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4 Jobs for Nurse Educators

Nurse educators contribute to the development of a skilled nursing workforce. They are frequently involved in patient education as well. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a nursing education concentration provides the knowledge base necessary to pursue several career avenues. Here are four nurse educator jobs to consider.

Instructional Nurse Faculty

Instructional nurse faculty are employed by colleges, universities and trade schools. They may teach in-person or online courses, develop curriculum and advise nursing students pursuing associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for nursing instructors, as of May 2018, is approximately $81K. Future job growth is expected to be high, as current nursing faculty near retirement and nursing programs expand to meet the demand of students entering the field.

Nursing Professional Development Specialist

Nursing professional development specialists, commonly called clinical nurse educators, are instrumental in facilitating continuous education and professional development programs for nurses. Often employed by hospitals, they work with administrators to identify areas in which nursing skill sets require improvement and then create and distribute educational content and related policies. They may interact with and oversee an entire facility's nurses or just a portion of nursing units.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary is $75K (February 2020). The outlook for nursing professional development specialists is likely to increase as the nursing workforce expands.

Nurse-Patient Educator

Education is an important component of patient treatment plan compliance and adherence. Nurse-patient educators work closely with patients, their families and caretakers to ensure they understand the care plan and the health condition. They supply disease and treatment information as well as connect patients to community resources. Nurse-patient educators may specialize in a certain type of education, such as childbirth, diabetes or infusion therapy. They work in a variety of settings from hospitals to physician practices and nonprofit organizations.

Salary depends on the setting, type of education provided and certification. For example, according to PayScale, certified diabetes educators earn an average annual salary of $66K (February 2020). Considerable job growth is possible as prevention and disease management strategies move to the forefront of diabetes care. According to BLS projections, the 11% projected job growth for health educators is much faster than average from 2018-2028.

Medical Device Educator/Consultant

Nurse educators often find employment with medical device manufacturers. They frequently perform on-site visits to healthcare facilities — physician offices, hospitals, nursing homes and surgical centers, for example — and educate physicians, administrators and nurses about durable medical equipment and supplies. This can include everything from cochlear implants to artificial joints. Educators may also work directly with patients, advising them on the uses, benefits and risks of certain devices.

According to a 2019 MedReps industry report, the average base salary for consultants is $90K per year. With bonuses and commissions, the average annual income exceeds $165K. Job growth will likely be strong as device development is ongoing and lucrative, particularly as it relates to cardiology, diabetes and orthopedic care for an aging population. 

Opportunities Abound

Opportunities abound for nurse educators with a passion for coaching and communicating with others. As the focus of healthcare shifts largely to preventive care and management of chronic diseases, nurse educators are increasingly sought to keep patients, nurses and healthcare providers informed about best practices and available options.  

Learn more about NKU's Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education Concentration online program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Nursing Faculty Shortage

MedReps: 2019 Medical Device Sales Salary Report

PayScale: Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

PayScale: Nurse Educator

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Health Educators and Community Health Workers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses

Wolters Kluwer: Getting to Know Your Nursing Professional Development Specialist

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