If you love the field of nursing and you are a naturally gifted educator, consider combining your gifts and studying to become a nurse educator. A nurse educator's job is to instruct a class of aspiring nurses to prepare them to earn their nursing degrees at an undergraduate or graduate level. They plan curriculum, teach the curriculum, assign independent lessons, oversee lab sessions, and act as an academic mentor for prospective nurses. If this sounds like a specialty that you would like to work towards, here is what you need to do:
Work as a Registered Nurse First
If you were training to work in a specific field and your trainer had no experience holding the title that you're training for, you might see an issue with it. This is why you need experience working as a Registered Nurse before you can pursue further education to mold future registered nurses.
To become a registered nurse, you have to enroll in either an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science program with a focus in Nursing and accreditation. After you complete the curriculum that's required by your state's Board of Nursing, you can apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain your state license to practice. Once you are licensed, you should spend years gaining experience in the field before you take an advanced program.
Apply for a Master's Degree Program
After you have several years of work experience as a registered nurse, the next step in your mission to become a Nurse Educator is to complete a master's degree program majoring in nursing. You must have a minimum of a graduate degree before you will be eligible to work in any setting as an educator.
When you are selecting a Master of Science in Nursing, you will have to choose a clinical specialty. The curriculum that you will study will build on all of the topics that you learned as you studied as an undergraduate student. You should always focus on taking courses with an emphasis in education when you enroll in a program. This will qualify you to work in technical colleges, community colleges, and some trade schools.
Consider Earning Your Doctorate
There are much stricter requirements to teach in a university or medical school setting. You can't earn solely an MSN degree and then expect to find a position at a 4-year college. You will have to move on and study for a doctoral degree instead that prepares you for the academic side of nursing.
If you don't already hold a Master of Science in Nursing, there are some dual MSN/Ph.D. degree programs that allow you to study for both degrees at once. These dual degree programs are also good options for students who have a bachelor's degree in a different area of study. Once you hold your Doctor of Nursing Philosophy, you will be eligible to test for the Certified Nurse Education credential through the National League for Nursing.
It is not possible for the nurses of tomorrow to learn about the field if there are not any skilled educators. According to data reported by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there is a major nursing faculty shortage. Since there is a high vacancy rate for faculty positions in some of the top facilities, now is the time to study to become a nurse educator.