Nurse Educator Salary Guide

NurseJournal Staff
Updated September 8, 2023
Explore Nursing Educator earning potential and job outlook to help understand if this nursing specialty fits your career goals.
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Nurse educators teach in different settings, such as colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, public health organizations, and within the community. If you find teaching and mentoring rewarding and prefer a set schedule with limited physical demand, becoming a nurse educator can be an excellent career choice.

Median Salary for Nurse Educators

A nurse educator’s salary depends on the subject taught, your teaching schedule, and other job responsibilities. The median annual nurse educator salary varies little from the median annual registered nurse (RN) salary of $75,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Median Annual Salary

Source: BLS, 2020

Salary Range (25-75 percentile)

Source: BLS, 2020

Highest Paying States for Nurse Educators

The states that offer the highest nurse educator salaries both have high costs of living and high demand for nurses. For example, in New York, the projected employment growth for nurses between 2018 and 2028 is 24.6%, more than twice the 12.1% projected for the U.S. overall.

In Florida, demand for nurses is greater because of the high median population ages in most Florida counties, especially Charlotte County, with a median age of 59.1. This drives demand for both nurses and nurse educators.

StateAverage Annual Salary
Washington, D.C.$111,940
New York$98,850
Source: BLS, 2020
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How Do Nurse Educator Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

While the typical nurse educator salary is higher than the salary for RNs in general, it is lower than the typical salary for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and nurse midwives. Many nurse educators hold a master of science in nursing (MSN), a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), or other advanced degree or certification.

3 Ways to Increase Pay As a Nurse Educator

You can take several steps to improve your nurse educator salary, such as increasing your qualifications or changing employers. With the rise of virtual education, you may be able to change employers without having to move to a new location.

1. Become a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE)

Certification demonstrates your commitment to nursing education and increasing your advanced knowledge. To become a CNE, you need an RN license; an MSN or a DNP; a nurse education major, a nurse education certificate, at least nine hours of graduate-level courses in nurse education, or two years experience teaching nursing in an academic setting; and a passing grade on the certification examination.

2. Pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree

The DNP is the highest possible degree in practical nursing, so earning one puts you in a position to earn a higher nurse educator salary. It takes time and effort, but most DNPs find it is an excellent investment. The demand for DNPs is rising, especially as so many nursing schools face a nursing faculty shortage.

3. Change Employment Settings

General medical and surgical hospitals offer the highest nurse educator salaries, an average annual $119,050. Most of these hospitals require a DNP. By comparison, junior colleges offer an average nurse educator salary of $75,190, though these schools are far less likely to require a DNP or CNE certification.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nurse Educator Salaries

Are nurse educators in demand?

Demand is high for nurse educators, especially those with a DNP. The national nurse faculty vacancy rate is 7.2%, and the lack of nurse educators is one of the many factors behind the nursing shortage. Most nursing schools could accept more students if they had more faculty.

Is an MSN required to become a nurse educator?

Nursing schools and hospitals require at least an MSN for teaching positions. However, you can still work as a nurse educator with a BSN, especially if you have extensive experience or are willing to work part time. However, DNPs and MSNs earn the highest nurse educator salaries.

What is the fastest path to becoming a nurse educator?

The fastest path to becoming a nurse educator is to earn an MSN in nursing education. You can choose from several on-campus or online nursing education MSN programs. Most MSNs require approximately two years to complete. However, you can earn a higher nurse educator salary with a DNP.

What is the average annual salary for nurse educators?

How much do nurse educators make? With the growing demand for nurses and a national shortage of nursing faculty, nurse educator salaries are increasing. The average annual salary for nurse educators as of May 2020 was $84,060, compared to $73,150 in 2015, an almost 14% difference, according to the BLS.

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