You’ve earned your nursing degree and passed the National Council Licensure Examination to become a full-fledged RN, landing your dream job in a hospital or another practice setting. Congratulations! You can look forward to a rewarding career of providing safe, quality care to a diverse population of patients in an increasingly sophisticated, team-driven healthcare environment. The doors of opportunity have just opened to you. Your nursing license will become your gold card to the world of caring. But have you thought about where your career can go after nursing?
You may not realize this, but there is a shortage of nurse educators. In 2017, 661 National League for Nursing-member schools reported a total of 839 faculty vacancies. With many current nurse educators within a decade of retirement age, today’s shortage of nurse educators is projected to grow, opening up more positions for those qualified to teach. The U.S. Bureau of Labor anticipates that by 2026, the field for nurse educators will grow by 24 percent, with an annual average of 71,260 job openings between 2016 and 2026.
That’s why we urge you to take the next step of your career. As a nurse educator, you will instruct and inspire the next generation of nurses, effectively having a positive impact on hundreds of individuals, families and communities. To prepare for this specialized practice, you must acquire a master’s level education that includes discipline-specific studies in teaching and learning strategies. Additionally, once you become qualified to teach in any academic nursing program at college or university level, you can choose to continue your education even further by pursuing a practice or research doctorate. This added step will make you eligible for a higher salary and other benefits.
Advancing nurses forward
As the oldest professional association for nursing in the country, the National League for Nursing (NLN) is committed to creating and implementing professional development for nurse educators. The NLN also engages in robust advocacy for federal, state and regional public policies, that advance nursing education opportunities in nursing education. Passage of measures, such as the federal Title VIII Workforce Reauthorization Act, provide tuition assistance through grants and scholarships for nursing education, making it easier for registered nurses to continue or return to school.
Although we write from experience as nurse educators, please don’t take our word for it. Just ask your own trusted professors. Let them convince you to explore the wealth of opportunity that awaits you in nursing education.