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5 MSN NP Specialties: Which One Speaks to You?

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Obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can be an important stepping stone to an advanced nursing career. Maryville University’s online MSN program is designed to equip experienced nurses with the tools they need for success in a competitive, ever-evolving field. This program offers a holistic approach to a nursing education, where the convenience of an online program and the various concentration options give nurses the opportunity to advance their careers in a way that suits their schedules and career goals.


The MSN NP specialty a student chooses to pursue will guide the direction of his or her nursing career. Maryville University offers five MSN NP concentrations designed to enable students to transform the healthcare system in a way that aligns with their preferences and goals. The coursework for each concentration aims to equip students with the expertise they’ll need to adapt to the industry’s fluctuating challenges.

1) Family Nurse Practitioner

The family nurse practitioner (FNP) concentration allows students to focus on treating individuals of all ages, from newborns to seniors. The comprehensive skills students gain in this MSN specialty enable them to make a positive impact on patients’ health. FNPs also cultivate trusted relationships that can last a patient’s lifetime.


Obtaining an MSN FNP can potentially lay the foundation to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice with Nurse Practitioner Concentration (DNP-NP) with an FNP concentration. This terminal degree can further prepare students for leadership roles within the nursing field. Students who already have an MSN can also pursue a post-master’s nurse practitioner’s certificate, which most states require advanced practice nurse practitioners to have.


BLS reports the median pay for nurse practitioners to be about $103,880. It’s also a burgeoning field, as the RAND Corporation has projected 89,000 nurse practitioner jobs to be created by 2025.


2) Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

The pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) concentration provides more than the opportunity to treat children. It gives nurses the opportunity to plant the seeds of good health and well-being in a child’s life. These seeds can potentially bloom into an adult life marked by healthy choices and habits.


An MSN PNP could lead to the pursuit of a DNP-NP, which can also include a PNP concentration. MSN PNP graduates can also enroll in a program to earn the nurse practitioner certification that many states require.


Nurses with an MSN FNP are equipped to enter a growing field that has the potential to offer great financial stability. According to the Clinical Advisor, the median salary for PNPs is approximately $84,000.

3) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Those who complete the psychiatric mental health nursing practitioner (PMHNP) concentration can enter the field of mental wellness, a delicate advanced nursing branch designed to help patients of all ages cope with mental health disorders. It’s a challenging field fueled by a cultivation of trust and resolve between the nurse and the patient, but the potential for nurses to see their direct impact on a patient’s health can be highly fulfilling.


Nurses who use this MSN specialty as a springboard to obtaining a DNP-NP with the PMHNP concentration could be poised to take on a leadership role in a rapidly fluctuating advanced nursing field. As awareness of mental illness continues to grow, a DNP-NP PMHNP can help professionals obtain a position that could help shape the face of mental health on a clinical level. MSN PMHNP graduates can also complete a post-master’s certificate program to potentially gain access to more job opportunities.


Along with other nurse practitioner roles, the BLS has projected this field to grow by 31 percent between 2016 and 2026.    

4) Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

The adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP) concentration can equip MSN students with the tools they need to provide comprehensive, proactive healthcare solutions to individuals in various stages of adult life. It’s a rewarding field, as these nurses are charged with not only providing guidance pertaining to health but also helping individuals cope with changes that may come with aging.


As with the other MSN specialties, completing an MSN AGPCNP can be a vital step toward obtaining a DNP-NP with an AGPCNP concentration. MSN AGPCNP graduates can also pursue post-master’s certification.


According to BLS, the median salary for nurse practitioners is around $103,880. While the field’s financial stability is strong, the projected job outlook is even stronger. Society is aging quickly, and this trend is only going to continue—CNN has projected there to be 71.5 million people in the 65-and-over segment of the patient population by 2030. An MSN AGPCNP degree can put nurses in a position to make a positive impact on the health of this burgeoning demographic.

5) Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

The adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) concentration allows MSN students to drill down into a specialized aspect of adult healthcare. By focusing on an area such as emergency care, intensive care, or oncology, students can learn to provide holistic, compassion-driven care that hones in on quality-of-life issues, an element that can yield a unique set of rewards.


Those who strive for a terminal degree can use the MSN AGACNP as a foundation to pursue a DNP-NP AGACNP, which could allow them to pursue leadership positions within the field. MSN AGACNP degree holders can also pursue post-master’s certification.


The median salary for the nurse practitioner field, per BLS, is around $103,880. Because the population is aging at an unprecedented rate, the demand in the field is high. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), it’s estimated that there is just one qualified candidate for every four available positions.

Maryville’s MSN at a Glance

Excellent healthcare is built on a comprehensive understanding of not just health but also healthcare systems. Maryville University applies this same comprehensive approach to its MSN program, producing a highly flexible experience that melds the convenience of an online curriculum with hands-on clinical opportunities.


Maryville’s accredited, 24/7 online learning model allows students to work through the MSN program according to their hectic schedules. The program virtually connects students with a faculty with experience-based expertise within the constantly changing world of advanced nursing. Students do not need to visit the Maryville University campus to complete the MSN program. Additionally, students complete all clinicals locally in a setting that matches their preferences as much as possible.


Ultimately, Maryville has designed its MSN program to prepare students to become leaders in a field that’s poised to continue to be in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected the employment of nurse practitioners to increase by 31 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is due in part to an influx of new nurses creating a demand for quality leadership, and MSN graduates can step up to fill this need.

Earn your MSN Degree from Maryville University

The MSN degree program at Maryville University can provide students with more than just the tools they need to enter the field. It can equip students with the expertise they need to create a positive impact in the industry and bring the goal of improved patient outcomes within reach.  Learn more about Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Nursing programs and the five MSN specialties available to students.


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