Updated December 1, 2022 · 2 Min Read

These five nursing specializations for MSNs have a bright job outlook due to their growing demand, and offer stimulating and fulfilling nursing work. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Nursing Specializations for MSN Grads

  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Anesthesia

Registered nurses heading back to CCNE- or ACEN-accredited graduate schools will find there are abundant nursing specializations for MSNs to choose from. A Master of Science in Nursing takes one to three years to open post-grads' job opportunities in advanced generalist or specialist practice. The AACN recommends that nurses attend one of the 330+ MSN programs in the United States because master's-trained healthcare professionals could save the industry up to $8.75 billion yearly. Didactic and clinical instruction in MSN curricula allows nurses to take some pressure off during America's severe physician shortage. Before you enroll, consider these five growing MSN specializations to chart your course to success.

1. Nurse Midwifery

MSN in Nurse Midwifery programs instill the women's health knowledge needed to provide care throughout pregnancy from conception through a natural birth and postpartum rearing. Courses in MSN degrees approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) will satisfy the requirements for becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. Graduates will be able to conduct gynecological exams, provide prenatal care, prevent sexual disease, deliver babies vaginally, teach lactation, and more. Nurse midwives can expect rapid 10-year job growth at 25 percent and mean annual wage of $102,390.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioner specializations for MSNs equip graduates for advancing into primary or specialty care to promote patients' health with minimal physician supervision. Accredited MSN programs typically offer NPs further concentration in pediatrics, adult/gerontology, women's health, critical care, psychiatric/mental health, oncology, forensics, neonatal, and more. Nurse practitioners complete 500+ supervised clinical hours to obtain ANCC credentialing and create patient treatment plans, including prescribe medications in some states. Jobs for nurse practitioners will swell by 35 percent through 2024 for 44,700 new positions earning median pay at $104,610.

3. Nursing Education

The United States currently has 1,567 faculty vacancies at 821 nursing schools, so it's no surprise that nursing education is one of the growing nursing specializations for MSNs. Nurse education courses give graduates the teaching skills to develop and deliver apt clinical curriculum that produces future RNs. Picking this MSN option will lead to the Certified Nurse Educator credential, but having a Ph.D. might be necessary at some universities. Nursing education jobs will see faster-than-average growth by 13 percent through 2024 for an average yearly salary of $75,030.

4. Nursing Administration

Accredited MSN in Nursing Administration degrees offer a unique blend of clinical and business expertise for post-grads to take responsibility for leading a healthcare facility's nursing workforce. Courses like finance, health informatics, organizational behavior, and patient outcomes will give nurses the springboard for upper-level supervisory roles. Most MSNs will fulfill the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) distinction and long-term nursing home administration licensing. Nursing administration careers are poised for 17 percent growth by 2024 and an average salary increase to $109,370.

5. Nurse Anesthesia

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (CANAEP) currently approves 116 MSN and doctoral options for nurses to gain greater surgical responsibility. MSN in Nurse Anesthesia degrees take longer than most to prepare students for safely administering regional or local anesthesia during invasive procedures to numb pain. Post-grads who become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists deliver over 43 million anesthetics to patients nationally each year, including 100 percent in rural hospitals. Nurse anesthesia jobs will grow quickly by 19 percent through 2024 with mean income of $164,030.

Whether you'll study on-site or online, one of the biggest benefits of MSN programs is being able to specialize for advanced prospects and top pay in a niche field. Master of Science in Nursing grads can also accelerate their doctoral study for a DNP within one to two years later. Although the above are the most popular and growing nursing specializations for MSNs, you could also follow your passion into forensic nursing, holistic care, nursing informatics, gerontology, pain management, and community health.

Related resource:

Top 20 Cheap Online MSN Programs

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