How Can I Specialize a Master’s Degree in Nursing?

Although nursing is a field that is much in demand, students who specialize a Master's in Nursing degree tend to have even better career opportunities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're planning a career in nursing and are considering areas of specialization, read below and get the facts.


What Areas of Specialization Are Offered in the Nursing Field?

Students specializing a Master's in Nursing degree have many areas from which to choose. Johnson & Johnson reports that there are more than 100 nursing area of specializations. However, the most common areas of specialization are:

• Family Nurse Practitioner
• Critical Care Nurse
• Pediatric Nurse
• Oncology Nurse
• Acute Care Nurse
• Clinical Nurse Specialist
• Cardiovascular Nurse
• Nurse Midwifery
• Health Care Informatics

How to Become a Registered Nurse

Becoming a Registered Nurse requires completing a degree in nursing. While students can earn an Associate or Bachelor's in Nursing degree, nurses who want to specialize in a certain area of nursing generally complete a Master's degree in nursing with a concentration in their chosen specialization area. A Bachelor's degree takes four years to complete and a Master's degree takes about two years beyond the Bachelor's degree. The training program includes nursing coursework, lab studies and clinical education.

How to Specialize a Master's Degree in Nursing

When a student decides they want to specialize a Master's in Nursing degree, they're usually required to choose their desired area at the start of the program. As part of the nursing Master's degree program, the student will complete both coursework and clinical rotations in that specific area of specialization. Depending on the specialization chosen, additional training beyond the Master's degree can take from one to two years to complete.

What About Licensure or Certification?

Once you've completed a nursing program, you must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing before you can begin working as a nurse. Certification is not a requirement, but can improve your employment opportunities, particularly when you're specializing in a specific area of nursing. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers various nursing specialization certifications.

Related Resource: Nursing Administration Jobs

Career Outlook for Registered Nurses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that registered nurses would continue to be in demand and could expect to see an employment growth of up to 19% between 2012 and 2022. They also predicted 526,800 new nursing jobs would be available during that same decade. Those with a Master's in Nursing degree, as well as those with areas of specializations, could see the best career opportunities. U.S. News and World Report ranked registered nurse 4th among the Best Health Care Jobs and 6th among the Top 100 jobs in its 2014 rankings; nurse practitioners were ranked 2nd in the Best Health Care Jobs category.

In addition to being part of a very demanding career, Registered Nurses can also be part of a very rewarding career. Choosing to specialize a Master's in Nursing degree can not only give your more career opportunities, but can also give you the chance to work in an area that truly interests you.

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