Nurse Instructor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nursing instructor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Nursing instructors typically have a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing. Their responsibilities include lecturing, teaching seminars, and planning assignments or assessments. An active nursing license is a typical requirement for working as a nurse instructor.

Essential Information

Nurse instructors, also known as nurse educators, teach patient care in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings to nursing students and other working professionals. Nursing instructors can be found in colleges and universities, as well as in hospitals and clinics. Nurse instructors must have at least a bachelor's degree and a valid nursing license. Some employers require graduate degrees.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in nursing; master's or doctoral degree required for some positions
Licensing All states require a nursing license
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 20% for postsecondary nursing instructors
Median Salary (2018)* $73,490 for postsecondary nursing instructors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nurse Instructor Job Description

Nurse instructors teach student nurses or other professionals in classroom, laboratory and clinical environments utilizing an approved curriculum and visual aids. They stay aware of the developments in the world of nursing so that they may incorporate them into their studies and teachings. In addition to working in college classrooms, nursing instructors work in medical facilities and community centers.

Job Duties

Nurse instructors assist in the planning, development and instruction of nursing courses for an educational or medical program. They lecture on nursing topics, assign homework and oversee labs. They may be called upon to participate in seminars and meetings. Nursing instructors typically complete professional development activities. Collaboration with colleagues to revise and evaluate course content and teaching issues may also be included.

Job Requirements

A nurse instructor must have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. These programs provide potential nurse instructors with hands-on nursing, critical-thinking and judgment skills. Many employers also require nurse instructors to complete a master's or doctorate degree program in nurse education. In order to enter a graduate program, a prospective nurse instructor must hold some experience in the nursing field, as well as a bachelor's degree. Graduate degree programs for nurse educators explore teaching processes and strategies, as well as curriculum development.

In addition to an undergraduate and graduate degree, prospective nurse instructors must also hold licensing. Nurse instructor licensing requirements vary by state; however, many of the general qualifications are similar. Requirements typically include obtaining a nursing degree, passing a criminal background check and taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Once all of these qualification are met, the nurse instructor will be able to start work as a fully, state-licensed educator in the field of nursing.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

From 2018-2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that postsecondary nursing teachers would see a 20% growth in employment opportunities, and noted that nursing instructors would be especially in demand due to growth in the healthcare industry. The median annual wages of nurse instructors were $73,490 in May 2018.

Nurse instructors are educators who may teach in hospitals, community centers, colleges or clinics. A bachelor's degree or higher is necessary for working as a nursing instructor, plus RN licensure. Nurse instructors may work within a team when developing content for the curriculum, or tackling teaching-related issues.

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