How to Get a Nurse Educator MSN Degree

This article has information about how to get a nurse educator degree. This is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a speciality in nurse education. We will provide you with information that will help you choose a good program. Also, we will share some of the advantages of becoming a nurse educator. Last, we will tell you about accreditations that you should look for in the program you attend.

What Is a Nurse Educator Degree?

A nurse educator degree is a MSN degree that is focused on the nurse education field. After you earn this degree, you will be qualified to teach students of nursing for diplomas, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Some might eventually gain the experience to teach doctoral nursing programs, too.

Nurse educators are very important today because there is a high demand for all types of nurses, including regular clinical nurses but also nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and others. More educators are needed to teach the next generation of nurses.

A nurse educator degree is for the experienced nurse with many years of experience who wants to transition into teaching nurses. This degree will allow you to combine your clinical skills and passing for teaching so that you can have a huge positive effect on new nurses. This type of program will ready you to lead and to teach as either an academic or clinical nurse educator.

Good nurse educator programs are based the practice standards and competencies that have been defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National League of Nursing (NLN).

An MSN in Nurse Educator program gives RNs the skills and knowledge they need to facilitate learning about nursing through teaching, evaluation, advisement and curriculum design. Successful graduates of a nursing education program are able to work as a nurse educator in various health care or academic settings.

Some of the common learning outcomes of this graduate nursing degree include:

  • Create effective health prevention and promotion initiatives that can improve health, safety and life quality for all people
  • Use research practices and methodologies to cause change and to lead to real improvement in healthcare systems
  • Be a model for leadership and professional practice in nursing and healthcare by constructing effective relationships and making good strategic decisions
  • Be able to effectively synthesize research, educational theory, evaluation and experiential knowledge in many nurse education settings
  • Propose innovative informatics systems efforts and technologies that can improve good decision making in a health care setting and improve patient care

With a nurse educator degree you will be in great demand around the country in many academic and healthcare settings, such as:

  • Senior colleges and universities
  • Junior or community colleges
  • Hospital-based schools of nursing
  • Technical colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Community health agencies
  • Home care agencies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Online using distance learning technology

After you have earned your MSN degree, you must pass a national certification examination. For nurse educators, you must be certified by the National League for Nursing or NLN.

Why Earn a Nurse Educator Degree?

Many experienced nurses are opting to earn a graduate degree in nursing and to become a nurse educator. They realize that nurses are in short supply and so are nurse educators. The potential for high paying work is excellent by earning an MSN in nurse education.

Nurse Educator Shortfall

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing or AACN has commented extensively in public about the faculty shortage at schools of nursing across the US, even though there is a great need for nurses. The AACN states that a shortage of nurse educators is happening for many reasons, including reduced budgets, faculty getting older and retiring, and more job competition from clinical nursing sites.

The shortage of nurse educators is stark, and people who decide to focus on this field will have plenty of jobs to choose from. AACN reported in a 2014 and 2015 study that nursing schools in the US had to turn away 69,000 qualified nursing school applicants because there were not enough teachers. The study noted that ⅔ of the responding nursing schools stated that their lack of nursing instructors caused them to turn away good nursing school candidates.

Another survey released by AACN in 2014 found that there were 1,236 nursing faculty vacancies at 714 schools with either undergraduate or graduate nursing degree programs.

The lack of nurse educators is a major reason to consider the field as you will be able to command a higher salary.

Why Nursing Demand Is Increasing

More registered nurses are needed today because the median lifespan in the United States continues to climb. People today can live to 80 and beyond; 50 years ago, many people died in the 60s.

Lifespans are increasing because technology and pharmaceutical science are much more advanced today. These advancing fields are able to greatly expand and improve the quality of life for the elderly. People want to access these healthcare services so that they can live a more productive, longer life.

Nurses are needed more than ever, and that means nurse educators are needed, too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS states that employment for all advanced practice nurses, which includes nurse educators, will rise by 31% by 2024. This growth rate is very rapid and should continue for many years.

High Salary

The salary for nurse educators is quite high, with the median at $72,000, according to The range is between $52,000 and $96,500.

Online Degree Options

Ohio University

Experienced nurses who have their RN license and bachelor of science degree in nursing may decide to move out of clinical nursing and focus on nurse education. If so, we recommend the nurse educator MSN program at Ohio University.

This program will prepare you to become a nurse faculty member at a college, or to develop new nurses at a health care facility. You will learn teaching strategies, devise new nursing curriculum and materials to educate patients, and also create opportunities for staff development.

This accredited program is a great fit for students who want to become nursing educators after graduation; it also works well for those who want to earn their doctoral degree. A doctoral degree in nursing usually is required to teach at the university level.

In this program, you will learn how to serve your essential role as a nursing teaching, mentor, trainer and role model for your nursing students. Students acquire advanced nursing theory knowledge and practice, and also will understand how nursing education programs are designed, delivered, assessed and evaluated.

Graduates of this nurse educator program often are highly experienced RNs who are pursuing advanced positions as nurse educators or clinical nurse leaders in health care organizations or colleges.

This program consists of 33 credit hours, and typically takes six semesters to finish. There are 200 required hours of teaching experience, and two on campus intensives that are at the beginning and end of the program.

Required courses for the Ohio University nurse educator program are:

  • Theoretical Basis for Practice (on campus intensive session)
  • Assessment and Intervention in Family Care
  • Analyzing EPB for APN
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Health Appraisal for Nurse Educators
  • Curriculum Development
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Teaching Experience (includes 200 practicum hours)
  • Academic Role
  • Capstone for Nurse Educators (on campus intensive session)

This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Penn State World Campus

Experienced nurses who have their RN license and bachelor of science degree in nursing may decide to move out of clinical nursing and focus on nurse education. If so, we recommend the Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator from Penn State World Campus.

The MSN degree from Penn State World Campus first covers the major principles of healthy care policy and the skills in leadership that you need to be a changemaker in nursing and in health care in your community. You will study how research and practice are related in developing nursing science. You also will be able to learn about the US healthcare system from many perspectives, including global, health policy and economic.

As a student in this two year, online and accredited program, you will be covering complex nursing issues and trends. You also will consider these issues in the broader view of the entire healthcare industry.

After the completion of your core nursing courses, you will then begin the Nurse Educator concentration. This speciality will give you advanced knowledge of advanced nurse teaching and learning; development of progressive curriculum; and effective evaluative skills.

Experienced nurses choose the online MSN from Penn State World Campus for the following reasons:

  • Complete curriculum: This program is a collaboration between the World Campus and the esteemed Penn State College of Nursing. The curriculum focuses on the study of human development and health throughout the entire lifespan.
  • Flexibility: This nursing program allows students to take their online classes at any time. They are recorded and archived, so students may complete the classes on their own schedule.
  • Recognition: This nursing program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE


Students considering a nurse educator degree are advised to confirm that the program has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE. This is the most respected nursing education accreditation organization in the United States.


The nursing field in the US is growing very quickly. There is a great shortage of nurses, and also nurse educators. Experienced nurses who earn this MSN degree will be able to look forward to great salaries and job demand for the next decade and beyond.