How to Choose a Masters in Nursing Education

In this article, we will tell you the benefits of getting a Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing Education. We will detail what you will study in a nursing education, how you should select your program and also you will learn what the requirements are to work in nursing education. Further, we will tell you about the importance of nursing program accreditation.

What Is a Master’s in Nursing Education?

A Master’s in Nursing Education is a Master of Science in Nursing with a speciality in clinical nursing education. It is a degree that a RN earns after she has at least three or five years of nursing experience.

With a master’s in nursing education, you will be able to combine your passion for teaching with your clinical nursing experience; you will be able to lead and mentor new generations of nurses.

In most nursing education master’s programs, you will learn the following:

  • Understanding the development processes from birth to infancy to adulthood and how they relate to teaching and learning
  • How to evaluate and use measurement tools and tasks to plan instruction of your nursing students
  • Learn how to leverage technology to get better success within all healthcare organizations
  • Learn how to create functional nursing education objectives and effective clinical nursing instructional methods
  • Implement effective clinical teaching methods and evaluate educational resources

A key part of your master’s in nursing education program will be to prepare for your American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Nursing Professional Development Certification. You also may choose to obtain your National League for Nursing Certified Nurse Educator Examination.

The ideal candidate for a master’s in nursing education program is an experienced nursing professional with a bachelor of science in nursing, who wants to combine her clinical expertise with a desire to be a teacher.

If you want to teach in the nursing profession in college, you have to have a master’s degree. There are many good online, accredited master’s in nursing education degree programs available and we will highlight one of them later on this page.

Why Earn a Master’s in Nursing Education?

If you have worked as a registered nurse, you know that the nursing field is growing rapidly, as the demand for health care services is increasing so quickly. The higher demand for nurses is being driven by a population that is getting older and living longer, and they want to live healthier lives. Naturally, there is more demand for many health care services and more nurses to take care of patients.

Statistics have shown that there also is a shortage of experienced nursing education instructors at the college level. In fact, US nursing schools in 2014 were forced to turn away nearly 70,000 qualified applicants from bachelor’s and master’s programs in nursing due to a nurse educator shortage.

Also, government statistics tell us that there will be a much higher demand for advanced nursing practice nurses with a master’s degree by 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment for nurse practitioners and nurse midwives will increase by 31% in that time frame.

While it does not specifically mention nurse educators, that speciality also is an advanced nursing practice role, and we can expect job demand to be similar.

Licensing and Certification

After you finish your master’s degree program, you will need to be certified. You will need to get your Certification for Nurse Educators or CNE administered by the National League for Nursing. This designation will show your future employers that you are a highly qualified nursing education instructor.

Online Master’s in Nursing Education Degree Options

For the experienced RN who wants to influence new generations of nurses, we recommend that you look at these online master’s in nursing education programs:

Duke University

Duke University offers a high quality online Master of Nursing Education program that will prepare the experienced nurse to become a nurse educator in either an academic or staff development position. The Duke University program is accredited by the CCNE and it reflects the nurse educator competencies that have been developed by respected, national nursing organizations.

The curriculum may be completed in 2.5 years online, and it integrates core master’s in nursing concepts and advanced clinical foundations, as well as education focused courses.

The nursing education specialization at Duke is delivered through an asynchronous format online; this means that you will be able to usually attend your classes on your own schedule, allowing you to continue to work on at least a part time basis in many cases.

After you have completed most of your online classes, you will then take Nursing 745, which is a practicum portion that has at least 168 practicum hours. You will complete this portion of the program in your local region under the supervision of a master educator at Duke.

Preparation for Employment

The advanced clinical courses at Duke University will offer students with a foundation that they need for being a successful nursing instructor. It has been shown through the years that Nursing Education MSN graduates at Duke are very well prepared to assume many clinical instructor or faculty positions at many universities or health care organizations.


Your required courses at Duke University include the following:

  • Nurse As Scholar: Science Development, Study Design and Statistics
  • Nurse as Scholar II: Evidence Based Practice
  • Population Health in a Global Society
  • Professional Transitions: Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Advanced Physiology Across the Lifespan
  • Advanced Concepts of Health Assessment
  • Trends in Management of Major Health Problems
  • Practicum in Management of Major Health Problems
  • Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Facilitating Student Learning
  • Innovations in Clinical Teaching and Evaluation
  • Integrating Technology Into Nursing Education
  • Test Construction and Item Analysis

Western Governor’s University

Western Governor’s University offers a Master of Science in Nursing – Education that can be completed online, except for the practicum portion of your degree program. This highly rated online master’s in nursing education will ready you to teach an entire new generation of nurses. Competencies for this program have been derived from the NLN Nurse Educator Standards, and from the Masters Essentials for Professional Nursing practice.

This program has been designed for experienced RNs who have a BSN and want to work in nursing education. You should expect to spend at least 15 hours per week on your nursing education classes.

You will be a nursing education expert in all of the study areas that are required by the National League for Nursing’s Nurse Educator Competencies. The program requires you to have 36 credit hours, and every student who has a BSN to start will complete the program in under three years.

Your key subject areas include:

  • Professional Practice and Influence in Nursing Education
  • How to Translate Research for Practice and Populations
  • Nursing Organization Leadership and and Team Development
  • Pharacotherapeutics
  • Nursing Education Foundations
  • Field Experience in Nursing Education
  • Health Assessments for Populations and Patients
  • Global Health Trends

Capstone Project

You also must successfully complete a capstone project. This project is something that students can be proud of, it is the culmination of nearly three years of nursing education work. The final project you work on will deal with a key aspect of nursing education that you will study and provide recommendations on.

WGU has been accredited by the CCNE, so you know that this program will provide you with the nursing education that you need to succeed in any nurse educator position.


As you are considering your online nursing educator program, we strongly advise that you seek a program that has been accredited by the CCNE or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This will assure you and your employers that you have learned everything you need to be a successful and effective nursing education teacher.


Earning your Master’s in Nursing Education is a solid career move for the experienced RN who wants to work less in the clinical space and do more to educate future generations of nurses.