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The Top Online MSN Programs in Arizona for 2024

You have many options for pursuing an advanced nursing degree in Arizona, whether online or on campus. See our list of the top MSN programs in Arizona for students like you who want to boost their careers.

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Arizona’s population and climate make its health needs different from other states. More than 18% of Arizonans are older than 65, and 32% are Hispanic or Latino. Of those younger than 65, 9% identify as disabled, and nearly 13% do not have health insurance.

While nurses are in high demand all over the U.S., Arizona needs highly educated and capable nurses to help care for the diverse communities that thrive here, including the rising numbers of retirees and those who can’t afford health insurance. Some nursing positions may only be filled by those with master’s degrees.

If you’ve wanted to jump-start your career with more experience and education than those with a BSN degree, consider the many colleges and universities that make MSN programs available in Arizona. From fully online to hybrid to traditional on-campus classes, this will help you find the perfect program that fits your schedule and budget.

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About the ranking

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Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS.

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted.

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Arizona State University-OnlineTempe, AZ Public $ 1

Arizona State University offers a robust MSN degree. Classes fall into a few key areas: evidence-based practice, patient safety, health care quality, informatics, and leadership. Since these courses can be quite advanced, an active nursing license and BSN degree is required to apply for the program. As all students are licensed nurses, many are working full-time while getting this degree. To accommodate, Arizona State University offers courses online and has flexible program start times.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 30-36
  • Length: 1-3 years
  • Cost: $619/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
25/1
Online
Student %
100%

Accredited MSN Programs in Arizona: Inside Look

Whether you want to study in your spare time or enjoy the traditional benefits of a full-time on-campus MSN program, Arizona’s nursing schools have much to offer. Our research has uncovered some of the most popular schools that offer students a healthy balance of affordability, flexibility, and academic excellence so you can be better informed about which schools to apply to.

All the nursing schools we list here have been accredited by the Arizona Board of Nursing and can help you get to the next level of your health career.

Grand Canyon University

With most of its MSN programs available both online and in person during the evening hours, Grand Canyon University has created a full suite of options for busy students who want to accelerate their nursing careers. This fully accredited school has many MSN options, including a Master of Science Nursing (MSN) in Health Informatics, which focuses on the use of data in the healthcare field.

With most degree programs requiring 40 credit hours and hands-on clinicals, it’s possible to complete a master’s degree in just two years for those with a BSN in hand.

There also is a fast-track option for students who haven’t yet earned a BSN and want to earn both degrees within 30 months. The school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Accreditation (SSH).

University of Arizona

With a degree that can be completed in as little as 13 months, the BSN to MSN program at the University of Arizona may be a good pick. It features a focus on clinical systems leadership, and the online school accepts applications year-round. Those with an associate degree can still apply, although the program can take up to 24 months to complete.

The 90 hours of clinicals will give students the hands-on experience needed to prepare for the modern healthcare workforce.

With fall, spring, and summer start sessions, students can expect to take just two courses per semester and finish in time to make big changes in their career, whatever they choose to do. The fully online-asynchronous courses offer a truly flexible advantage for anyone who wants to get a graduate degree in nursing.

Key Benefits of Earning an MSN Degree in Arizona

When choosing between an MSN program and a typical BSN degree, there’s a lot to think about. Because higher education is a large investment of time and money, students like to know that they will get great benefits and go on to excel in their careers after completing their MSN programs. Here are just a few reasons students have chosen to earn an MSN degree in Arizona to help them achieve new levels in their nursing professions.

Benefit #1: Go Farther in Your Career

While nurses make a good living and often feel fulfilled in their professional lives, there usually comes the point when they can’t be promoted beyond nurse manager or supervisor. After earning an MSN, you’ll have many more options to advance beyond the nursing floor. From education to policy, nurses with MSN degrees can climb in their careers in innovative ways not typically available to those without an MSN.

Benefit #2: Work in an In-Demand Field

Nurses will see some growth in the nationwide trend of jobs, but Arizona will see a much greater demand than other states. With RN job growth expected to be 30% over the next decade, this is a great time to become one of the top RNs with an advanced degree, making you competitive for higher-paying and more prestigious leadership opportunities.

Benefit #3: Help Shape the Healthcare Landscape

Do you know all the positions an RN with an MSN can apply for in Arizona? Instead of being limited to working on the patient floor, nurses with advanced degrees often get called on to shape healthcare policy, teach at prestigious schools, and drive business decisions at the top of healthcare companies. Nurses with their MSNs are true leaders in their field.

In Arizona, What Should You Look for in a Quality MSN Program?

How can you know that the MSN program in Arizona is worthwhile and will give you a good return on your investment? This checklist of things to look for can help you discover the top schools with programs designed to help students achieve in the classroom and in their field.

State Approved and Nationally Accredited

While you’ll need to have passed the NCLEX to get your registered nurse license and keep it current during the program, the program itself should meet the Arizona State Board of Nursing requirements and be listed on the website for schools that meet or exceed standards. The website is updated frequently, so if you haven’t checked your school of choice lately, check again before enrolling. Other accreditations to consider include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Western Institute of Nursing

Taught By Reputable Educators in Their Field

Since much of the program will be hands-on, you will want your teachers to demonstrate modern nursing practices and how health professionals can lead today. It’s common for retired nurses to teach, but they should be able to make use of and connect you with tools used in updated settings. Don’t be afraid to ask about your teachers and professors’ educational backgrounds and field experience.

A Supportive Environment for Students

MSN programs in Arizona are challenging, even for those who have done well in college in the past. To be sure students can get through their courses on time and within budget, the best schools offer everything from mental health support to learning center resources and tutoring to help you keep on track. This should be included in the price of tuition.

Types of MSN Programs in Arizona

Traditional MSN

If you want to experience college full-time, in person, on a regular university campus, a traditional MSN program in Arizona may be for you. Traditional programs are designed for students who need to earn a bachelor’s degree but have experience with nursing (or an RN license, in some cases.)

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

Arizona State University

Grand Canyon University

Direct Entry MSN

This program is for you if you have a degree in a field other than nursing (and have yet to get your registered nurse license). A direct entry MSN program will allow you to use your general credits from your bachelor’s and get additional health education to get your BSN and MSN in one program. You do not have to get a separate nursing degree or pass the nursing exam before enrolling.

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

University of Arizona

Alverno College

Arizona State University

Accelerated MSN

If you want to get your master’s degree as quickly as possible, a “fast-track” or accelerated option may be for you. With a focus on helping students attend full-time and even summers to earn their degree in less time, these schools may be worth a look.

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

Grand Canyon University

University of Arizona

RN to MSN

If you only have your associate’s degree and have yet to get your BSN, you can still earn an MSN with this accelerated program. They assume you have taken many of the general nursing credits and can practice nursing in Arizona.

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

University of Arizona

University of Phoenix

Dual Master’s

Sometimes, it makes sense to have two advanced degrees, and a dual master’s (MBA and MSN) program lets you combine your educational and professional experience into one program. Upon successful completion, you’ll have not one but two master’s degrees, with one or more in a nursing concentration you can use in the field.

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

Grand Canyon University

Benedictine University

Online MSN Programs in Arizona

With the exception of clinicals, these MSN program courses can be completed 100% online, making them an ideal choice for students with full-time jobs or busy family schedules. These require you to have a BSN and a valid nursing license to enroll.

Examples of Arizona Nursing Schools with This Program

Northern Arizona University

National University

FAQ: MSN Programs in Arizona

What Can You Do with an MSN in Arizona?

The MSN portion of your education is just one part of being a successful nurse. Along with your licensure, you can participate in a number of exciting, advanced health jobs.

These include nurse midwives, public health nurses, forensics nurses, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse educators. If you get additional licensure, such as your APRN, you can also work as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

There are fewer limits to what you can do with your advanced degree. Some nurses go on to get their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP), which requires an MSN to pursue.

In Arizona, How Long Does It Take to Complete an MSN Program?

As there are many options for earning your degree, there also will be different timelines. Some traditional schools, with on-campus living and learning, may take two full years from the time you enroll. Accelerated programs like the one at the University of Arizona may be completed in just 13 months, including fall, spring, and summer semesters. If you have an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to earn these credits first, so add an additional year (or two) to the program length.

In Arizona, How Much Does an MSN Program Cost?

Pricing for each MSN program depends on many factors, including whether you are an in-state student, how long you will take to finish the program, and if you are already entering the program with a bachelor’s degree (versus an associate’s degree.)

For the following schools, we assumed the student lives in Arizona, already has their BSN, and will take two years to finish the program. Some additional expenses, such as books, uniforms, and supplies may alter the cost of these programs.

What are the Admissions Requirements for MSN Nursing Programs in Arizona?

While each school has different requirements, this is a list of common things students should have before entering an MSN program in Arizona. Having all of them doesn’t guarantee acceptance into the program, however.

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher in their BSN program
  • Transcripts to support GPA
  • Résumé and letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Application fee

Schools like the University of Arizona require you to have a current and unrestricted RN license in Arizona. You must maintain these credentials during the entire program. You must also have completed a three-credit, college-level statistics course within the past five years. Admission into this program also requires proof that you have worked at least 1,900 hours as an RN within the past five years.

Can I Get Financial Aid in Arizona to Help Pay for My MSN Program?

The first step to figuring out how to pay for college is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. You can start as early as Oct. 1. The college you choose should also have links to additional school-specific scholarships on its financial aid web page.

The Arizona Foundation for the Future of Nursing also offers scholarships to both undergrad and graduate students looking to further their nursing careers through higher education. This nursing scholarship guide may help you come up with other ideas for financial aid.

Scholarships don’t have to be directed at nursing programs, however. This financial aid guide shares ways to get money for college with any degree.

Inside Look at Online MSN Degrees in Arizona

Online programs aren’t just for undergraduate degrees. In fact, Arizona offers several high-quality online MSN programs for those hoping to go far in their nursing careers. While each college is different, most online programs require few (if any) of the lecture courses to be taken on campus.

As an MSN student, you can complete coursework online when it’s most convenient, and the clinicals and experiential learning hours are done at local health facilities near you. This is ideal for those who want the best in-person experiences and flexible course times.

If you’ve never taken an online course, getting adjusted can take time. Fortunately, schools support your distance learning goals and help you achieve them in this class environment. You might also find the online MSN programs page a good resource as you make your decision.

Standout Online MSN Programs in Arizona

Grand Canyon University

For those looking to get their Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in nursing education (MSN-Ed), the program at Grand Canyon University gives you 36 credit hours in key nursing subjects you can enjoy from the convenience of your home. Grand Canyon University’s combination of courses and clinical hours meets the standards of the National League for Nursing (NLN).

If you already have a 60-hour BSN degree, you can complete this degree in as little as 30 months. Eight-week sessions include “Introduction to Advanced Registered Nursing and Advanced Pathophysiology” and “Pharmacology for Nurse Educators.” Core competencies include leadership, policy, advocacy, health promotion, disease prevention, and safety and quality of systems.

Grand Canyon University will allow you to transfer 1/3 of the credits for this program (or 12 credits, whichever is less) from other schools or programs.

Northern Arizona University

This university, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, has one fully online MSN program: the Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program. It also has several more scheduled to launch in 2023 once full approval has been earned for these additional programs by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

With a focus on the delivery of high-quality health care to underserved populations in rural Arizona, graduates will be able to get state certification for nurse practitioners and apply to prescribe and dispense medications.

The program is 48 credit hours, with required courses that include “Family Practice Health Care” and “Advanced Principles Of Evidence-Based Practice.” Three courses are clinical studies that may be completed in person at a health facility.

To apply, students must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a 3.0 GPA in nursing coursework, an RN license, three letters of recommendation, essays, and an IVP fingerprint clearance card.

Do Employers in Arizona Accept Graduates from Online MSN Programs?

Getting your MSN degree can be just a component of being a nurse, and you will need to also have your RN license current to work as a nurse in Arizona. To know if your online degree program will be recognized along with your Arizona nursing license, check out this list of board-approved schools on the Arizona State Board of Nursing website. The board also lists programs that have been revoked or suspended for no longer meeting requirements.

Job Outlook & Salary Details for MSN Nurses in Arizona

Getting your MSN degree is a big commitment, so knowing how much income you’ll make and if the investment will pay off is important. Arizona has a special job market because of its population demographics compared to the rest of the nation, with different outlooks for its registered nurses.

Are MSN Nurses in High Demand in Arizona?

Arizona is expected to need 22,980 more registered nurses over the next 10 years, with job growth of 39.3%. This is much higher than for nurses in other states, as well as much higher than many other jobs in Arizona.

The national average across the U.S. for registered nurses is just a 9% growth rate, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics states it could be as low as 6%. So, Arizona may be a great choice if you want to live and work in a place where the demand for registered nurses is high.

How Much More Does an MSN Nurse Make in Arizona?

Nationwide, nurses with a bachelor’s earn around $86,070 per year or $41.38 per hour. In Arizona, the average annual earnings for a registered nurse is $81,600. Nurses with their MSN earn around $104,000 a year nationwide. If a nurse goes on to get their MSN and APRN or becomes a nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner, the national average salary is $129,480 per year or around $62.25 per hour.

Some nurses may choose to become nurse educators. The average salary for this position in Arizona is about $102,263. This makes Arizona nurses with MSN degrees much more likely to earn a better living than those with just a bachelor’s degree.