Nurse Educator with students

How to Become a Nurse Educator

How to Become a Nurse Educator —Job Description and Salary

Are you wondering how to become a nursing instructor? The right resources and information are essential for students like you looking to pursue this career path. As a nurse educator, you will teach students how to care for patients in both classrooms and in clinical settings. You will provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their duties in the health care setting. As a professional nurse educator, you may teach students in two-year or four-year diploma or degree programs in the field of nursing.

Job Description — What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

The typical nurse educator job description includes teaching as well as associated administrative duties. Nurse educators may work in a college or university setting offering guidance, support, and instruction to students seeking a career in the health care industry. Part of the nurse educator job description includes the duty to evaluate and assess progress for students in their classes.

Nurse educator supervising student nurse with patient

Another element of the typical nursing instructor job description is the requirement to participate in continuing education to maintain current knowledge of the nursing profession. Some nursing educators also participate in research studies to increase the knowledge available to health care professionals across the country and around the world. 

Nurse Educator Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for nursing instructors in 2015 was $73,150. Nurse educator salaries can vary widely depending on geographic location and demand. The environment in which professional educators perform their duties also can have a significant effect on nursing instructor salaries. Compensation typically increases with years of experience and higher educational levels and can potentially reach six figures for nursing instructors at the top of their professional careers.

How to Become a Nurse Educator

Depending on the environment in which you will practice as a nursing instructor, you may need a master's degree or doctoral degree to qualify for employment in most organizations. Aspiring nurse instructors may also need to obtain certifications to be considered for certain positions of responsibility in the educational setting. 

Steps to Becoming a Nurse Educator

To find out more about how to become a nurse educator, use the following steps to  navigate the educational and certification processes necessary to begin a career in this field.

Step 1:  Select a Nurse Educator Degree Program

Finding the right educational program can be challenging, especially if you’re already employed in the health care field.  You should consider a number of factors when selecting a nurse educator degree program, including the following:

  • Accreditation status for the university and the degree program
  • Reputation in the educational and health care industries
  • Availability of online courses for students already working full-time
  • Graduation and hire rates
  • Cost of the program after all scholarships and direct aid have been considered

These factors can have a significant impact on your overall success in pursuing a career in nurse education.

Nurse educator in training

Step 2: Complete Your Coursework

Completing university classes and working toward the chosen degree is usually the next step in the process. Coursework can cover the following areas:

  • The use of modern technologies in the educational setting
  • Teaching strategies for nurse instructors
  • Theories of education and learning
  • Practical experience in the teaching field
  • Assessment and evaluation of student performance
  • Curriculum design and development
  • Special topics in pharmacology, physiology and other areas of medical research

These classes are designed to provide you with the skills and competencies necessary to educate future generations of nurses. The efforts of nurse educators can have a direct and significant impact on the care received by patients in clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities.

Step 3: Obtain Your Nurse Educator Certification 

Certification is generally the next step if you are  seeking a clear path to a career in nursing education. The National League for Nursing offers certification for nurse educators, allowing you to stand out from the crowd when seeking employment in this field. The Certified Nurse Educator Examination is open to licensed nurses who have completed a master's or doctoral degree program in nursing education and who are currently practicing as a nurse educator. In some cases, experience in the nursing field may be substituted for a degree in nursing education as a means of qualifying to take the Certified Nurse Educator exam. Successful completion of this examination and payment of the applicable fees entitles you to enjoy the benefits of certification as a professional nurse educator.

Earn Your Master's in Nursing Education Degree at GMercyU

Gwynedd Mercy University can help students interested in careers as nursing instructors enjoy flexibility and the most practical solutions at every stage of their journey. Our skilled advisors will provide the most accurate guidance and the best options to ensure you can achieve your goals quickly and in a cost-effective way. You can learn more about our available nurse educator program on our website. We look forward to helping you make the right moves for a brighter future.