How to Become a Nurse Educator
Those who wish to become nurse educators must first of all be a licensed Registered Nurse with several years of clinical experience.
Generally, a master’s degree in nursing is required, and those who wish to teach at the university level should pursue a doctorate.
Nurse educators who will be teaching specializations will require post-master’s certification.
1. Earn an Associate's Degree (2 Years)
You can become an RN in three years through a nursing diploma program or associate degree program. Many community colleges offer Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs.
Many new RNs will begin their education with an ADN program, then later advance to enrollment in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or master’s degree programs.
During your time you will take general education courses along with Anatomy, Nursing, Nutrition, Chemistry, and Microbiology. An ADN will allow you into entry-level nursing positions.
2. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (1-4 yrs)
You should get your BSN since you will need to go on to complete a master's program. If you want to teach at a university, you will need to complete a Ph.D. program, so this is your first step.
A conventional BSN program takes 4 years to complete. A popular movement now finds more and more colleges and universities offering students who already hold a bachelor’s in another field an accelerated route to nursing-program graduation.
These accelerated BSN programs take between 12 to 18 months to complete. If you already have your RN from an Associates Degree, you can do the RN-to-BSN program in 2 to 3 years, which can open you up to more opportunity and growth.
3. Consider Earning a Master's Degree (2 Years)
It's not necessary to get your master's to be a practicing RN, but if you want to become an educator, you do need to get your Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN).
With a master's degree, you will learn more about the profession and being learning how you can teach and plan lessons. You may also want to get a post-master’s certificate or degree in education as well as certification for your area of specialty.
There are programs available for an accelerated master’s degree (MSN), which takes about three years to complete. More and more RN-to-MSN and BSN-to-Ph.D. programs are being launched as a way to meet the increasing demand for more highly educated nurses in the workforce.
Another accelerated program is being offered by an increasing number of four-year institutions. These programs, called articulation agreements, are formed in collaboration with community and junior colleges to enable associate degree nurses or bachelor’s degree nurses to effortlessly transition into BSN and MSN programs.
4. Consider Earning a Doctoral Degree (4-6 Years)
To be a teacher at most universities, you will need to get a Ph.D. This will teach you more about research and policy. You can be involved in both of those things and will write and continue learning all there is to know about the profession.There are many doctoral programs available.
The programs are designed to prepare nurses as teacher-scholars for academic careers in higher education.
They build upon baccalaureate and masters preparation in nursing, through emphasis on research and theory development. As a Ph.D. student, you will focus on the application of nursing knowledge and scholarly inquiry that address professional and practice concerns as they relate to teaching-learning processes in clinical as well as educational settings.
5. Earn the Required State Certification
Regardless of the type of entry into practice program you attend, all graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before they can practice as a registered nurse.
The exam is administered by each state’s board of nursing. In order to take the test, you must first apply for your nursing license from your state board. Each state is different, so you must check to see if you meet all of the requirements for your state.
The NCLEX covers the following:
- Safe, effective care environment: management care and safety and infection control
- Psychosocial integrity: coping and adaptation and psychosocial adaptation
- Health promotion and maintenance: growth and development through the life span and prevention and early detection of disease
- Physiology integrity: basic care and comfort, pharmacological and parenteral therapies, reduction of risk potential and physiological adaptation