Direct Entry MSN Programs - Considering an Accelerated MSN? (2024)

The Role of the Accelerated MSN Educated RN

The role of the MSN-educated RN is as a provider, leader, and steward of health. Master’s educated nurses are important to the nursing profession because they demonstrate strong leadership roles for nurses.

Master’s educated nurses choose a specialty that determines their role in nursing. These specialties are:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH)
  • Public Health Nurse (PHN)
  • Nurse Educator

What's a Direct Entry MSN Program Like?

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject and know you want to enter advanced nursing practice, enrolling in an Accelerated MSN program is a streamlined way to get to where you want to go. If you know you want to enter a niche specialization, the similar Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) program may also be a good option. Keep in mind that Accelerated MSN programs require a full-time commitment to intensive study, and are best suited for highly motivated students. Other names for AMSN but may have different applications include:

  • AMSN or Accelerated MSN
  • Direct Entry MSN or DEMSN
  • Entry Level MSN or ELMSN


Tuition can range from $70,000 to $120,000. However, the first year of this program for many schools is considered the “non-licensed” year and after completion, the student is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and technically can begin working as an RN. But, working during any accelerated program is not recommended and many schools strictly do not allow it.

Fees to consider which may not be included in tuition include:

  • Uniforms
  • Stethoscope
  • Penlight
  • Medical scissors
  • White shoes
  • School and clinical location parking passes
  • Meals
  • Gas or transit costs

Program Length

The Accelerated MSN program may take up to 3 years to complete, though some can be much shorter. Clinical hours or a preceptorship are required. Usually, these programs are structured as an accelerated BSN followed immediately by two years of graduate school.

Accelerated MSN Admission Requirements

Admission criteria for the Accelerated MSN program generally include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major from an accredited college or university
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Letters of reference, usually 2 academic and 1 professional
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within 5 years of application
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is not the student’s primary language

The AACN has developedThe Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing which outlines 9 areas of the core curriculum which must be covered in Master’s-level education. These core curricula are:

  1. Background for Practice from Sciences and Humanities
  2. Organizational and Systems Leadership
  3. Quality Improvement and Safety
  4. Translating and Integrating Scholarship into Practice
  5. Informatics and Healthcare Technologies
  6. Health Policy and Advocacy
  7. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes
  8. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health
  9. Master’s-Level Nursing Practice

Exam and Licensing

Examinations vary because different specializations exist for the MSN degree. But for all Advanced Practice degrees, each state’s board of nursing will issue and maintain licensure. The state usually requires the applicant to have an RN license.

All state boards of nursing require the Advanced Practice RN to register and receive a state license to practice. However, only the Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist specialties require an examination. These are national exams and are available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Nurse Practitioner Examination

To take an NP exam through the ANCC to become certified as a Nurse Practitioner, the applicant must meet these requirements:

  • Currently, hold an RN license
  • Be a graduate of a nurse practitioner program who is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)
  • Completed a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours

Have completed these courses:

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the life span
  • Advanced health assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts, and approaches
  • Advanced pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmaco*kinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Examination

To take the CNS examination through the ANCC the applicant must meet these requirements:

  • Currently, hold an RN license
  • Be a graduate of a nurse practitioner program who is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)
  • Completed a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours

Have completed these courses:

  • Advanced physical/health assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced pathophysiology

Once the graduate passes the examination he or she is eligible to be working as an advanced practice RN.

List of All Accelerated MSN Programs

See a full list of accelerated MSN programs by State.

Jump to Your State Listings


School of Nursing

1720 Second Avenue South, NB 204
Birmingham, AL 35294-1210
(205) 934-5360

College of Nursing

HAHN 3071, 5721 USA Drive North
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
(251) 445-9400


College of Nursing

1305 N Martin Ave
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6152


School of Nursing

8432 Magnolia Avenue, Lambeth House, Room 7
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 343-4700


Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing

1748 East 118th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 568-3304


School of Nursing

1600 Holloway Avenue, Burk Hall 371 B
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-6850


252 Berk Hall
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-5011


School of Nursing

700 Tiverton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-8690


School of Nursing

505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-3105

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4548

School of Nursing & Health Professions

2130 Fulton Street, Cowell 102
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
(415) 422-2959


School of Nursing

Yale University West Campus P.O. Box 27399
Orange, CT 06516
(203) 785-2393



Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

1520 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980


School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene

2528 McCarty Mall, Webster Hall 402
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8522


School of Nursing, College of Science and Health

990 West Fullerton Avenue, Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60614-2458
(773) 325-1887

Deicke Center for Nursing Education

190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3296
(630) 617-3314

School of Nursing

1184 West Main Street
Decatur, IL 62522-2084
(217) 424-6366

College of Nursing

600 South Paulina Street, Suite 1080 Aca. Fac.
Chicago, IL 60612-3873
(312) 942-2308

College of Nursing

845 South Damen Avenue, Suite 118, M/C 802
Chicago, IL 60612-7350
(312) 996-7808


School of Nursing

555 South Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 852-8300



School of Nursing

3101 Wyman Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
(410) 955-4766

School of Nursing

655 West Lombard Street, Suite 505
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579
(410) 706-6741


William F. Connell School of Nursing

Cushing Hall, 140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-1710

School of Nursing

36 First Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129-4557
(617) 726-4547

School of Nursing

360 Huntington Avenue, 102 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5096
(617) 373-3649


School of Nursing

235 Wellesley St
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7091

School of Nursing

352 Lafayette Street, South Campus
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 542-7149


School of Nursing and Health Sciences

300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 521-2139


Graduate School of Nursing

55 Lake Avenue North (F1-853)
Worcester, MA 01655-0115
(508) 856-5081


College of Nursing and Health Sciences

700 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000
(651) 793-1368


Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

2004 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-6000



School of Nursing

3525 Caroline Mall
Saint Louis, MO 63104
(314) 977-8909

New Hampshire


2500 N River Rd.
Manchester, NH 03106
(888) 387-0861

School of Nursing

105 Main St
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2285

New Jersey

College of Nursing

400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079-2693
(973) 761-9282

New York

School of Nursing

116th St & Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 305-3582


Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-4904
(216) 368-2545


Department of Nursing

5701 Delhi Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45233
(513) 244-4325

College of Nursing

1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1289
(614) 292-8900


College of Nursing

2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(513) 558-5500

College of Nursing

3000 Arlington Avenue, M.S. 1026
Toledo, OH 43614-5803
(419) 383-5858


Graduate School of Nursing

3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-7351
(513) 745-3815


Kramer School of Nursing

2501 N Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 208-5904



828 E. 11th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
(154) 134-3164 x1



School of Nursing

4881 Taylor Cir
Collegedale, TN 37315
(423) 236-2942

School of Nursing

461 21st Avenue South, 111 Godchaux Hall
Nashville, TN 37240-0008
(615) 343-8876



School of Nursing

110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 471-4100



12257 Business Park Drive
Draper, UT 84020
(801) 816-1444



School of Nursing

194 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401-3596
(802) 656-3131


School of Nursing

907 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23284
(804) 828-5174


School of Nursing

12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447-0029
(253) 535-7672



College of Nursing

530 North 16th Street, Clark Hall, PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-3812


College of Nursing

3253 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 229-4173

Direct Entry MSN Programs - Considering an Accelerated MSN? (2024)


Are direct entry MSN programs hard to get into? ›

Are MEPN programs hard to get into? Direct-entry MSN programs are highly competitive and selective. Admission favors applicants with strong GPAs, especially in prerequisite courses, and other indicators of preparedness for graduate-level work.

Is an entry level MSN worth it? ›

This degree program is a great way to become involved in the nursing profession at an advanced level after graduation. Having a master's degree may lead to higher income and the chance to take on leadership roles within an organization, which can allow you to make a big difference for both organizations and patients.

What are the benefits of direct entry MSN? ›

Benefits of Direct Entry MSN Programs

Students can often complete their studies within two to three years. Increased earning potential: Nurses with an MSN degree often have higher salary prospects than their counterparts with bachelor's or associate's degrees in nursing.

Can you skip BSN and go to MSN? ›

Pros and Cons of RN-to-MSN vs Direct Entry

Allows nurses with associate degrees or diplomas to pursue an MSN without earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) first. Accelerated programs are available, saving time and money compared to earning a BSN and then an MSN separately.

Is MSN more difficult than BSN? ›

If work and other responsibilities already have you pressed for time, an RN-to-BSN program will be less demanding. MSN programs are usually more difficult to get into than BSN programs, and more prestigious MSN programs are especially competitive. Applying to an MSN program also requires nursing experience.

How long is Johns Hopkins direct entry MSN program? ›

MSN (Entry into Nursing) is offered by School of Nursing under Johns Hopkins University, USA. This a Masters level program of a course duration of 2.5 Years.

Is the MSN degree going away? ›

Ask A Nurse: MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Changing To DNP Programs By 2025.

Does it matter where you get your MSN? ›

The institution you select influences the quality of education, clinical experiences, faculty support, and networking opportunities you receive. A reputable school often offers a robust curriculum, access to advanced technology, and partnerships with healthcare facilities, enriching your learning experience.

Does MSN pay more than BSN? ›

Salary differences can be pretty significant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for registered nurses totals $75,330 per year, while master's degree-prepared advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) earn a median annual salary of $117,760.

What is the best MSN to get? ›

The Best MSNs for Nurses
  • Nursing Research. ...
  • Nursing Informatics. ...
  • Nurse Anesthetist. ...
  • Nurse Midwife. ...
  • Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Holistic Nurse Practitioner. ...
  • Public Health. ...
  • Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. The aging population is increasing, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Do MSN programs care about GPA? ›

MSN GPA Requirement: 2.75 or 3.0 GPA (Varies by Program)

What is direct entry advantages? ›

One of the main benefits of direct admissions is that it removes the uncertainty from applying to college. In the traditional college application process, students apply to multiple colleges and then wait anxiously to see if they have been accepted.

What is the easiest NP program to get into? ›

The easiest nurse practitioner specialty to get into is psychiatric mental health, also called a PMHNP. Currently, there is an increased demand for PMHNPs caused by rising mental health and substance abuse concerns nationwide.

Do you have to take NCLEX again for MSN? ›

One perk of earning your MSN as a BSN-prepared nurse is that you won't have to retake the NCLEX after graduating with your master's degree. However, you might decide to earn additional nursing certifications if you would like to enhance your nursing knowledge and career qualifications.

Can I get my DNP without an MSN? ›

To enroll in a DNP program, you must have completed a BSN or MSN degree. If you don't have a BSN degree, you can't take a direct path from RN to DNP. However, unlike many other advanced degrees, Franklin's BSN to DNP program allows those holding a BSN to advance directly to a DNP without completing a master's degree.

How much does an entry level MSN make in Minnesota? ›

As of Jun 18, 2024, the average hourly pay for an Entry Level Msn in Minnesota is $25.10 an hour. While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $77.46 and as low as $14.13, the majority of Entry Level Msn salaries currently range between $16.73 (25th percentile) to $22.60 (75th percentile) in Minnesota.

Is the MSN nursing education hard? ›

The short answer- yes! MSN programs are hard, especially Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs. These programs focus on advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Most MSN degrees require a minimum of two years of relevant experience before applying to a program.

Is getting a masters degree in nursing hard? ›

Advanced degrees in nursing are tough

Master's programs are challenging – there's no doubt about that. But even more so for nurses who are continuing to work and juggle family responsibilities as they take classes.

Does GPA matter for MSN? ›

Many schools will require a 3.0 GPA to get into nurse practitioner school. Based on the type of NP program you are applying for (MSN or DNP), your GPA will be calculated from your bachelorly or master's degree coursework.


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