Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in North Dakota could provide a gateway to new job opportunities in this prosperous Midwestern state. A booming oil industry has allowed the state's economy to more than double in just over a decade, creating a positive ripple effect in many other business sectors as well. As this growth continues, North Dakota is expected to need many more qualified health care workers in the years to come. An advanced nursing degree could help prepare you to fill one of those jobs.
Three universities currently offer nursing master’s degrees in the state, training students for a variety of high-demand occupations. The schools include the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, the University of Mary in Bismarck, and North Dakota State University in Fargo. Many online learning options are available, so your geographic location doesn't have to keep you from earning a degree. Take a look at your current choices:
- The University of North Dakota offers six areas of concentration, including the fields of adult gerontology nursing, family nurse practitioner, advanced public health nursing, nurse anesthetist, nurse educator, or psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. Many distance-learning classes are offered to meet your needs, but you might still have to visit campus for occasional clinical exams, lectures and other activities. Many of the specialized nursing tracks require clinical hours, but it may be possible to complete this work in your hometown. The programs typically can be finished within about two years.
- At the University of Mary, you can pursue a master’s degree leading to a career as a nurse administrator, nurse practitioner, or nurse educator. The school also offers a BSN-to-MSN program, an Associate’s Degree-to-MSN program, and a dual degree that combines a MSN with a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration. Some programs are offered online, while others can be completed on site in selected cities around the state. Check the school’s website for details about your area of interest.
- North Dakota State University teaches students how to train a new generation of health care workers through its MSN in nursing education. As a master’s candidate, you will take advanced nursing classes, do clinical practicum work, and complete a comprehensive study, dissertation, or thesis. The full-time program takes two years to complete, while the part-time track can take about three years of study. Expect to take classes in topics such as advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and nursing curriculum design.
The Nursing Education Loan Program in North Dakota offers financial relief and repayment incentives for the state’s undergraduate and graduate students. Under the program, you can repay the loans you receive by agreeing to work as a nurse in North Dakota after graduation. The North Dakota Board of Nursing asks loan recipients to verify their employment hours in order to receive the loan credit, which is offered at a rate of one dollar for every hour of work. Check out the details here. Individual colleges also have scholarships available to qualifying students. See your institution’s nursing school website for more details.
Steady job growth is forecast for many advanced nursing careers in communities across the country. Nationally, jobs for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are expected to grow by about 31 percent through the year 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurse educators also are in short supply in many communities. In North Dakota, more than 400 qualified students were turned away from nursing schools in 2013, largely because of a lack of nursing faculty and clinical sites, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported.
Once you earn your MSN, you will typically find that North Dakota employers offer competitive nursing salaries. In 2013, the BLS reported that North Dakota’s nurse practitioners made an average annual wage of $87,500, nursing instructors were paid a yearly salary of $68,670, and certified nurse anesthetists earned annual average pay of $171,630. The North Dakota Center for Nursing found that the average pay for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in the state in 2013 was more than $50 an hour, with rural nurses receiving higher average pay than those in urban areas. The starting wages for the state’s APRNs in both rural and urban settings were more than $43 an hour. Those statistics suggest that good salaries should be available in the future for well-trained nurses in this thriving state.
To explore your options for earning your Master's of Science in Nursing, peruse the schools on our site, and contact those that offer the program you are interested in!