Choosing the right path for your nursing career is a personal decision to be made from the experiences you like – and perhaps don’t like – within your current job.

And if you have a BSN, there are several options to move your career forward with an advanced degree.

If you are wondering which master’s degree is right for you, consider the options below to identify your interests and select the right program.

1. Master of Science in Nursing – MSN

This program teaches students to combine the latest in nursing theory, research, and evidence-based practice to improve patient care. Specializations allow students to focus on care coordination, informatics, nurse education, or leadership and administration.

Right for you? An MSN might position you to be a leader, such as a nurse manager or wellness program director, in your current workplace. In addition, you can move into an educator role within a nursing school program or a clinical training program.

2. Master of Public Health – MPH

Public health focuses on empowering communities to improve the health of their community members. This program teaches collaborative leadership across disciplines to develop solutions to public health issues, create healthy communities and environments, and establish strategies prevention and health care access for diverse populations

Right for you? A desire to become a civic or community leader is a must. A combination of a BSN and MPH may allow you to become a public health nurse. Public health nurses are tasked with educating the community on health and wellness, and careers often go beyond providing patient care within a health care setting.

3. Master of Science in Human Services – MS

Learn to manage the coordination of departments and individuals in public safety, health care, and administration to positively address challenges such as job stability, housing, and health benefits for clients.

Right for you? A step away from working directly with patients, you are working to solve societal issues such as hunger and poverty.

4. Master of Health Administration – MHA

Students learn to be leaders with in a health care organization developing skills to assist them in managing clinical and non-clinical staff, system redesign (in response to the changing health care environment), and focused efforts around delivering high quality cost effective care for their consumers and within their communities.

Right for you? This degree is a good choice if you want to pursue any leadership role within a health care organization. An MSN can get you to these skills as well, but an MHA provides a broader look at administration that will be less clinical focused and more business focused.

 5. Master of Public Administration – MPA

Learn about current policies and practices of being an administrator of various public services. Study ethical standards, advanced communication skills, and how to develop solutions to public policy issues.

Right for you? This career focuses on correcting issues that may exist within health services, such as poor budgeting. Nurses can step away from client care and become leaders to address shortcomings in health care settings and/or policies.

6. Master of Business Administration – MBA

The multidisciplinary MBA gives students an opportunity to learn administrative skills to oversee finances, accounting, marketing, and general management of an organization. There are many specializations available including health care management, which can offer coursework geared toward those who have already chosen an industry.

Right for you? An MBA will create the skill set you need to manage the business of a health care organization.

If your ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate, then consider the BSN-to-Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Earning this degree positions you to lead system-wide health care improvements, advocate for health care policy, and change operational nursing procedures.


To become a leader in whichever health care profession you choose, Capella University has an online master’s program to help you get there.


Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

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