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Online Master of Science in Nursing: Career Outlook

Three specialties. Infinite opportunities.

Increase the impact and reach of your nursing expertise with the online, CCNE-accredited Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Sacred Heart University.

Stand out to employers by specializing in Clinical Nurse Leadership, Nursing Management & Executive Leadership, or Nursing Education, which are among the most sought-after skill sets today.1

As more hospitals pursue Magnet Recognition® — the nation’s gold standard for nursing excellence — they need better-educated nurses.

You’ll meet this demand with your MSN and advance to a higher salary, longer-lasting career and more opportunities to shape the future of health care.

In 2017, SHU grads had a bright nursing occupational outlook, employed by Bridgeport Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and more.

Director of Patient Care Services:


As a Director of Patient Care Services, you’d ensure patients across your hospital’s departments receive the highest-quality care. You’d work with department leaders, ensure operations run smoothly, and speak with patients and their families about health care needs and care plans.4

Prepare for this position with the Nursing Management and Executive Leadership specialization.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL):


As a Clinical Nurse Leader, your responsibilities would include leading collaborative patient care, as well as mentoring other nurses, educating patients and their families, and analyzing data and assessing patient risks and outcomes. This role requires the CNL certification from the AACN.5

Prepare for this position with the Clinical Nurse Leader specialization.

Nurse Educator:


As a Nurse Educator, you’d work within a hospital or other health services organization to train nurses or other health care practitioners. You would create educational curricula and resources, determine educational gaps and needs, lecture large groups and more.6

Prepare for this position with the Nursing Education specialization.

Clinical Director:


As a Clinical Director, you’d oversee your organization’s clinical departments. Your responsibilities might include hiring and evaluating new employees, creating and monitoring budgets, and reviewing programs to ensure they meet patient needs.7

Prepare for this position with the Clinical Nurse Leader specialization or the Nursing Management and Executive Leadership specialization.

Additional roles for MSN graduates:

  • Clinical research nurse
  • Relief charge nurse
  • Practice administrator RN
  • Nutrition services manager
  • Mental health program manager
  • Nursing informatics
  • Director of nursing
  • Clinical director
  • Program manager
  • Nurse manager
  • Health and social services manager

Request More Information

Fill out the form below and a skilled and knowledgeable Admissions Representative will get in touch to answer your questions and help with the application process.

Find Your Nursing Specialty

Set yourself apart from other nurses with an MSN specialization. Whether you want to advance your bedside skills, educate the next generation or become a leader of other nurses, we have a specialization that suits you.

You may also be interested in our Family Nurse Practitioner program, which prepares you to provide primary care to all ages.

MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader

Advocate for superior patient care and lead a team of integrated health care professionals, including social workers, pharmacists, physicians and fellow nurses.

MSN: Nursing Education

Complement your clinical experience with teaching skills and learn to design curricula, evaluate your students and step into the role of instructor.

MSN: Nursing Management & Executive Leadership

Discover how to manage a budget, create and implement administrative processes, make certain your procedures meet professional and ethical standards, and more.

Guidance Beyond Graduation

More than 98 percent of Sacred Heart alumni are employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school within a year of graduation.

Our Center for Career & Professional Development provides support to help you find your next opportunity and continue to grow outside of class.

Handshake Access

Tap into our online recruiting system exclusively for Sacred Heart students, featuring job opportunities from 10,000+ employers.

Career Coaching

Work one-on-one with a Sacred Heart career counselor to define your professional goals, practice for upcoming job interviews and more.

Extensive Network

Meet potential employers and connect with a network of 35,000+ Sacred Heart alumni in person and on LinkedIn.

Résumé Workshops

Get your résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile critiqued by peers and career-development experts to stand out from your competition.


  1. Nurse Journal (n.d.). The 20 Best Nursing Career Specialties. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019 September 4). Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019 September 4). Registered Nurses. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from
  4. Payscale (2019 August 24). Average Director of Patient Care Services Salary. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from
  5. (2022 June). Average Clinical Nurse Leader Salary. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from
  6. (2022 November). Clinical Nurse Leader Salary. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from,IL#:~:text=As%20of%20Oct%2027%2C%202022,Chicago%20is%20%2495%2C739%20a%20year.
  7. (2022 June). Average Clinical Director Salary. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from