If you enjoy teaching and mentoring others, becoming a nurse educator is a great way to advance your career. Nurse educators develop nursing program curricula, teach nursing students in LPN and RN programs, and supervise student nurses while they complete their clinical requirements.
This career is very rewarding because it has a direct impact on the future of the nursing profession. If you are ready to move from direct patient care to a teaching role, take some time to request information from the Virginia nursing schools that offer Nurse Educator MSN programs.
Duties of a Nurse Educator
Nurse educators perform a variety of duties related to designing nursing programs, teaching students, and ensuring nursing programs have the funding they need to continue operating. As a nurse educator, you may also be expected to conduct research or present papers at professional conferences. These are some of the duties you may be assigned if you pursue a career as a nurse educator:
- Developing courses for nursing education programs
- Teaching nursing students using a variety of instructional methods
- Evaluating students as they complete their clinical requirements
- Helping students determine their strengths and weaknesses
- Reviewing journal articles and professional presentations
- Writing grant proposals for your school's nursing program
- Maintaining your nursing skills by working in a clinical setting
Nurse Educator Master’s Programs in Virginia
As a member of nursing faculty at any nursing school, you will work with students who have varied learning styles, so you must be able to communicate well both orally and in writing. You should also have an active nursing license and several years of experience providing direct patient care. Admission requirements vary by school, but a 3.0 GPA on a scale of 4.0 is usually the minimum expected of someone applying for a nurse educator program. You may also be required to submit a personal statement, letter of reference, or copies of your undergraduate transcripts.
As a student in a graduate-level nursing education program, you will likely complete coursework in nursing informatics, biostatistics, nursing research, healthcare delivery systems, ethics, and nursing program development. You may also have to complete a seminar or practicum before receiving your master's degree.
Career Opportunities for Nursing Faculty in Virginia
More than 35,000 registered nurses completed the 2013 Nursing Workforce Survey administered by the state's Healthcare Workforce Data Center. Twenty-two percent of those nurses said they plan to retire within 10 years. Medical centers will need new nurses to replace those who are retiring, opening up many opportunities for skilled nurse educators.
The average annual salary for a nurse educator in Virginia is $67,360, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average for all occupations is just over $50,000, making a career as a nurse educator a good opportunity for an experienced nurse. Salary varies based on academic performance, geographic location, professional background, and other factors. Colleges, universities, and hospital-based nursing schools often pay the highest salaries, but working at a practical nursing school or community college is also very rewarding.
Potential sources of funding include scholarships, grants, loans, and loan repayment programs. Scholarships are available through individual colleges and universities as well as nonprofit organizations and private companies. Check with your college alumni organization, place of worship, and local community service groups to find out about these opportunities. Loans and grants are available from the federal government as well as private sources. To qualify for federal aid, fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school's financial aid department will use the information from this form to determine if you qualify for scholarships, loans, or grants.
Virginia also has a scholarship program available specifically for nurses who agree to teach in one of the state's nursing schools. The Virginia Nurse Educator Scholarship Program is open to students who are enrolled in or have been accepted to a graduate-level nursing program in Virginia. Preference is given to applicants who are willing to teach at one of the state's community colleges. The amount of the award is up to $20,000 per year for a maximum of two years. If you accept this scholarship, you must commit to teaching for two years for every year you receive financial assistance.
The Federal Virginia State Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment assistance to nurses who agree to practice in a location designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area. In Virginia, dozens of counties are considered "medically underserved areas." They include Halifax County, Charlotte County, and Mecklenburg County.
Request information from the nursing education Master’s programs in Virginia to learn more about how you can enter this essential career in nursing.