Online RN to MSN Programs in Connecticut
Many of Connecticut’s RN to MSN/MS programs are available in an online or hybrid format. Each one will have unique admission requirements, we recommend you check the school listings to see if you’re eligible to apply. Here are a few extra points to keep in mind:
- Quinnipiac University: QU is well-known for its interest in holistic nursing and its 100% online RN to MSN program comes in one concentration: Operational Leadership. Classes for this program are delivered in asynchronous format (you can work at your own pace, without mandatory log-in times) and fieldwork opportunities occur in your local area.
- Sacred Heart University: To make the schedule easier for working nurses, SHU’s online RN-MSN and RN-BSN-MSN are also delivered in an asynchronous format. There are 6 start dates per year and courses are 8 weeks long. Because the concentrations do not involve advanced practice licensure, there isn’t much to consider in the way of State Authorizations. Students in non-licensure programs can complete their clinical practicums in their home state.
- American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University: ASU’s RN to BSN/MSN program is structured with asynchronous online courses (i.e. no mandatory log-in times). Courses are 8 weeks in length and there are monthly start dates. The university has also been investing in a number of simulations (e.g. virtual hospitals, clinics, data labs, and community experiences) and digital tools. You can read up on these in the section on Innovations.
While we’re here, we also want to highlight the fact that UConn’s program is hybrid. Most of the MSN concentrations are delivered in a blended format, with a combination of online courses and in-person clinical training. And the NNP is almost entirely online, with only 3 campus visits required. Visit the program links in our school listings for more info.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Connecticut
This ranking of the most affordable Connecticut RN to MSN programs is based on one key data point: the per credit graduate tuition rate. But it’s just an estimate! The total price of your degree will depend on the final number of credits, the university’s transfer policies, and any additional fees.
- American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University: View Tuition Rates
- Southern Connecticut State University: In-State or Part-Time—View Tuition Rates
- Sacred Heart University: View Tuition Rates
- Quinnipiac University: View Tuition Rates
- University of Connecticut: In-State and Out-of-State—View Tuition Rates
Remember, too, that schools may charge different rates for undergraduate and graduate coursework. This is the case for Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart University.
Connecticut’s Healthcare Landscape
Connecticut is often touted as a poster child for healthcare. Many of its counties are full of high income residents and well-respected hospitals. It has a low percentage of uninsured residents. Grades on the U.S. Rural Health Report Card are excellent. And obesity rates are some of the lowest in the country.
Where it struggles is inequality. If you look at the BCBS Health Index Map and the County Health Rankings, you’ll notice that certain areas (e.g. Windham, New London, and New Haven) are often less healthy than their neighbors. As any seasoned RN in Connecticut will tell you, that’s where folks without a great deal of money live.
Urban areas have long been grappling with issues like high poverty (e.g. 25%+ for New Haven and 28%+ for New London), low Medicaid payment rates, and the opioid crisis. According to America’s Health Rankings, drug deaths in Connecticut increased 107% from 2013-2015. During that time opioid overdoses became the leading cause of death in the state for people under 50 years old.
The disparity is particularly noticeable when you compare the health of white Connecticut residents to residents of color. A 2018 report from the Connecticut Health Foundation noted that black Connecticut residents were twice as likely as white residents to die from diabetes-related causes and five times as likely to visit the ER for asthma. Babies born to black women were nearly three times as likely to die as babies born to white women.
In short, there are challenges. But that may be all the more reason for aspiring nurse leaders and APRNs to devote their time to making a difference. There’s plenty to be done in the realm of public health, primary care, midwifery, and community outreach. Even NPs in big cloistered hospitals (e.g. Yale New Haven Hospital) can create opportunities to get out into the streets.
Jobs for Connecticut RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
We’re happy to report that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary on an annual basis. Better yet, it also publishes maps that will allow you to compare employment numbers around New England.
- In Connecticut, the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford region is a major center of jobs, employing ~42% of the state’s nurse practitioners and 40% of its nursing instructors.
- Thanks to Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital (the city’s largest employers), New Haven is the next biggest player, accounting for ~24% of the state’s NPs and ~35% of its nursing instructors.
- CT salaries for APRNs are usually superb. Connecticut has some of the highest annual mean wages—for both categories—in the country.
If you’re interested in a hospital job or want to start searching for clinical practicum sites, have a look at U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the Best Hospitals in Connecticut and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Connecticut. Along with familiar names like Yale New Haven and Hartford Hospital, you also find options in smaller places such as Greenwich, Bridgeport, and Middletown.
Finally, we want to note that Connecticut is a state where NPs have considerable autonomy. For the first 3 years after initial licensure, they are required to collaborate with a physician under a written agreement. But after those 3 years, NPs can practice independently, prescribe medications, and practice as primary care providers.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Connecticut Nursing Job Boards
- CNA Career Center: Job listings for Connecticut APRNs, nurse leaders, and nurse educators
- CTAPRNS Career Center: Job listings for Connecticut NPs
- ONL Career Center: Job listings for New England nurse leaders & executives
Connecticut APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Connecticut Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Connecticut Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Connecticut Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Connecticut Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Connecticut Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Society (CTAPRNS)
- Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA)
- Connecticut Nurses’ Association (CNA)
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Connecticut Chapter
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Connecticut Chapters
Connecticut Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Connecticut Affiliate (Connecticut ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – New England (APNA New England)
- Association of School Nurses of Connecticut (ASNC)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Connecticut (AWHONN Connecticut)
- Connecticut Association of Nurse Anesthetists (CANA)
- Connecticut League for Nursing (CLN)
- Connecticut Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (CSPAN)
- Connecticut State Council Emergency Nurses Association (CTENA)
- Connecticut Student Nurses Association (CSNA)
- Northeast Association of Occupational Health Nurses (NEAOHN)
- Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL)
Nursing School Overview
QU is a private university in Hamden with a solid School of Nursing that's located in the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. NCLEX pass rates are strong (e.g. 94%) and employment rates for graduates tend to be high. The school has low student to faculty ratios and a reputation for holistic care - it's one of only a handful of nursing schools in the country whose programs have been endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation. In addition, it maintains relationships with 300+ clinical affiliation sites, including community partners such as Middlesex Hospital and Trinity Health - New England. If you'd like to dig deeper, you'll find a number of independent reviews of QU's graduate nursing programs on the web. They're almost all raves, especially when it comes to the quality of the program, the helpfulness and knowledge of the faculty, the excellent reputation of the university, and the warm environment. QU's tuition prices are fairly reasonable for a private school, but keep in mind that you will be completing BSN coursework as well as the MSN.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
Aspiring nurse managers and patient care coordinators may wish to consider QU's 100% online RN to MSN program. It's a BSN-MSN pathway that's designed for RNs with an associate degree in nursing. Candidates should have an active RN license and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on their ADN/ASN coursework. QU will also want to see a current resume or CV, 2 letters of recommendation (one from a current supervisor or professor), and a personal statement. Students are eligible to enter the RN to MSN program with 68-88 transfer credits - if you have fewer than 88 transfer credits, you'll need to complete Advanced Core courses prior to beginning the RN to MSN curriculum. That curriculum consists of 52 credits: 28 credits of BSN coursework and 24 credits of MSN coursework, including fieldwork experiences and practicums. Working at an accelerated pace, students can earn their BSN in as little as one year and complete their MSN in one additional year. Online courses are taught in an asynchronous format, which means working nurses have considerable control over their weekly study schedule.
Nursing School Overview
SHU is a private Roman Catholic university in Fairfield and the second-largest Catholic university in New England. The College of Nursing has developed a number of clinical affiliations and community experiences and it offers a 10% discount on online tuition to employees of local partners & hospitals. You can get a real feel for SHU's online MSN by examining the data points listed in its ranking of U.S. News & World Report's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs - it's usually in the top 100. For instance, average class sizes are usually modest (e.g. 13 students), faculty are experienced (100% of full-time and 50%+ of part-time professors have a Ph.D. or terminal degree), and most students take 2 years to finish the master's coursework. We found plenty of positive feedback about SHU on nursing message boards. Alumni say the online graduate programs are both challenging & reasonable, with group discussions and projects, readings, assignments, papers, and journal writing. SHU is a proud Catholic university, so you may also see topics in the curriculum that incorporate ideas such as spirituality, ethics, and diversity.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
SHU offers two pathways to the MSN. RNs with a diploma or associate degree in nursing can pursue the Online RN-BSN-MSN. However, RNs with a non-nursing bachelor's degree (e.g. BA or BS) can opt for the Online RN-MSN. All candidates must have a current, unencumbered RN license and a GPA of 3.0 or higher on their undergraduate work. The application should also include a resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and a statement of professional goals. Once accepted, RN-BSN-MSN students can transfer up to 90 credits to fulfill prerequisite courses - these courses are listed on the program website. You'll then complete your final BSN courses (e.g. 30 credits) to earn the bachelor's degree. At the graduate level, this accelerated program only requires you to take 8-9 MSN courses instead of 12 courses (e.g. 24-27 graduate credits). RN-MSN students follow a different route. You won't earn a BSN in this program. Instead, you'll be required to provide proof of - or finish - certain prerequisites (e.g. Health Assessment for RNs) and then proceed straight into the MSN. The master's degree for RN-MSN students is 36-39 credits; all concentrations include practicums in your local area. Each asynchronous online course is 8 weeks long. If you take one 8-week course per session, you can finish the MSN in 2 years. Students have up to 6 years to complete the program.
Nursing School Overview
SCSU is a public university in New Haven that's part of the Connecticut State University System. That means tuition rates in the Department of Nursing are often extremely affordable for in-state residents and part-time students. Overall, SCSU is a sturdy choice. NCLEX pass rates are excellent (e.g. 100% in 2018) and FNP certification pass rates are strong, if not outstanding (e.g. 88% in 2018). Students and faculty in the department also participate in outreach programs such as CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement. Based at SCSU's School of Health and Human Services (HHS), CARE is devoted to improving the health of residents in New Haven's lowest-income neighborhoods. If you like individual attention, you may wish to ask the program coordinator about the average class size - one independent reviewer of the FNP was quick to praise the small feel of the program and the accessibility and encouragement of the instructors.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
SCSU's on-campus bridge program is open to RNs with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. To apply, candidates must provide proof of undergraduate course credits in statistics, research, and health assessment. You will also need to submit 2 letters of recommendation (one from a former faculty member/educator and one from a supervisor), an application essay, all transcripts following high school, and a copy of your CT nursing license. Once the undergraduate prerequisites have been met, students can take up to 6 graduate credits prior to passing mandatory NLN challenge exams in 4 areas. (If you don't achieve a passing score on these exams, you can elect to take RN/BSN courses and earn a BSN.) The MSN is 42 credits for the CNL and Nurse Educator concentrations and 45-48 credits for the FNP, including 660 clinical hours. All concentrations include a thesis or special project component. In addition, students and faculty work together to locate suitable and appropriate clinical sites and preceptors. Full-time students who take at least 3 courses each semester may finish the MSN in 2-2.5 years; part-time students who take 1-2 courses each semester often take 3 years.