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Is a Masters in Nursing Worth It in Australia?

If you're a nurse with career growth ambitions, a Master of Nursing is well worth considering.

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A Master of Nursing is worthwhile for nurses aiming to advance their careers. With learning and expertise cherished in the profession, the degree offers handsome rewards. Along with enhanced skills, improved performance, and greater job satisfaction, graduates are positioned for high-paying roles.

This postgraduate qualification typically results in a salary range of $92,500 to $143,509 annually, significantly higher than the average for all nurses. It also opens doors to specialist roles in clinical, consulting, education, management, and research streams.

Despite being time-consuming, online courses offer the flexibility to complete the degree in two years part-time, allowing participants to balance study with other commitments. Getting the degree may bring you personal satisfaction and professional recognition, in addition to all the other benefits.


A master's degree in nursing offers many benefits. Among the top advantages are improved productivity and job satisfaction, higher earnings, and the personal rewards from learning and achieving.

The study program will enable you to perform your current job more confidently and independently, armed with specialised knowledge and skills. It also allows for an expanded scope of practice since nursing duties are tied to expertise, as indicated by experience and qualifications.


  1. Become better at your current job
  2. Expand your scope of practice

Higher earnings

  1. Compete for high-level roles
  2. Qualification allowances

Personal satisfaction

  1. Learn and grow as a person
  2. Be held in higher regard by others

Your earnings may also increase significantly. Ongoing learning is highly valued within the profession, making the attainment of advanced qualifications an important step towards advanced roles. Graduates have better access to higher nurse pay grades and specialist clinical, consulting, education, and management positions. They also become eligible for qualification allowances.

The personal benefits from completing the program should not be underestimated. Studying at this level can be enjoyable, especially because you choose the specialisation and electives. Completing it can also be a great source of personal satisfaction and wider recognition.

Related: Benefits of a Graduate Certificate in Nursing

Salary Boost

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On average, an Australian nurse with a master's degree can expect to earn a salary ranging from $92,500 to $143,509 per year. This increase in pay, representing a premium of $5,639 to $56,648 annually, is significant compared to the average salary for registered nurses, which stands at approximately $86,861 per year.

The enhanced salary reflects the advanced skills and expertise that the degree brings, making it almost a prerequisite for the highest-paying nursing jobs. Roles such as Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Unit Manager, Clinical Nurse Educator, and Clinical Nurse Consultant, requiring advanced training and specialisation, are among the highest earners in the field.

Nurse Practitioners lead in earnings with an average top-end salary of $143,509 nationally, followed by Nurse Unit Managers at $133,952. Clinical Nurse Consultants and Educators command high salaries as well, reaching an average of $133,358. Clinical Nurse Specialists earn around $108,560 annually.

Related: Master of Nursing Salary in Australia

Get Paid Just for the Degree

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Nurses with a master's degree benefit from a financial incentive beyond career progression. Public sector and other employers pay a Qualification Allowance for nurses holding advanced qualifications relevant to their job. The allowance for the degree averages $5,331 per year, which is more than payments for lower qualifications.

By comparison, a Graduate Certificate attracts an allowance of about $3,253 annually, while a Graduate Diploma yields an average of $4,312 per year. These payments are incorporated into the enterprise agreements for nurses and midwives. Note that they are not cumulative; you only receive an allowance for your highest relevant qualification.

Source: Nurse Qualification Allowance Rates in Australia

Will the Program Be Hard?

Dejected-looking woman in scrubs outside building

While any degree has its challenges, an MN often feels more manageable than a BN. You get to focus on an area of interest where you typically already have a background, as opposed to the undergraduate challenge of learning how to be a nurse from scratch.

Getting through it is also made easier by the experience and maturity you've hopefully gained. Enhanced time management and critical thinking skills can make postgraduate study a low-stress experience.

With a clearer understanding of academic and career goals, your academic journey may be smoother. Remember, you can also test the waters with the graduate certificate part of the nursing program, initially committing to just four subjects rather than twelve.