Most colleges and universities today have fairly welcoming policies toward undergraduate transfer students, and have special counselors assigned to help transfer students. But what if you had to stop in the middle of a nursing master’s degree program and would now like to transfer the credits you earned to another nursing school?
The good news is that many master’s and even doctoral programs in nursing accept at least some transfer credits for previous coursework at another school. However, you need to be ready to dig pretty hard to find out what the rules are for nursing programs that accept transfer students. Their websites often don’t make policies on graduate student transfer nearly as clear as those for bachelor degree students.
Nursing masters programs that accept transfer credits
Grand Canyon University
GCU accepted courses from accredited schools if they are equivalent to a Grand Canyon MSN course and the school is deemed acceptable by GCU. You can transfer in 12 credits or 1/3 of the value of the total grad program if you earned your credits in another degree that you finished and got at a grade of at least B. You must take the first introductory course in the master’s program at GCU.
– M.S. Nursing Education
– M.S. Nursing Leadership & Healthcare Systems
– M.S. Nursing Healthcare & Patient Safety
– M.S. Leadership & Healthcare Systems Bridge Program (For RN’s with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing specialty)
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Up to 40 quarter credits accepted in transfer for RN-MSN track programs. Transfer of credit is not available for practicum courses. BSN students must earn at least 46 of their credits at Walden.
– M.S. Nursing (MSN from RN) Public Health
– M.S. Nursing (MSN from BSN) Public Health
– M.S. Nursing – Bridge for Registered Nurses – Informatics
– M.S. Nursing (From BSN) Education
Walden offers several other master’s and bachelor’s degree options in nursing.
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Colorado Tech University
25% of the total credits for a master’s degree program must be earned at CTU. The school “supports the philosophy that related courses, demonstrated proficiencies, and professional experience knowledge may be used to satisfy some course credit requirements.” Acceptance of transfer credits, which may also be given for past work experience, training or certification, is based on approval of CTU.
– Master of Science Nursing Administration
– Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner
– Master of Science Nurse Education
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Purdue University Global
For Purdue’s MSN in Nursing or MSN-DNP Path program, certain specified courses cannot be replaced with transfer credit unless you are a graduate of Purdue’s own BSN program. To replace any courses in the executive leader or nurse educator concentrations, you much get an approval from the Nursing School Dean.
If you are studying for a master’s in adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner, primary care population, only specified courses in physiology, advanced health and pharmacology can be replaced with transfer credits.
Interestingly, if you have earned a postgraduate certificate from Purdue in Family Nurse Practitioner or Primary Care Postgraduate you may be able to transfer it toward credits for your MSN.
– MS Nursing
– Accelerated BSN to MSN
– MSN Family Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care
– MSN Nurse Informatics
Get Free Information on Purdue Global’s MSN Programs
Chamberlain College of Nursing is one of the more widely-known schools for online nursing degrees. The rules on transferring credits into one of their graduate programs include:
- You must have received a grade of at least “B” for any previous course you want to transfer in.
- For most programs, you must have completed courses within the past 10 years for them to qualify for transfer toward a Chamberlain degree. But on certain master degree programs like Informatics and Family Nurse Practitioner, only coursework done in the past 5 years is eligible to be transferred in.
- Finally, credits for any graduate certificates you may have earned will not be accepted for transfer.
The last point on certificate credits is an unpredictable one. Policies on applying certificate credits to master’s degrees definitely vary from one school to another. Purdue University Global, for example, makes a point of noting on its website that credits earned in any of its nursing certificate programs may be eligible toward a graduate degree – at least toward one of Purdue’s own graduate programs.
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Credit Transfer Limits
Limits on how many credits you can transfer in also vary from one nursing graduate school to another. Grand Canyon University, as an example, will accept up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements on master’s degrees, pending certain requirements. On the other hand, Western Governors University, which has some of friendliest policies toward adult students in the online degree world, simply does not accept any transfer credits at the master’s degree level. Among schools that do accept graduate transfer credits, it’s not unusual to find that 15 credits is the maximum accepted for previous learning. But there is no hard and fast rule. Ashford University accepts no more than 9 transfer credits on its Doctor of Nursing Practice grad degree, while Regis College will accept no more than 2 courses in transfer for grad school and famed Columbia University in New York accepts up to six credits or graduate or doctoral level courses from another school.
If you can determine that a school of interest to you accepts graduate credits in transfer for master’s degrees in nursing, you then need to go through the same steps you would to transfer credits into a bachelor program. Generally, you will need to provide a syllabus for any course you took to prove that it replaces a particular course at your new school, supply a transcript of your grades and demonstrate that you have completed any required clinical work.
Switching Nursing Schools Halfway through a Program
The longer you study in one nursing school, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to transfer all the credits you’ge earnined to another nursing program. That’s partly because courses, even courses with the same name, can vary a lot from one school to another.
How many credits a nursing school will accept can be difficut to determine without talking to the school you’re looking to move to. Many school don’t make it clear on their websitess exactly what the maximum number of credit transfers they will accept is. The type of courses you want to transfer makes a big different. BSN programs often don’t accept any clinical coursework, and some don’t accept transfer credit for any advanced level courses. BSN schools may insist that you have at least a B grade in any course at another school in order to transfer credit from it, but will alow credits for non nursing courses in the introductory phase of a BSN if you only earned a C. Additionally, many BSN programs will only accept you as a transfer student if you completed at least one year of study, or about 60 credits, at another school. On both nursing bachelor’s and master’s degrees, transfer credits are generally more complex than with humanities type degrees.
RN to MSN Bridge Programs Online
If you’re an RN who has not yet earned aa bachelor’s degree, but you’d like to get a nursing job that a master’s might qualify you for, an RN to MSN program could be worth your consideration It can provide a fast track to a graduate level credential. These so called “bridge” degree programs, which allow you to compress your bachelor and master’s degree studies, can allow you to do both your undergrad and graduate program at one nursing school, without having to think about applying to an MSN program or transferring credits. program and tare fairly unique to the nursing profession. In recent years, RN to MSN online programs have gained in popularity, as new nursing specialties have sprung up that require nurses with more advanced qualifications.
While virtually all of these degrees are designed to help you earn a nursing master’s on an accelerated basis, they don’t all have the same admission requirements. Some RN to MSN online bridge programs can be completed in three years if you study at an intensive rate. By comparison, going to college for a full bachelor’s degree and then going to a graduate school to get your MSN can take you more than six years of full-time study.
What Nursing Qualifications Do You Have Now?
The first question to research is what kind of credentials you need to enter a particular degree programs. Many of the top RN to MSN programs are designed for RNs who have an associate’s in nursing and at least two years of work experience in the field. But many will accept RNs who have a diploma rather than an associate’s. Still others are designed for RNs who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing specialty.
If you have completed some college study toward a BSN or any other type of bachelor’s degree, make sure to ask out about transferring credits from your old school toward your MSN. Since the basic idea of the RN to MSN degree is to accelerate the student’s studies, most schools that offer it tend to be friendly toward degree transfer. And because this type of program does include bachelor’s level study, which means a certain number of general education or humanities type courses, it’s very likely that at least some of your bachelor’s degree courses will be counted toward your MSN even if you were studying to be an English major previously.
Specializations To Pursue An RN To MSN Program In
The nursing master’s can qualify you for a management positions in a hospital or other health care facility, for certain clinical specializations or even, in some cases, to become an independent practitioner. Some popular specialties for RN to MSN degrees include:
- Nurse Midwifery
- Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Educator
- Nursing Informatics Specialist
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Adult Health Care Nurse
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health Care (Title X) Specialist
It’s hard to provide exact earnings numbers for MSN degree holders because they work in so many different specialties. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, an advanced practice nurse coming out of school can earn up to $90,000. per year (Source: AACN), though salaries in small health facilities in rural areas can be less than half that. Nurse anesthetists are about at the top of the earnings ladder. According to a recent article on ExploreHealthCareers.org, they can earn well over $200,000. (Many advanced nursing specialties, including nurse anesthetist, require certification in addition to a master’s degree.)
Graduate Options If You Have a BSN
Be aware of two issues relating bachelor degree studies. First: if you enter an RN to MSN program with only an associate’s degree, you may not be eligible to go into all of the specialties that are open to BSN holders. Second: while most RN to MSN programs give you a bachelor’s degree along with your master’s, some do not. It’s not likely that the lack of a BSN will hinder you if you have an MSN, but it’s good to make sure that it doesn’t present an issue in the particular specialty or even the exact hospital you want to work in.
Why Not Just Get an RN to BSN?
RN to BSN programs have become extremely popular for nurses wanting to move up the career ladder. A BSN can certainly help get a nurse hired in many hospitals and clinics. But this type of degree doesn’t provide a background in leadership or management. If you’re a nurse who would like to eventually stop spending 100% of your time in direct patient care, which can become physically taxing as you get older, an MSN is more likely to qualify you for a managerial position than a nursing bachelor’s degree.
Can An MSN Count Toward CNL Certification?
Many RN to MSN online programs are meant to qualify the graduate to sit for the CNL (clinical nurse leader) Certificate Exam sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The CNL is a somewhat new role in healthcare. A clinical nurse leader will oversee the care of certain specific patients, generally who tend to have complex health issues. CNLs college info on patients and evaluate care outcomes, working with doctors, pharmacists, social workers and others in the clinical care environment. This is a senior role in direct patient care and not, strictly speaking a management position. However, it can be a more intellectually challenging role with a slightly higher salary and a basic nursing position. CNL jobs can also offer some upward mobility to nurses working in hospitals where budget constraints have cut down on the number of management jobs available.
For a fast alternative approach for early stage RNs, read about direct entry MSN programs and accelerated nursing master’s.
Hard Work That Pays Off
It’s harder work to find out about credit transfer at the graduate level, but it can be well worth the effort. Graduate degrees in nursing can be expensive, and getting credit for your previous work can save a great deal of time and money. It’s something you don’t want to overlook if you want to get to the next level in your nursing career quickly.