Nursing is a lucrative field that allows you to grow in your career if you enroll in advanced degrees. Higher education in nursing equips you with advanced knowledge and paves the way for easy promotion. Which, in return, offers financial stability. The field has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past years, branching out many subfields, and thus, advanced degrees. In contrast to historical nursing, which only consisted of a basic diploma and certain skills, one can now study a full 8-year course. After the basic certification, you reach out for a (BSN) Bachelors in Nursing Degree following (MSN) Masters in Nursing. MSN Vs NP-

Those who wish to further enhance their skills and provide quality care can opt for the (NP) Nurse Practitioner program. The program allows you to perform a wide range of tasks that (RN) Regular Nurses are not licensed to do. Both MSN and NP are worthwhile degrees with a set route for the future. Where MSN allows you to have practical knowledge as a registered nurse, an NP program will allow you to specialize in a certain skill. 

Both degrees have their own perks and offer a promising career, so you can choose whichever direction you prefer.  Many nurses move directly from Masters in Nursing to Nurse Practitioner programs since it gives their careers a boost. By having expertise in both directions, these nurses will have a better chance of improving their earning potential. The program enables nurses to become competent in three areas: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Although MSN and NP courses both nursing programs assist you in honing your nursing skills and climbing the ladder of success, they are two different paths. Nonetheless, they have some similarities and differences. Let’s take an in-depth look at both degrees MSN Vs NP.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

MSN degree allows RNs, or BSN holders to advance their careers. Through intense practice and theoretical classes, MSN helps nurses specialize in various areas. In addition, students can pick a specialization area that is not necessarily clinical, such as health information systems, direct patient care, or education management. 

  • Requirements

GRE scores are a prerequisite for admission in several nursing schools, while numerous institutes take students in without it. Additionally, a GPA of at least 3.0 out of 4 from accredited organizations is also a requirement. However, several schools accept applicants who are RNs and hold a BSN.

  • Program structure

Today, various nursing schools offer MSN degrees online, and distance learning is a popular option. If you have responsibilities that prevent you from taking on campus classes, you can opt for an online degree. Some MSN programs require limited campus visits since not everything can be covered online. 

However, traditional MSN programs remain relevant and one can get an MSN degree on campus as well.

  • Course Outcomes and Responsibilities

An MSN degree will enable you to work in any aspect of nursing administration. It allows you to pursue positions such as Nurse Administrator, Clinical Nurse Leader, or Nurse Executive. With an MSN you can also work in maternity homes, hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are qualified to treat common ailments. Medical issues are constantly on the rise and the shortage of primary healthcare providers has made NPs an increasingly popular career choice.

A nurse practitioner can also establish a private practice and devise a complete treatment plan. They contribute significantly to the overall well-being of patients, which gives them immense satisfaction.

  • Requirements

NP degree programs do not have a set admission criterion; however, candidates must become RN first. Additionally, they must have some years of experience working as an RN to secure a seat in the NP degree course. Each institute has different requirements for NP degrees. You have to extensively search and find a school that meets your chosen demographics and NP specialization area.

  • Course Structure

As with MSN degree programs, NP degree courses are also diverse. You can choose e-courses, enroll in traditional on-campus courses, or go for an online program with a few on-campus visits. However, unlike MSN, an NP degree focuses on the specialized area right from the start and provides students with an in-depth insight into their field.

  • Course Outcomes and Duties

By earning an NP degree, you can specialize in one field and become qualified to practice. It prepares you to provide clinical care, devise treatment plans, and prescribe medications. NPs learn how to perform complex clinical tasks, such as analyzing diagnostic tests and performing physical assessments. Those who work in advanced nursing positions are often known as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).


The nursing profession is dynamic and continues to evolve. Technological advances and new studies continue to expand its scope. Nursing careers can become stagnant if nurses do not stay up-to-date on their practices, this is why choosing an advanced course can pose a challenge. It is important to consider several factors when choosing a degree, such as course outcomes, job prospects, and personal circumstances. The points outlined above offer a clearer picture of MSN Vs NP programs and will help you decide which direction to take.