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Average Salary: MSN vs DNP

Earning an advanced degree in any field allows you to earn more money, since you’ll be qualified for more advanced positions. This is true in the nursing field, just as it is in other fields. But just how much can you earn with a DNP versus just an MSN? Is getting this advanced degree worth the time and cost?

Salary by Specialization

A DNP prepares you for one of four specializations in the nursing world: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife. In some areas, you can work in these fields with just a master’s degree, but more and more states are beginning to require a DNP. As a registered nurse with a master’s degree, you can take on leadership roles with median salaries falling between $60,000 and $72,000 depending on other factors, such as location, experience, and sector (BLS.gov). However, with a DNP, you can take on one of these advanced practice nursing positions, which allows you to earn a much higher salary. According to BLS.gov, median salaries by specialty are:

  • Nurse Practitioner: $98,190
  • Nurse Anesthetist: $157,140
  • Nurse Midwife: $92,510

Factors in what you earn with a DNP

While an MSN does allow you to focus you education on a specific area of medicine, such as geriatrics or mental health, a DNP gives you a lot of room to run with this kind of focused education. Some specializations have high salaries and demand, such as emergency nursing, case management, or intensive care.

Cutting Costs to Get Your Degree

While you can earn more with a DNP than you can with an MSN, educational programs are still expensive. Want to save money? Start by talking to your employer – many have programs available to help you finance your education. In addition, nurse scholarships, fellowships, and grants are readily available to make college more affordable for DNP students, so don’t overlook applying for these funds. You can also cut costs by earning your degree online – on average, tuition rates are lower for online MSN to DNP degree programs than for traditional offline programs.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree Programs

Kaplan University
DNP
DNP: Family Nurse Practitioner
Kaplan University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program is designed for nurses that possess their master's in nursing. Courses explore the ethical responsibilities of nurse leaders. Graduates work as researchers, administrators, educators, clinicians, and authors. This program is known for its passionate professors and dedicated students.
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Walden University
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Walden University's Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program features a curriculum that builds on your experience as a nurse professional to provide you with advanced nursing skills. Courses examine health care policy, quality improvement, and information systems. Graduates work as nurse leaders, professors, and researchers.
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