• Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

What things should I be looking for in an MSN program besides the basics of cost, online vs campus, accreditation, credit transferability, admission requirements, etc?

I am interested in an RN to MSN as I have an Associates degree in nursing and a non BSN four year Bachelors, online, flexible, accredited, financial aid, and as few "bridge" courses as possible.

I am interested in teaching or nursing informatics.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

In my experience, the best graduate programs are those that incorporate a 'residency' of some sort - which requires you to work alongside an experienced colleague in your chosen specialty/role. This is a requirement for NP programs, but not in all non-clinical MSN programs (e.g., Education, Quality & Safety, Administration, etc) A residency will not only provide you with an opportunity to develop/improve your skills & knowledge, it will also help you begin to build your Job Search network.

Graduate programs are much less likely to have accreditation 'issues', so this usually isn't a problem. Be sure to check out the quality of the faculty. This is crucial. Look up their bios to see what type of research and professional activities they are involved in. HINT: for-profit schools don't attract highly qualified, tenured faculty. Talk to academic advisors to determine what type of financial aid is available. There is Federal funding available to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty... but these funds are doled out by each school. They may also have other financial incentives &/or scholarships.

One last caveat - if GRE scores are required for admission, these 'expire' after 5 years. Keep an eye on this so you don't have to take it again like some of us that didn't plan appropriately - LOL.

Best of luck to you!!