October 20th, 2010
Did you know that one of the reasons the nursing shortage persists in the U.S. today is there aren’t enough nursing faculty? If there aren’t enough nurse educators, who will train new nurses to meet the growing demand? True, the nursing shortage has become much less severe in some regions of the U.S. since the recession is leading older nurses to stick it out instead of retire, as well as leading younger individuals to enter the nursing field in droves. However, even with all this interest in nursing careers, nursing schools still had to turn away nearly 55,000 qualified applicants from bachelor’s and graduate programs of nursing because there simply weren’t enough nurse educators to teach them, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
Most people don’t go to nursing school intending to become nurse educators. But it’s actually become quite an in-demand job in the nursing career field. The AACN reports in a 2009-10 survey that the vacancy rate for nurse faculty is 6.6 percent at baccalaureate and graduate schools of nursing nationwide. In every region of the U.S., nursing schools are having trouble recruiting and hiring nurse educators. The good news for those who wish to become nurse educators is that this high demand increases your chance of receiving lucrative incentives to teach.
While nurse faculty do not earn as much money in their profession as a practicing advanced practice nurse would (nurse practitioners earn between $80,000 and $90,000 a year), they still have the potential for bringing in a respectable income, with an average annual salary of $69,489, according to the AACN.
For nurses with a flair for the academic, becoming a nurse educator also affords you the opportunity to conduct research at a nursing school and get your work published. Some nurses enjoy working in a more intellectually stimulating environment than, say, a hospital or other health care setting.
The National League for Nursing lists their Top Ten Reasons to Become a Nurse Educator, and among them are the opportunity to teach what you love, the chance to teach from anywhere in the world, and the chance to shape the future of healthcare.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing is the first step along your path to becoming a nurse educator. Afterwards, those who wish to become nurse educators should pursue licensure and gain clinical experience. Finally, qualified RNs must complete graduate training at the master’s or doctoral level to be qualified to teach.
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