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RN to MSN Programs in Ohio: Explore Online & Campus Options

RN to MSN programs in Ohio offer an array of educational and career opportunities. Online and in-person options give you the flexibility to pursue an advanced degree whenever and wherever works best for you.

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WRITTEN BY: Quinn Dannies
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 03/10/2023

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An MSN program can open many doors to an advanced practice healthcare career, including specialized care positions and managerial roles or roles educating future nurses. With a low cost of living, excellent educational opportunities, and a high demand for nurses, Ohio offers many excellent opportunities. When you earn your MSN in Ohio, you’ll join a workforce of over 129,000 nurses, with the demand for qualified individuals continually growing. As of 2021, 71% of Ohio nurses had BSNs, and another 51% planned to obtain them. Pursuing an MSN in nursing is an opportunity to stand out from the pack and advance your career.

Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to MSN Programs in Ohio

With the increased popularity of BSN degrees, RN to MSN programs are becoming rarer. However, Ohio is home to a few quality programs, making it a great place to pursue your RN to MSN degree. To help you begin your search for the best program for you, three of the best RN to MSN programs in Ohio in terms of affordability, academics, and career placement are spotlighted below.

Franklin University

Franklin University’s fully online RN to MSN program offers more opportunities for specialization than any other program in Ohio. Students looking to focus on fields like family nursing, adult gerontology, or psychiatric nursing have ample opportunities to gain relevant knowledge and skills. This RN to MSN program offers flexible scheduling designed for working nurses and can be completed in as little as 12 months. In addition, the school’s relatively low tuition is backed by a tuition guarantee, meaning your course costs won’t creep up over time.

Notably, there is no clinical component to this program. Since students are already working as nurses, their work on the job can count as their clinical time rather than having to juggle another time commitment. The RN to MSN program at Franklin University is accredited by the CCNE, which ensures you’ll receive a quality education and be well-prepared to pursue new opportunities after graduation.

Ursuline College

Ursuline College’s RN to MSN program is one of the top in-person programs in Ohio. In 2021, the National League for Nursing named the college one of 10 Centers of Excellence in Nursing Education nationwide. Ursuline’s small class sizes are key to the school’s quality since students receive one-on-one attention and support to help them to excel. The low student-to-instructor ratio results in individualized mentorship and regular advising sessions to keep you on track. In addition, the school partners with top Cleveland hospitals for student clinicals and boasts a world-class faculty.

Ursuline’s student-centered approach paid off in 2019, with every graduate of Ursuline’s RN program passing the NCLEX. The school also consistently boasts a 100% post-licensure job placement rate. Additionally, the program is accredited by the CCNE and approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing.

Franciscan University

Franciscan University’s RN to MSN program helps you earn your MSN degree with as little redundancy as possible. The program awards students their BSNs before continuing to their MSNs, and their shared curriculum ensures you’ll learn new information and build on your existing knowledge each semester. In addition, the program provides a range of clinical experience opportunities, from physician’s offices to rehabilitation centers to large hospitals. These options allow students to practice in environments that match their future aspirations.

Franciscan’s holistic approach to nursing practice stands out among RN to MSN programs because of its emphasis on caring for patients at every level, not just by addressing physical symptoms. To this end, the program emphasizes how environmental, social, and psychological considerations can impact patient care. The school also takes special care to maintain a strong network of hospitals and providers, resulting in high job placement rates among graduates. Franciscan’s nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE.

FAQs About Ohio RN to MSN Programs

What Can You Do with an MSN in Ohio?

RN to MSN programs in Ohio equip you with new skills and insights for providing the best possible care for your patients. An advanced degree also opens many doors for leadership opportunities and promotions by helping MSN holders to stand out among the many nurses with BSN degrees. An MSN degree also sets you up for pursuing a DNP later. Most importantly, an MSN allows you to specialize in areas like nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthesiologist. Other specialized fields include nursing administration, forensic nursing, and nursing informatics. The master’s nursing programs at Franklin University, for example, include specialized fields like nursing administration, psychiatric nursing, nurse education, and family nursing, along with a generalized MSN program.

Will I Earn My Bachelor’s Degree During My RN to MSN Program?

All of the schools featured above include bridge courses that prepare you for the master’s curriculum, but not every school awards a BSN as you work toward an MSN. For example, Franciscan University awards a BSN, but Mercy College and Franklin University move you into your master’s work without issuing a BSN degree. Another important distinction is between RN to MSN and direct-entry MSN programs. Direct-entry MSN programs are for students who already have bachelor’s degrees in another discipline. If you’re coming to an MSN program with only an associate degree, however, you are not eligible.

How Will an RN to MSN Program in Ohio Prepare Me for More Opportunities?

Earning your MSN degree allows you to develop specialized knowledge and skills. If you want to work in private practice, for example, Franklin University’s Family Nurse Practitioner emphasis is a good choice. Those interested in mental health, however, might consider the advanced practice options from the University of Akron. The MSN programs featured above all offer specializations in administration for nurses looking to increase their influence within a practice. Regardless of your focus, the right MSN specialization supplies you with the most up-to-date information and methods to provide the best possible care for your patients.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an RN to MSN Program in Ohio?

Your RN to MSN program duration depends on the school and your course load. Franklin University’s online RN to MSN, for instance, can be completed in as little as 16 months if you take classes year-round. The RN to MSN program at Mercy College, however, clocks in at three years. Many other programs fall somewhere in between. Of course, part-time study significantly lengthens the time it takes to complete a program.

How Affordable Are RN to MSN Programs in Ohio?

Prices vary widely for RN to MSN programs in Ohio and depend on factors like course format, specialization options, and school type. Some schools offer discounts for in-state students, veterans, and other specific groups, making their degrees more affordable. Also, remember that a hefty price tag only sometimes guarantees higher quality education. Costs for three RN to MSN programs in Ohio are broken down below to give you an idea of what to expect.

Is There Financial Aid Available to Ohio RN to MSN Students?

Financial aid and scholarship options are available to help finance your RN to MSN program in Ohio. If you’re a working nurse, your employer may offer tuition reimbursement. In addition, most schools offer financial aid packages and scholarships based on need or merit. The Ohio Board of Nursing and the Ohio Nurses Association also sponsor several grants, scholarships, and loan repayment opportunities to help in-state nurses further their education. EduMed’s nursing scholarship guide and financial aid guide can help you get started in your search for financial aid to fund your Ohio RN to MSN program.

What Are the Admission Requirements for RN to MSN Programs in Ohio?

Admission requirements for Ohio’s RN to MSN programs vary a bit but generally consist of the following:

  • Minimum GPAs usually somewhere around 3.0. Notably, Franciscan University does not have one.
  • Official transcripts to show your educational background.
  • Letters of recommendation from former professors or employers.
  • A personal essay that demonstrates your potential as an MSN nurse.

All Ohio programs reviewed in this guide also require an active, unencumbered nursing license. Some schools, such as Ursuline College, also have minimum work experience requirements.

In Ohio, What Should I Look for in a Quality RN to MSN Program?

At a minimum, ensure your program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Potential employers in Ohio expect these endorsements and look for them when evaluating your educational background. Once you have the basics covered, you can look up a program’s NCLEX exam pass rates to see how well-prepared students are for licensure after graduation. Most schools also post job placement rates for graduates. Lastly, consider if you’d like to take a specialized track and select a program that caters to your goals.

Inside Look at RN to MSN Online Degree Programs in Ohio

There are two online RN to MSN programs in Ohio. Franklin University’s RN to MSN and Mercy College’s RN to MSN Online both target working nurses who otherwise may struggle to attend in-person programs. Besides the flexibility offered by online courses, you don’t have to worry about relocating or commuting to campus. Both programs are accredited, so their quality is equivalent to that of in-person programs.

Typically, all your classes in an online RN to MSN are asynchronous but not self-paced. This means that you’ll be able to tune into pre-recorded lectures at your convenience, but you’ll have to keep up with due dates and exams as scheduled by your instructors. Learn more about what to expect in an online RN to MSN program by checking out EduMed’s guide to online RN to MSN degrees.

Can I Earn my MSN in Ohio Completely Online?

You sure can. Unlike many online programs, both of Ohio’s RN to MSN programs can be completed 100% online and don’t require in-person clinical experiences, labs, or exams. Since the RN to MSN programs at Franklin University and Mercy College are geared toward working nurses, you’ll constantly be applying your new knowledge and skills on the job. Exemption from in-person campus visits and clinicals alleviates stress for students trying to balance work, school, and other responsibilities.

Do Employers in Ohio Accept Graduates from Online RN to MSN Programs?

Yes. Since Ohio’s online RN to MSN programs are accredited, employers can be sure that the quality of your online education is on par with that of students who attended in-person programs. Your choice to attend school online won’t limit your potential to advance your career.

How Do I Go from Being an RN to an MSN Nurse in Ohio?

Once you’ve completed your MSN degree and if you already have an Ohio nursing license, you’re ready to work as an advanced practice nurse in Ohio. If you don’t have your Ohio license, you’ll need to submit the following:

  • Your NCLEX exam scores
  • Nursing licensure by examination application
  • A $75 application fee
  • A program completion letter from your school
  • A clean background check

The Ohio Board of Nursing provides all the information you need to prepare your application for a new license or renewal, and everything can be submitted online.

While a larger paycheck might not be the main reason you’re pursuing your MSN, knowing your time and effort for pursuing it will pay off financially certainly helps with motivation. Nurses with advanced degrees are in high demand in Ohio, so you have some great career opportunities waiting for you when you graduate.

How much more does an MSN nurse make in Ohio?

Because your MSN degree creates options for specialization, you’ll be eligible for higher-paying positions. As of October 2022, the average RN in Ohio earns $53,368 annually; by comparison, a nurse with an MSN in Ohio enjoys an average salary of $156,243. Some higher-earning specialties for MSN nurses in Ohio include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. Salaries for nurses in these areas range from $112,490 to $187,410. Also note that the average wage for a nurse in Ohio is generally lower than the national average, but this is offset by a lower average cost of living in the state.

What’s the Job Market Like for Registered Nurses with an MSN in Ohio?

The demand for MSN nurses, particularly nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, is exploding nationwide, and the demand for MSN nurses is expected to grow by over 40% by 2031. Demand for MSN nurses in Ohio is expected to match this national demand, and state predictions are for a 48.5% growth in nurse practitioner positions by 2028.