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 22 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 increase their education levels to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex health care environment. “Current healthcare 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 health care facilities across the nation are taking this call very seriously. For example, magnet hospitals now require a certain percentage of nurses on staff to have earned master’s degrees, and many non-magnet hospitals are following their lead. 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 to handle complicated patient care plans. The Nurse Executive Leader concentration in Benedictine’s Online MSN program is designed to give registered nurses the organizational, business and clinical knowledge 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.

The Outlook for Nurse Educators

Nurse Educators are in demand. In fact, nursing schools must turn away qualified applicants because they don’t have enough faculty members, 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.

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 is at medical equipment makers where nurses might teach other health care professionals how to use new products.

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 100 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 CenterRush 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,