Become a Nursing Instructor

Nursing Instructor

It's no secret that health care is one of the fastest growing fields, due in large part to new demands placed on the system. With that in mind, clinics and hospitals around the country may be struggling to keep up with the increased demand for doctors, nurses and other care providers. 

As with any other profession, nurses must be trained. While some learning may be done on the job, it's also critical that prospective nurses and nurse practitioners have a firm grounding in the fundamentals of their field, which requires specialized instructors who can ensure all educational objectives are met. 

 
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Nurse instructors occupy a space in the health care world that straddles the line between clinician and teacher. Because of the subject matter they focus on, it's necessary for them to be well-versed in the field of nursing. However, their roles as educators differ from that of patient-facing nurses, and this profession may be an excellent choice for someone interested in a career in health care but who does not want to work in a clinical environment.

Are Online Nursing Instructor Programs For You?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an online nursing instructor program.

Just like the name implies, nursing instructors must first and foremost be nurses. This means that the first steps toward becoming an educator in this field are the same as those for someone who wants to work in a clinical setting. Nurse instructors must go through the same process that registered nurses do. This requires a bachelor's degree or associate's degree in nursing, as well as passing state-specific licensure examinations. 

Before becoming an instructor, it's not uncommon for prospective teachers to work as a registered nurse in a clinical environment. Like other academic professionals, nursing instructors also must pursue higher education at the master's or doctorate level in education to be certified as teachers. As a result, some may choose to work in a strictly academic setting, such as a college or university program teaching undergraduate students.

Although nursing instructors typically don't practice regularly, it's still advised that they keep up with developments in the medical world as they pertain to new treatment methods, medications and other procedures and policies that can affect patient outcomes. One of the more common work environments for nursing instructors is in a college or a teaching hospital.

Nursing Instructor Possible Career Paths And Potential Salaries

The dual nature of a nursing instructor degree means that graduates are free to pursue careers in either field. Candidates may have flexibility in the extent to which they want to focus on medical professions rather than educational ones.

Nursing Instructor[i]

These professionals teach up-and-coming classes of prospective nurses. Depending on the level of study being taught, some may choose to specialize in a given area - for example obstetrics or nurse anesthesia. Nursing instructors typically work in colleges or universities, but can also work directly with practicing nurses and residents in hospitals as well.

  • See the BLS for median annual salary information
  • Job growth through 2022: 19 percent (faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree

Medical and Health Services Manager[ii]

This job is well-suited for those who want to take on a more administrative role. They can work either with hospitals and clinics, managing the day-to-day operations including budget, patient scheduling and other personnel issues, or with insurance companies and other third-party organizations. They frequently interact with doctors and clinicians to liaise between practitioners and insurance companies.

  • See the BLS for median annual salary information
  • Job growth through 2022: 23 percent (much faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
[ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm