BSN to Nurse Practitioner: Education Options and Program Overviews

Oct 12, 2019

To become a nurse practitioner, students with a BSN will need to enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. These programs commonly involve coursework in advanced nursing practice, diagnostics, medical practice theory and pharmacology.

Essential Information

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that prepare students to work as nurse practitioners nearly always require applicants to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most nurse practitioner master's degree students select a specialty, such as adult care, family practice, pediatrics, women's health or geriatrics. Many MSN nurse practitioner programs facilitate student research, and they typically culminate in either a thesis or comprehensive exam.

Master of Science in Nursing Programs

In addition to having a BSN, applicants to nurse practitioner MSN program typically must be a registered nurse (RN) and meet a GPA requirement. Most programs require applicants to have at least one year of clinical experience. Coursework in nurse practitioner master's degree programs combines rigorous academic work with hands-on, clinical learning. Pharmacology classes are often required because nurse practitioners can prescribe medication. Classes often vary according to specialty. Here are a few classes that might appear in the curriculum:

  • Ethics and public policy in healthcare
  • Health assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Evaluation of common health problems
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Family practice methods

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment of nurse practitioners will increase 28% between 2018 and 2028 ( The BLS noted that nurse practitioners will be in particularly high demand in under-served areas. As of 2018, these professionals earned median salaries of $107,030.

RNs with a BSN and a year of clinical experience may seek enrollment in an MSN program for nurse practitioners. Through hands-on training, in-class training and research participation, these programs will provided the extra skills needed to serve as a nurse practitioner.

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