Becoming a Nurse Educator: What You Need to Know

By on March 25, 2019
Nurse Educator

When looking back at your nursing school experience, much of your time would have been spent studying for exams and trying to retain as much information as possible. What you may not have considered is going into a completely different role and becoming a nurse educator instead. If you’ve had enough of working in high-pressure environments, you may just be interested in teaching in a classroom instead. Here is all you need to know about how to become a nurse educator and the benefits it can bring you.

What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

The role of a nurse educator incorporates clinical experience with development and instruction. Once you have qualified as a nurse educator, you will be required to use your knowledge and experience to teach nursing students or clinical professionals who are ongoing with their education. Using your own experience and expertise and applying it to your lessons can be a huge help for nurses, giving them real-world examples and techniques on how to deal with every aspect of nursing.

Other Duties

While teaching is the primary role as a nurse educator, there are various other duties you will be expected to perform such as developing lesson plans, evaluating educational programs, overseeing the student’s clinical practice and serving as a role model to students. Nurse educators may also teach general courses or focus on specialist areas such as pediatric nursing. It’s important for nurse educators to stay up to date with the latest nursing technologies and methods which can ensure they are delivering the right level of education to students. Once experience has been gained, nurse educators may move on to administrative roles such as writing and reviewing textbooks or managing nurse education programs.

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Where Does a Nurse Educator Work?

Community colleges, technical schools and nursing schools are all types of environments that you can expect to work in as a nurse educator. Some nurse educators may work in healthcare roles such as clinical supervisors or staff development officers. Unlike clinical nurses, nurse educators typically don’t have to work long 12-hour shifts.

Most of your day as a nurse educator will be spent in a classroom or office, giving you time to prepare for classes. You can also use this time to structure your lectures and advise students on any problems they may have. Nurse educators who teach students in clinical environments may split their time between a healthcare facility and on campus. A lot of faculty members also conduct research which can bring a scientific element to nursing practice.

It’s important to remember that academic life can be demanding and full of unexpected surprises. As a nurse educator, you will be expected to attend and speak at conferences, so being confident in your abilities is essential. Being able to communicate effectively with your students and colleagues is what will set you apart from other candidates. You will want your students to excel in their studies, so providing them with your knowledge and expertise can help them enormously with their future endeavors.


The typical salary for a nurse educator currently stands at $73,726, however, this will vary depending on how much teaching and clinical experience you have. The location you are in can also play a factor in how much you will receive too. If you study for a doctorate or take on administration or leadership roles within the school, there is the chance your salary will increase. Nurse educators can also increase their salary by looking after patients. While an experienced nurse can get more money from caring for patients as opposed to teaching, nursing schools are trying to lure more nurses into education by offering competitive salaries.

Academic Requirements

As a minimum, you will need to have an RN degree (registered nurse), valid license and a few years of work experience before you can begin teaching. Many nurse educators complete an online masters in nursing education, however, a doctorate is required if you want to teach at a university. There is also the option to receive a post-master’s degree or certificate in education.

Before you consider applying for your online master’s in nurse education, it’s essential that you possess the right skills and requirements of a nurse educator. As you will be teaching students, you will need to be confident in your ability with the ability to control a classroom full of students. Being able to execute your lessons effectively will mean that students are receiving the best possible education, helping you flourish in your nurse educator role. A level of compassion and empathy for your students can also go a long way.


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Becoming a Nurse Educator: What You Need to Know