Many parts of Illinois, particularly in Chicago and rural areas, are experiencing an acute shortage of nurses. According to the Institute of Medicine the state is also striving to increase the number of nurses with a bachelor's degree to 80 percent, which means many more Nurse Educators are required. If you have a desire to further your education with a graduate degree and have thought of becoming a Nurse Educator, this may be the perfect time to look into this option further.
Contact those Illinois nursing schools on our site that offer Master’s degrees in nursing education, or even PhD programs, to learn more.
The Illinois Campaign for Action's goal is to create a diverse nursing workforce by improving education at higher levels. There are numerous universities in Illinois that are involved in making this goal a reality, offering several accredited campus based and online Nurse Educator programs as a result. Most of the graduate programs require approximately 40 course hours, which does not include your clinical hours with your preceptor.
The admission criteria to MSN in Nursing Education programs in IL typically requires the following:
- Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from an accredited university
- Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
- Unencumbered RN license in the state of practice
- Official GRE scores if cumulative GPA is below a 3.2
- Personal essay that explains why you want to pursue your master's degree and your future goals
- Two or three letters of reference from former faulty or employer
- Curriculum vitae or resume
- TOEFL exam for applicants who do not have English as their first language
- Nurse Educators must have completed at least 2000 hours of clinical practice experience within three years of admission
Many graduate nursing programs require some of the following prerequisite courses, which may have been taken in your bachelor degree program.
- Two courses in human anatomy/physiology with labs
- One course of inorganic chemistry with lab
- One course in organic chemistry
- Introduction to Research Methods
There are core courses required in most MSN and PhD in Nursing education programs, and they cover many of the following topics:
- Research Inquiry and Utilization in Healthcare
- Policy, Economics and Organization in Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Ethical Issues
- Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
- Cultural Diversity in Healthcare Populations
- Professional Role Development
- Advanced Health Assessment Through the Lifespan
- Advanced Clinical Pathophysiology and Pharmacology
- Philosophy and Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Education
- Clinical Practicum
- Nurse Educator Practicum and Seminar or Thesis
- Educational Methods and Strategies
- Assessment and Evaluation in Nursing Education
Clinical hours are associated with several of these classes. If you are enrolled in an online program, you will be assigned a preceptor that will guide you through your clinical hours at an approved location.
Once you have graduated with your master's degree, you may take the Certified Nurse Educator exam administered by the National League for Nursing (NLN). This certification is a mark of professionalism that states you have met the highest standards of excellence.
Illinois nursing faculty earned an average annual wage of $65,940 in 2013 according to the O'Net Online source. Nurse educators often receive flexible working hours, child care, bonuses and other benefits.
The state of Illinois has several grants and scholarships available for nurse educators, which can be merit-based or for low income students. If you need assistance with your educational cost, complete a FAFSA application first, which is a federal grant program. The National Health Service Corps program is a federal loan repayment program. After graduation you work in one of their facilities for two years and you will receive up to $50,000 or roughly 60 percent of your tuition loan expense. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration also offers several loan and scholarship options.
If you decide to get a nursing doctorate degree, then some of the career choices might be in research or teaching nursing graduate courses at universities. Some nurses are able to publish search results that contribute to the body of nursing knowledge and interests some of the social, cultural, ethical and political issues related to nursing.
If you think you may want to become a nurse educator, there are several advantages including job security and that fact that you will be helping to shape the future of the changing healthcare system. This is a career where you may actually change lives, and it can give you a sense of satisfaction over the progress of your students. Reach out to the schools offering graduate degrees in nursing education in Illinois to learn more about your options.
Listed below are all of the nationally accredited Nurse Educator programs with campus locations in Illinois.