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Nursing Education Programs

Nursing Education Programs

What Are Nurse Educators?

Nurse educators are registered nurses who have chosen to teach aspiring nurses. They might be on the faculty in community colleges, universities, technical or vocational schools, nursing schools and the like. Nurse educators often have advanced knowledge and clinical skills, and might continue to work with patients even after becoming teachers. Some with many years of teaching experience might advance to administrative roles. For more information, see our nurse educator career page.

Nursing Education Program Information

Many colleges and universities offer master's degree programs for nursing educators. These programs can be entirely online, or they might be a hybrid format of clinical work and classroom instruction. A doctorate might be required to teach at some schools, especially four-year universities. Doctorate programs often have a strong research or clinical practice element.

Students who enter master's level or doctoral level nursing education programs explore elements of both teaching and nursing, such as teaching strategies, classroom assessment, curriculum design, advanced nursing theory, nursing concepts, and technology advancements in nursing and educational platforms.

Nursing Education Program Types

Nursing education students can choose from options such as master's and doctoral degree programs. Entry into these programs generally requires a registered nursing license and in some cases, several years of hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs:

  • Usually take two to three years beyond a bachelor's degree, depending on a student's schedule.
  • May cover in-depth clinical work and focus on classroom education skills, including communication and teaching strategies.
  • Often designed for working RNs.

Ph.D. in Nursing Education programs:

  • Typically require between one and three years of study after the master's degree, depending on the course load.
  • Offer options for in-depth clinical work and research in nursing as well as instruction and assessment techniques for the post-secondary teaching environment.
  • Often designed for working professionals, and may be available entirely online.

Formal nursing education programs can help prepare students to pursue the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) designation, which requires passing the certification examination. According to the National League for Nursing, the CNE designation demonstrates expertise in core competencies, as well as professionalism and leadership skills useful for faculty positions.

Nursing Education Course Descriptions

While nursing education schools offer programs with various emphases, most share a basic core curriculum. The following are a few of the more common courses that can be found in nursing education programs:

  • Theories of Education: Application of nursing knowledge in the learning environment and instruction on evaluating learning outcomes.
  • Evidence-based Evaluation: Critical assessment of educational and learning methods in relation to nursing instruction.
  • Quantitative Research: Understanding and developing studies, variables, validity, sampling and measurement.
  • Curriculum Design: Exploring learning theory, courses required by accreditation standards and instructional design models focused on nursing.
  • Healthcare Leadership: Focus on healthcare principles, best practices used by nurse leaders and development of a professional leadership plan.

Nursing Education Specialties

Students at nursing education schools might choose to focus on particular specialties in the hopes of teaching them to aspiring nurses. These specialties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Oncology
  • Labor and delivery
  • Nursing informatics
  • Mental health

Related Careers

With additional education and/or experience, graduates of nursing education programs might go on to pursue career possibilities outside the scope of the nurse educator role. Some of these career paths might include:

  • Education Administrators: Oversee academics, research and student services at institutions of higher learning. This position may call for several years experience as a nurse educator.
  • Microbiologists: Study how microscopic organisms affect the body and health. Those in this occupation often work closely with others in the healthcare field. A Ph.D. is generally needed.
  • Biochemists: Explore how biological processes such as growth, aging, cell development and heredity affect health. Work in this field may prove relevant to cutting-edge healthcare technology. A doctorate or professional degree is common.

Links to Sources and Associations

The following websites offer more information about nursing education:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Association for Nursing Professional Development

ExploreHealthCareers.org: Nurse Educator

National League for Nursing

Professional Nurse Educators Group

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M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Education

• Offers accredited online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctor of nursing programs to help both working professionals and recent graduates advance their careers.

• Provides graduate nursing programs that teach cutting-edge professional knowledge and skills to prepare students for today’s dynamic, evolving health care industry.
• Teaches through an online learning system that allows students to complete coursework with the flexibility to fit their schedule, while a cohort structure helps them to collaborate with fellow students.

•Provides scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid to those who qualify.

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  • Online Courses
Nursing

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

About Education Corporation of America

Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
  • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
  • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Master of Science in Nursing
  • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
  • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
  • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
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  • Online Courses
Vocational Nursing Program*
Platt College , Alhambra
Good for Working Adults
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
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Associate of Science in Nursing
Good for Working Adults
  • Offers programs in nursing, medical assisting, pharmacy technology, dental assisting, and more.
  • Six Campuses across Northern CA: Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, S. San Francisco, Hayward, and Concord.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, with programmatic approvals from the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians and the Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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General Education - Doctor of Education
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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  • Online Courses
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