M.S. in Nursing FAQs

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Questions About CCU's Master's Degree in Nursing

Are you interested in earning your online master's degree in Nursing? Find answers to frequently asked questions about our nationally accredited MSN program below. For additional questions, please contact and enrollment counselor!

What specialty track can I obtain from this program?

We will have a core of 24 credits, a track for Nursing Education with 15 credits, and a track in Clinical Care Management for Adults and Geriatrics with 15 credits.

What would I do with an MSN with a specialty track in Nursing Education?

With the Nursing Education track, you become qualified to teach nursing within college and university programs and gain expertise in staff development within hospital and healthcare systems. The nursing education track focuses on teaching strategies for theory, laboratory and clinical settings. Best practice for in-seat and online teaching, curriculum development and measurement of student learning outcomes will provide you with a strong foundation for both academic and staff development education. Students can choose to specialize in either academic or professional staff development. This track requires 245 hours of clinical practicum experience with a preceptor.

What would I do with an MSN with a specialty track in Clinical Care Management for Adults and Geriatrics?

This is an Advanced Practice RN (APRN) role in many states and can lead to being licensed as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). You may obtain prescriptive authority in this role. The primary role is to address the acute and chronic needs of a population of adult and geriatric clients. This health specialist deals with adults and older adults, and is knowledgeable in health promotion, illness prevention, and offering appropriate care or referrals. This APRN role is a leadership position for populations that need care coordination to stay healthy, age in place, collaborate care with their primary provider, bridge communication failures, and prevent inappropriate re-admissions. This track requires 500 hours of clinical practicum experience with a preceptor.

Will I be eligible for specialty certification once I have completed this MSN program?

Yes. In the Nursing Education track, you could sit for the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam with the National League of Nursing (NLN) after meeting the experience requirements. In addition, this group can sit for the Nursing Professional Development exam after meeting their work experience requirements. Those in the Clinical Care Management track can be certified as an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC). However, each credentialing agency makes decisions regarding programs and experience requirements needed to apply and test for specialty certification.

Does this program lead to the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree?

No. It is a master’s degree only. Our courses in the MSN degree include clinical hours which allow students to transition into a DNP program as they progress in their careers. One of the benefits of having an MSN degree prior to the DNP is that an MSN is required to teach in most states.

Can I drop out of classes for a period of time and then come back into the program without having to wait for the next cohort?

Yes, if you return in less than one year. The didactic theory courses can be taken in any order and you may enter the program at different times. The only sequenced courses are the clinical and capstone courses, which are taken in sequence at the end of the program for both emphases.

Can I become a nurse practitioner (NP) in this program?

No. You can be a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the Adult-Gerontology track. The CNS role focuses on populations and specific areas of clinical specialty. Nurse Practitioners and CNSs have different APRN scope of practice, licensures and certifications. However, this program is beneficial for those who may wish to later become an NP.

Do I need to live in Colorado to be in this program?

No. This is an online program available wherever you have internet access. Due to state regulations, we cannot accept students who live in certain states.

Is this program accredited?

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, the master's degree program in nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Colorado Christian University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Do I need to be a Christian to be in this program?

There is no spiritual background requirement for students in this program. We do expect students to examine a biblically-based Christian worldview and explore the attributes that this brings to your life and your nursing practice. Our vision is to empower nurses to practice nursing as ministry.

How long will it take me to complete my MSN taking one course at a time?

You can take 9 credits every semester (fall, spring, and summer) for a total of 27 credits each year. With this plan you could finish in approximately 21 months. The program offers five-week theory courses (3 credits each) and 10-week clinical courses for a total of 39 credits. Breaks throughout the year provide you with opportunity to vacation, relax or “catch up” during your busy schedule. This program is designed with adult learning principles to support students who are working adults.

How long does it take to complete an RN-MSN?

The RN-BSN coursework can be completed in 12 months (three semesters). The MSN coursework can be completed in 21 months (five semesters). The RN-MSN can potentially be completed in just over two years (seven semesters) depending upon course scheduling and student progression.

If I am an RN wanting my BSN and MSN, can I go straight through to get both degrees?

Yes. CCU provides RNs with the opportunity to substitute three graduate courses (nine credits) while completing the BSN degree, giving you a head start on the MSN degree. Students must apply to the graduate program and meet admission requirements to continue on for the MSN degree. Your CCU Student Service Advisor (SSA) can assist you with this process.

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