PhD in Nursing Education

If you earn your Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Education, you can become a researcher or postsecondary nursing education teacher. Read on to learn more about this degree, how the programs work, if you can take classes online and what jobs you'll qualify for after graduation. Schools offering Health Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Who Should Apply to a Nursing Education Ph.D. Program?

Doctoral degree programs in nursing education are usually designed for nursing professionals who wish to enter education positions within the nursing field or who would like to produce research on nursing practices, teaching methods and technologies. To apply, most programs require you to be a registered nurse and to hold at least a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field. Teaching experience might also be recommended.

Common Students Nursing professionals interested in producing nursing research or becoming nurse educators
Online Availability Online programs are available with possible visits to campus required; specific computer programs and equipment may be required
Common Courses Teaching strategies for nurse educators, U.S. health care system, nursing theory, applied research in nursing, curriculum development
Median Annual Wage (2014) $66,100 (for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers)*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Take Classes Online?

You can earn your Ph.D. in Nursing Education online. Some programs have a residency requirement, which usually includes attending orientation at the beginning of the Ph.D. program. Some programs also administer all major exams on campus.

To participate fully in an online program, you typically must download Windows Media Player, Flash Player and an antivirus program. You also usually need a computer, DVD player, sound card, speakers and headphones.

How Does the Program Work?

Nursing education programs combine nursing and medicine with advanced teaching methods. Classes examine which teaching strategies work best for students of different backgrounds. You'll analyze how learning disabilities can affect teaching approaches. This program usually combines academic work with a hands-on student teaching experience. Common nursing education courses include:

  • Nursing theory
  • Teaching strategies for nurse educators
  • Leadership in the health care field
  • Curriculum development
  • Applied research in nursing
  • U.S. health care system

You typically must take a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation proposal midway through the program to receive your Ph.D. candidacy. The dissertation should be based on the scientific exploration of a research problem related to nursing education. Most Ph.D. programs end with the defense of your dissertation in front of a committee of faculty members.

What Jobs Are Available in Nursing Education?

A Ph.D. in Nursing Education prepares you to teach other nurses. According to, nurse educators earned an approximate salary range of $50,613 to $93,269 as of January 2016. You also might want to consider earning your Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) designation from the National League for Nursing. To gain certification, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that you typically need to earn a master's or doctoral degree in nursing or nursing education, be a registered nurse, hold faculty teaching experience and pass the CNE exam (

You can also become a researcher or nursing professor with your Ph.D. in Nursing Education. The BLS reported that postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers made a median annual salary of $66,100 in 2014.

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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