional Shortage Areas in which there are too few primary care providers. Advanced practice nurses are seen as vital to taking up the slack in communities where physicians are often overwhelmed with more patients than they are able to adequately serve.

RN to MSN program graduates can also continue their careers as generalists or pursue jobs in an area other than advanced practice. An MSN provides the ideal pathway to careers in nurse education, and leadership, which are also areas of specialization experiencing a critical shortage statewide.

In particular, the nurse educator shortage in Maryland is reflected in the fact that 727 qualified nursing school applicants were turned away due to lack of faculty and clinical training sites in 2013. To fight this problem, the state began a Nurse Support II competitive grant program in 2006, resulting in the development of new graduate nursing programs statewide designed specifically to produce clinical nurse educators.

RN to MSN Programs in Maryland

There are three types of students interested in enrolling in RN to MSN programs in Maryland—RNs who have an ADN, RNs who have a BSN degree, and those without an RN license who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Admission requirements vary depending upon the type of student.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) maintains a list of four Maryland ADN to MSN programs. There are currently eight BSN to MSN programs in Maryland, and one program that accepts students with a bachelor’s degree in another field.

The program prospective students choose must also be based upon their ultimate career goal. Aspiring Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) must enroll in a Maryland Board of Nursing-approved MSN program in a chosen APRN specialty (for example, geriatric nurse practitioner). These programs usually require students to hold a BSN prior to enrollment, with a 3.0 GPA minimum. Advanced practice nursing will also require students to pass a national certification examination within that specialty.

Typical Admission Requirements

Typically, in order to be admitted into an RN to MSN degree program in Maryland, a candidate must:

    • Hold a valid, current Maryland RN license
    • Have at least one year of nursing experience in a clinical setting
    • Hold a minimum of an ADN
    • Provide official transcripts from all other institutions attended
    • Provide current GRE scores (taken within the past five years)
    • Provide letters of recommendation
    • GPA of 2.75 or better in prior coursework
    • Fulfill certain prerequisite undergraduate level coursework, which varies from institution to institution but usually includes:
      • Anatomy
      • Physiology
      • Nutrition
      • Microbiology
      • Human growth and development along the lifespan
      • Statistics
      • Community health nursing
      • Health assessment
      • Nursing leadership and management


  • Most Maryland schools will allow a candidate to transfer up to 60 credits from an ADN or BSN program
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Structure of Maryland RN to MSN Programs

Depending upon a program’s focus, courses may vary from one Maryland nursing school to another. Course requirements will also depend on whether enrollees hold an ADN, BSN, or a bachelor’s degree in another field.

For students with an ADN, core bridge nursing courses are often required to complete the BSN degree before MSN degree coursework begins. These may include:

  • Nursing research and evidence based care
  • Pathophysiologic implications to patient assessment
  • RN to BSN transition – policy and practice issues
  • Health informatics
  • Public health nursing
  • Health promotion
  • Health systems and policy

Generally, RN to MSN programs in Maryland require students to complete the following graduate-level core nursing courses:

  • Epidemiology
  • Applied statistics
  • Research in health care
  • Public health nursing
  • Health care leadership and management
  • Clinical practicum
  • Other coursework based upon a student’s chosen career track, such as:
      • Advanced Practice nursing in health care leadership, which requires:
        • Management and leadership theory and practice
        • Health care informatics
        • Health care systems


      • Clinical Nurse Educator track, which requires:
        • Technology use in health care education
        • College teaching
        • Pharmacotherapeutics
        • Advanced health assessment
        • Advanced human physiology


      • Nurse midwifery, which requires:
        • Newborn care
        • Client care
        • Prenatal care
        • Labor and delivery


    • Nurse practitioner, which requires varying courses depending upon one’s specialty such as:
      • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
      • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
      • Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

All RN to MSN students in Maryland must participate in clinical practicums, based upon their intended career track. Examples of institutions that may host this invaluable practice for RN to MSN students include:

  • Robert A Henson Medical Simulation Center – Salisbury
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital – Baltimore
  • Mercy Medical Center- Baltimore
  • University of Maryland Medical Center- Baltimore
  • Suburban Hospital- Bethesda


Seeking APRN Licensure Through RN to MSN Programs in Maryland

Some RNs wish to become licensed APRNs in Maryland upon graduating from an RN to MSN program. The Maryland Board of Nursing recognizes five types of APRNs, and RN to MSN programs in Maryland offer specialized, approved education programs within these roles and patient population specialties:

Nurse Practitioner

    • A list of MBON-approved Nurse Practitioner programs in Maryland and nationwide for the following recognized specialties may be found here:
      • Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Adult Nurse Practitioner
      • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
      • Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner
      • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
      • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
      • Women’s Health/OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner
      • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
      • Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
      • Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner
      • School Nurse Practitioner


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

  • These students will take specialized coursework in their RN to MSN program dealing with subjects such as perioperative patient assessment, respiratory care and administration of anesthetic agents.
  • Passing a Board-approved national certification exam is also required, usually administered through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists CRNA Exam, prior to licensure in Maryland
  • After certification, a candidate for CRNA licensure in Maryland must submit the Nurse Anesthetist Certification Application to the Maryland Board of Nursing along with copies of the candidate’s RN license, national certification, signed collaboration agreement, and official transcripts, and a $50 application fee
  • Jobs recently posted for CNRAs in Maryland are found in:
    • Baltimore
    • Halethorpe
    • Cheverly

Certified Nurse Midwife

  • RN to MSN programs with a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)-focus in Maryland are listed here
  • Specialized courses in labor and delivery, well-woman exams, and prenatal care will be included in a CNM-focused RN to MSN program
  • Passing a certification exam given by the American Midwifery Certification Board is required before licensure can occur in Maryland
  • After certification, a candidate for CNM licensure in Maryland must file with the Maryland Board of Nursing the Certification to Practice as a Nurse-Midwife application, along with a copy of the candidate’s RN license, a copy of the candidate’s national certification, a copy of the Continuing Competency Assessment Cycle card, declaration of residence form, and a $50 application fee.
  • Recent jobs for CNMs in Maryland were found in:
    • Baltimore
    • Easton
    • Cheverly

Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • Specialized coursework will include subjects such as health promotion and disease prevention, advanced health assessment, and clinical pharmacology
  • Graduates of Maryland RN to MSN programs with a CNS focus must pass a national certification examination given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (such as their Adult Health CNS Exam or Gerontologial CNS Exam) before becoming licensed to work in the state
  • After certification, graduates must file with the Maryland Board of Nursing the Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification Application, along with a copy of the candidate’s RN license, current national certification, official transcripts, declaration of residence form, and a $50 application fee.
  • CNS jobs in Maryland may be found in:
    • Baltimore
    • Crownsville
    • Rockville

Nurse Psychotherapist

  • Students must take specialized coursework including psychotherapy modalities, advanced pharmacology and advanced health assessment
  • Graduates of Maryland RN to MSN programs with a APRN/PMH specialization must pass the Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health CNS Exam given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center prior to Maryland licensure
  • Certified candidates must file with the Maryland Board of Nursing the Application for Certification to Practice as a Nurse Psychotherapist in Independent Practice along with a copy of the candidate’s current RN license, current certification, official transcripts, and $50 application fee.
  • Jobs for Maryland APRN/PMHs are found in:
    • Olney
    • Baltimore


Specialized Nursing Roles Available for RN to MSN Graduates in Maryland

Not all RN to MSN students wish to become APRNs upon graduation. Many other possibilities are available for graduates of these programs, within management, healthcare informatics, administration, leadership and education. Examples of jobs listed for those with MSN degrees in Maryland outside of the APRN roles include:

  • Director of Clinical Assessment Standards and Compliance – Eldersburg
  • Clinical Outcomes Specialist – Baltimore
  • Director of Nursing – Salisbury
  • Clinical Educator- Hagerstown
  • Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator- Silver Spring

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