Use our school listings to evaluate the cost, curriculum, and format of each program. Learn more about your choices for online RN to MSN programs in Ohio. And discover which university is #1 in our rankings of the cheapest Ohio RN to MSN programs.
Wondering what to do with that hard-earned degree? Check out the sections on Ohio’s healthcare landscape and jobs for Ohio RN to MSN graduates. Here you’ll find ideas for work in rural & urban areas, links to APRN job boards, and data on wages & salaries. You may even want to join relevant OH nursing associations & organizations.
Online RN to MSN Programs in Ohio
Ohio has a number of 100% online RN to MSN programs that are designed to accommodate a working nurse’s schedule. Each College of Nursing has its own quirky admissions requirements, so we recommend you examine the profiles in our school listings to determine if you’re eligible to apply. Here are a few extra points to consider:
- Franklin University: Franklin’s generalist RN to MSN is 100% online. Coursework is delivered through distance learning and students can complete their practicum & capstone in an approved healthcare setting that’s close to their home. To mimic real world situations, Franklin uses Shadowhealth and iHuman simulation software in its online courses. The RN to MSN-FNP pathway is primarily online, but at least one MSN course contains an on-campus assessment & skills lab (16 lab hours). The FNP’s 600 practicum hours can be completed at a convenient healthcare site—students are expected to locate their own preceptors and clinical sites.
- Lourdes University: Because Lourdes isn’t offering an NP concentration, both the RN to MSN – Nurse Leader and the RN to MSN – Nurse Educator pathways are 100% online. Both programs include a final practicum & capstone.
- Xavier University: Three of Xavier’s RN to MSN concentrations are offered in a 100% online format: Forensics, General Studies & Education. Undergraduate bridge coursework and graduate coursework is delivered through distance learning components, including readings, activities, video lectures, discussion boards, tests, and group projects. Most courses do not include mandatory synchronous meeting times, but students are expected to progress through the course together.
Finally, if you live in the Cincinnati area, keep in mind that Mount St. Joseph University’s program is hybrid/blended, with only a few campus meetings for each MSN course.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Ohio
Our ranking of the most affordable Ohio RN to MSN programs is based on one factor: per credit graduate tuition rates. So take it with a grain of salt! You’ll notice that each program has different transfer policies for undergraduate credits, a different number of total credits, and different fees. In a final budget, some of the more expensive schools may actually end up being cheaper for your situation.
- Mount St. Joseph University: View Tuition Rates
- Lourdes University: View Tuition Rates
- Franklin University: View Tuition Rates | Xavier University: View Tuition Rates
Because all of these options are private universities, tuition rates are the same for in-state and out-of-state residents. And they’re all very similar (e.g. between $600-$700 per graduate credit).
Ohio’s Healthcare Landscape
Ohio is experiencing some of the same healthcare challenges as other neighboring states in the Rust Belt. According to data from America’s Health Rankings and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), cancer deaths, diabetes deaths, and smoking rates are troublingly high. Obesity is a persistent problem—in 2018, Ohio had the sixth highest obesity youth rate in the country. And primary care access in rural counties remains well below many other states.
One of the toughest fights that Ohio doctors and APRNs have had to face is opioid addiction. From 2015-2018, drug deaths in Ohio increased by 61%. According to CDC data, in 2017, Ohio had some of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths (adjusted by population concentration) in the country. Similar stats could be seen in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. In 2018, the rate of fatal drug overdoses in Ohio dropped by more than 22%.
- In the same year, the Ohio Department of Health received a great deal of money from the Department of Health and Human Services to address the state’s addiction crisis and expand treatment services.
- In 2019, the Ohio Department of Medicaid got a $100 million budget increase for mental health services.
- And the OHA continues to address the issue through the Opioid Response Initiative.
In other words, aspiring APRNs can put their education to good use in a number of areas. Primary care providers and public health educators will find plenty of opportunities to address chronic conditions (e.g. smoking & diet). Rural NPs in Ohio can institute mobile health and telehealth initiatives to solve access problems. And PMHNPs will always be welcome in areas that have been hard-hit by opioids.
Jobs for Ohio RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
Happily, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a close eye on job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. One look at the maps on these pages will tell you a great deal about your career options after graduation from the RN to MSN.
For example, we’re pleased to report that Ohio has some of the highest employment levels of NPs and nursing instructors in the country. It’s often in the top 5, right up there with California and New York. Cincinnati is a major hub, employing around 22% of NPs and nursing instructors in the state, but Cleveland and Columbus (home of Ohio State) are not far behind.
Even the smaller cities sustain a sizeable population of APRNs. Akron, Canton, Toledo, and Dayton are just some of the places where you’ll find job openings. In fact, Lima has one of the highest concentration of NPs in the country.
If you’re interested in a hospital position, U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of Best Hospitals in Ohio and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Ohio are two useful resources to consult. You’ll often see some of the same names on both lists, including:
- Cleveland Clinic hospitals and the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Cleveland.
- Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus
- Christ Hospital in Cincinnati
- Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton
- ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo
If you’re considering independent work in a rural or underserved area, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH)’s Primary Care Office has more info on Ohio’s Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P), and Governor’s Certified Shortage Ages. Furthermore, the Ohio Board of Nursing has complete details on the Ohio APRN Scope of Practice.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Ohio Nursing Job Boards
- OAAPN Jobs Board: Openings for Ohio APRNs, including NPs, nurse educators, and nurse leaders
- OH GAPNA Career Center: Job listings for Ohio NPs (in all disciplines)
- OH Hospital Jobs: Job listings in Ohio hospitals posted by the OHA
Ohio APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Ohio Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Ohio Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Ohio Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Ohio Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Ohio Chapters
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Ohio Chapters
- Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (OAAPN)
- Ohio Gerontologic Advanced Practice Nurses Association (OH GAPNA)
- Ohio Hospital Association (OHA)
- Ohio Nurses Association (ONA)
Ohio Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Ohio Affiliate (ACNM Midwives of Ohio)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Ohio Chapter (APNA Ohio)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Ohio (AWHONN Ohio)
- Ohio Association of Occupational Health Nurses (OAOHN)
- Ohio Association of School Nurses (OASN)
- Ohio Emergency Nurses Association (Ohio ENA)
- Ohio League for Nursing (OLN)
- Ohio PeriAnesthesia Nurses Association (OPANA)
- Ohio State Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OSANA)
- Ohio Student Nurse’s Association (OhSNA)
- Ohio Organization for Nursing Leadership (OONL)
Nursing School Overview
Franklin is a private, non-profit university in Columbus that was founded in 1902 to serve the needs of adult learners. That's one of the reasons why this large private school has a majority online student population. It also offers a number of graduate scholarships and payment plans. We found it tricky to unearth any independent reviews of the College of Health and Public Administration and its graduate programs. Because of this, we recommend you talk to recent alumni, request data from Franklin on its FNP certification pass rates, and chat to mentors in hospitals and primary care clinics about Franklin's reputation.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This online program is open to RNs with an associate degree or a diploma in nursing from a regionally accredited institution. Candidates should have an active and unencumbered RN license and a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA on any undergraduate work (GRE or GMAT scores may be required if your GPA is lower than that). Nurse practitioner candidates should have a 3.0 GPA or better. The entire RN to MSN program can be completed in 21-30 months. Once accepted, applicants receive conditional admission. First they must tackle a 4-credit undergraduate bridge course (12 weeks/3 months) and achieve a final grade of B or better in order to remain in the program. After that, they can study for the online MSN. The master's degree is available in 2 concentrations. The generalist MSN is 38 credits/12 courses and can take 18-24 months to complete. The MSN-FNP is 41 credits/13 courses and can take 27 months to complete. The generalist MSN is delivered online, with clinical practicums in an approved healthcare setting. The MSN-FNP is hybrid. Most coursework is online, but there is an on-site assessment & skills laboratory (16 lab hours). In the final year, FNP students also complete clinical practicums 1-2 days per week. Students are expected to locate their own preceptors and clinical sites.
Nursing School Overview
Lourdes is a small, private Franciscan university in Sylvania that's rooted in its Catholic traditions. Faculty in the College of Nursing tend to receive good reviews on independent rating websites and many nursing alumni mention how much they liked the small college atmosphere and the personalized attention they received from professors and advisors. If you need help with funding, Lourdes does offer some graduate scholarships. We also recommend you take a look at the MSN handbook to learn about specific awards for nursing students. Lourdes alumni are eligible for a modest alumni discount.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This online program is designed for RNs with an accredited diploma or associate degree in nursing, at least 75 undergraduate semester credit hours, and a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA for previous coursework. Along with academic transcripts, the application should include a current resume, a statement of purpose, and 3 letters of recommendation. There will be an interview with the MSN program director. The entire online RN to MSN program is 52-61 credits and takes 10-11 semesters to finish. Students are admitted on a conditional basis and must tackle 6 undergraduate bridge courses (up to 18 credit hours) over 3 semesters. If those are successfully completed, students can proceed to the MSN. This is available in 2 concentrations: Nurse Educator (43 credits/8 semesters) and Nurse Leader (34 credits/7 semesters). Both concentrations are delivered online and both include a practicum and final capstone project.
Nursing School Overview
Xavier is a Jesuit university in Cincinnati with a solid ranking in U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Regional Universities Midwest. The College of Nursing places an emphasis on holistic healthcare delivery and coursework is grounded in Jesuit values. It's also active in the community. In addition to providing video conferencing to nursing students at partner sites, Xavier has also received grant money from the HRSA to help fund the training of rural FNPs. Check with the program coordinator to see if any funds are still available for traineeships. You may also want to look into Xavier's nursing scholarships & financial aid opportunities. Overall, nursing alumni seem very happy with their experience. Independent reviewers of the graduate program say the classes fit nicely with work schedules, faculty are supportive, and students emerge with a good level of clinical training. Xavier is also conveniently located near a number of large and respected Cincinnati hospitals and clinical sites (e.g. Christ Hospital).
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
Xavier offers 2 pathways to the MSN. RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing can choose the RN to MSN program. RNs with a BA or BS (i.e. a non-nursing bachelor's degree) can go for the Educational Mobility option. All applicants should have 2 years of full-time work experience as an RN, an unencumbered RN license, and a strong academic record. In lieu of a goal statement, candidates for the RN to MSN pathway and Educational Mobility must submit a portfolio of professional knowledge and experience. The application will also need to include a resume and 3 professional recommendations. Once accepted, RN to MSN students complete 12 credits in general education, including a course in Theological Foundations, and 6 credits in nursing bridge courses (18 credits total). These courses are 100% online and up to 6 credits can be transferred or waived. If their portfolios and prerequisites check out, Educational Mobility students can go straight into the MSN. The master's portion of the program comes in all kinds of interesting MSN concentrations - CNL and FNP programs are the longest (43 & 47 credits respectively), but the remaining programs are 36-37 credits. Three concentrations are offered in an 100% online format: Forensics, Education, or General Studies. In other concentrations, some on-campus courses are video conferenced to partner sites. Each on-campus course generally meets once per week in the late afternoon or early evening. Part-time or full-time study is available.