Becoming a Nurse Educator

Healthcare professionals are wondering about the future when they see the impact of the current nursing shortage. However, there’s actually a different shortage that many seem to be unaware of. They know it’s important to have eager nursing students who are willing to learn and lead the next generation of RNs and LPNs, but who will teach them? The American Association of Colleges of Nursing said in an October 2016 report that there were more than 1,500 jobs available for faculty at nursing schools and a need for 133 more just to meet the demand today. This is exactly why becoming a nurse educator could be exactly what you’re looking for. Nurses who are interested in a late-career change should consider becoming a nurse educator because it is an attractive choice. As the next generation of nurses comes into sight experienced nurses with BSN degrees should consider a career as an educator. Becoming a nurse educator allows you to pass down knowledge while gaining a whole new experience in a different setting.

Becoming a Nurse Educator


The first requirement to becoming a nurse educator is to at least have a BSN degree. Nurse educators in academic settings usually hold at least a master’s degree, but a doctoral degree is typically required at the university level. Nurse educators should be able to create a lesson plan that will give students the best possible chance to learn the material. They should also be able to communicate with students and present complex ideas and concepts in a manner that will allow students to digest and retain the information. Finally, they should have a passion for becoming a mentor to this new generation of nurses. Becoming a nurse educator is essentially becoming the person that will pass to torch onto a whole new batch of healthcare professionals.

reasons for becoming a nurse educator

Working Conditions

Nurses transitioning to becoming a nurse educator will face a transition in their working conditions. You are probably used to spending your day in a hospital, making rounds and interacting with other healthcare peers. As a nurse educator, you’ll find yourself giving lectures in a classroom setting. Educators who oversee students in clinical settings may divide their time between campus and a nearby hospital or another healthcare facility. Many faculty members are also actively engaged in research efforts, which add to the scientific base for nursing practice. Becoming a nurse educator also means that you’ll be competing with deadlines pretty frequently. There are often research and publishing requirements to be met. Nurse educators are often expected to participate in professional organizations and attend or speak at conferences. They may serve on peer review and other academic committees or be asked to write grant proposals to bring new funding to the school. This will all be happening while you’ll be tasked with grading papers and making sure your students arrive in the workforce with the knowledge necessary for a successful career. You also don’t want to forget that the hours you’ll be working are often more manageable. Instead of 12-hour overnight shifts, you’ll be working a schedule similar to most teachers and professors so you can enjoy your free time.

Job Outlook

It’s already been discussed earlier, but it’s important to reiterate that there is a huge need for nurse educators. Nurse educators have an average salary of over $75,000, so becoming a nurse educator is a pretty lucrative gig. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2020. However, nursing schools turned away almost 65,000 qualified applicants last year, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Why? Because nursing schools don’t have enough nurse educators to educate all the students who want to become nurses.

If you have any other questions regarding a nurse educator career, feel free to drop a comment below!

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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1 Comment

  1. I’m a retired (as of 6/13) RN thinking about getting into a part-time position doing something different than I’ve done before. Teaching, or even tutoring, appeals to me. Programs in which new nurses are mentored by older ones when coming into a new workplace are a wonderful–and long overdue–advancement and something I enjoyed doing as a staff/floor nurse in my last job. My 43-year career in nursing started in the Army in 1969. I took the LVN exam in Texas that year. Eventually went back for my RN and got my BSN from the University of Oklahoma in 2006. Along the way–just because I loved it–I got an MA in English from the University of Washington in Seattle. Although I understand that you specialize in travel nursing, I’m really only interested in local jobs. Thank you, Patricia Carey, RN,BSN (retired)

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