Dual Major Options for Nurses
A nursing double major is a dual major option for nurses to pair a nursing degree with another field like public health, law, or business and earn two degrees. Nursing is a lucrative career to pursue in the 21st century given the advancements in the medical space. However, some people feel that besides nursing, they have exceptional skills that can be used in other professions. It is with this in mind that most colleges and universities offer dual degree programs.
What is a Dual Nursing Degree?
As the name suggests, you get two degrees, one in nursing and another that either complements it or is closely related. This gives the individual unique skills that are essential to remaining relevant in the very competitive healthcare industry.
How Do Dual Degree Nursing Programs Work?
Dual degree nursing programs combine two distinct academic disciplines, typically nursing and another field. So students earn two degrees in a shorter period of time than it would take to earn them separately. For example, a dual degree program in nursing and business might allow a student to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Business Administration in as little as five years.
The program curriculum combines courses from the two disciplines and may require students to complete clinical rotations in both fields. During their studies, students may be required to complete internships or externships in both the nursing and business fields. Upon completion of the program, graduates are typically eligible to take the licensure exams for both nursing and business.
What are the Admission Requirements for a Nursing Double Major Masters Degree Program?
Admission requirements for a nursing double major master’s degree program vary by institution but typically include:
- bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- minimum GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent)
- current certification or licensure as an active registered nurse, active RN license
- minimum of one year of clinical experience as a registered nurse
- official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions
- official test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- a current resume or curriculum vitae and a personal statement
- Letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources
- two years of clinical nursing experience
What are the Types of Dual Nursing Degree Programs?
What is a good double major with nursing? The answer depends on what you want to do and is different for each individual. However, there are several dual degree programs nurses can pursue to advance their careers. Some of the popular dual-degree nursing alternatives are detailed below.
MSN + MPH
Dual Degree Nursing Program Degrees: Master of Science in Nursing + Master of Public Health
This dual major option is ideal for people with an interest in nursing and public health. This equips one with skills on how to develop, implement and evaluate public health policies and programs. Students may choose to specialize in Family Nursing, Women’s health nursing, or Pediatric Nursing.
Graduates are well equipped in clinical theory and practice and are taught how they can apply the skills in the community and more so in a population-based setting. They learn how to guide other healthcare teams to develop suitable healthcare services for populations in high-risk areas. This program is designed to help one qualify in designing, implementing, and evaluating health care programs in multiple health institutions, to ensure optimum health and disease prevention for high-risk populations.
- Public Health Nurse
- Community Health Educators
- Nurse Consultant
- Clinical Nursing Researcher
- Advanced Nurse Specialists such as midwives and nurse practitioners
- Director of Nursing
As a nurse educator, you can work in various institutions including community colleges, universities, or business schools, if you have taken the MSN mph programs. Occasionally, hospitals and other healthcare centers hire such to guide and provide enhanced instructions to new healthcare entrants. The average salary of a nurse educator is $77,000.
MSN + MBA
Dual Degree Nursing Program Degrees: Master of Science in Nursing + Master of Business Administration
Can you double major in nursing and business? Yes. This program is for those interested in honing their entrepreneurial skills. Nurses can use them to build their healthcare-related businesses. The topics for this combination include operations and management skills, business ethics, accounting, leadership and management, and the healthcare environment, among others. Through these dual degree programs, students master complex financial principles such as planning, analyzing, and evaluating assets. They also get to understand business principles related to healthcare systems.
Graduates with this skill set combination can work as health services and medical managers as healthcare administrators. This is a post with high demand as employers need expert health executives to oversee health facilities including hospitals and nursing homes to:
- Continually improve the quality of the services provided by the facility
- Develop the facility’s goals and objectives while maximizing profits and patients services
- Oversee the facility’s finances
- Ascertain that the facility is compliant with the relevant state laws and that it is up to date
- Monitor the budget to ensure that none of the departments stretch their expenditures
Graduates can pursue careers in high-level direct care positions, administration, and also management roles in the healthcare industry.
- Hospital Administrators
- Medical and Health Services Managers
- Directors of Nursing (DON)
- Health Care Market Research Analysts
- Health Information Manager
A research nurse specializes in research-oriented tasks. Mostly, they gather data, examine and analyze statistics, and work as part of the research teams that are behind modifications in medical procedures and policies. The average wage for a research nurse is $90,000.
JD + MSN
Dual Degree Nursing Program Degrees: Juris Doctorate + Master of Science in Nursing
Regulatory changes in the healthcare sector coupled with the advancements made in modern technology have necessitated the emergence of a nursing discipline that combines the law. Through this dual nursing degree program, students gain expertise on how to handle legal challenges that are inevitable in the healthcare profession alongside their nursing degree. Graduates can choose to become consultants, quality assurance officers, and strategic managers.
- Nurse Attorney
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Nurse Consultant
Legal Nurse Consultant
One of the dual major options for nursing is specializing in JD/MSN, you qualify to be a legal nurse consultant as you are equipped with advocacy skills. These work closely with attorneys, police officers, and insurance companies to assist in legal healthcare issues. They are required when medical expertise is required for specific cases or may act as a knowledgeable source for legal entities seeking to establish the cause of death or determine how an illegal act was carried out. In some cases, they are required to work with medical managers in health facilities to determine the course of action for very sensitive cases. Other areas that a graduate can be a consultant on include community, occupational, and health conditions consultants. The average pay for a legal nurse consultant is $125,000.
MSN + MPA
Dual Nursing Degrees: Master of Science in Nursing + Master of Public Administration
This dual degree program is most suited for a nurse who possesses skills that can be used to run and manage either a non-profit or a public sector organization. The core areas taught are:
- Implementation of government policies
- Management of government programs
- Implementing the latest institutional changes
- Evaluation of public programs and policies
In essence, students are prepared to undertake a leadership role in the public sector by learning leadership and communication, human resource management, and law in the public sector.
- Director of Disaster Preparedness Public Policy
- Hospital Administrator
- Director of Public Health Care Administration
There are numerous fields in which a nurse consultant can choose to work in. For instance, a person who takes up MBA/MPH may choose to become a management consultant within the vast healthcare field. They work hand in hand with the healthcare facility to improve communication, manage costs, and educate on risk management.
MSN + MHA
Dual Degree Nursing Program Degrees: Master of Science in Nursing + Master of Health Administration
This is ideal for persons interested in a healthcare administration career path alongside their nursing degree. The MHA equips you with knowledge of organizational behavior, operations, and financial management, among other key health administration topics.
Students that take up this dual degree program qualify for administrative roles in the healthcare facility they choose to work in.
- Hospital Administrators
- Directors of Nursing (DON)
- Health Information Manager
- Clinical Nurse Managers
- Nursing Home Administrator
- Clinical Manager
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
A Nurse Administrator is responsible for overseeing the healthcare facility as well as the nursing teams within specific departments. This is suitable for persons who have chosen the MSN/MHA dual degree alternative. Such a position may be coupled with human resource management responsibilities such as hiring and firing, scheduling, and all the management aspects of the facility. The pay can range from $70,000 to $200,000 depending on the field one chooses and the employer.
Job Options for Dual Degree Nurses
Entry into the job market does not guarantee that you are to stick to one job for a long time. Indeed, recent years have seen an upsurge in freelance careers, and most people opt for independent contract work. Having two interrelated but different degrees gives the student more career options. This is due to the variety of experience as well as the credentials to support it.
Most dual nursing degree programs are designed to help one qualify and specialize in a particular career path. For instance, MPH can be combined with global studies can help the graduate acquire public health-related work globally.
Can You Earn a Dual Nursing Degree Online?
Yes, you can earn a dual nursing degree online. There are a few universities that offer dual nursing degrees in an online format. Depending on the program, some nursing classes may be entirely online while others may require some in-person instruction.
Dual Degree Costs
Pursuing a dual major is often presumed as a way of making money. This, in most cases, is not the case. Keeping in mind that these are two courses, which might take longer to finish only means that the cost might be significantly higher. However, time is saved as you end up getting two degrees within the same or slightly shorter time frame than if you would have chosen to take the two degrees separately. For instance, you can complete a dual degree program in three or four years, whereas taking the degrees separately may take you six years at the least.
Why Choose Dual Degree Nursing Programs?
Most of these dual degree nursing programs are partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, or even departments within the same institution. For instance, a Law and Business school may combine forces to create an MBA/JD course. Earning the dual degree is much more convenient as you are within the same institution rather than if you would have earned them separately. Classes are coordinated, and you may benefit from course waivers and credit for taking this as one course.
How Long Are Dual Degree Nursing Programs?
In some cases, a dual degree program can take only three years to complete, thereby shortening the overall graduation time. However, as simple as this may seem, it is imperative that students note that such programs are very demanding. Often, you may have to take up more classes or have a heavier schedule. Besides, these programs are turning out to be very competitive, thereby making it hard to attain the threshold points required to join such programs.
After your dual degree program, you may choose a field that makes use of both degrees, or you may choose to use a degree at a time. You may even choose to create your path by becoming an entrepreneur or an independent consultant.
Professional Organizations for Nursing Students
- American Nurses Association (ANA)
- National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
Is a Dual Degree Program Right for You?
A nursing degree is a good educational investment, but a dual-degree nursing program is even more marketable. The ever-growing demand for nursing professionals is an indicator that this is a career path that will stay years on end. Besides it being one of the most in-demand jobs, nurses earn significantly higher salaries. Combining your nursing degree with another complementing degree makes you more qualified for the job.
The combinations listed are by no means the only ones available in the market. Most colleges and universities will welcome students who need their combinations customized to their chosen career path. Consulting directly with the university or college will help you make a more informed decision.