Nurse Educator

Nurse EducatorNurse educators are registered nurses with advanced degrees who chose to dedicate the rest or part of their career to building and molding nurses for tomorrow. These nurses have walked the walk and paved the way for future nurses to learn and grow in the dynamic field of nursing. In retrospective, every nurse is a nurse educator, as new nurses are introduced into this career and seasoned nurses take them under their wing and show them the way to achieve - to become confident and caring nurses.

Nurse educators are leaders in their field and are needed at every level in nursing to teach students who've decided to make nursing a career. They are committed to excellence in teaching students how to give the best of care to every patient and resident they care for. Nurse educators want to see students excel above their own personal expectations and strive to encourage, inspire and motivate students to aspire to achieve a healthier tomorrow.

Education Requirements

Nurse educators are high achievers and strive for academic excellence. Their knowledge and experience is passed on to the next generation of nurses. Most teaching positions for nurse educators require a registered nurse to hold a Master's in Science of nursing degree. Some teaching institutions may higher registered nurses with a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree as long as they are actively enrolled in a Master’s of Science in nursing program for teaching. Nurses with a Master’s Degree in nursing other than teaching can attain a post master certificates in teaching.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Registered Nurses who have an Associate of Science degree in nursing should first attain a Bachelor in Science degree in nursing if they have a goal of becoming a nurse educator. This can be accomplished online through an RN to BSN track or a nurse can attend traditional classes. Attaining a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing degree prepares nurses for attaining higher degrees such as a Master’s or PH.D - to advance in their chosen career as a nurse educator.
  • Masters of Science in Nursing –Is the standard degree for nurse educators to hold in teaching position. This degree also attainable by several tracks. There are online programs and traditional class setting programs available at many universities. A Master’sof Science program utilizes registered nurses’ clinical experience and their desire to teach as a foundation for advancement in higher education.
  • Post Master's Certificate Nursing Education – Is a convenient way for nurses who hold a Master's Degree in Nursing other than education to attain a nurse educator’s graduate degree. This is attainable through online programs.
  • PhD in Nursing Education – Prepare nurses to become scholars or research and scientific study. They are prepared to work independently as leaders by developing theories of nursing, research skills and learning strategies. A PhD is attainable through online studies at selected universities as well as traditional class studies.

Job Description & Duties

Most nurse educators work in academic settings and hold various positions such as:

  • Faculty staff members of community college nursing program.
  • Faculty staff members of universities for graduate study program.
  • Develop Nursing Plans at health institutions.
  • Prepare lectures for universities.
  • Test nursing theories at doctorate levels.
  • Critique educational plans for nursing schools and universities.
  • Design academic courses for nursing program.
  • More experienced nurse educators write textbooks and material for the advancement of nursing.
  • Grant proposal writing.

Nurse educators also have the advantage of teaching classes online which gives them the opportunity to teach students worldwide while learning new cultures and about nursing around the globe.

Job Outlook and Salary

Job outlook for nurse educators is excellent as there is a shortage of this discipline. Many nursing programs have to limit the amount of students allowed since they have limited faculty members. Several factors such as nursing instructors  reaching retirement age, budget constraints and the cost of higher education is impeding many from becoming nurse educators.

As an incentive to gain nurse educators for the future, there are many scholarship and fellowship programs available which help defer the cost of graduate studies. American Association of Colleges of Nursing is a valuable resource for finding funding for graduate studies.

Salary range is between $70,000 to $90,000 per year, depending on institution worked, educational degree and years of experience.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Written by

Carrie Cronkite BSN, RN

Carrie has been a registered nurse for 14 years and works at a local hemodialysis outpatient center. She has experience in cardiac nursing, orthopedic rehabilitation and [...]