If you're thinking about enrolling in a Master's degree program in nursing, you are entering an educational endeavor that can greatly impact your patients, your career prospects, and your scope of practice. The National Institute for Health Care Reform notes that there is a primary care practitioner shortage across the nation. They claim that nurse practitioners—nurses that hold a specialized Master's degree in nursing—can help close that gap. Since the Alabama Department of Labor also reports that family and general care practitioners are one of the hottest 40 career fields in the state, you may find your skills in high demand if you enter this field.
Recent legislative changes in Alabama make advanced practice nursing careers an even more attractive option. The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners & Medical Licensure Commission reports on Act 2013-223, which allowed nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances if it is listed in the collaborative agreement with their overseeing physician. The Alabama Health Action Coalition is pushing to get more nurses into Master's-level programs and remove practice barriers for advanced practice nurses. Clearly, now is a great time to explore your options for earning your Master’s in Nursing in Alabama.
To find nursing Master’s degree programs in Alabama, peruse the schools on our site. We have listed all of the Specialty Master’s in Nursing programs as well as general Master’s of Science in Nursing options. If you do not yet have your Bachelor’s in Nursing, you can take advantage of the many RN to MSN bridge programs that exist. Regardless of the route you take, earning your graduate degree in nursing is a great way to improve your practice and the nursing profession as a whole.
As you look into finding a Master's in Nursing program in Alabama, you should prepare for a multifaceted educational experience that will build on everything you've learned at the RN or BSN level. Your curriculum will vary, depending on which kind of program you choose, and will be compromised of anywhere from 30 to 60 credits. If you attend on a full-time basis, you may be able to graduate in two to three years. The actual amount of credits you complete is based on what specialty you choose. If you want to become a nurse practitioner, you can specialize in fields like neonatal care, family care, and acute care. Other Master's degree tracks include nurse leadership, nursing informatics, and nurse education.
Regardless of which specialty or career track you choose, you'll likely have to take many of the same base courses. Commonly required courses include Health Care for Populations, Leading in Nursing Settings, and Health Systems Improvement.
By the time you graduate, you should be able to use your knowledge of a specialized field and advanced nursing theories to offer evidence-based care to a variety of populations. Your leadership courses are designed to prepare you to be a leader in whichever nursing setting you work in, allowing you to lead and guide other nurses. You will also take business and economics courses that can help you further your own practice wisely in the future. To learn about the curriculum that is specific to each Master’s in Nursing program, visit our Specialty pages.
With the growing need for skilled health professionals, many organizations offer scholarships to make it easier for you to earn a Master's degree. The Alabama Association of Nursing Students awards scholarships to student members. The Alabama Board of Nursing awards over $166,000 in scholarships to Master's-level students, making an impact on many students’ ability to earn a graduate degree. If you want to work in primary care, the National Health Service Corps may also have a scholarship you are eligible for, as well as loan forgiveness programs in Alabama.
Working With Your MSN in Alabama
Alabama has numerous accredited RN-MSN campus and online programs to help advance your career. There are several specialty tracks, which can open the door to a dramatic career change once you complete a RN-MSN program.
Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner allows you to diagnose and manage the health of newborn babies, infants and toddlers up to the age of two who may be acutely ill or have healthcare problems that require close monitoring or hospitalization.
Obviously employment opportunities are found in hospitals clinics for young children. Alabama NPs received $95,350 as an average annual wage (O*net, 2014).
Adult–Gerontology Primary Care NP, with an Oncology Subspecialty, is a unique career that prepares you to practice in a variety of settings with oncology patients.
Once you have received your MSN, you may take the national certification examinations:
- Oncology Nurse Practitioners - Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
- Adult–Gerontology–Primary Care NP - American Association of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Alabama’s annual income average is $95,350 (O*net, 2014).
Receiving credentials and your MSN in more than one specialty may boost your career, offering new opportunities and a higher income. A graduate degree will earn the respect of your peers also.
As a nurse, you know how important education is, and chances are you have spent some time thinking about all of the possibilities for returning to school. We know that there are dozens of options, and we have taken the time to compile as much information about Master’s in Nursing programs across the U.S. as we could find. Now it is your turn to take the time to compare and review school information, and request program materials from those schools that offer the nursing Master’s programs you’re interested in.