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How to Become a Nursing Professor

Without a doubt, nursing is one of the country’s most in-demand careers. In fact, the demand for nurses is so great that a nursing shortage is projected across the U.S. for the foreseeable future. The solution seems simple: train more nurses. But it is not that easy. A serious faculty shortage is limiting the number of students who can be admitted to nursing programs.

The pressing need for nurse educators makes it an ideal time for registered nurses (RNs) to consider this career track. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is one way to get there.

Online degree programs such as the MSN in Nursing Education at Lamar University streamline the process. Students can graduate in just two years, equipped with the skills they need to prepare new nurses to make a difference.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Nurse Educator?

According to the National League for Nursing (NLN), pre-licensure nursing programs turned away over 70 percent of qualified applicants due to a shortage of faculty. RNs who hold a current, unencumbered license are already on their way to filling this need.

Qualifications for nurse educators may vary by school. Requirements may also vary from state to state. Generally, qualifications include the following:

  • In addition to an active license in good standing, most faculty positions require at least an MSN.
  • To prepare nursing students to practice, nurse educators must have current clinical experience. Two plus years is typical.
  • Certification is a sign of excellence in many fields. Options for nurse educator certification include Certified Nurse Educator and Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator.

How Much Do Nurse Educators Earn?

“Nurse Educator” is one of over 100 nursing specializations. While pay may differ from one area to the next, nursing generally offers salaries that are well above national averages.

Nurse educators made a Nurse Journal list of the five best paying nursing careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing educators who work in colleges, universities and professional schools earn a mean annual wage of $80,380. For nurse educators teaching in hospitals, this jumps to $123,760. At the top end, nurse educators can earn over $150,000.

What Are the Rewards of Being a Nurse Educator?

Nurse educators make significant contributions to their profession as they train nurses to meet today’s growing healthcare needs. A career in nurse education offers additional rewards, both personal and professional.

Flexibility: Nurse educators can work in a variety of programs and settings. For example, they can teach in community colleges and universities — in associate degree and BSN programs. With the right credentials, they can also teach at the graduate level. They may also train nursing students and nurses in hospitals and medical centers.

Opportunity: There is no shortage of jobs for nurse educators. Nurse Journal puts job growth at 19 percent, much faster than the average of 7 percent for all other occupations. Of course, employment varies by state. Texas, for example, is among the top five states with the highest employment level for nurse educators.

RNs who want to maintain their clinical practice may find that teaching positions allow for this. Some argue that “clinical currency” should be required.

As nursing programs across the U.S. attempt to keep up with the demand for nurses, opportunities for nursing educators will continue to grow. Earning an MSN can prepare RNs to lead the way. Lamar University’s online format means that RNs can continue working, gaining both the education and experience they need.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online MSN in Nursing Education program.


National League for Nursing: Faculty Shortage

National League for Nursing: CNE

National League for Nursing: CNE CL

Nurse Journal: 5 Best Paying MSN Jobs in Nursing

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary

Nurse Journal: Nursing Educator Careers & Salary Outlook

Lippincott NursingCenter: 2nd Opinion: Should Clinical Practice Be Required of Nurse Faculty?


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