If you are an Arizona nurse who would like to enhance your career and your income, returning to graduate school can give you great opportunities to do so. Not only would you be supporting the nursing profession as a whole, you can receive a great sense of satisfaction by earning your MSN. These careers have job security that is not offered in many other fields, and you can take many different routes in your graduate nursing education.
Arizona has numerous universities and colleges with MSN programs on campuses and online. There are several graduate nursing schools in AZ that offer a wide variety of programs including Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Generalists, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Public Health, Health Care Administration, Health Care Informatics, Nursing Education and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with emphasis in Adult–Gerontology. In addition, there are dual degree options like the Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems.
Admission to an Arizona master’s in nursing program is based on the applicant's academic qualifications. The required credit hours for graduation are around 40 credits for most master's degrees, and the clinical hours vary according to your chosen major. Online and evening courses are also available, making earning your MSN more feasible than it has been in the past.
The typical graduate admission requirements include:
- An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or University with a GPA of 3 or better
- If you cannot meet the GPA standard you may still be eligible based on graduate tests scores, which include the GMAT of 500, GRE with 1000 combined verbal/quantitative prior to August 2011; or 300 combined verbal/quantitative after August 2011.
- Unencumbered RN license in their state of residency
- Must complete a statistics course earning a minimum GPA of 2
While there are several routes of study available, the MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program is one of the most popular and can lead to an increase in the number of primary care providers in the state. The curriculum includes courses in advanced health assessments, diagnosing illnesses and prescribing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments to manage acute and chronic health problems. The nurse practitioner role includes collaborating and consulting with other health professionals, and is one of the most autonomous positions in nursing.
The required curriculum for a typical FNP program can include many of the following courses.
- Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Roles and Practice
- Health Care Research Analysis and Utilization
- Ethics, Policy, and Finance in the Health Care System
- Diverse Application of Advance Practice Concepts
- Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
- Advanced Pharmacology for Primary Care
- Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning with Skills Lab
- Advanced Practice Management of Adult Health Care Problems in Primary Care
- Advanced Practice Management of Adult Health Care Problems in Primary Care Clinical
- Advanced Practice Management of Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care Problems in Primary Care
- Advanced Practice Management of Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care Problems in Primary Care Clinical
- Advanced Practice Management of Women's Health Care Issues in Primary Care
- Advanced Practice Management of Women's Health Care Issues in Primary Care Clinical
- Advanced Practice of Geriatric Issues in Primary Care
- Advanced Practice Management of Geriatric Issues in Primary Care Clinical
- Advanced Practice Clinical Practicum
- Evidence Based Practice Project
This Family Nurse Practitioner program requires 53 credits and 650 clinical hours for graduation. You should also keep in mind that this specialty is one of the most rigorous and lengthy options for earning your MSN in Arizona. You can usually complete a non-direct patient care graduate program, such as nursing education or leadership, with many fewer clinical hours.
You are eligible to take the credentialexam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center upon graduation from an FNP program in AZ. This exam is a competency-based evaluation of your clinical and assessment skills, which is useful information to include on your resume. The cost of this exam is $250.
According to the Arizona State Board of Nursing, as a new graduate Nurse Practitioner, you may get a Temporary AP Certificate if you meet their requirements, which includes a letter on school letterhead sent directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing that verifies your graduation. As a Nurse Practitioner in Arizona, if you are seeking prescribing and dispensing privileges you must submit written evidence of 45 contact hours of education and pharmacology or clinical management of drug therapy. It is not legal to prescribe or dispense medications until you receive your official notification from the board. If you plan to prescribe or dispense controlled substances you must apply to the Drug Enforcement Administration for a DEA Number.
The annual income in Arizona for Family Practitioners is $95,070 as of May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are several ways that you can help finance your education. If you are in a low income bracket visit the Financial Aid Office at your University and fill out a FAFSA application for the federal grant program that is based on your income. There are also various loans available through the Health Resources and Services Administration, including low interest long-term loans.
The Arizona Nurses Foundation also has an Academic Scholarship Program designed to enhance the development of nurses. The students that are awarded scholarships for Master’s degrees are given $2500 to help with educational expenses.
Contact the individual schools you find on this page to learn more about your options for getting your master’s in nursing in Arizona, and you could be on your way to an enhanced nursing career in the next few years.