Nursing Professor: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a nursing professor. Learn about job duties, what kind of education and training is required and how much you could earn to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Nursing Professor?

A nursing professor instructs students in postsecondary nursing programs. Their objective is to prepare students who are pursuing a career in nursing. They may also teach classes for those who are already employed in the nursing field, but are continuing studies for advancement. They must have completed graduate studies in nursing, and be a registered nurse, with experience in nursing. As a postsecondary instructor, nursing professors will develop lesson plans and teach classes. They will also use tests and assignments to assess the progress of their students. In some cases, they may develop courses, which requires research.

Education Required Master's or doctoral degree
Training Required Teaching experience (recommended)
Key Responsibilities Create lesson plans, give lectures, supervise hands-on projects, maintain student records
Licensure/Certification RN licensure; Certified Nurse Educator credential available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 19% (for postsecondary nursing teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,480*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Nursing Professor?

A nursing professor works to teach other nurses, as well as teach introductory nursing programs for people who are not yet nurses and are working toward the initial requirements to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). When you work as a nursing professor, your job involves creating lesson plans, lectures, presentations and hands-on projects. You may work with administrators to design the course you are teaching. Course creation may involve doing research, attending conferences and reading literature to help make sure you are teaching the most up-to-date information.

It is typical for a nurse professor to continue working in the field. Doing this allows you to keep your skills fresh and makes it easier for you to assist students in clinical practice.

You may also help set up internships for students and coordinate clinical rotations. It is your job to keep student's records and make sure students understand what they are being taught. You may help students with furthering their education or obtaining a nursing license upon graduation.

What Education or Training Do I Need?

Most employers will require you to be a licensed RN if you wish to teach. Employers also usually require experience working as a RN for a specific amount of time before you can qualify to be a teacher, as well as a master's degree in nursing.

You may also need teaching experience to teach in some schools. Obtaining a graduate certificate in a nurse educator program can help you learn more about being a teacher, including helping you to develop skills in curriculum development and student evaluation, in addition to introducing you to teaching methods.

You may consider becoming certified through the National League for Nursing, which offers the Certified Nurse Educator designation (www.nln.org). To earn the designation, you must have a current and active nursing license, meet education and experience requirements and pass the certified nurse educator test.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary nursing instructors earned a median salary of $67,480 per year as of 2015. You may find work in colleges, universities, hospitals and through employer-sponsored programs.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Postsecondary health specialties teachers and career and technical education teachers have a lot of similarities to nursing professors. Postsecondary health specialties teachers also teach at the postsecondary level, and they also need to have completed graduate studies prior to entering the field of postsecondary education. Like nursing professors, they prepare lesson plans, teach classes and they evaluate student performance. Career and technical education teachers may work with middle and high school students. They focus on teaching technical and vocational subjects that are intended to prepare students to enter a job field. They may teach auto repair, culinary arts or health care programs. They need a bachelor's degree and teaching license to work in their field.

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