RN to MSN programs allow nurses to specialize in particular areas such as education, research, administration or advanced clinical practice. Most students in these programs are preparing for APRN licensure so as to enjoy the autonomy and increased earnings that come with specializing as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or clinical nurse specialist.
The salary differential for nurses with MSNs can be substantial. For instance, experienced nurse practitioners in West Virginia earned an average of $29,424 more than experienced RNs in 2014, according to the state’s Department of Commerce.
West Virginia offers both RN to MSN programs for practicing nurses, as well as direct entry MSN programs that enable non-nurses with other types of bachelor’s degrees to obtain advanced master’s training in a specialty area that will pay substantially more than they would make as a staff RN.
Five hundred people were enrolled in MSN programs in West Virginia in 2013 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Virtually all of the graduate students studying to become APRNs in West Virginia had the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners in the state are considered health care providers, and they are allowed to bill directly for their services.
The AACN reported that there were 2,041 APRNs in West Virginia in 2013 and that 56.6% of them were nurse practitioners:
- Nurse practitioners – 1,156
- Certified registered nurse anesthetists – 753
- Certified nurse midwives – 67
- Clinical nurse specialists – 65
In 2010, most of West Virginia’s more highly paid MSN-educated nurses were located in the workforce region that includes Harrison, Randolph, and Monongalia counties, according to a report published by the West Virginia Center for Nursing.
Salaries for MSN-Educated Nurse in West Virginia
The high salaries paid to nurses with MSNs are apparent when comparing the earnings of ADN and BSN-educated staff RNs to the salaries of APRN specialists. The West Virginia Department of Commerce provides such salary data for experienced professionals in these fields (2014):
The Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses provides a comparison of the salaries of nurses by educational levels for the Mid-Atlantic and great lakes region, which includes West Virginia and the surrounding states. It revealed that nurses in this region with MSN degrees earned 17.8% more that those with a BSN:
- MSN – $81,546
- BSN – $69,253
Nurse Practitioner Salaries in Key Regions of West Virginia
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an analysis of the salaries of nurse practitioners in a number of areas of West Virginia. The salaries varied by location and were the highest in the Winchester area (2013):
Salaries for Nurse Anesthetists Throughout West Virginia
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for nurse anesthetists in West Virginia for 2013. While the salaries varied throughout the state, they were particularly high in the southern nonmetropolitan area of the state.
*These figures represent hourly wages that are at least $90.00 per hour or annual salaries that are at least $187,199 per year. These are the maximum salaries reported by the US Bureau of Labor for Pennsylvania.
Certified Nurse Midwife Salaries in the DC Metropolitan Area
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the salaries for nurse midwifes who worked in the DC metropolitan area, where many West Virginia nurses work (2013):