If you want to enter a nursing career, you’re certainly not short of options.

It can actually be quite intimidating trying to choose the right area of nursing to enter. It’s going to determine the course of your life and you want to make the right decision.

Nursing specialties are completely unique, despite all being a branch of the same profession. This only makes your decision even tougher.

The educational path that you take is also extremely important. There are a few different routes into nursing, two of which are BSN and MSN-FNP. Both pathways take the same length of time to complete but they are completely different in several aspects.

If you’ve been looking at BSN and MSN-FNP programs and you have no idea which one is the best option for you, this article should make things a little simpler for you.

Here is everything you need to know about the BSN and MSN-FNP nursing programs, including what they are, the key differences, and what to do when you’re going from BSN to MSN-FNP.

What is a BSN?

BSN stands for ‘Bachelor of Science in Nursing’. It is a type of nursing degree that enables you to work as a registered nurse or progress into becoming a nurse practitioner with further study.

A BSN is the minimum qualification requirement that you need in America to practice as a registered nurse. With this qualification, you can work as a nurse in any specialty.

What is an MSN-FNP?

MSN stands for ‘Master of Science in Nursing’. This is the step up from a BSN qualification and it gives you the ability to specialize in a certain area of nursing.

When you enter an MSN program after practicing as a registered nurse, you can progress onto becoming a specialist nurse or a nurse educator. Under the agreement, nurses licensed in one compact state are able to work in other compact states without obtaining a new license.

Key Differences Between a BSN and MSN

Here are four of the key differences between the BSN and MSN programs.

Salaries and Job Prospects

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing field is projected to grow by even further in the next few years. Whether you’re new to nursing and you’re studying a BSN or you’re already a practicing nurse who is considering progression into the MSN-FNP, there will always be jobs available.

Understandably, an MSN provides the opportunity to earn a much higher wage. Currently, salaries are between $42,000 and $120,000 for registered nurses who are qualified with a BSN.

Progression into the MSN-FNP is a great idea if you have a specific nursing specialty in mind. There is an increasing demand for nurses of all specialties, so again, job prospects are positive.

An MSN qualification allows you to earn a higher wage due to being more specialized in your field.  The average salary of an MSN-FNP is between $65,000 and $195,000, with the exact salary depending on the field you enter and the location where you practice.

Length of Study

Perhaps one of the most obvious differences between the BSN and MSN is the time that it takes to qualify. For the BSN, it usually takes around four years to complete. The MSN requires the same four years plus another two additional years to specialize.

Many people qualify with ABSN and AW happy and content to start practicing as a registered nurse without specialiing. It’s completely up to you whether or not you want to study for the additional two years to gain the MS and qualification.

Course Subjects

Although both the BSN and MSN-FPF are nursing qualifications, there are differences in the subject matter.

To qualify as a registered nurse, you will need a standard level of qualification and this will be covered in the BSN program. However, if you want to work in a very specific area of medicine, you may be required to take the MSN.

When studying to become a registered nurse on a BSN program, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, biomedical science, nursing research, nutrition, and pharmacology. You will also have a lot of practical elements that involve assessing patience and administering fluids or medications.

No matter what college you study at, every BSN program will include each of these key modules. Each of these areas of nursing is essential to patient care.

During an MSN, you will advanced skills within the particular specialty that you have chosen to enter. You may learn about how to use advanced medical equipment, specific treatments and therapies, or more specialized physical assessment methods.

Depending on the area that you choose to enter, some MSN programs will also include modules about public health, statistics, and epidemiology.

If there is a particular field of nursing that takes your interest above all else, the MSN program might be a great option for you. Even if you aren’t sure which field you want to specialize in at first, you can work as a BSN-qualified nurse for a couple of years.

As a registered nurse, you will get the opportunity to work in a variety of medical areas. You might find one particular specialty more appealing than the others, and this could be the specialty you choose to enter through an MSN-FNP program.

Cost of Study

The cost of a BSN and MSN will depend on the college and location that you choose. It also depends on whether or not you have managed to obtain a scholarship or you are paying the full course fees by yourself.

Due to the high demand for nurses, there is an increasing number of scholarships available, so it’s worth trying to find one if you are considering entering the nursing field.

On average, it costs anywhere between $72,000 and $104,000 to complete a BSN program. To study the extra two years for an MSN qualification, you will need to pay an additional $35,000 to $60,000. The exact price of your MSN qualification will depend on the specialty and location of study.