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Entry Level MSN

The ELMSN is designed for students who hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline other than nursing.

La Roche University’s Entry Level MSN program (ELMSN) is designed to offer students who already hold a bachelor's in another field the opportunity to switch to a nursing career. The ELMSN can be completed in as few as 20 months of study and is offered in an accelerated, hybrid format that supplements hands-on lab and clinical experiences along with on-campus learning with some flexible online coursework.

After graduation students will be prepared to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and enter the profession as MSN-qualified nurses without specialization.

The Entry Level MSN establishes a foundation for post-master’s degree certification program, such as: 

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Nurse Administration
  • Nurse Education

The program is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

The program includes 77 credits of coursework covering health science theory, nursing leadership, research and hands-on lab and clinical experiences along with on-campus leaning. By entering nursing with an MSN, graduates of this program will be qualified to pursue bedside roles in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, and well-placed to pursue positions in nursing leadership, management or patient advocacy.

Which degree should I earn to begin my nursing career?

An Entry Level MSN offers several advantages over an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

You want to make the switch to a nursing career, and you want to do it right: with the right training, the right qualification, and the right potential for advancement. Today, many colleges and universities offer Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs, sometimes also known as “nursing as a second degree” programs.

These degree programs are designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. They are increasingly popular with career changers. However, we believe that in a healthcare industry where the BSN is increasingly seen as the minimum level of education needed to start a career in nursing, the Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) route offers career-changers like you more opportunity and options.

Here are just a few of the advantages to entering nursing with your MSN instead of a BSN.

Start your career with greater potential to advance.

As an MSN-qualified nurse, you’ll stand out with employers when securing your first nursing job. You’ll also have a wider range of options when it comes to advancement. With your MSN, you can pursue an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) certification in a variety of fields, such as:

  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nursing administration 
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nursing education

Earning a master’s degree also establishes the foundation you need to pursue a doctoral-level degree later in your career. If you already know you’re interested in long-term opportunities in research, teaching, advanced care or primary care, earning your MSN gets you one step closer—right from the beginning of your career.

Start your career with higher earning potential.

In addition to more scope for professional advancement, earning an MSN puts you in a position to command higher salaries as you gain experience when compared to a BSN-qualified nurse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, APRNs including nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists earned a median annual salary of $113,930 in 2018, compared to $71,730 for registered nurses.

While you won’t graduate straight into an APRN job, you will graduate with most of the coursework necessary to complete APRN certification already under your belt. 

You may qualify for graduate financial aid.

A master’s degree program offers access to graduate-level financial aid for those who qualify. If you already carry loan debt from your previous undergraduate program, you may be close to the federal undergraduate loan limit

Qualifying for graduate aid could give you more options when it comes to financing your MSN.

You invest about the same amount of time and cost in an ELMSN as an ABSN.

Our ELMSN can be completed in as few as 20 months of full-time study. Accelerated BSN programs generally take about 16-18 months of full-time study to complete. 

For an additional two to four months of time and cost, you can truly advance your education by earning a master’s degree—not just trade one bachelor’s degree for another. 

You gain advanced clinical skills for serving patients.

Finally, the advanced assessment and administrative skills you learn in our ELMSN program equips you to provide superior care from the very start of your career. You can graduate confident that you’re ready to offer patients, their families, and your colleagues a higher level of service.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement - (SARA)

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offerings of post-secondary distance education courses and programs.

Its intention is to make it easier for students to take online courses and complete field experiences offered by post-secondary institutions based on another state. La Roche University is a participating SARA institution. By participating in SARA, La Roche is able to operate in every SARA state. The SARA map identifies other participating states and districts.

If you have any questions regarding state authorization, please contact Hope Schiffgens, Executive Director for Enrollment at (412) 536-1266 or Please note that SARA does not address professional licensure issues.

360 Virtual Tour Link:

La Roche University’s state-of-the art Anthony J. Battaglia Clinical Simulation Center provides comprehensive clinical preparation for nursing students. Students use simulators to learn and practice skills, practice real-life clinical situations, and develop nursing competence essential to the role of a Registered Nurse.

Anthony J. Battaglia Clinical Simulation Center Tour (First Floor)