7 Important Nurse Educator School and Career Questions Answered

What careers can I pursue in nursing as a nurse educator?

As a nurse educator, you’ll have the chance to teach the next generation of nurses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. If you choose to teach undergrads, you’ll prepare students to become RNs or LPNs/LVNs. Aspiring advanced practice nurses, nurse researchers and nurse leaders will make up the majority of your graduate classroom. Your career path is likely to lead you to colleges, universities and trade schools, but some nurse educators find jobs at hospitals as well.

What degree path can I take?

As a nurse educator, you’ll need a master’s degree to enter the field, but holding a doctoral degree is not uncommon in this field. In fact, some employers may require it. If you’re just beginning your nursing career, consider an RN-to-BSN program. Upon completion, you will be eligible to apply to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Or, you can enroll in an RN-to-MSN program which allows registered nurses to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously. If you decide to apply to a PhD program, an MSN is required.

How do I choose a specialization?

Nurses typically choose a specialization when they start their master’s degree program. If you have a knack for teaching others and have clinical experience to draw upon, choosing the nurse educator specialization could put you on a fulfilling career path.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Although government financial aid is the most common, you may also find assistance via scholarships, grants and more. To be considered for aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school or program must be accredited by a major accreditation body, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), in order to qualify. Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans. Read up on how to finance nursing school.

What type of accreditation should a nursing school have?

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs while ACEN gives their seal approval for diplomas, associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If you enroll in a PhD program, look for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

How do I become licensed to work as a nurse educator?

Since nurse educators need to be RNs with significant clinical experience, your RN license should be up to date. While there’s no specific license needed to work as a nurse educator, you can take the optional National League of Nursing certification exam to become a Certified Nurse Educator.

What continuing education requirements should I expect throughout my career?

You’ll need to fulfill continuing education requirements at certain intervals in your career (usually every two years) in order to keep your license active. Each state has different credit/hours criteria so always check with your state board. Colleges, universities and trade schools may require their educators complete continuing education credits as well.

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