How to become a Nurse Educator
Nurse Educator: The Balance Between Teaching and Nursing
What you'll do: Nurse educators combine clinical expertise with a passion for teaching. With the growing demand for nurses, nursing schools nationwide are struggling to find qualified faculty. Nurse educators report that the most rewarding aspect of their work is their interaction with students. They also enjoy flexible schedules and constant intellectual stimulation, including opportunities to work with the latest cutting-edge research.
Certification: The National League of Nursing offers Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) certification as a mark of excellence in the specialty role of the academic nurse educator.
Median annual salary: $79,837*
Cities where jobs are often found: Nashville, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus and Pittsburgh
Nurse Educator Career Overview
Nurse educators may teach at the undergraduate level preparing licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) for entry into practice positions. They may also teach master's and doctoral level programs, helping educate advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, nurse administrators, nurse researchers and future nursing leaders.
Because their skills are in high demand, nurse educators enjoy tremendous job security. They often maintain dual roles as educators and direct patient care providers. They are role models for less experienced nurses, and they work to ensure a quality undergraduate or graduate education experience for nurses in training. They also design, implement, evaluate and revise academic and continuing education programs for nurses.
Nurse educator job titles may include Instructional or Administrative Nurse Faculty, Clinical Nurse Educator, Staff Development Officer and Continuing Education Specialist, among others.
Nurse Educator Education
- Registered nurse licensure and experience.
- A Master's degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctoral degree in Nursing (PhD), depending on whether you're interested in teaching in a graduate program. These degrees must include a major emphasis on nursing education or another nursing specialty.
- Advanced training and experience in a clinical specialty. You can then supplement this experience with coursework in education, such as a post-Master's certificate in education.
- Your nursing certification.
The demand for all types of nurses is expected to increase significantly over the next ten years. This corresponds with an intensive demand for more nurse educators to prepare new nurses to meet the shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many qualified applicants to nursing schools are currently being turned away because of a shortage of nursing faculty. As experienced instructors retire, the demand for nurse educators will continue to increase.
Note: This article has been developed in partnership with the National League for Nursing's Task Group on Recruitment and Retention of Faculty. We are grateful for their assistance.
Sources: National League of Nursing; Salary.com's May 2012 Survey; Nursing Education Coordinator.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Nurse Educator Perks at a Glance
A Rewarding Career
Nursing faculty have the unique opportunity to share their clinical expertise in educational settings to shape the next generation of nurses. Current faculty indicate some of the most rewarding aspects of their jobs:
- The daily interaction with students
- The scholarly inquiry that can further illuminate the nature of teaching and learning and can ultimately shape future educational processes and outcomes
Source: National League for Nursing's Task Group
How to Pay for Nursing School
As nursing school tuition has increased, a rising number of nursing scholarships and grants have become available for qualifying candidates. Nursing school is expensive, but there are many grants, loans, scholarships, work-study and loan forgiveness programs available to hard-working students. Gain access to nursing school financial first aid.
How to Get Nursing Scholarships
Many scholarship and grant opportunities are available to nursing students to encourage people to enter the nursing field and help alleviate the increasing nursing shortages. With a little research, you can learn how to obtain this free money for your nursing school education. Learn how to uncover these nursing scholarship and grant sources to help free you from financial worries.