As a registered nurse, you have many opportunities for career advancement. One of your options is becoming a nurse educator, or a nursing faculty member at a college, university, hospital-based nursing school, or vocational school. Nurse educators share their knowledge with aspiring nurses, making this one of the most rewarding professions in the industry. If you are interested in becoming a nurse educator, familiarize yourself with the requirements before applying to one of the many degree programs available in California.
You can also use this website to request program information from the schools that offer programs that interest you. Select those CA nursing schools that offer Nurse Educator programs and request additional information to begin.
Demand for Nursing Faculty in California
The National League of Nursing conducts an annual survey to determine some of the biggest challenges facing nursing schools. According to the executive summary from the 2011-2012 survey, respondents often cite a lack of nurse educators as a major reason for not expanding their graduate nursing programs. As a result, there is a real opportunity for nurse educators to prepare nursing students for the challenges of patient care.
California also has a widespread nursing shortage, especially in rural counties. Twenty-eight of the state's 58 counties have been designated as registered nurse shortage areas (RNSA), according to the State of California Healthcare Atlas. In Alameda County, for example, there are 1,510,271 residents and only 13,092 registered nurses to meet the demand for healthcare services.
Admission Requirements to Nurse Educator Programs in CA
The admission requirements for graduate-level nurse educator programs vary from school to school, but there are a few basic requirements every applicant must meet. First, you must already have an undergraduate degree in nursing. You may also need to prove competency in reading, mathematics, and statistics before being permitted to start a graduate nurse educator program. You will likely need to submit letters of recommendation and a goal statement before being admitted to the school of your choice.
Funding Your Nursing Education
There are a variety of funding sources available for nurses who wish to continue their education. The Health Professions Education Foundation offers loan repayment assistance and scholarships to nurses and other health professionals who practice in underserved communities of California. Of particular interest to nurse educators is the SNAPLE NF program.
The acronym stands for State Nursing Assumption Program of Loans for Education for Nursing Faculty. To qualify for this program, you must have a bachelor's degree at the time of application. If you qualify, you may receive up to $25,000 to pay outstanding student loans. This program is intended for nurses who go on to become nursing faculty members at one of California's regionally accredited universities or colleges.
Federal financial aid is also an option if you have not already used the maximum amount of aid available to you. If you qualify for the Direct Loan program, you may receive up to $20,500 per year to cover your educational expenses. The Perkins Loan program is for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. If you qualify, you may receive up to $8,000 per year.
Graduate Nurse Education Curriculum
As a student in a nurse educator program, you may be required to complete coursework in instructional methods, curriculum design, and healthcare informatics. Depending on where you enroll, you may also have to conduct nursing research and complete a detailed paper or presentation.
Clinical Experience Requirements to Become a Nurse Educator
If your school requires you to complete a clinical experience, be prepared to undergo an extensive screening process before you are placed in a facility. California's state schools conduct thorough background checks to ensure the safety of clinical supervisors and patients. There is a chance your school will perform a residency history search, check your county and state criminal records, and make sure you are not listed in the national sexual offender index. You may also be required to purchase health insurance before you can start your clinical practicum.
Employment Opportunities and Nursing Faculty Salary in California
As a nurse educator, you may have the opportunity to work as an adjunct faculty member at a vocational school, college, university, or hospital-based nursing school. After working as a nurse educator for several years, you may qualify to move into the role of associate professor or professor. If you are interested in a tenured position, be aware that you may need to complete a doctoral nursing degree.
General medical and surgical hospitals tend to pay the highest salaries to nursing teachers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual mean wage of $81,810 for nurse educators working in these facilities. The mean wage of nurse educators at colleges, universities, and professional schools is $72,590, while the mean for technical schools, trade schools, and junior colleges ranges from $63,740 to $66,080.