Online RN to MSN Programs in Michigan
Michigan schools are happy to offer online RN to MSN programs. Both FSU, which is public, and SAU, which is private, have decided to cater to distance education students. We talk more about each program in our school listings, but here’s a quick summary:
- Ferris State University: FSU’s program is 100% online, with the exception of the Nursing Informatics concentration. This track may require several Saturday face-to-face meetings. Students have 24 hour/7 day a week access to coursework. The MSN follows a cohort-based model and classes are kept to a reasonable size. FSU is part of NC-SARA, so out-of-state admissions are fairly straightforward—more info can be found on the State Authorization page.
- Spring Arbor University: SAU is a Christian university, which means faith is integrated into the education. Online courses are 7 weeks long with a one week break in-between. There are no set log-in times and classes can be accessed at any time. However, a couple of on-campus residencies (e.g. 3 days for Health Assessment) are required. We also recommend you check the page on State Authorization before applying. Although SAU is part of NC-SARA, there are a few states where it still can’t offer online nursing programs.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Michigan
This ranking of the most affordable Michigan RN to MSN programs is based on per credit graduate tuition rates. But it’s just an estimate! The final price will depend on the total number of credits, fees, transfer options, and tuition policies. For example, you’ll notice that SAU charges different rates for undergraduate coursework and graduate coursework.
- Ferris State University: U.S. & Canada (International students pay more)—View Tuition Rates
- Spring Arbor University: View Tuition Rates
Michigan’s Healthcare Landscape
Michigan’s healthcare picture is much like an Escher drawing. If you look at it in one way, you’re bound to see positive results. According to America’s Health Rankings, the state has steadily been increasing its number of primary care physicians and lowering its rate of uninsured residents. Life expectancy rates in places like Keweenaw county are well-above the national average. And some hospitals offer world-class services.
But if you blink, you’ll suddenly discover all kinds of issues. For example:
- Data from America’s Health Rankings and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show that Michigan has a high prevalence of smoking, high cardiovascular and drug overdose death rates, and a high rate of low birthweights and infant mortality. In 2019, ~11% of Michigan women smoked during pregnancy.
- Michigan is often in the top 15 of states with the highest obesity rates for youth.
- And a number of its counties are in the red on the BCBS Health Index Map, especially when you compare them to counties in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio.
Urban issues are always a challenge. Wayne County is usually almost dead-last in County Health Rankings and Detroit has long been struggling with pollution, high murder rates, cancer & heart disease, and inequalities in healthcare access. In 2018, there was a 16-year gap in life expectancy between rich neighborhoods (e.g. Northville Township) and poor ones (e.g. Cass Corridor). Flint and other impoverished cities face similar problems.
Rural counties have their own bugaboos. In the 2018 U.S. Rural Health Report Card, the state received D+ grades in mental health and self-reported physical health. And while Grand Rapids and Metro Detroit may have plenty of primary care doctors, rural areas do not. In counties such as Lake, Presque Isle, Ontonagon, and Gladwin, the ratio of population to primary care physicians can be over 5,000:1.
In other words, there are tons of places where Michigan APRNs and nurse leaders can make a difference, especially in underserved areas. The MICNP has also been vocal in pushing for increased autonomy for NPs. As of 2019, Michigan NPs were required to work under the supervision of a physician and could not be considered primary care providers.
Easing those restrictions could allow experienced nurses to address some of Michigan’s public health issues (e.g. obesity, smoking, heart disease, drug abuse, mental health, etc.) through early interventions at a convenient point of care.
Jobs for Michigan RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
The quickest way to understand Michigan’s job landscape is to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s annual reports on Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. Here you’ll find detailed employment & wage data for both the state and its individual regions.
As you might expect, the biggest hotspot for Michigan NPs is the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area—it employs around 44% of the state’s nurse practitioners and 35% of its nursing instructors. Ann Arbor (~10% of NPs) and Grand Rapids (~8% of NPs) aren’t even close.
- If you’re interested in a hospital job, Detroit has the benefit of being home to well-respected centers like the Henry Ford Hospital, DMC Harper University Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
- Having said that, you don’t have to live in Motown if you don’t want to. You can use the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of Best Hospitals in Michigan and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Michigan to assess potential employers, including a number of Beaumont Health branches.
- And Ann Arbor, as seasoned Michigan RNs will know, is the base of Michigan Medicine, the giant academic medical center of the University of Michigan.
Hoping to serve in a rural county or urban Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)? Check out the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP). This program is intended to help employers recruit and retain primary medical, dental, and mental healthcare providers. Michigan NPs who specialize in primary care and psychiatric nursing are eligible to apply.
Note: Michigan-based students may also wish to use the MICNP Preceptor Search to locate potential preceptors for their clinical practicums.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Michigan Nursing Job Boards
- ACEMAPP Careers: Job listings for Michigan healthcare professionals, including NPs and APRNs
- MICNP Job Board: Openings for Michigan NPs
- MONL Career Center: Job listings for Michigan nurse leaders
Michigan APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Michigan Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Michigan Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Michigan Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Michigan Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners (MICNP)
- Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA)
- Michigan Nurses Association (MNA)
- Michigan Nursing Action Coalition (MI Action Coalition)
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Michigan Chapters
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Michigan Chapters
Michigan Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Michigan Affiliate (Michigan ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Michigan Chapter (APNA Michigan)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Michigan (AWHONN Michigan)
- Michigan Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA)
- Michigan Association of Occupational Health Nurses (Michigan AOHN)
- Michigan Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (MAPAN)
- Michigan Association of School Nurses (MASN)
- Michigan Emergency Nurses Association (MENA)
- Michigan League for Nursing (MLN)
- Michigan Nursing Students Association (MNSA)
- Michigan Organization of Nurse Leaders (MONL)
Nursing School Overview
FSU is a public research university with a main campus in Big Rapids. However, online tuition rates in the School of Nursing are the same for U.S. residents and Canadians; only international students pay more. Thanks - in part - to experienced teachers, the MSN earns a respectable placing in U.S. News & World Report's rankings for Best Online Graduate Programs (e.g. top 70). For example, there may be under 10 professors in the program, but all of them could have a Ph.D. or terminal degree (DNP) and average of 8 years of experience teaching online. The four-year graduation rate tends to be strong (e.g. 88%) and most students finish their master's in 3 years. We didn't find a great deal of independent reviews of FSU Nursing on the web, but the ones that we did see were positive. Factors like ease of access and flexibility were often mentioned.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
FSU's accelerated online program is designed for RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Upon completion of the program, RNs are awarded a BSN and an MSN. Applicants should have an RN license, a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, and certain prerequisites; 2 years of full-time clinical nursing experience is recommended, but not required. The BSN portion of the program (i.e. bridge coursework) consists of 7 online courses in nursing & healthcare (21 credits), a service learning project, and any general education credits that still need to be fulfilled. A 3.0 GPA must be earned in all undergraduate nursing courses in order to proceed to the master's degree. The cohort-based MSN portion is 37 credits. All courses are online, with the exception of informatics specialty courses that may require face-to-face meetings on Saturdays. The entire RN to MSN program can be finished in 12 semesters.
Nursing School Overview
SAU is a private Methodist university in Spring Arbor and the second-largest evangelical Christian university in Michigan. So you can expect the Department of Nursing to have a Christian focus. For example, the undergraduate portion of the RN-MSN program includes a mandatory course in Biblical Perspectives and the graduate portion has credits in Moral & Ethical Decision-Making. First-time pass rates for ANCC and AANP national certification exams are respectable, if not outstanding (e.g. 88%), but there's a 100% pass rate for second time test-takers. SAU does not place students with preceptors, though it will help with resources and advice. If you'd like some outside opinions, there are plenty of reviews and discussions about SAU on independent websites and message boards. A number of alumni were very pleased with the helpfulness of the professors and advisors, the thorough content, and the flexibility of the program for working nurses. Other NP students had trouble with securing clinical sites & preceptors and acquiring the necessary medical knowledge for the boards. This is a case where we'd recommend you talk to recent graduates and career mentors in Michigan to get the fullest picture of the program.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This online RN-MSN intended for RNs with an associate degree from a CCNE- or NLN-approved nursing program and a regionally accredited institution. In addition to the degree, candidates must have an unencumbered & current RN license and a minimum 3.0 GPA on their most recent 60 academic credits. This is a program with a set schedule - students can only take one 7-week course at a time (excluding any clinical practicums & residency components), with a 1-week break in between each course. The length of the program will depend on the concentration. Including all bridge coursework, the online RN-MSN/FNP is 92 credits (48 months); the AGNP is 87 credits (48 months); the Nurse Educator is 76 credits (42 months); and the MSN/MBA in 5 concentrations is 100 credits (54 months). Almost all of the classes are online, but you will be required to visit the campus for a couple of graduate-level courses that incorporate residencies (e.g. 3 days for Health Assessment). In addition, the MSN portion of the Nurse Educator concentration includes an internship; the MSN/MBA includes an optional international business (NYC) trip and capstone; and the NP specializations include clinical practicums for licensure purposes.