Advanced Practice Nursing: Quickest Path to Becoming an APRN

With a passion for helping those in need and an interest in healthcare, you decide to pursue nursing but are unsure where to start. Nursing Students Pre-Nursing Knowledge

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Advanced Practice Nursing: Quickest Path to Becoming an APRN

As a typical high schooler with your whole life ahead of you, parents and educators advise you to pick a career and start striving towards achieving your chosen path. With a passion for helping those in need and an interest in healthcare, you decide to pursue nursing but are unsure where to start.

The Transition from High School to College

With a curious mind and a desire to continuously enhance your knowledge, you will not be satisfied until you achieve a high level of education in your pursuit of clinical and career competence. You have decided to pursue a master's level program but don't know where to start or which program to choose, as the options are endless.

First, you must determine where to obtain your associate degree in nursing (ADN). The best option is to choose a local community college that will save you money and be easily accessible from home, although some universities do offer entry-level degrees; research what your area has to offer. Refer to the following list of recommended steps to take:

  • Get good grades; a 4.0 average is ideal, as nursing school entry is competitive
  • Prospect for community colleges offering Associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs
  • Complete your ADN degree and certification test to become a registered nurse (RN) and begin working. Higher education programs always prefer nursing experience for an advanced-level degree.
  • Apply to university

Traditional Pathway to Advanced Practice Nursing

Although an often noted worthy investment, the pursuit of the specialized education required to obtain an advanced practice registered nurse title has historically proven time-consuming and laborious. Whether your passion was a pursuit of adding initials behind your name, such as the following:

  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

The traditional course of earning an associate degree, then a bachelor's degree, and finally, after many 10-page written papers and hours of clinical rotations, earning a Master's degree and passing board exams; after 7-8 years of education, you would be granted your desired credentials. Thankfully, this process can be expedited with new developments in nursing program structure and curriculum.

What Distinguishes the RN-MSN Program from Others?

The nursing professors at most universities are advanced practice nurses and have been in your shoes. They resonate with the mental struggle you are experiencing. That is why they strive to assist students like you with a passion for learning and achieving great heights, with their fast-track RN (associate degree nurse) to MSN (master's degree) program designed to expedite your transformation from novice to expert.

Related: 10 Best Master of Science (MSN) Programs in 2023

Read on to explore this path to your future nursing career.

  • Customizable schedule—while there are many options for fully in-person or online courses, most fast-track programs are hybrid, creating more flexibility
  • Taught by nurses, for nurses. In-person clinical rotations with advanced practice providers remain a staple in the RN-MSN program
  • An RN-MSN degree allows you to bypass the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other bachelor's degree options
  • Reduced education costs and time to graduation
  • Qualify for financial aid or scholarships as with any other program
  • Meets requirements to sit for approved board certification exams upon graduation
  • Designed with the working nurse in mind—go at your own pace, apply your own experience to class teachings, take a break then come back when ready

Will You Take the Fast Track?

While there are many pathways and colleges to choose from when pursuing a degree in nursing, universities offering RN-MSN hybrid programs are suitable for those desiring advanced-level degrees that accommodate a school-work-life balance. If you want to 'dip your feet' into nursing with an associate degree, then start earning money right away before pursuing advanced-level education, the RN-MSN route is for you.


Pursue Your Passion for Nursing: All Nursing Schools

Online RN to Master of Science in Nursing: Arizona State University (ASU)

Earn Your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree: Saginaw Valley State University

How to Become an APRN: NurseJournal

Stacey Wendling, MSN, RN, FNP-C currently practices in cardiology with a focus on acute care electrophysiology (EP). As a freelance nurse writer, she aims to educate and advocate for patients and nurses alike by producing health content that is relevant, comprehensible, and applicable to modern day

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