Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Graduate Nurse Jobs and Career Outlook

It’s a great time to be a nurse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of registered nurses to grow 19 percent between 2008 and 20181.

It’s also a great time to earn an advanced nursing degree. In 2010, the Tri-Council of Nurses released a statement urging all nurses to advance their education levels to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex health care environment.

“Current health care reform initiatives call for a nursing workforce that combines research and evidence-based clinical knowledge with effective communication and leadership skills,” the report states. “Without a more educated nursing workforce, the nation's health will be further at risk.”

Many Magnet Hospitals Seek Nurses With Advanced Credentials 

Many health care facilities across the nation are taking this call for a more educated nursing workforce very seriously. For example, many Magnet hospitals now require a certain percentage of nurses on staff to have earned master’s degrees. Many non-magnet hospitals are following their lead in the hopes of achieving Magnet status and improving patient care. Obtaining the Magnet credential indicates that a medical facility provides high quality patient care and excellent nursing. Consequently, nurses with an MSN may have an advantage over those without an advanced degree when it comes to applying for a job and positioning themselves for advancement.

The Outlook for Nurse Executive Leaders

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that the intensity of nursing care is likely to escalate, requiring more nurse leaders and administrators to have the managerial skills necessary to effectively lead nurse teams. The Nurse Executive Leader concentration in Benedictine’s Online MSN program is designed to give registered nurses the organizational, business, and soft skills necessary to take charge of a unit, department or facility.

The nursing profession is expected to add more than a half-million jobs from 2008 to 2018. More nurses and an increasingly technical and organizationally complex health care system means that there will be a need for nurse leaders who can prove they have the advanced skills needed for critical leadership positions.

Nurse Executive Leaders will be expected to keep up with the latest medical developments and changes in the health insurance industry. In addition, a nurse working on the administrative side of the medical field will need to have a strong business background to maintain schedules, budgets and electronic patient and personnel records. Completing Benedictine’s Nurse Executive Leader concentration will help prepare students to meet the challenges of 21st century nursing.

The Outlook for Nurse Educators

Nurse Educators are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for nurse educators will grow by 35% through 2022. In fact, many nursing schools already turn away qualified applicants because they don’t have enough faculty members. This is due in part to large numbers of Nurse Educators heading into retirement. In traditional academic settings, employers require applicants for these positions to have earned a master’s degree in nursing.

The Nurse Educator program also prepares students academically to sit for the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam. Earning this credential proves that the student meets the highest instructional and professional standards required to teach the next generation of nurses.

Nursing Educators may also work with patients to teach them how to manage illnesses and medications, or they might work with the community on wellness and disease prevention initiatives. Another growing segment of employment for Nurse Educators is at medical equipment makers, where nurses might teach other health care professionals how to use new products and equipment.

Completing the Nurse Educator concentration will show potential employers that you have developed the specific strategic skills of an effective teacher, no matter what type of position you ultimately decide to pursue.

Online MSN Alumni in the Workforce

In a 2014 survey of Benedictine online MSN graduates, 95 percent reported that Benedictine prepared them for their current career. Other notable numbers include:

  • 51 percent of online MSN alumni report being more confident the workplace.
  • 31 percent can attribute a salary increase to their degree.
  • 45 percent anticipate a salary increase within the next year.
  • 23 percent can attribute a new job to their degree, while another 40 percent anticipate getting a new job within the next year.

Additionally, online MSN graduates reported working for organizations including:

  • UNC Health Care
  • U.S. Army
  • Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Rush University Medical Center

To see additional survey results, view the infographic, Online MSN Alumni Journey from Classroom to Career.

Learn more about the career opportunities open to you with a master’s degree in Nursing from Benedictine University. Request more information or call (866) 295-3104 today to speak to a program manager. 

1Employment information on this page from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 version, accessed 1/31/2012,