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How to Become a Nurse Educator

Someone needs to educate the nation's future nurses. There is a growing shortage of qualified nurses to cover the needs of an aging nation. One of the critical factors in educating those nurses is having enough nurse educators. That is where the shortage becomes critical. There are few nurse educators to serve the needs of the student population. Thousands of candidates do not get into schools each year due to the shortage of nursing education professionals. In order to become an educator, you need to focus on your education first. Nevertheless, you also need to bring in real world experience.

To become a nurse educator, you will need an advanced degree. A master's in nursing is the minimum. Many nurses who start looking at becoming a nurse educator may not have a bachelors of Science degree in nursing (BSN). You have a couple of options. There are degree programs designed for RNs who want to earn a BSN. After that, you would enter an MSN program. However, there are also programs designed for those who hold an ADN to take a single course of study that will give them both a BSN and an MSN at the end. The choice is yours.

If you want to teach at a higher level, you will need to obtain a doctoral degree in nursing. For those who want to take the next step after earning an MSN, there are PhD programs in nursing available. These programs are appropriate for those who want to head education programs at the university level. They are also for those who want to teach nurses at the master's level. In most cases, teaching at the community college level, a master's degree is enough. If you have a specific program in mind, you should consider what their qualifications are for nurse educators.

You need experience in the field. Almost all master's and doctoral programs require their students to have some level of practical experience. Most require their students hold current RN licensing in their state. Some require a certain amount of experience in a field associated with their potential line of study. The experience is a necessary component in being an effective nurse educator. You will have the hands-on experience that your students expect you to have. Students look to their teachers not only for theoretical answers but for practical answers as well. Real world experience is what gives you those answers.