1. If you are a nurse considering studying for a Master’s degree, here is what you should know when considering whether an MBA or an MSN is the best fit for your career goals.

    It is worth doing an MSN if you want to be a professor of Nursing or a nurse practitioner. If you want to teach nursing students, you have to have an MSN. If you want to be a nurse practitioner, you need to complete your MSN before sitting for your licensure exam to be a nurse practitioner. Becoming a nurse practitioner allows you to practice with greater autonomy, prescribe medications, perform medical procedures and practice in a clinician role providing care for patients, and work in a variety of other roles such as research, case reviews and management (e.g. as a chief nursing officer).

    On the other hand, you should obtain an MBA if you want to cross over to the business side of healthcare. An MBA is a necessity when considering filling a position on the business side (e.g. an executive nursing position).  Businesses feel that an MBA prepares nurses to have a good understanding of both patient care and business outcomes, and can subsequently align changes that satisfy both nurses and the bottom line.  

    Because of the tremendous expansion of healthcare services, this industry offers many opportunities for employment, with a growing number of positions in healthcare and nursing management and administration.


    There are now joint degree programs such as the MSN/MBA for those interested in extending their careers to the administrative level. The MSN/MBA program provides practical nursing training together with business skills in areas such as human relations, finance, accounting and management. Most universities enable students to earn both Master’s degrees within eighteen months to three years, depending on whether they are studying full or part time.

    If you are deliberating between the two, both an MSN and an MBA lead nurses to rewarding careers, but you need to think about where you want to be at the height of your career before you decide whether to pursue an MBA or a MSN.

    Jack Oren Jackman
    CEO & Founder of examPAL. 21 years' experience in the field of test prep. Has written dozens of books and courseware, and personally taught over 4,000 students.

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