Deciding to earn a master’s degree is a major step. With a master’s degree in nursing, it can be even more complicated. Students must balance their current professional work and personal lives with the time needed to pursue higher education.

Online education has alleviated some of these issues. By offering a master’s degree in nursing in an online format, schools have made it easier than ever for nurses to fit education in with their busy schedule.

But there are other major considerations as well. While the list of advantages for earning a master’s degree in nursing are many, the following reasons are some of the most compelling for returning to school as a graduate student.

You Want to Lead

Earning a master’s degree in nursing prepares graduates to become leaders. Holding an MSN opens the door to coordinator or manager jobs, where often only those with a master’s degree are considered.

A master’s degree program hones your critical thinking and communication skills, two valuable areas for those who wish to lead. Graduate students perfect organizational skills and foster the emotional stability needed to lead others in sometimes stressful situations.

You Want to Specialize

Earning a master’s degree in nursing from Houston Baptist University prepares graduates to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner certification examination, which is offered from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Nurse practitioners become experts in their chosen area of expertise. A family nurse practitioner has the skills to deliver advanced care to patients. They work closely with patients to help them work healthy habits into their lives. They also develop managed care plans to improve health outcomes.

You Want to Earn More

A master’s degree in nursing has higher earning potential.

Most nurses enter the profession because they have a calling to help others. However, salary should also be a consideration. Those who hold master’s degrees make well into the mid-$90,000s per year, according to the Nurses Journal. That’s well above the $70,000 median salary reported in May 2017 by the federal government for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree. 

You Want an In-Demand Job

Overall, the demand for nurses is high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% increase in nursing jobs by 2026. That translates into more than 438,000 new nursing jobs.

However, nurse practitioners are even more in demand. Those with a higher level of education and skills to specialize as a family nurse practitioner are valued by medical operations everywhere. The BLS projects an astounding 31% jump in the number of nurse practitioner jobs by 2026.

Clearly, earning a master’s degree in nursing can both boost your career. Higher education also leads to more challenging, rewarding jobs in the nursing field. With online degree programs making higher education even more accessible and convenient, it’s a move worth serious consideration for nurses with high goals for their career.