Nursing: a career ripe with opportunity

Utica College introduces new nursing master’s degrees

By Barbara Pierce


Health care delivery changes by the minute.

Utica College is addressing these changes by adding three new nursing master’s degrees to its nursing programs.

Students can earn their master’s or doctor of nursing degrees with the help of a family nurse practitioner, nurse educator or nurse leader.

Jennifer Klimek-Yingling, assistant professor of nursing who was instrumental in developing these programs, is excited about offering this opportunity to the community.

Prior to this, she taught nursing at SUNY Poly for 10 years. “It’s been wonderful to start a program from the ground up,” she said.

“It’s a great endeavor; there’s a huge need for these programs in our community;” she said.

Utica College’s three online nursing master’s programs offer students a fast and convenient way to earn an advanced nursing degree online. Students can earn their nursing master’s online at Utica College in 16 to 20 months in the hours and days that work best for them. The flexible nature of the online program allows students to structure coursework according to their work-life commitments, Klimek-Yingling explained.

“We’re harnessing the technology available to develop a quality program,” she said. “We’re modern, current, and flexible.”

“We’ll meet in a virtual class. Students will have one-to-one contact with the instructor, and the opportunity for group projects,” she explained. “Students will have a practicum, a hands-on experience wherever they are, which we will coordinate.”

Students from all over the state have begun participating in the program.

Requirements for admission into the programs include an unencumbered RN license in the state in which the student resides, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and 2,000 hours of work experience.

The FNP program is for nurses who seek more autonomy in caring for their patients. An FNP provides a higher level of patient care, and can test, diagnose, treat and create preventive health care plans for patients.

Given the shortage of health care professionals at the physician and nursing levels, FNPs are relied on more often as the first provider of care for common, family health problems. On average, FNPs earn more than $100,000 a year and there is an expected 31% job growth through 2026.

The FNP program mandates a three-day immersion-residency experience and 720 practicum hours.

Nurse educators have become increasingly important as new education requirements for entry-level clinical care emerge and as the number of new positions and home health jobs created and available to those with a nursing degree continues to grow.

Big demand for educators

There’s an urgent demand for nursing educators to prepare the next generation for nursing excellence and to help them reach the next level of their careers. “There’s a huge shortage of nurse educators nationwide,” said Klimek-Yingling.

Nurse educators earn approximately $74,000 a year. Employment is expected to grow by 24% through 2026. The education curriculum requires 180 practicum hours, divided between two classes, dedicated to working with qualified nurse educators.

As a nurse leader, be it a senior manager or executive leader, one needs management expertise including the planning, direction, and coordination of medical and health services for an entire facility; a specific clinical area or department; or a medical practice of physicians. With these roles, a person is responsible for implementing necessary actions to adhere to changes in health care laws, technologies, and regulations.

“With our new hospital emerging, there is a real need for nurse leaders,” Klimek-Yingling added.

While a Case Manager Salary ranges between $40,577 and $87,513. Salaries for nurse leaders range from $120,000 to $250,000. The education curriculum requires 180 practicum hours, dedicated to working with qualified nurse educators.

As with any new program, accreditation is pending. “We couldn’t apply for accreditation until we had students,” explained Klimek-Yingling. “Next fall, an accreditation team will come out. Becoming accredited shouldn’t be a problem.”

The new programs will be added to the number of options already available to nursing students. Utica College offers a traditional campus-based four-year undergraduate nursing program, an online RN to BSN program, and an accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing program.

The RN to BSN program is for licensed nurses who have completed an associate’s degree program and are seeking a higher credential. The ABSN is an accelerated (16-month) program for people who have already earned a bachelor’s degree and wish to embark on a rewarding career in nursing.

The program blends online courses with hands-on lab simulations and clinical rotations, and is offered through UC’s learning sites in Syracuse, St. Petersburg, Fla., and South Florida.

To learn more about Utica College’s online graduate nursing program, see

Or, if you’d rather speak to a person who can answer questions now, call 315-732-2640 or 866-295-3106.