Jobs you can get with a degree in nursing education
A master’s degree in nursing education prepares graduates for teaching positions in both academic and clinical settings, including hospitals, colleges, universities, and more.
There are many different types of nurse educators under two broad categories in nursing education:
- Clinical setting. Many educators in nursing practice work in a clinical environment to train students directly in real-life patient care situations.
- Academic setting. Nurse educators may also teach in a college or university classroom.
To become a nurse educator in either setting, extended experience as a registered nurse and a master’s degree in nursing education will be required to pursue this career path.
Types of jobs you can get in nursing education
Every job as a nursing teacher is unique and features different responsibilities, but the overall goal is the same: to prepare nursing students for the transition from school to a professional work setting.
1. Clinical setting: hospital and clinical nurse instructor positions
Education in a teaching hospital or other clinical environment is often needed in the case of continuing education. Work in a hospital as a nurse educator and you will be responsible for providing clinical education to nursing staff and other healthcare professionals.
Clinical nurse educators are vital to helping a healthcare facility improve processes and mitigate risks to both patients and caregivers.
2. Academic setting: faculty / nurse teacher positions
Nursing faculty teach nursing students in a classroom environment, preparing lectures and academic curriculums to provide foundational nursing education. To work in an academic setting, you will need to hold a master’s degree in nursing. For some positions, you may be required to hold a DNP or Ph.D.
3. A mix of both clinical and academic
Some nurse educators will split duty between a college/university classroom and clinical role depending on an organization’s needs.
Many nurse educators will teach part-time while working in a clinical setting, giving them opportunity to remain sharp, continue building experience in patient care and share their advanced expertise with new nursing students.
Requirements for the job may include:
- Design curriculum to ensure classes meet the state accreditation requirements
- Prepare lectures and lead classroom discussion
- Supervise lab and clinical education
- Provide feedback to students as they work and interact with patients
- Oversee student research and internships
- Aide in research, studies and evidence-based practice efforts
- Review student performance
Potential job titles include nurse educator, nurse instructor, clinical nurse specialist, nurse teacher and many different other variations. Discover the most crucial skills for nurse educators and what it takes to excel on this rewarding career path.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nurse educators generally practice in one or both of:
- Academic setting. Universities, colleges, trade schools, etc.
- Clinical setting. Hospitals, clinics, other healthcare organizations, etc.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these 5 industries provide the highest level of employment for nurse educators in 2018:
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
- Junior Colleges
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Technical and Trade Schools
- Business Schools and Computer and Management Training
If you are not already a registered nurse, your first step is to earn your degree in nursing and become a licensed RN. You will then need to earn a master’s degree in nursing education to become a nurse educator.
Depending on what type of opportunities you seek, there may be additional advanced training needed. For some positions as a professor you may be required to earn a doctorate in nursing.
You can earn your MSN in nursing education in as few as 16-20 months depending on the degree you currently hold. We recommend you sit for the Certified Nurse Educator exam. It’s not a requirement, but it will give you an edge on the job market. Completing the MSN in Nursing Education program from Herzing University makes you eligible to register for the exam.
Once you pass the exam and become a certified nurse educator you’ll have the credentials you need to start making an impact on the lives of nursing students in a clinical or college/university environment.
If you are a registered nurse with a passion for teaching and seek the best new career opportunity, earning a master’s in nursing education is absolutely worth it. You will earn the opportunity to pursue a number of different options as a nursing teacher and find a job you love.
With an MSN Nurse Educator degree you will also qualify for post-graduate nursing certificate programs should you choose to expand your body of knowledge and continue growing in the nursing field. If you’re looking towards a future in management as a nurse leader, see our MSN in Nursing Leadership & Administration program.
Yes, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Nursing faculty shortages are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for registered nurses continues to rise.
The AACN’s 2018-2019 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing report found that “nursing schools turned away 75,029 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2018 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints.”
The AACN cites the following primary reasons for the nurse educator shortage:
- Faculty age continues to climb, and a wave of retirements is expected over the next 10 years
- Higher compensation in clinical settings draws candidates away from faculty roles
- Master’s and doctoral nursing programs are not generating enough candidates for nurse educator programs
The result is that nurse educators are in very high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 18% increase in employment from 2022-2032, significantly higher than most other types of postsecondary teachers.*
Advance your career with Herzing.
We offer several options for earning a master's level credential in nursing education:
- An Accelerated RN to MSN in Nursing Education program for RNs holding an ADN/ASN
- An Master's in Nursing Education program (BSN to MSN) for BSN holders
- A Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Education for current MSN holders
Discover our many degree pathways and find out how we can help you take the next big leap forward in your career.
You can earn up to 85% in loan forgiveness through the NFLP. Commit to a career as a nursing instructor and you can potentially save immensely on cost as part of the National Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). You’ll need to find a full-time position within 12 months after graduation. The longer you remain employed full-time, the more you can save—up to 85% over 4 years.1
1. In exchange for post-graduation employment as nurse faculty meeting specific criteria, the program authorizes the cancellation of up to 85% of any such loan (plus interest thereon).
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.
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