The employment projections listed above come from the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which gathers current and future data for postsecondary teachers, including nurse educator jobs. The nurse educator position is two-fold, part registered nurse and part postsecondary teacher, but their primary duty is to instruct and mentor nursing students.
Nurse educators play an instrumental role in the professional development of future nurses. From the classroom to the hospital room, nurse educators offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that guides students through the ups and downs of nursing school. Some instructors split their time between teaching college-level courses, conducting research, and providing patient care, while others prefer to teach exclusively. Here are some basic job duties performed by nurse educators:
- Develop course curriculum and plan lessons and assignments
- Teach nursing courses
- Write grant proposals and manage the nursing department
- Conduct research and experiments in their field of expertise
Registered nurses make up the largest percentage of health care providers in the U.S., and this ever-changing profession is expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations by 2020. This surge in registered nurses means more emphasis will be placed on filling nurse educator careers. But regardless of the type of institution and program of study, postsecondary teaching jobs are expected to increase as college enrollments continue to rise.
Job Growth for
- Annual Pay National Average
- Hourly Pay National Average
|District of Columbia||750||$73,950||$36|
Becoming a Nurse Educator
The first step in becoming a nurse educator is completing the necessary education and training needed to be a registered nurse. Students can choose from the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), the associate degree in nursing (ADN), and the nursing diploma, all of which vary in length and difficulty of admittance. Nursing courses vary slightly between schools and programs, but most include a variety of life sciences courses and nursing courses.
Many undergraduate nursing courses have a clinical component that consists of rotations in general and specialty nursing departments. Some common specialties include pediatrics, psychiatric and mental health, surgery, and geriatrics. Although clinical rotations can be stressful or intimidating, they also provide firsthand exposure to patient care in a variety of settings.
- Foundations for Nursing Practice
- Health Assessment
- Mental Health Nursing
- Clinical Decision Making
After completing a nursing program, graduates will prepare to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Passing the exam will enable you to practice as a licensed RN in your state. Aspiring nurse educators will need to get clinical experience as an RN, preferably within the specialty you wish to teach. The next step is to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and possibly a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD). Once you've met the necessary educational and experience requirements, you should consider sitting for the Certified Nurse Educator examination.