How do I become a Nurse Educator?

Do you have a desire to teach? Nurse educators have the compassion to encourage future nurses and the ability to share their knowledge and clinical expertise to others regarding patient care.

Nurse Educators are responsible for creating curriculum through lectures and clinical lab work. They spend much of their time engaged in administrative tasks, serving on committees and writing grant proposals. Other duties will include assessing learning needs, evaluating and grading laboratory and classwork assignments, in addition to, staying informed of current medical developments and attending professional conferences. As an educator, you will be a mentor and a valued advisor. Nurse educators may choose to concentrate on teaching or may participate in research, as well.

To be a successful Nurse Educator, you must be an excellent communicator, knowledgeable in the field of nursing, creative, organized and be genuinely interested in the education and the mentoring of your students. You must have good interpersonal skills and project a professional image, always.

The minimum educational requirement for certification to become a nurse educator is an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctoral degree in Nursing (PhD) and you must choose a specialization, as well. Upon completion of a graduate program, if you are interested in becoming a nurse educator, you can take the National League for Nursing (NLN) exam to become a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE).

To be eligible for tenure, you must be hired as a full-time faculty employee, have a doctorate degree, seven years of experience and you will be expected to perform research, as well as, your teaching and administrative duties.

There are many online educational programs that can be found when seeking your online master’s degree. This option provides the working nurse the opportunity to earn their degree while managing a busy household and holding a job. While working full-time, you may be able to complete your online master’s degree program within a 2½ year time frame.

In general, most nurse educators are employed by colleges or universities, however, some are employed by hospitals, home care agencies, nursing homes, in addition to, pharmaceutical and medical device companies who are now hiring RNs to educate patients. Also, other possible employers may include technical or trade schools. Depending on where you teach, the curriculum may include preparing students to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs). However, at the graduate level, you will prepare your students to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), nurse administrators, researchers or other educators.

The average salary for a Nurse Educator ranges from between $67,480 – $72,000 annually, with a growth rate of 19% between now and 2024. Educators who work in psychiatric, substance abuse centers or government agencies earn slightly more averaging between $81,810 – $88,340 annually. A Nurse Educator can earn upwards of $112,680 annually depending on experience, educational degree and job location.

In 2014, 69,000 qualified student applicants were turned away from nursing school due to lack of educators. More and more Registered Nurses are transitioning into educators because the long 12-hour shifts and overtime are no more. As an educator, you can balance your work with your home life. With a 90% job satisfaction rate for the Nurse Educator, compared to 81% of that for RNs, it appears teaching is a rewarding, as well as, lucrative career.

If you decide to move into a career of teaching, you will have the privilege of spending a lot of time working and molding the minds of future nurses, however, you will give up time caring for your patients. If you do miss your patients, you may also opt to work part-time in a clinical setting, too. If you are interested in a nursing career, see our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs to help you along your educational journey.