What Is A Nurse Educator?

what is a nurse educatorThere is currently a high demand for qualified nurses to fill nurse educator roles. Nurse educators are trained to combine instructional skill and clinical expertise in classroom and practice settings. For nurses who are passionate about educating and mentoring the next generation of nursing professionals, working as a nurse educator is a rewarding career option.

Nurse Educator Job Description

Nurse educators work in nursing schools, colleges, universities, health care institutions, and hospitals. As the popularity of online nursing education grows, many nurse educators are also finding positions as faculty members with accredited online degree programs. Besides providing instruction, they design, evaluate, and revise degree programs and continuing education programs for nurses. Their students range from recent high school graduates, to nurses earning advanced degrees, and practicing nurses who are updating their knowledge and skills.

Some nurse educators further their profession as medical researchers, while others continue to work with patients. This allows them to stay current with the rapidly changing clinical environment and to incorporate new nursing practices into nursing program curricula.

Nurse Educator Salary

According to PayScale, nurse educators’ annual salaries range from $48,000 to more than $100,000. Higher salaries are earned by nurse educators who hold doctoral degrees and are high-ranking administrators in nursing schools. Nurse educators in academic settings typically work for nine months per year. Some nurse educators earn less than registered nurses working in hospitals, but they enjoy the benefits of a position that offers independence and a flexible schedule.

Nurse Educator Preparation

Nurse educators are registered nurses with advanced education and specialized clinical training. Although a bachelor’s degree is acceptable for some nurse educator positions in clinical settings, nursing programs in colleges and universities typically look for nurse educators who have a master’s degree or higher and who have demonstrated expertise in their area of specialization. Nurse educators must have communication skills that allow them to convey effectively their knowledge and passion for the nursing profession. In order to design and implement nursing programs, nurse educators must be committed to continually advancing their nursing knowledge and competency.

After earning a master’s degree or doctorate, a nurse educator may become a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE). Registered nurses with two years of experience as a full-time educator are eligible to take the CNE certification exam, which is sponsored by the National League for Nursing. CNE certification is not an employment requirement for nurse educators, but it is a mark of professionalism that demonstrates a nurse educator’s commitment to the teaching profession.


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