Clinical Nurse Educator: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for clinical nurse educators. Get the facts about training, education requirements, job duties and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Clinical Nurse Educator?

Clinical nurse educators are nurse educators who typically work in hospitals or clinics and instruct nursing assistants, aides and nursing students fulfilling practicums on how to perform procedures. Like nursing professors or postsecondary nursing educators, clinical nurse educators must be familiar with the curriculum they are teaching, prepare appropriate lesson plans, teach students and assess their performance. Clinical nurse educators commonly use practical demonstrations as part of the evaluation process.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Nursing
Key Responsibilities Design internal courses that support general clinical competency, arrange for staff to take external certification courses, keep abreast of best practices in health care delivery, conduct related research
Licensure/Certification Licensure is required, certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 19% (for all postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,480 (for all postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Clinical Nurse Educator Training Programs are Available?

To train to become a clinical nurse educator you'll need to have first earned a bachelor's degree in nursing and be licensed as a registered nurse. Your next step will be to either earn a master's degree in a relevant area of nursing, or a certificate if you already have a master's degree.

Clinical nurse educator programs are rare, but nurse educator programs are widely available at both the master's and graduate certificate levels. Certificate programs may be completed in a year and master's degree programs in two years.

Nurse educator programs synthesize education concepts with the practical provisions of health care and provide training in instructional methods that you can apply in both academic and clinical settings. Curriculum development, assessment and measurement, health program evaluation and educational technology are among the topics covered. Some programs may have specialty courses for educators in pediatrics, adult health, geriatrics and critical care. Master's programs may conclude with a thesis or capstone project.

You can obtain certification as a nurse educator (CNE) from the National League for Nursing if you are a registered nurse, have completed a master's or doctoral degree program in nurse education and have worked for two years in a faculty position. Certification requires passage of a 150-question, multiple-choice exam. The CNE credential is valid for five years.

Where Do Professionals Work?

A majority of your employment prospects will be with hospitals, particularly teaching hospitals affiliated with a university. Employment figures weren't broken down by specialty, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that approximately 2.75 million people worked as registered nurses in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Employment of registered nurses is projected to increase by 16% from 2014-2024, which suggests an equally strong demand for clinical nurse educators.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As of April 2011, clinical nurse educator was a broad and evolving job category. You are apt to find that duties vary by medical institution or even by department within an institution. However, the work you do is likely to fall into the areas of instruction, research and administration.

Instructional and instructionally-related duties include designing internal courses that support general clinical competency and also courses that focus on specific areas of clinical practice. Other duties might be arranging for staff to take external certification courses, providing orientation to new staffers and arranging for debriefing sessions and counseling.

Your research duties may include investigating sentinel events - unexpected events that result in death or injury to patients - and devising procedures and courses to prevent them. You may also have to analyze data on care outcomes. Another task may be to keep abreast of and adopt best practices in health care delivery.

Your administrative duties may encompass preparing budgets and conducting cost-benefit assessments to justify expenditures. You may also be tasked with recruiting physicians, specialists and other nurses to lead internal courses.

What Salary Could I Earn?

Specific figures for clinical nurse educators were not available, but Payscale.com reported in October 2016 that you could earn a median annual salary of $71,575 as a nurse educator. Payscale.com also revealed in October 2016 that clinical nurse managers earned a median annual salary of $79,422.

May 2015 figures from the BLS show that registered nurses earned a median salary of $67,480. The top 10% of earners in this field earned more than $112,680 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Clinical nurse educators have a lot of professional similarities to nursing professors, postsecondary health specialties teachers and career and technical education teachers. Nursing professors and postsecondary health specialties teachers need a master's degree in their field, and they instruct students in healthcare subjects at the postsecondary level. Career and technical education teachers only need a bachelor's degree, but they may instruct healthcare classes for middle and high school students.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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