If you are ready to take your nursing career in a new direction, try using your knowledge and skills to become a nurse educator. Nurse educators teach nursing students how to care for patients in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. As a nurse educator, you may also have the opportunity to supervise student nurses or organize your own research study. If this sounds like the right career path for you, learn more by requesting information from the nursing schools in Washington that offer nurse educator master's programs on our site.
According to the Washington State Nurses Association, in 2009, more than 31 percent of the registered nurses in Washington were 55 or older. As these nurses get closer to retirement age, healthcare facilities will need new nurses to deliver patient care. According to a position paper released by the Washington State Nurses Association, the number of people aged 85 and older is expected to increase from 3.5 million to seven million by the year 2020. These people will need skilled nurses to care for them as they age. The WSNA position paper also says there is a critical shortage of qualified faculty members to teach future nurses. This leaves the door open for experienced nurses to become nursing faculty members, in order to remedy this complex situation.
Washington requires all faculty members in registered nursing programs to have at least a master's degree. If you do not have a master's degree yet, you must enroll in and complete a degree program before moving into the nurse educator role. Once enrolled in a graduate program, you will likely take courses in education theory, curriculum development, nursing research, and nursing informatics. You may also be required to complete a clinical practicum or capstone project during your final term of study.
The enrollment requirements for nurse educators vary by institution. Some schools will only accept residents of Washington, while others accept out-of-state students and charge a higher tuition rate. If you do not have a bachelor's degree, look for a school offering an RN to BSN program. This type of program allows registered nurses to complete their bachelor's degrees and then move right into a graduate program.
The primary responsibility of a nurse educator is teaching nursing students. However, your employer may ask you to perform other duties. These duties include writing grant proposals, working part-time in a healthcare facility, developing new courses, assisting with program development, helping students select the right courses, mentoring promising students, and supervising nursing students as they complete their clinical experience requirements.
The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program is available to registered nurses who provide primary care at an eligible site. An eligible site is defined as a facility located in a Federal Health Professional Shortage Area. This program is administered by the Washington Student Achievement Council. The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association offers the Promise of Nursing Regional Faculty Fellowship. To qualify for this award, you must be enrolled in a graduate program with the intention of becoming a nurse educator. Award amounts range from $1,000 to $7,500 each year.
Check with your school's financial aid department to find out if you qualify for loans, scholarships, or grants. The federal government offers up to $20,500 per year in loans to students in graduate and professional programs. The award is not based on your credit worthiness, and you do not have to make any loan payments while you are still in school. If you can demonstrate exceptional financial need, you may also qualify for the federal Perkins loan. As of 2014, graduate students may receive a maximum of $8,000 per year in Perkins loan funds.
If you are interested in the Stafford or Perkins loan programs, you must fill out the FAFSA form each year. Most graduate students are considered independent for the purposes of determining aid eligibility, so it is very unlikely you will be required to submit your parents' financial information in addition to your own. If you do not qualify for federal loans, private loans are also available from banks and other lenders.
Working as a Nursing Instructor in Washington
Several factors affect how much money you will earn as a nurse educator. They include your location, educational achievements, and level of nursing experience. Someone who has 20 years of nursing experience is likely to earn more than someone who has been working in the nursing field for five years, for example. There may be financial incentives available to you if you are willing to work in a facility that has a critical shortage of medical professionals. As of May 2013, nurse educators in Washington earned an average of $64,060 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To learn more about nurse educator Master's programs in Washington, contact the nursing schools listed on this page to get more information.