Is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Right for You?

Is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Right for You?
Is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Right for You?

The plan to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is a pivotal decision in your professional career trajectory. The profession of nursing is an exciting, multifaceted career with unlimited opportunities to make a significant impact.

If getting an MSN degree meant an increase in professional autonomy, income and career mobility, would you be interested?

If your answer is yes, it might be beneficial for you to learn more about the exciting role of becoming an MSN-prepared nurse practitioner (NP). NPs are vital in providing safe and effective health care and are viewed as an essential member of the health care delivery team in the United States.

Is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Right for You?

  1. What is a Nurse Practitioner?
  2. The History of the Nurse Practitioner
  3. Why Become a Nurse Practitioner?
  4. What Does Job Growth and Security Look Like for the NP?
  5. Specialty Options for MSN Degree-Prepared Nurse Practitioners
  6. Are You Ready to Get Your MSN Degree?

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners receiving an MSN degree and practicing at an advanced level provide care independently, and in collaboration with a physician, in a wide range of settings and patient populations. They are responsible and accountable for:

  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Health education
  • Counseling
  • Diagnosis and management of both acute and chronic diseases
  • Initial, ongoing and comprehensive care

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The History of the Nurse Practitioner

The History of the Nurse Practitioner

The role of the nurse practitioner dates back to 1965 when the first NP program with a pediatric specialty was established. With an increased need to provide quality primary and acute care, significant pressure was realized to the physician-lead care model and by 1973 there were 65 NP programs nationally. 

Nurse practitioners are the providers of choice for millions of Americans. Annual patient visits with NPs have increased and currently exceed 1.06 billion. NPs have been providing essential primary and specialty care for more than five decades and are a major component in providing sustainable, patient-centered care.

Why Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Why Become a Nurse Practitioner?

There is a significant need for nurse practitioners, and it is an essential role in the current and future health care delivery plan. As reported by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), NPs are seen as a key solution to America's primary care crisis.

Nationwide, as our population grows older, the demand for quality health care will increase. Baby boomers are aging at a rapid rate. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. population of people ages 65+ increased 33% from 37.2 million in 2006 to 49.2 million in 2016. This number is projected to double to 98 million by 2060.

It’s a certainty that this group of people will need preventive care for their health and wellness as well as chronic and acute care for disease management.

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What Does Job Growth and Security Look Like for the NP?

What Does Job Growth and Security Look Like for the N.P.?

Health care services will continue to be in high demand with exceptional quality care expected by all. Physician provider demand is quickly outpacing the supply as published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 2018 with a focus on a 15-Year Outlook.

Growing physician shortage, as published by the AAMC in June 2020, further supports the significant opportunity the NP has in providing value to the health care team as an essential provider.

Areas of identified physician shortage by 2033 include:

Medical Areas

Physician Shortage Range

Primary care

Between 21,400 - 55,200

Non-primary specialties

Between 33,700 - 86,700

   -Surgical specialities

Between 17,100 - 28,700

   -Medical specialities

Between 9,300 - 17,800

   -Other specialities (i.e., pathology,   radiology, psychiatry)

Between 17,200 - 41,900

Nurse practitioner opportunities continue to grow for MSN degree-prepared professionals. As of May 2019, there were 200,600 licensed practicing NPs in the country per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the primary care landscape continues to shift, the nurse practitioner workforce continues to grow much faster than other health care professions, with the majority of the growth in the primary care space. By 2026, the supply of primary care NPs is projected to increase by 36 percent.

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Specialty Options for MSN Degree-Prepared Nurse Practitioners

Specialty Options for M.S.N. Degree Prepared Nurse Practitioners

Career mobility is a reality and professional fulfillment comes from the multiple opportunities speciality options provide. While nearly 90% of NPs are certified in an area of primary care, AANP reports the percentage of working NPs in 10 specialty certifications, as illustrated:


Percent of NPS





Adult-Gerontology Primary Care


Acute Care


Pediatrics-Primary Care


Adult-Gerontology Acute Care


Women’s Health


Psychiatric/Mental Health-Family




Hospice and Palliative Care


*NPs may be certified in more than one area.


Obtaining an MSN degree has many advantages, one being financial.

The median annual base income for an NP in the United States is $110,687* as reported by in 2020. And according to NP Hub, four of the five highest-paying advanced practice specialties in 2020 are nurse practitioners.

Additionally, many employers often offer a generous range of benefits and perks including tuition reimbursement, vacation pay, health insurance, 401k contributions, professional liability coverage and more. Find out what the average nurse practitioner salary is for your state.

Are You Ready to Get Your MSN Degree?

Are You Ready to Get Your M.S.N. Degree?

If you’re ready to take the next step and become a nurse practitioner, selecting the right academic partner is paramount to your success.

In addition to affordable, high-quality online learning, Wilkes University provides transformational preparation for you to achieve your MSN degree.

And to assure your success, Wilkes guarantees clinical placement services so you are well prepared to meet the requirements of a highly sought-after NP career.

Wilkes University is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and a top-ranked university by leading organizations and publications**.

Learn more about Wilkes University’s online MSN program

*Salary can vary widely depending on many important factors, including level of education, certifications, additional skills and number of years in the profession.

**The baccalaureate degree in nursing/master's degree in nursing/Doctor of Nursing Practice and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Wilkes University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.