Nurse educators are integral to the establishment of a robust and capable nursing workforce. They introduce nursing students to the technical skills and knowledge necessary for success, design and evaluate curricula, and assess learning outcomes.
However, the influence of a nurse educator extends well beyond the classroom. Nurses who complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), particularly one that has an educator focus, go on to inform nursing policies at hospitals and care facilities, mentor new and seasoned nurses, lead professional development initiatives, and advocate for the nursing profession.
Here are five exciting career fields to consider as a nurse educator:
- Colleges and Universities
Colleges and universities are the largest employer of nurse educators. Nurse educators develop curricula, provide didactic and clinical instruction, and mentor students. They may offer instruction in-person or virtually. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, more than 53K nurse educators worked in these settings.
While salaries vary due to school budgets, the BLS reports that nurse educators earn $84K, on average. The demand for postsecondary nursing instructors is on the rise, with an 18% increase in job openings expected through 2029, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Community and Public Health
The pandemic has highlighted the important role that education plays in maintaining community and public health. Although nurse educators have long been employed in these positions, budget expansions will likely contribute to the growth of the public health workforce. Nurse educators perform community outreach, identify unmet needs of residents, and prepare informational campaigns that target preventive care and disease management.
- Clinical Trials and Research
Education is an important aspect of clinical trials and research. Clinical trial nurse educators work closely with trial coordinators to ensure that study parameters are met. They also communicate with trial participants, track data, and complete documentation.
Clinical trial nurse educators earn an average annual salary of $87K, according to July 2021 data from ZipRecruiter. Job outlook data is scarce, but the rise in clinical trials will likely bolster job availability. The government site that tracks registered studies, ClinicalTrials.gov, says there are approximately 380K active clinical trials as of June 2021 — a number that has more than doubled since 2015 and risen nearly 30% since 2019 alone.
- Hospitals and Inpatient Care Facilities
In medical facilities, nurse educators work in various capacities. For example, some may keep employees updated on changing guidelines and best practices, offer professional development opportunities, and spearhead quality improvement initiatives. Other nurse educators work with patients and their families, explaining treatment options and offering guidance on managing at-home care.
According to ZipRecruiter, clinical nurse educators earn an average annual salary of $93K. The pressure to decrease hospital readmissions and make staff aware of emerging clinical recommendations may contribute to this career’s growth potential.
- Businesses and Publishers
Nurse educators also work as consultants. They may conduct health and wellness seminars for employers, including CPR and first aid training. Publishers routinely hire subject matter experts to write, review, and test their curricula. Nurses with a background in education are generally ideal candidates.
Nurse consultants earn $91K, on average, based on July 2021 data from Indeed. Job prospects are promising, as companies are investing more heavily in employee wellness to combat rising health insurance premiums, and publishers often update curricula annually.
Because of their diverse skill sets and backgrounds, nurse educators are in demand and have several career pathways available. An advanced degree in nursing can prepare you to move into this important role.
Learn more about Worcester State University’s online MSN Nurse Educator program.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020, Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
Postsecondary Teachers: Job Outlook
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers