2020 Best Online Masters in Nursing Education Programs

From history’s battlefields to today’s battles against a pandemic, nurses have been on the frontlines, and your online masters in nursing education will give you everything you need to assure the next generation of nurses continues this tradition of excellence.

Masters in Nursing Education Programs

Your studies will combine clinical and education-based courses to prepare you to teach in academia or work in staff development in hospitals, clinics, other health care, nonprofits or businesses.

Recent nursing shortages have been exacerbated by a lack of qualified instructors. Your degree will put you in high demand for this financially and personally rewarding career.

Best Online Masters in Nursing Education Programs

Nurse Educator giving lecture to nurses

If you are a registered nurse wishing to start a new and fulfilling position, look no farther than the position of nurse educator. This degree may lead to a teaching position at a university or to employment in a wide variety of clinical settings where you can train staff and become a leader.

As a nurse educator in a college RN program, you will help new nursing students learn the foundations that will allow them to confidently advance from basic science courses such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology, to more clinical classes such as acute care, newborn, or surgical nursing.

In this teaching position, you will be a role model. You will transfer the knowledge you have to student nurses who can benefit from your experience. You will work to evaluate and improve curriculum to assure that your students are learning the most up-to-date, research-based skills and practices.

You may also help freshmen adjust to the demands of undergraduate nursing education. Transition from high school or another field of employment may be difficult and you can help pave the way to success by teaching your charges to set goals, manage their time, deal with stress, and join a team.

In clinical, hospital or other settings, you may work with all levels of personnel to assess current practices and update the knowledge and skills needed to meet today’s challenges. You can work with many different population groups, such as those needing emergency care or the growing senior sector.

You online classes will teach you how to teach. You will be instructed in such areas as strategies for quality nurse education, curriculum planning and evaluation, educational psychology, instructional design, teaching with technology, and instructing for diverse learning styles.

You will also study clinical applications in areas with which all nurses must be familiar. These may include pharmacology, pathophysiology, disease management. Most degrees also require field experiences, practicums and capstone courses.

Online Masters in Nursing Education will also include classes in such diverse subjects as health trends, health policy, statistics, holistic practices, research, assessment and ethics.

Nursing Education Careers and Salaries

Nursing Education Careers and Salaries

A nursing educator may work in many settings. Jobs fall into a number of categories including college or university teaching, staff development in hospitals or other clinical settings, or nurse educators in government or the private sector, working with non-profits, government or businesses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following average salaries for an MSN in nursing education.

Careers Annual Average Salaries
Nurse educator in medical or surgical hospital $121,180
Nurse educator in clinical settings $111,327
Nurse educator in psychiatric or substance abuse hospital $94,380
Nursing Informatics specialists $93,000
College Nursing Faculty $83,240
State Government Nurse Educators $80,790
Junior college Faculty $75,430
Technical or Trade School Faculty $73,100
Government Quality Assurance Nurse Educator $62,400
Community Health Educator $46,916

Salaries will vary widely, depending on location, your education, and your job experience. In addition to teaching and working in hospitals or clinical settings, technology is opening new career possibilities, including nursing informatics specialists who integrate data and information to better support patients.

Nurse educators can work online for hospitals, nonprofits or pharmaceutical companies to answer questions directly from patients or health care personnel. They can also work with many government entities, such as fire departments, to assure first-class delivery of their job-related health care.

Salaries for hospital nurses also vary widely, depending on the type of hospital and the details of the particular job. Specialty hospitals, such as those dealing with substance abuse or geriatric medicine may pay differently than teaching hospitals or those who offer general medical or surgical services.

In addition, many health organizations, such as those dealing with chronic conditions, employ nurse educators to help patients and families understand and cope with their diseases. And government agencies may hire you to work with or research quality control, policies or education needs.

Salaries will rise as you gain more experience in a particular area and move into positions of increased responsibility. As a general rule, those with a masters begin their new careers with salaries that exceed those of registered nurses by about $10,000 and increase from there.

Choosing a Nursing Education Degree

Nursing Educator giving a practical test to students

Many universities understand the need to offer online degrees that provide the flexibility needed by today’s nursing educators. Since there are many choices, consider making a chart that allows you to compare the criteria you value among the universities. Here are some factors:

  • Length of program: Degree requirements range from approximately 22 to 46 units.
  • Tuition cost: This will depend on factors such as whether the university is public or private and whether you will have to pay in-state or out-of-state tuition.
  • Classes: Read course catalogues or descriptions carefully to make sure class offerings include the subjects you most want to study and lead to the licenses and certificates that will be required at the location where you want to work.
  • Accreditation: It is very important to select a regionally accredited university.
  • On-campus attendance: Many programs will require practicums or clinical experiences, so investigate whether and how many credit hours you will need to attend in person.
  • Financial Aid: Because a critical shortage of nursing exists, there are some unique financial aid and loan programs available to nursing educators that the Financial Aid offices at universities you are considering may help you to identify and apply for.

Additional criteria may be added depending on what you learn during your comparison research and what is important to you.

Nursing Education Curriculum & Courses

Nursing Educator teaching CPR to volunteers in community

A Masters in Nursing Education combines education courses with clinical ones. The following list describes some of the classes that you may take during your program.

  • Student-Centered Learning: This course will help you transform student experiences into innovative courses that teaches them to inquire, collaborate and learn.
  • Curriculum Design: Teaches you to create and deliver curriculum based on accrediting standards that recognizes the need to address nursing practices in our diverse world.
  • Healthcare Policies, Politics, Cost and Organization: Provides an overview of the legal, ethical, gender, and generational issues that face health care today.
  • Nursing Leadership: Providing high-quality health care requires understanding of the relationships within health care systems and how to collaborate, resolve conflict between them.
  • Informatics of Nursing: New technology, data storage and information systems enhance patient care. This course will teach you to design, implement and evaluate today’s electronic systems.
  • Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology: This course will help you guide your nursing students to interpret changes in symptoms and functions related to illness and medications.
  • Research Design: Nurse educators will need to learn and understand qualitative and quantitative research and be able to evaluate recent nursing research findings.
  • Nursing Theory: Like all academic disciplines, nursing is based on a variety of theoretical foundations that students should understand in order to be effective practitioners.
  • Measurement and Statistics: This course focuses on how to give students a foundation for understanding statistics and the relationships between variables in nursing.
  • Seminars: Several advanced courses will teach you how to deliver educational material to maximize learning and develop critical thinking skills that go from classroom to the real-world.

Each university develops its own requirements, and you should study the similarities and differences to make sure the universities you are considering offer curriculum you want to take.

Admissions Requirements

This is a Master of Nursing in Nursing Education program so admission will be limited to those who have completed undergraduate nursing degrees.

Admission criteria differ among institutions, but typical requirements include:

  • A bachelor of science in nursing degree and transcripts from undergraduate institutions (certain grade point averages (GPA) and listed courses may be required).
  • A current, unencumbered registered nursing license.
  • A resume which demonstrates current employment at application time
  • A criminal background check
  • Several letters of recommendation
  • A personal essay that might include information such as your background, information about why you want to pursue this degree, your plans for balancing your job and your studies, and your future career goals.

Many applications can now be completed online, but be sure to read all requirements carefully and pay close attention to deadlines. You do not want a missing piece to hinder your acceptance chances.

Accreditation

Masters in Nursing Education Programs Accreditation

In you search for online Masters in Nursing Education Online Programs, one of the most important criteria to look for is accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) lists all organizations that meet its standards for high academic quality and continual program improvement.

CHEA has an easy to use “search” function that allows you to enter the name of a university you are considering and find out whether it has been accredited. In addition, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a useful resource for locating accredited graduate nursing programs.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for Masters in Nursing Education Programs students

The first place to start your search for funds that can help you pay for your education is the Federal Student Aid Office. Their website is easy to use and will help you navigate to all the pages and forms you need to begin the application process.

The financial aid office at each university you are considering is a great place to begin your search for funds that can help you pay for your education. In addition, because of the nursing shortage our country is currently experiencing, several private, government and military organizations offer funding.

Check out the Nurses Educational Funds Organization for information about funding for nurses who wish to advance their education. Other public or private donors can also provide scholarships or other income sources help nursing education students with tuition and related expenses.

What Can I Do with an MSN in Nursing Education?

Nurse Educator teaching a fellow nurse

An MSN in Nursing Education will allow you to teach students and help people in need of reliable medical information in an ever-growing number of settings. Nurse educators with master’s degrees are in scarce supply and many opportunities are available to those who seek new challenges.

With an MSN, you can teach and mentor undergraduate student nurses and really make a difference in their lives. Most hospitals and clinical settings need nurse educators for staff development. And a growing number of businesses and nonprofits need nurse educators to provide continuing education. Remember this is a versatile degree. Possibilities abound.

How Much Does a Nursing Education Master’s Cost?

Tuition will vary from university to university depending on whether it is pubic or private, if you live in state or out of state, how many units you are taking, and whether you are on semester or quarter systems. The total amount will also depend on the number of units required for graduation.

Cost per credit hour ranges from approximately $450 to $600. To estimate your tuition, simply multiply the cost per credit by the number of credits required for graduation and add fees.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Nursing Education Online?

Your length of time to degree completion will depend on a number of factors, primarily the total number of credits required for graduation and if you are attending full-time or part-time. If you take 12 units per semester and the degree requires 36 units, you can finish in just three semesters.

Many master’s students attend part-time, taking about 6 units per semester. If you follow this common path and your university requires 36 units, it will take you six semesters to graduate.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Nursing Education?

Nurse Educator teaching nurses in a hospital

A Master’s in Nursing Education is in demand in the workforce according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your online degree will enable you to teach nursing students or current medical employees in clinics, hospitals, and a variety of businesses or nonprofits that employ medical personnel.

Increasingly, nursing educators are needed as university faculty or to assume leadership positions in academia or other sites with medical responsibilities. You can work in staff development in government, nonprofits, businesses, or directly with patients and their families to help them understand their health profiles and make wise decisions.

Is a Master’s in Nursing Education Worth It?

nurses talking during a break

Yes, a Master’s in Nursing Education is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $75,510 and 24% job growth, a Master of Science in Nursing Education can help you launch a gratifying career in this versatile field.

Common careers include teaching or leadership roles in universities, clinical settings, or other corporate, government or nonprofit organizations that have employees, patients or other populations that need continuing education.

The field can lead to many lucrative and personally satisfying careers in multiple settings. Nursing educators are needed, respected, and rewarded.

Universities Offering Online Master’s in Nursing Education Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer nursing education masters degree online.

#1  Angelo State University

Angelo State University campus

Angelo State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#2  Ball State University

Ball State University campus

Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#3  Benedictine University

Benedictine University campus

Benedictine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Carlow University

Carlow University campus

Carlow University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#5  Concordia University – Irvine

Concordia University - Irvine campus

Concordia University Irvine is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

#6  Drexel University

Drexel University campus

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#7  East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University campus

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#8  Excelsior College

Excelsior College campus

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#9  Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University campus

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#10  Franklin Pierce University

Franklin Pierce University campus

Franklin Pierce University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#11  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University is  accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Herzing University

Herzing University campus

Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#13  Indiana State University

Indiana State University campus

Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#14  Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis campus

The IUPUI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#15  Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University campus

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#16  Lamar University

Lamar University campus

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#17  Mercy College

Mercy College campus

Mercy College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#18  Missouri State University

Missouri State University campus

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#19  Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College campus

Nebraska Methodist College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#20  Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College campus

Notre Dame College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#21  Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University campus

Sacred Heart University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#22  Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#23  Texas Woman’s University

Texas Womans University campus

Texas Woman’s University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#24  University of Nevada – Las Vegas

University of Nevada - Las Vegas campus

The University of Nevada – Las Vegas is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#25  University of Saint Mary

University of Saint Mary campus

The University of Saint Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

#26  University of Texas at Arlington

University of Texas – Arlington campus

The University of Texas at Arlington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#27  University of Texas at Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler campus

The University of Texas at Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#28  University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming campus

The University of Wyoming is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#29  Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#30  Western Governors University

Western Governors University campus

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting You Master’s in Nursing Education Online

Master’s in Nursing Education student studying online

If you are a registered nurse who is looking for a new, personally satisfying, and well-paying career, look no further than an Online Master’s in Nursing Education. Universities have created degree paths that recognize the demands on your time and allow you to take classes that fit around your busy life.

The nursing shortage in our country has opened many new opportunities for those with an MSN degree. You can teach nursing students, provide continuing education employees in hospitals, clinics, nonprofits or corporations, conduct research in your field of interest, or combine any of these into a new career.

Current events have given this degree tremendous versatility. More people are insured than ever before; the population is aging, and new medical facilities and systems all need nurse educators. For the rare career that combines financial awards with personal ones, nursing education may be for you.

Maureen Rubin
WRITTEN BY
Maureen Rubin
Maureen has a Juris Doctor, Master's in Public Relations, and a Bachelor's in Journalism. She is an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge and enjoyed a career working in public information at nonprofits, and in Congress & the White House. She welcomes an opportunity to share educational or uplifting information with readers.