How to Become an RN Clinical Education Coordinator

Research the requirements to become a RN clinical education coordinator. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in nursing education. View article »

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  • 0:03 RN Clinical Education…
  • 1:49 Step 1: Become a…
  • 2:59 Step 2: Experience
  • 3:18 Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree
  • 4:02 Step 4: Certifications

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Video Transcript

RN Clinical Education Coordinators

Registered nurse (RN) clinical education coordinators work with other health care professionals and may also conduct patient education programs. They usually work full-time and are often employed by larger medical facilities such as hospitals.

Coordinators are often responsible for selecting education materials, scheduling clinical training sessions, and keeping records of personnel. They collaborate with clinical nurse educators and other staff members to determine training needs and provide materials and scheduling to meet those needs.

Working with patients may be expose these professionals to infectious diseases. This job, like many nursing careers, can be very stressful and may include long or irregular hours, including nights and weekends.

Career Requirements at a Glance

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's degree often preferred or required
Degree Field Nursing
Experience 3 years' experience in general nursing, leadership, and adult education
Licensure and Certification State registered nursing license, Basic Life Support (BLS) certification (required) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification (preferred)
Key Skills Working knowledge of nursing skills, ability to communicate, interpersonal skills, multitasking, strong organizational and time management skills, ability to manage stress, knowledge of office and presentation software
Salary $67,480 per year (median salary for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015)

Step 1: Become a Licensed Registered Nurse

Nurses who want to become nurse educators require the minimum of a bachelor's degree. Classes in nursing degree programs may include anatomy and physiology, statistics, pathology, community health, patient assessment, nursing law, and microbiology. Nursing students must also complete clinical rotations in several medical fields, including patient care, adult health, psychiatric care, pediatrics, surgery, and nurse management.

Consider a dual degree program. Not all employers require clinical education coordinators to hold master's degrees. However, dual degree programs allow students to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing in as little as five years, so dual degree programs may save students time and money.

Each state has slightly different licensing procedures for registered nurses. To become licensed, one must first complete an accredited nursing program. All states use the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). To verify additional licensing procedures, individuals may want to check with their own states' board of nursing.

Step 2: Experience

Many job postings indicate that employers prefer applicants with three or more years' experience. Most of these employers wanted candidates who had experience in clinical nursing as well as nurse management. Many employers also preferred applicants who had a few years' experience with teaching or training adult learners.

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Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

Although a master's degree in nursing is not always mandatory for this position, it has become more common for nurse educators to hold graduate degrees. Master's degree programs in nursing offer core classes in areas such as advanced healthcare assessment, medical research, leadership, and healthcare systems.

Choose a related concentration field. Several master's degree programs offer concentrations directly in nursing education, and courses in this specialty can include teaching strategies, clinical case studies, and student evaluations. Individuals may also have the opportunity to complete practicum experiences in nursing education, which would allow grad students to practice teaching adults.

Step 4: Certifications

Employers frequently require nurse educator candidates to have Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification may also be required. The American Heart Association regulates BLS and ACLS certification requirements. To become BLS or ACLS certified requires passing written exams as well as practical skills tests.

While not required, additional certification will impress potential employers. Several organizations provide certification programs for nurse educators. The National League for Nursing (NLN) offers the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) designation. Eligibility requirements for the CNE program include holding the minimum of a master's degree in nursing and possessing an active RN license. The certification exam covers six key areas, and some topics in those areas include educator leadership, curriculum design, training assessment, curriculum evaluation, teaching strategies, and information technology.

Registered nursing professionals who wish to continue in clinical education must maintain their RN licenses as well as their certifications. Each state has different license renewal procedures, and many states require RNs to complete continuing education courses every few years. Other career-specific certifications also have to be renewed and all have their own specific recertification processes.

Registered nurse (RN) clinical education coordinators are highly specialized nurses who often have advanced degrees and training. Students wishing to pursue this career will need to earn at least a bachelor's degree and may need to complete certain certifications.

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