If you have been providing direct patient care for several years and are now ready for a new role, becoming a nurse educator is an excellent way to further your career as well as the nursing profession as a whole. Nurse educators have a wide variety of duties, but your primary role would be teaching LPN and RN students. If you obtain a doctoral degree, you may also be able to teach nurses in graduate-level programs. Before applying for admission to a graduate program, you should take some time to learn more about your options.
Below, you will find all of the nursing programs in D.C. that offer a degree in Nursing Education. You can request information from any or all of the schools to learn more and compare programs.
Earning your Nurse Educator Degree in D.C.
The minimum educational requirement for a nurse educator is a master's degree. Completing this degree qualifies you to teach students enrolled in LPN, RN, and BSN programs. If you want the opportunity to teach at the graduate level, you may need to pursue a doctoral nursing degree in D.C. Master's-level programs focus on preparing experienced nurses to teach patient care skills and develop nursing curricula. The focus of your doctoral program will depend on which type of program you choose. PhD programs typically include a dissertation requirement, while doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) programs focus more on the clinical side of nursing.
If you have not yet completed a bachelor's degree in nursing, you have two options. The first is to complete a BSN before applying to a master's-level program. The other is to look for schools that offer RN to MSN bridge programs. These programs typically take longer to complete than traditional MSN programs because they include BSN coursework as well as graduate courses.
When you are ready to apply to a nurse educator MSN program, be prepared to submit a copy of your nursing license, transcripts from all colleges and universities you've attended, and letters of reference. You may also be required to write an essay explaining why you want to become a nurse educator or outlining how you will use your education to advance the nursing profession.
Some schools offer all MSN classes online, while others require you to come to campus for class. Blended programs include a mix of online instruction and on-campus courses. Program content varies by institution, but you will likely complete coursework in instructional technology, healthcare policy, nursing theory and research, nursing curriculum development, and measurement of educational outcomes. You may also be required to complete a teaching or curriculum development practicum while you are enrolled in a master's-level program.
If you choose to pursue a doctoral degree, your core curriculum may include courses in evidence-based nursing practice, quantitative methods, and data-driven healthcare systems. To prepare yourself for this type of program, be sure to take a statistics class during your master's degree. A statistics course will prepare you for doctoral-level coursework and research. If you choose a DNP program instead of a PhD program, expect to complete a capstone project or clinical rotation before receiving your doctorate.
If you do not have the funds on hand to pay tuition and other education expenses, there are scholarships, loans, and grants available. You may also qualify for a loan repayment assistance program after you graduate and start working as a nurse educator. The DC Health Professional Loan Repayment Program is available to registered nurses who agree to practice at an approved site. If you qualify, you may be eligible for loan repayment benefits totaling $77,439. Eighteen percent of the loan balance is covered in year one and 26 percent in year two. If you choose to continue for a third or fourth year, the program will pay 28 percent of your eligible debt in year three and another 28 percent in year four.
Working as a Nursing Instructor in Washington D.C.
When you complete your nursing education degree, you will have the opportunity to apply for nursing faculty positions at colleges, universities, technical schools, and hospital-based nursing programs. Your duties will largely depend on the type of facility you choose. As a hospital-based nursing educator, you may have to complete several hours of clinical practice each week to keep your skills current. If you work for a college or university, you may be tasked with advising students, creating new courses, and serving on educational committees.
The job outlook for nurse educators is good because there is a shortage of nurses in Washington D.C. as well as a shortage of qualified faculty members. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing surveyed nursing schools throughout the country in 2013. Respondents indicated they turned away a total of 78,089 qualified nursing applicants because of a lack of qualified faculty members, clinical preceptors, classroom space, and clinical sites. Master's-level programs also have a shortage of faculty members, forcing schools to turn away qualified graduate applicants.
There are around 700 nurse educators in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area as of May 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These nurse educators earn an average annual salary of $78,220. The Washington D.C. metropolitan area also includes Alexandria and Arlington.