How to Choose a MSN in Leadership Specialization + Online Option

This article discusses the MSN in Leadership Specialization, some of the subjects and courses that are covered during the degree, and why you may want to consider this degree for your career advancement. It also outlines one online MSN in leadership specialization program that you may want to consider.

What Is a MSN in Leadership Specialization?

Holding an MSN (master of science in nursing) in leadership is designed mainly for those who are already registered nurses (RNs) and who want to become leaders in their field while at the same time ensuring that patients receive the best possible care. Upon graduation, nurse leaders can become directors of nursing, nursing executives, program directors, chief nursing officers, and so on.

There are a number of specializations within the field of nurse leadership, including:

  • Executive leadership
  • Leadership and management
  • Leadership in healthcare systems
  • Nurse administration

It is also quite common for these programs to be offered online, because there is an understanding of the fact that the average nurse’s workload is too heavy for them to attend school as well. Hence, by offering the program online, they can complete it around their working hours, which are often in shifts, allowing them to balance their educational, professional, and personal life.

Why Earn a MSN in Leadership Specialization?

By earning an MSN with a leadership specialization, you will be able to have access to a number of new professional opportunities. Many of those positions are found within clinical roles, in hospitals and health care facilities across the country. However, because it is a graduate degree, the scope of leadership is actually expanded beyond health care facilities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported on the top industries in which someone with an MSN leadership could find employment, and they go outside of the hospitals. They include colleges, universities, professional schools, home health care services, outpatient care centers, and physician’s offices. Outside of the field of direct, clinical health care, they can also work in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; computer systems design and related services; navigational, control, electromedical, and measuring instrument manufacturing; drugs and druggists’ sundries merchant wholesale; and data hosting, processing, and related services.

The BLS has also reported that medical and health services managers had a median salary of $96,540 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those who have completed a master’s degree are more likely to be in the top 10% of earners, who enjoy salaries of $172,240 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be 17% increase in demand from 2014 to 2024, which will translate into some 56,300 new jobs.

Online Option for MSN in Leadership Specialization

Jacksonville University

If you are hoping to study towards an MSN in leadership, then the MSN Leadership in the Healthcare System program offered by Jacksonville University, which is delivered online, may be right for you. The program takes 30 credit hours to complete and focuses on leadership and management for the nursing workforce. It also prepares graduates to continue on towards a doctorate degree.

Those who graduate from the program can:

  • Support and enhance nursing practice in various settings by implementing interdisciplinary knowledge
  • Consult, collaborate, and communicate with teams across the field of healthcare to improve outcomes
  • Apply critical decision-making skills and ethical principles, being both leaders and advocates in the field of health care
  • Influence the way nursing care is delivered across the board to improve overall health in the communities they serve
  • Solve clinical problems through advanced nursing strategies, thereby improving patient outcomes
  • Review the existing frameworks and theories of nursing, researching new concepts, and applying results as and where needed
  • Focus on preventative care through evidence-based practice, advocating for culturally appropriate, high-quality care
  • Lead healthcare organizations to ensure budgetary constraints are met without compromising on the quality or safety of patient care
  • Lead other nurses, including focusing on their professional development and lifelong learning skills
  • Focus on new health information technologies, enhancing patient care directly and indirectly and improving overall health literacy

The core curriculum of the degree includes:

  • Nursing Theory and Research
  • Organization, Delivery, and Policy in Healthcare
  • Nursing Leadership and Advanced Roles
  • Information Systems and Technology for Improved Healthcare

Additionally, students must undertake a set of core courses for the leadership concentration. Those courses include:

  • Financial Management of Nursing Systems
  • Human Resource Management in Healthcare
  • Nursing Leadership and the Healthcare System
  • Quality and Safety in Healthcare

Those who graduate from the MSN with a leadership concentration have a wealth of career opportunities available to them, in a variety of settings. The vast majority of graduates take on positions within health care institutions, where significant growth is expected. This is particularly true due to the work done by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM), which is committed to improving the quality of health care across the board. They offer various national certifications, networking opportunities, best practice guidance, continuing education and more. Some graduates find employment with the PAHCOM, but all implement their vision and mission.

Other graduates who wish to remain involved in direct care delivery can do so through health institutions like home health care services, clinics, and hospitals. Those are driven by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), which has over 80 local chapters across the country. Many MSN degree holders with a leadership concentration seek employment with this organization, aiming to develop tomorrow’s health care leaders.

Others become employed outside of direct health care delivery. Some of the positions they may hold include:

  • Assistant professor of nursing
  • Nursing professor
  • Nursing faculty
  • Clinical nursing instructor
  • Nursing researcher

It should be pointed out, however, that a doctorate degree is often required for these types of positions.

Last but not least, graduates often find employment in designing health care computer systems, working with engineers to develop programs that are pertinent to and compatible with the needs of the industry as a whole.


As you can see, earning a MSN in leadership specialization is a great way to significantly advance your career in health care. You can decide to work in a variety of different fields, usually moving out of clinical nursing and into driving the nursing workforce to deliver better, more affordable care. You will have the required leadership skills to make a difference in the business of health care, but mainly in the lives of patients.


Medical and Health Services Managers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from

MSN Leadership in the Healthcare System Cohort. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). (n.d.). Retrieved from

American College of Healthcare Executives. (n.d.). Retrieved from