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What Do Recruiters and HR Professionals Think about Candidates with an Online MSN?

Considering that most working nurses cannot just quit their jobs and return to school, the idea of an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is especially appealing to nurses AND employers. Online MSN programs allow for less interruption to work-life routines because they can be completed “on their own time”. But, what about recruiters’ and human resource (HR) professionals’ perceptions of a candidate with an online MSN? After all the hard work, will an online MSN affect future employment?

Pros of Earning an Online MSN Degree

As the number of online MSN programs has increased over the past few years, the reputation of online programs has improved. Many HR professionals recognize the quality of most online MSN programs. In fact, they recognize that in completing an online MSN, the applicant has demonstrated the ability to balance multiple projects (school/work/family) and still be successful. This demonstrates to the recruiters the applicant’s dedication, determination and motivation — qualities sought after by most employers.

Many long-standing, respected institutions offer online MSN programs and provide the same high quality education that is delivered on campus.

Research Online Programs to Ensure Quality

One of the items recruiters look for in graduates of online MSN programs is whether they graduated from an accredited program, meaning that have met rigorous standards and evaluations set forth by the accrediting body. Graduating from a non-accredited online MSN may make a potential employee less credible. Good healthcare recruiters are well aware of which programs are accredited, so potential online MSN students need to do their research before choosing a program. In addition, if a student graduates from a for-profit and less reputable online MSN program, the potential employers may again question the credibility of the degree.


For the most part, graduates of online MSN programs from reputable, accredited schools are generally well received by recruiters and HR professionals. Online degrees are not new concepts and in fact, many employers have developed partnerships to encourage their employees to return to school. However, it is important to take the time to investigate any online MSN program prior to entry.

Learn more about the University of South Carolina’s online MSN program.

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