Enjoy teaching? Have a passion for education? Combine your love for nursing and teaching and become a Nurse Educator today!

How to Become a Nurse Educator Guide
How to Become a Nurse Educator Guide

Table of Contents

Quick Summary

Nursing instructors are also known as nursing educators, nurse nursing teachers, as well as nursing professors. Nursing educators are registered nurses, and they use and draw upon their nursing experience and skills to help educate nursing students.

Nursing educators contribute to teaching nursing students how to care for patients within a classroom or a hospital setting. The nurse educators contribute to demonstrate nursing skills that will be needed in their career while monitoring them in a hands-on learning environment.

Degree needed to practice: Bachelor of Science (BSN) and Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)

License Needed:  Registered Nursing (RN) License

Optional Certification: The Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) certification for Nurse Educators can be obtained from the National League for Nursing

How much do Nurse Educators make?  The Median annual salary is $69,568* according to Payscale.com salary profile for Nurse Educators.


What does a Nurse Educator do?

The typical day for nurse educators include plenty of emails, meeting, and phone calls with plenty of communication with both students and faculty members. Should you decide to pursue this career, you could move on to specialize in teaching in specific areas that could include Neonatal or even Pediatric nursing.

Nursing educators teach in several settings that can include nursing schools, colleges, and universities. Their settings include the classroom environment as well as a hospital setting.

Their responsibilities will always depend on the facilities need, their level of education, their specialty, as well as the nursing program’s needs. Also as a nurse educator, you can choose to specialize and subjects, that could include inaudibly or even chemistry.

Nurse Educator Duties

  • Typical duties and responsibilities of a nurse educator
  • Provide presentations in orientation program
  • Conduct student workshops and seminars, lectures, classes,
  • Possibly participate in writing policies guidelines or
  • Conduct educational sessions for staff members
  • Make sure student courses meet the requirements for the institution or nursing department

Within your nursing instructor career, you may find yourself working with a healthcare facility that has collaborated with a nursing program. The reason nursing programs team with healthcare facilities is to provide nursing students the chance actually to practice what they have learned within a supervised environment.

To help better educate nursing students the nursing educator will work with nursing students within a hospital learning or classroom environment. They also work within specialty units such as pediatrics, or even surgical nursing.

Also, nursing educators can also work with patients in a home setting to help them learn the healthcare needs of patients that may be handicapped or elderly. One thing you must remember when pursuing this career is that majority of your instruction that you will teach within your classroom will depend largely on the nursing program requirements.

Nurse educators can with various institutions and nursing programs, a significant portion of their job includes being prepared for spending quite a quite a bit of time performing research along with preparing student lectures.

Can nursing educators work as both a nurse and a teacher?

Yes, they can. Many nurse instructors and nurse educators do work actively within the nursing field along with contributing to institutions with teaching classes on weekends or even evenings. Some nursing instructors or teachers work part-time.

Characteristics and skills needed to be a successful Nurse Educator

  • Respect students with the ability to treat them fairly without bias
  • Have the capacity to be able to pull students in and create a sense of belonging in addition to a community environment.
  • Be warm, understanding, confident as well as caring.
  • Set high expectations and help students challenge themselves
  • Have a love for teaching and learning
  • Be a great leader

What institutions do nurse educators primarily work in?

Nurse educators are mostly found working in nursing schools, colleges, and universities. When it is time for them to provide clinical and instruction this could take place within a doctor’s office, a hospital, a nursing home, a medical clinic or even an institution.

Most times the working environments are usually clean with plenty of lighting.

You can additionally work with graduate or undergraduate nursing students. Your nursing students will come from various backgrounds some of your nursing students may have critical care nursing experiences or even pediatric care education while others don’t have any professional experience at all. This can make for a fascinating classroom.

Is there a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation nurse educators will need to do to prepare for lectures and teaching?

Yes, there is. Nurse educators have to prepare long in advance before providing a presentation or speech to a group of nursing students. It takes a lot of work and prepping outside of a classroom environment to be able to be ready to teach. For some nurse educators to help be prepared for conducting a presentation or even teaching a class, they may have to work with various other members of a medical faculty.

This could include working with a charge or head nurse to help get a better idea of the patients’ needs the nursing students are working with. They then use the information that they have acquired from either the head or the charge nurse to help review the nursing student’s patient charts.

This helps them be informed about what conditions their patients are dealing with it once they find out what the patient’s condition are they can then adjust their teaching plan accordingly.

Some of the responsibilities that a nurse educator will have includes grading student papers, planning courses. Besides, helping students become prepared to take their test and answering student emails. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that is involved with creating a beneficial lecture.

The nurse educator’s responsibilities can extend beyond the classroom

Nursing educator’s job responsibilities could extend beyond just teaching in a classroom or clinical environment. Nursing educators that work for universities or even a college or can sometimes be expected to become involved within the community.

Part of this community involvement will require them to speak to community groups or help to provide services to local businesses. Aside from this, some nurse educators may be encouraged to be active members of professional and academic committees.

If you decide to work for a large university you may also be required to, help published research and nursing and medical journals.

Do I have what it takes to be a nurse educator?

The best nurse instructors in nurse educators that want to succeed within this field must enjoy teaching as well as interacting with nursing students.

As a nurse educator, you will be looked upon as a leader and students will either form a positive or a negative perception of you. This could set the tone for your classroom of just how well your students will follow along with you.

What essential characteristics and skills are needed to become a successful nurse educator?

Successful nurse educators will need to be highly organized as well as have excellent leadership skills.

To be an effective nurse educator, you will be required to demonstrate your nursing skills and techniques. Additionally because you are in charge of everything that goes on in your classroom, you will need to have excellent supervisory skills as well as the ability to stay calm in stressful situations.

One of the biggest skills that you will need to be able to teach your students will not just include nursing theory some of the aspects of nursing cannot always be found in a nursing program. This includes teaching students the human side of nursing as well as patient and nurse relationships.

As a nursing educator, you will need to have excellent research skills to be able to stay on top of new patient treatments, medical technology and new and emerging patient medications.

It’s best to read that professional journals within your specialty normally these professional journals will have information that can help you advance your career as well as be informed of new information that comes into the medical field.


What education will I need to become a Nurse Educator?

Nurse educators and instructors are registered nurses and therefore they have completed a two-year associate’s degree program, a three-year nursing diploma program, or a bachelor’s four-year degree program in nursing along with a two-year Master’s degree.

Before nurse educators and nurse instructors can teach, they will need to obtain their nursing license. Once you have completed an accredited nursing program, you then can become eligible to take the national examination to receive your nursing license.

Additionally to work as a nurse educator, it is important that you do obtain clinical nursing experience before deciding to take on such a significant role such as teaching.

When you have graduated from your approved nursing program of choice, pass your license examination you can begin to apply directly to government agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, to gain employment and experience as a working registered nurse.

The nursing program that you will decide to enroll in should be in alignment with your long and short-term career goals.

If you choose to advance your skills and move up the ranks to become a professor majority of universities, you will apply for will require that you have a doctoral degree.

Many junior colleges, as well as private colleges, may just require you to have a Master’s degree.

A Master’s degree is recommended to take on a teaching in nursing position part of the benefit of obtaining your master’s degree will help you be able to be prepared and introduced to a higher level of learning. This additionally will give your more experience with researching, grant writing, and overall polishing you to become an excellent teacher.


What Certifications are available for Nurse Educators?

The National League for Nursing has the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) certification for nurse educators. This certification is for academic nurse educators. The benefits of obtaining this credential can help further and propel your career by showing your peers and employers your commitment towards teaching.

The CNE certification demonstrates that your teaching credentials have met the highest standards. Additionally by obtaining the CNE credential, you may become more respected by your peers, staff, and students as they will look upon you as a leader and role model alike.

To become eligible to take the certified nurse educator certification you will need to have met the requirements of obtaining the following:

  1. unencumbered registered nursing license within the state that you have decided to practice in.
  2. Have completed either a Masters or doctoral degree in nursing focusing on nursing education.

However if you don’t have a Masters or doctoral degree in nursing that is DOES Not emphasize nursing education you could still meet the requirement to take CNE certification by showing proof of:

  1. Active and current registered nursing license.
  2. Holding either a Masters of or doctoral degree in a nursing. That has a major that does not emphasize nursing education.
  3. Showing proof that you have been employed working in a nursing program, or an academic institution within the last five years.


Career Outlook

It appears there will be many developments that will create employment opportunities for nurse educators. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL) they project, the employment for registered nurses will grow much faster than average throughout the year 2018 to 2024. For this reason, all nursing specialties will be in high demand.

This will in return naturally increase the demand for qualified nurse educators.

According to the AACNA in 2005 over 40,000 qualified applicants that apply for bachelor nursing programs were not accepted. It appears that close to 75% nursing schools rejected the qualified nursing students.

This is because they did not have enough nursing educators, nursing instructors, and faculty members to be able to handle this demand. Over the coming years more nursing students will decide to apply for nursing school.

As the number of admissions and enrollments increase so, will the demand for nurse educators.

Read also – How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) Guide

Check out our other Nursing School Guides.