If you are ready for the next step in your nursing career, consider becoming a nurse educator. As a nurse educator, you would have a chance to shape the future of nursing by training and mentoring nursing students in a college, university, hospital-based, or practical nursing program. You would also have the opportunity to develop strong leadership skills and contribute to the growing body of nursing research. If a career as a nurse educator is something that interests you, learn more about the educational requirements and job outlook below.
You can also contact schools directly to learn more about available Doctoral and Master's in Nursing Education options. Submit your requests for information to get started.
The average age of a nursing instructor in New Jersey is 57, according to the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI). Because many of these older faculty members are reaching retirement age, experts from the NJNI believe that a number of nursing faculty jobs in NJ will open up for new nurse educators. Additionally, New Jersey reports a nursing shortage, which means the state is likely encouraging prospective students to choose nursing. Statistics from the NJNI indicate there will be a shortfall of approximately 40,000 nurses by 2020. As a result, colleges, universities, and trade schools may need to hire more nursing faculty members to keep up with increasing class sizes and expanded nursing education programs.
Nurse Educator Degree Programs in New Jersey
If you decide to enroll in a nurse educator degree program, you will need to meet several basic requirements. You should already have an undergraduate nursing degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The minimum accepted grade point average varies from one school to the next, but many schools require at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Some schools also require incoming students to complete a nursing research course or statistics course before beginning coursework in the nurse educator curriculum.
Once enrolled in a nurse educator program, you will complete courses related to teaching, patient management, nursing leadership, and curriculum design. If your program curriculum includes a clinical experience requirement, you will have the opportunity to refine your teaching skills before entering the workforce.
If you are interested in obtaining a tenured position at a college or university, you may need to complete a doctoral program after receiving your master's degree. The doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) focuses on clinical experience, while PhD in nursing programs focus on nursing research. If you choose to complete a DNP, you may need to complete several hundred clinical hours. If you decide to pursue a PhD in nursing, you will need to conduct your own original research and complete a dissertation.
If you need help paying for school, there are several sources of funding available. The New Jersey League for Nursing has a scholarship program for students enrolled in MSN programs accredited by the National League for Nursing. To qualify for this scholarship, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. You will also need to send official transcripts from your academic institution, submit an essay on your goals for the nursing profession, and provide a character reference from a current or previous nursing faculty member.
The New Jersey State Nurses Association also has scholarships available for nursing students who agree to a two-year service commitment in an underserved community. If selected for this scholarship, you will receive a monthly stipend as well as money to cover tuition, books, clinical supplies, and other education-related expenses. If you are willing to work in a critical shortage facility for two years, this may be a good way to offset your educational expenses.
Federal financial aid programs are also available to those who qualify. The federal government offers grants and loans to students pursuing graduate degrees. The first step in qualifying for federal aid is filling out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school may also have scholarships or grants available based on financial need or academic merit. Check with the financial aid office to find out how to apply for other sources of aid. You may need to submit a separate application for each funding opportunity.
Working as Nursing Faculty in New Jersey
As of 2013, New Jersey was one of the top five highest-paying states for nurse educators. The average yearly salary for a nurse educator in this state is $81,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your starting salary will depend on your location, level of experience, and educational credentials. The job setting also has an impact on how much you can earn as a nurse educator. For example, hospitals tend to pay the highest salaries, followed by colleges, universities, and vocational schools.