About 200 nurse educators work in Rhode Island, but many more are needed to meet the demands of the health care community. Qualified students are discovering there is not enough room for them in the state’s nursing colleges. At the same time, Rhode Island’s current crop of nursing instructors is nearing retirement age. Together, those factors contribute to public fears about future nursing shortages in the northeastern region. Entering the field of nursing education can help remedy this, and we have taken the time to outline some of the Master’s degree programs in Rhode Island that can help get you there. Take some time to request information to learn more about your options.
If you choose to study nursing education in Rhode Island, you will be encouraged to hear that the job forecast is expected to be favorable in the coming years. More than 900 qualified nursing school applicants were turned away from the state’s baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in 2013, largely because of a lack of faculty and clinical locations. If the state’s colleges can hire more nursing instructors, they may be able to open their doors to a larger number of students. In addition, the average age of Rhode Island’s nursing faculty is 57 – significantly higher than national averages (AACN). As nursing educators retire, colleges will need more job applicants to fill those teaching roles.
As a nursing instructor, you are most likely to work for a college, university, or professional school, according to federal studies. However, jobs also are available at junior colleges, trade schools, hospitals, government agencies, and pharmaceutical firms. Hospitals and state agencies offer the highest pay for nursing educators nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Rhode Island, the annual salary for all types of nursing instructors in 2013 was $72,490 – an encouraging figure that is also higher than the national average for this nursing profession.
A master’s degree is a must if you decide to teach nursing in Rhode Island. State law requires that qualified faculty must have a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing to teach in the state’s registered nursing (RN) and practical nursing (LPN) programs. You also must have a current RN license and clinical experience. If you teach non-clinical nursing classes, the state may allow you to have graduate-level preparation in your chosen field.
Once you are on the job, you will be performing many of the same kinds of duties as any post-secondary teacher. You might be asked to prepare lesson plans, to give lectures on academic subjects, to grade class assignments, to give career advice, or to supervise students in the classroom or in clinical settings. Nurse educators should be skilled in writing, speaking, active listening, monitoring others, critical thinking, and developing learning strategies.
The University of Rhode Island is the only state school offering a master’s program designed specifically to train nurse educators. You also may prepare to teach nursing with a master’s in another field of nursing, including specialty programs offered at Rhode Island College.
In a nursing education program, you will take a combination of nursing core classes, nursing education courses, and electives in your area of interest. These programs are typically around 40 credit hours, and often require a written comprehensive examination as well as completion of a scholarly work based on independent study. You may earn the Master of Science (MSN) degree through a full-time or part-time program, depending upon your preferences. You can also look into online MSN programs in Rhode Island, which may allow you to become a nurse educator in a convenient and independent manner.
Rhode Island nursing schools offer MSN degrees with other concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner-clinical nursing specialist, and nurse executive. You can combine concentrations, choosing a major area of interest while taking elective courses in a second field. This will still allow you to teach, in most instances, or even become a clinical instructor in your chosen field.
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority funds a loan program for students who are preparing to be nursing instructors. Through the Nurse Educators Loan Forgiveness Program, loan repayment awards are given to newly recruited nurse educators in exchange for a service pledge. If you qualify, you may receive up to $5000 annually for four years. After graduation, you would meet your commitment by teaching at a school licensed by the Rhode Island Board of Nursing Registration. Contact the schools you find on this page to begin the process of choosing the best nursing school in Rhode Island to meet your needs.