Earning a Master's in Nursing Education Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Nursing Education Online?

A master's in nursing education online can open the door to a rewarding career as a nursing instructor. If you enjoy sharing your medical expertise and keeping up with the best practices in your field, this career may appeal to you. Pursuing your degree online allows you to balance work, family, and other responsibilities. Nursing instructors also benefit from plentiful job opportunities and excellent salaries. Professionals work primarily in nursing schools and colleges where they teach nursing students and supervise clinical practicums. Some nursing educators work in other settings, such as hospitals, military installations, or corporations, commanding greater salaries than those working in higher education.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Nursing Education Graduates

Master's in Nursing Education Salary

While experienced nursing instructors earn an average salary of about $75,000 nationwide, nursing instructors earn mean wages closer to $100,000 in many parts of the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A high salary is more common in metropolitan areas, such as District of Columbia, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco. The states that employ the most nursing instructors, and pay the highest salaries, include New York and California.

Top Paying States for Nursing Instructors and Teachers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New York 4,190 $97,080
Connecticut 860 $95,170
California 3,870 $94,670
New Jersey 2,220 $$90,830
United States 55,580 $77,360

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Nurse Educators

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $67,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $69,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $75,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $80,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Nursing Education Careers

Hard-working, compassionate healthcare professionals possess training and experience in both nursing and education. Nursing educators teach and inspire the next generation of nurses. Some possess specialties within nursing education, such as pediatrics, labor and delivery, or emergency medicine. Most nursing instructors work in colleges, universities, and nursing schools. Some work in hospital settings and others in institutions where nurses give or receive training, such as community organizations or the military.

Health Educator and Community Health Worker

Annual Median Salary: $45,360
Projected Growth Rate: 16%

Often nurses, health educators work in hospitals and other healthcare or community settings to educate the public about health-related issues. An advanced degree in nursing education can prepare you to oversee the health education or data collection programs of a hospital, healthcare provider, corporation, or insurance company.

Postsecondary Teacher (Nursing)

Annual Median Salary: $71,260
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Nursing instructors teach nursing courses and supervise clinical hours for nursing students, both online and on campus. These postsecondary teachers work primarily in community colleges, university nursing schools, and hospitals. Employers require an advanced degree for nursing instructors, such as a master's in nursing education online.

Department Chair (College/University)

Annual Median Salary: $84,599
Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Nursing instructors with doctoral degrees working at a college or university may qualify to serve as a department chair. They hold department meetings and advocate for departmental priorities to university administration.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Nursing Education Program?

While master's in nursing education online programs vary by school in the specific courses offered, most provide similar foundation courses designed for all advanced practice nurses, followed by courses in the nursing education track. Foundation courses include healthcare policy, health assessment, and pathophysiology. Education courses cover curriculum design, teaching strategies, and assessment.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Nursing Education

  1. Role of the Nurse Educator: Most nurse education programs include a course that introduces students to the evolving role of the nurse educator in diverse settings. This course explores learning theories and appropriate teaching strategies, essential for nurses who wish to transition into becoming nursing educators.
  2. Advanced Health Assessment: This foundational course for advanced practice nurses explores the role nurses play in patient health assessment. In this course, nurse educators prepare to teach the nursing skills needed to take a patient's complete health history and assess the functioning of each system in the human body.
  3. Essentials of Field Experience: This course prepares nursing instructors to plan and oversee clinical field experiences for nursing students. The class trains educators to supervise, coordinate, and evaluate nursing practicums.
  4. Curriculum Design: This course explores current theories, trends, and strategies in planning appropriate learning experiences for nursing students. Topics include learning theories, teaching strategies, and instructional design. This course prepares nurse educators to design courses for delivery both online and in person.
  5. Assessment and Evaluation: This course trains nursing educators to evaluate student learning in ways that prepare new nurses for clinical practice. Topics include authentic assessment and evaluation strategies and techniques.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Nursing Education Prepares For

  • Registered Nurse (RN): A nursing instructor must obtain licensure as an RN in the state where they practice. Though RN licensing requirements vary by state, all states require nurses to complete a nursing program and pass the NCLEX licensing exam.
  • Certified Nurse Educator (CNE): Registered nurses with a graduate degree in nursing education may qualify for certification as a nurse educator after taking the certification exam. This certification qualifies nurses to teach nursing courses and supervise clinical internships as a nursing school faculty member.