MSN Programs: Choosing the Right Specialization for Your Nursing Career

MSN Programs

In an age where healthcare is becoming more patient-centered, a specialized nurse is an asset to any healthcare facility. Specialization isn’t difficult for those looking to take their careers to the next level. The first step is to get a bachelor’s degree. After graduation, new nurses must register as RNs (Registered Nurses), get some experience, and then enroll in a master’s course.

According to Indeed, most medical specializations also include a salary boost. The reasons are simple; specialty nurses can take on more responsibilities, and they achieve better patient outcomes.

Many RNs are unsure which are of medicine to specialize in because of how many nursing specialties there are. The plethora of nursing fields available in the United States can make choosing the right one difficult. How do you know which one will make for a fulfilling and well-paying career?

Several factors must be considered as you consider your progression from RN to MSN via a program like the one offered by top-rated and accredited Wilkes University. You need to have the right educational qualifications and the correct mindset. Wilkes University hopes to nourish and develop your burgeoning nursing career with lecturers and medical experts.

Online nursing courses have become quite popular and have made it possible for many professionals to acquire additional educational qualifications without giving up their careers. They are flexible and a little cheaper than in-person classes, and universities that offer them often have excellent support services for students.

The learning period varies depending on what specialty you choose. For example, if you choose to specialize in family nursing the course takes three years. Those who enroll in adult gerontology can expect to take about two and a half years to complete their master’s course, while nurses who want to specialize in mental health are enrolled in courses that take three years.

The best nursing colleges and universities include clinicals and residencies as part of their curriculum, so students can expect to get some practical experience at some point in their course.

As you think about how to advance your career through specialization, you may wonder about the benefits, common specializations, and how you can prepare so that you do well in your course. We will explore all these things in this post.

Why specialize at all?

The main point of specialization is to hone skills in a particular area. Nurses gain the necessary skills to work in a specific healthcare field. The skills are tailored to a specific demographic or illness, providing an excellent chance for professional growth.

Below are some of the benefits of becoming a nurse specialist:

It gives nurses more confidence

The whole point of specialist training is to ensure that nurses have the skills to attend to patients. It makes them more confident, making their vocations more satisfactory, and giving them even more opportunities for career growth.

For instance, RNs who work in an oncology ward have the training to perform general duties. They can dispense medications, change bedpans, help patients with their meals, and make them comfortable.

A nurse who specializes in oncology can do so much more. They know how to look for symptoms of improvement or deterioration in patients, order and interpret tests, and advise doctors about a patient’s condition in detail.

Nurses can immerse themselves in their chosen field

Whatever your field of specialization, you have an opportunity to learn all about nursing in it. If you choose to get a master’s degree that focuses on mental health for nurses, you spend all your time learning how to diagnose and treat mental health patients and care for them and restore them to full health. The same goes for any specialization. You know more about it than the average nurse, which qualifies you to do a lot more.

You can take on more responsibilities

Many employers prefer to hire specialist nurses because they can take on more roles. They can deliver higher value than generalists, improving patient care considerably.

As healthcare evolves and becomes patient-centered, the role of the nurse has expanded, and the more responsibilities they can take on, the more they are valued wherever they work.

Specialist nurses earn more and are promoted faster

Employers remunerate specialist nurses quite generously, and there are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that they often take on roles that were traditionally performed by doctors, so facilities don’t need to hire as many doctors as they did in the past.

Doctors are highly paid professionals, and although they are necessary in every hospital, clinic, and nursing home, many facilities are looking for ways to hire fewer of them so that they can reduce their wage bill.

Instead, they hire specialist nurses who earn more than RNs but less than doctors. It is also easier to climb the career ladder if you can display an in-depth knowledge of nursing within a specific field. You can go even higher if you do a nursing management course.

Specialization allows nurses to do what they love

If you love working with the elderly, you can become a geriatric nurse, and you will attend to them every day. If you prefer to work with families, you can study to become an FNP. If your preference is children and teenagers, pediatric nursing is your field.

As we mentioned, there are more than 100 nursing specializations to choose from, and you are guaranteed to find a field you are interested in.

You can become an educator

America isn’t producing as many nurses as it needs to every year, and one of the reasons for this is a shortage of trainers. Nursing applicants are often turned down because there is a shortage of lecturers. However, becoming an expert lecturer means you can give medical advice to students who want to learn and help the community.

This has pushed the demand for nurse educators, and many of them are paid quite well. They enjoy easier schedules than those who work within healthcare facilities.

Nurses become better decision-makers when they specialize

Decision-making is a critical skill for healthcare professionals, and nurses who are specialists in their fields tend to make better decisions about patient care. They have more education and experience, allowing them to assess situations quickly and decide on the next steps.

They achieve better patient outcomes

As Americans become more aware of how the healthcare system works, many say they prefer to be treated by a nurse specifically trained to deal with certain demographics or conditions. It increases their confidence in the care they receive and helps them heal faster.

Polls have shown that a significant percentage of the American population is aware of nursing specializations and the benefits they bring to treatment and care.

A specialist can diagnose illness faster and determine what treatments should be administered. They are also better at recognizing symptoms and offering interventions as soon as they are needed.

What are some top nursing specialties?

Top, in this case, means nursing specialties that pay well. As you explore different avenues, you will find that certain specialist nurses earn more than others. Those who pursue any of the specialist nursing jobs discussed here can expect to earn 6-figure salaries in almost any state they choose to practice. They have unique skills that aren’t common in their profession and are paid more wherever they work.

Nurse anesthetist

This highly trained nurse administers pain medication, vaccines, and anesthesia during surgery. They work with patients of all ages and are a vital part of the surgical team.

A nurse anesthetist also takes down patient histories to determine whether they may have an adverse reaction to any type of anesthesia or pain medication.

To become a nurse anesthetist, you need a BSN, RSN, and a valid RN license. You also need to put in about 3,000 clinical hours and pass an exam by the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.

All nurse anesthetists are required to get special licensure in their state, and different states have different requirements. As a result of the amount of training and clinical hours these nurses require, they are among the top earners in their profession.

Psychiatric and mental health nurse

These nurses are specially trained to diagnose and deal with a range of mental health problems. They are qualified to treat patients who suffer from phobias, depression and anxiety, mood disorders, addiction, and even dementia.

To qualify, you’ll need to have a BSN and an MSN, and some RN to MSN degrees are designed for holders of non-nursing bachelor’s degrees who want to join the profession. You will need to be a registered mental health nurse in your state, and you also need licensure from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Nurse midwives

Bringing new life into the world is especially rewarding for nurses. Nurse midwives are in demand everywhere you go and are paid quite well for their services.

Their duties include pre and post-natal care, childbirth, and post-partum recovery, and they also play a significant role in advising mothers about how to take care of themselves and their babies. These nurses are also trained in reproductive and gynecological health and preventive care.

To become a nurse midwife, you need to have a master’s degree. You should enroll in a course designed to transition you from an RN to an MSN. If you aren’t a nurse but would like to become a nurse midwife, there are courses that you can enroll in so long as you have a bachelor’s degree.

Family nurse practitioner

This is a nurse who is trained to deal with people of all ages. They can attend to anyone from newborn babies to older people, and their roles can be extensive. They diagnose, treat, and care for patients in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings.

To become an FNP, you should have a master’s in nursing, and to earn that, you need to have a BSN. Not all FNPs start as RNs, however. Some transition from other careers and enroll in courses designed to help transition them into a healthcare career.

Clinical nurse specialist

To become a clinical specialist, you need to have a master’s in nursing. These nurses often serve in pediatrics, elder care, emergency care, rehab, and mental health. They can also specialize in a particular disease like cancer or diabetes.

If you want to become a clinical specialist, you need to have a master’s degree. Many RN to MSN degrees can help you with the transition.

This particular area of nursing doesn’t require any specialization. However, many nurses often take additional courses that equip them with specialist skills. It makes it easier to get jobs, and the pay is better.

Nurse administrator

This is one of the best-paid nursing jobs, and to qualify, you must have a master’s degree. Nurse administrators have a wide range of responsibilities. They do not provide bedside care but supervise and support nurses who do.

A nurse administrator works in hospital management. They are involved in decision-making for the broader organization, finances and budgeting, scheduling, and other day-to-day management chores. They also act as nurse representatives and oversee nurse training.

The demand for nurse administrators has grown in the last few years, and according to statistics, the profession will grow by more than 30% in the next decade. This means plenty of jobs for those who have the right training.


Nurse specialization can be tricky to navigate. As you ponder what you want to specialize in, think about the things that are important to you. If you are keen on earning more than six figures, all the specializations discussed here are a good choice.

However, if you are passionate about a certain demographic or would like to specialize in helping treat a specific illness, nurse practitioners, counselors, or midwives are an excellent option.

All options, however, require further education, so look for a master’s degree to impart the skills you need.