What is a Nurse Educator?

If you have spent some time considering a career as a nurse educator, you have likely asked yourself these questions –

  • What does a clinical nurse educator do, and what are the clinical nurse educator job duties?
  • How much do nurse educators make on an hourly basis when first starting out?
  • What does a nurse educator do if they work at a university or college?
  • What nurse educator skills and education requirements are there?
  • What do nurse educators do, and what classroom skills for nurse educators are required for employment?
  • How much do nursing educators make on an annual basis?
  • What is an average salary for nursing educators?

A nurse educator is a professionally trained and licensed nursing professional tasked with the responsibility of training and preparing Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) for entry-level work in clinical settings. A nurse educator is often found working inpatient care settings providing hands-on continuing education to the organization’s nursing staff.

Nurse educators are typically required to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a doctoral degree in nursing. Fortunately, MSN programs are now available in traditional on-campus delivery methods, plus many online options, with many programs now offering dual degrees, earning an MSN and Ph.D. degree simultaneously.

The National League for Nursing

If you are interested in obtaining a nurse educator certification, you can sit for the Certified Nurse Education exam from the National League for Nursing (NLN). Eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Hold an active RN license issued by the United States/its territories.
  • Hold a graduate or doctoral degree in nursing with a primary emphasis in nursing or one of these academic backgrounds –
    • Hold a graduate or doctoral degree in nursing and a Post-Masters Nursing Education Certificate.
    • Hold a graduate or doctoral degree in nursing and 9+ credit hours of education classes at the graduate level.


Hold a valid RN license, an advanced nursing education degree, and 2+ years of experience working in higher education institutions, sometime during the past five years.

Nurse Educator Career Paths

Most nurse educators work in either a college, professional school, or university. However, those who prefer to work in a clinical setting will find rewarding work as a nurse educator.

The curriculum that will be taught will depend on the place you teach and your role as a nurse educator.

A few job titles for nurse educators include –

  • Staff Development Specialist
  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Administrative Nurse/Faculty Member
  • Instructional Nurse/Faculty Member

In 2019, there were more than 59,500 nurse educators working in the country.

The states offering the highest level of jobs for nurse educators include –

Nursing Educator Salary & Jobs –Highest Level of Work by State Number Employed Nurse Educator Salaries
New York 5,030 $ 97,750 per year
Texas 4,310 $ 66,190 per year
California 3,970 $101,930 per year
Pennsylvania 3,420 $81,760 per year
Ohio 3,410 $ 79,360  per year

Nurse Educator Salaries

The next section will answer the following questions –

  • How much do nurse educators make on an hourly basis when first starting out?
  • How much do nursing educators make on an annual basis?

According to data obtained by the BLS – the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, the median annual salary of a nurse educator $74,600 per year.

The range for a salary for a nurse educator is as follows –

  • At the lower range, the salary for nurse educators is $41,130.
  • At the upper range, the salaries for nurse educators is $133,460.

Geographically speaking, the top paying states for salaries for nurse educators is as follows –

Salary of Nurse Educator –by State Nursing Educator Salaries
District of Columbia $157,560 per year
Florida $122,050  per year
California $101,930  per year
New York $ 97,750  per year
Connecticut $ 97,350  per year






Geographically speaking, the top-paying metropolitan areas for salaries for nurse educators include –

Salary of Nurse Educator – by Metropolitan Area Nursing Educator Salaries
DC – VA – MD – WV $120,980  per year
Rochester, NY $108,480  per year
New Haven, CT $107,320  per year
LA, Long Beach, Anaheim $106,740  per year
Sacramento – Roseville – Arden, CA $104,430 per year






Geographically speaking, the top-paying non-metropolitan areas for nurse educator salaries include –

Salary of Nurse Educator – by Non-Metropolitan Area Salaries for Nurse Educators
Central Missouri $ 98,560  per year
NW Lower Michigan Peninsula $ 98,540  per year
Central Kentucky $ 88,400  per year
NY Capital Region $ 79,490  per year
Northwest Iowa $ 77,880 per year






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