Lots of people who enter the nursing profession do so after starting a career in another field. It's obvious why so many people enjoy nursing—this career can give you great personal satisfaction, allow you to make a change in your community, and bring you a more secure job outlook. If you already have a Bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, you don't have to backtrack to a BSN or ADN to become a nurse. Direct entry MSN programs in Alaska let you complete graduate-level nursing coursework in a reasonable time frame.
You can find all of the Direct Entry and Accelerated Master’s in Nursing programs in Alaska on our site. We suggest comparing multiple programs to determine which can best prepare you for a role as nursing faculty.
These degree programs tend to last between 15 and 24 months. Accelerated MSN programs are designed for motivated, academically-proven students, so you'll likely need a high GPA to be accepted. Furthermore, you must meet the school's prerequisite class requirements. The school's general education requirements may vary from the requirements of the school you graduated from, so make sure you don't need to take any additional math, science, or English courses before applying.
Though there are multiple degree path options for MSN students, including nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse educator, you don't typically have to select your specialty path in the first part of your degree program. The early months of your education are spent gaining a Bachelor's-level understanding of nursing, so you can plan on spending hundreds of hours in a local nursing home, hospital, or clinic. This part of your degree may be extremely demanding on your time, so working may be difficult while you complete these courses. Classes you may take include Fundamentals of Nursing Practice, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Professionalism in Nursing Practice. Once you complete enough general clinical hours, you may move into specialties like pediatrics and surgery.
Once you move into graduate-level courses, your course load may lighten considerably. However, clinical hours are still important. Courses required at this level include Leading and Managing in Healthcare Systems, Competencies for Complex Health Problems, and Nursing Research for Evidence-Based Practice.
Earning a graduate degree may cost more than an undergraduate degree, but planning ahead and applying for financial aid can be a great way to save money. Since nurses are in such high demand, there are also many scholarship and grant funds available for nursing students. If you want to become a nurse practitioner or Certified Nurse Midwife, you can apply for scholarships through the National Health Service Corps. The Alaska Nurses Association, which is a great professional resource as well, offers the David E. Knox Nursing Scholarship each year. If you take out loans while earning an MSN, you may qualify for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program if you work at an NHSC-approved site.
Once you complete your training, you will need to get a nursing license to practice legally. Some direct entry MSN programs allow you to get your RN license partway through your degree. In that case, you just need to complete additional testing to get an advanced practice license. All testing and licensing goes through the Alaska Board of Nursing. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, and Certified Nurse Midwives must meet advanced licensing standards in Alaska.
Job growth rates in Alaska vary from profession to profession, which you may want to keep in mind as you choose a nursing specialty. On the low end, O*Net expects job openings for nursing instructors to increase by 7% between 2012 and 2022. The fastest growing profession at this level is nurse midwifery, which O*Net expects to increase by 28 percent.
Due to the higher cost of living in Alaska, nursing salaries also tend to be higher than the national average. Nursing instructors earn a median statewide salary of $81,300 per year (O*Net, 2013). Nurse anesthetists earn an average salary of $111,900 per year (O*Net, 2013).
If you feel like nursing is your calling, an MSN in Alaska can be hugely beneficial to you, both personally and professionally. You may have more freedom in your practice options and take a more serious leadership role in your workplace. Not only that, you can go to work each day knowing that you are helping patients get the care they deserve.
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