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CAREER GUIDE M.S. Nursing—Education

WGU degree programs correspond with careers that promise continued growth. Start on your path today.

Career guide: nurse educator.

A career in nursing is a journey of constant discovery. Rapid advancements in the field of healthcare mean those in charge of administering care must continually advance their knowledge and skills to keep pace with evolving technologies, medical discoveries, and treatment protocols. If you are a registered nurse (RN) with an inquisitive mind, the desire to teach, and a commitment to your career, you might be a likely candidate to become a nurse educator.

Many people think of a nurse as someone who takes care of patients in hospitals and doctors’ offices. While that is true, the field of nursing reaches far beyond the facilities where patient care is administered. Nurse education is a crucial area of healthcare, an industry experiencing dramatic growth. In fact, healthcare is expected to add more jobs than any other sector through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So where will the next great generation of nurses come from? Take a look in the mirror, and maybe you’ll see a professional mentor and nurse educator, ready to inspire others to follow in your footsteps and discover a career filled with challenge, opportunity, satisfaction, and reward. Think about elevating your nursing credentials from RN to MSN. With the right education and training, you can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement, and manage nursing programs as well as effectively teach nursing courses.

Job listing growth 2016–2026.

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Career opportunities.

Given the growing shortage of nurse educators, earning your MSN with a focus in nursing education can be a rewarding decision and a solid career move. If you are an RN with either an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, online coursework derived from the NLN Nurse Educator standards and the Masters Essentials for Professional Nursing practice can prepare you to become a knowledgeable nurse educator ready to teach in diverse settings.

Once you’ve earned your Master of Science in Nursing Education, your role in the healthcare industry can move forward in a number of interesting directions.

Positions in the field.

  • Adjunct clinical faculty
  • Dean of nursing school
  • Associate dean of nursing school
  • Professor
  • Clinical nurse educator
  • Administrative nurse faculty
  • Staff development officer
  • Continuing education specialist
“WGU is a great option for nurses who are looking to advance their careers but need further education and flexibility to do so.” Kathryn Kosmides
M.S. Nursing – Education (RN to MSN)

Job market forecast.

Across a wide range of industries, demand for nurse educators remains robust. Skilled nursing professionals with the credentials to teach are needed not only in colleges, universities, and professional schools but also in general medical and surgical hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nursing instructors and teachers is expected to increase by 35% by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Furthermore, the National League for Nursing anticipates 10,200 current faculty members will retire during the same timeframe, further increasing the demand for qualified professionals to fill this critical need.

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

As a nurse educator, you’ll have a variety of roles and responsibilities. Aside from teaching current nurses or nursing students, your day may entail designing curricula and developing courses, conducting research, writing articles for professional journals, speaking at nursing conferences, or serving as a consultant to schools or other healthcare institutions.

Work environments can also be diverse. You may end up teaching at a nursing school, but you might also take a position at a hospital, medical equipment company, or public health agency. Some nurse educators choose to teach part time while continuing to work in a clinical setting, thereby keeping their knowledge and skills current with industry standards. Whichever direction you decide to take your career, solid communication and critical thinking skills will be essential to your success.

Professional organizations.

If you’re an RN with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and you’re ready to become a leader in your field by teaching the next generation of nurses, it’s time to think about a master’s degree in nurse education. These organizations can provide support and information for a rewarding career move.

Job search resources.

Nurse educators are in demand, and the right education and training can put you on the path to a higher salary and a rewarding career. Check out some of the current opportunities!


Salary stats.

A nationwide shortage of nurse educators means rising salaries for qualified candidates. According to the BLS, nursing instructors and teachers earned an average wage of $77,360 in 2017, with 10% earning in excess of $124,000. Your nurse educator salary can also be affected by where you live and the level of education you have achieved. Generally speaking, the more you know, the further you can go, so start by earning an RN to MSN designed to prepare you to make the most out of your career goals.

Average salary of jobs with related titles.


Great nursing depends on great nurse education, and rapid expansion of our nation’s healthcare system is fueling an unprecedented demand for RNs with the knowledge and skills necessary to advance the field. Do you have what it takes to make a difference in nursing? Be a mentor and leave your mark on the passionate professionals who will follow in your footsteps. Become a nurse educator!

Next Start Date

Jun 1

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Your career's next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in nursing education? The next step could be earning your MSN — Nursing Education (RN to MSN). Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!