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The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Daniel Bal, MS.EdNurseJournal Rankings Team
Updated November 30, 2023
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Review some of the best online MSN nursing education programs and explore what to look for when deciding to pursue the role of educator.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Male nurse advising female nurseCredit: rubberball / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

An online master of science (MSN) in nursing education combines clinical experiences and teaching fundamentals. Graduates can pursue nurse educator roles in academic or patient care settings. Learn about the best online MSN nursing education programs and what to consider when choosing the right one for you.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best ADN-to-MSN (RN to NP) bridge programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Featured Online MSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Why Is Online MSN in Nursing Education Accreditation Important?

The following reasons highlight the importance of attending an accredited nursing program:

  • Accreditation ensures the high quality of the program.
  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing accredits programs that appropriately prepare students for their role as nurses.
  • Graduates from accredited programs are more attractive to employers, leading to more employment opportunities and a higher earning potential.
  • Students enrolled in unaccredited programs may not be eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Doctoral programs expect applicants to have a degree from an accredited program.
  • Accredited programs may not accept transfer credits from unaccredited ones.

The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs & Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.
#1 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Texas A & M University-College Station

  • Location-markerCollege Station, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,395
  • Out-of-state$36,849
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate63%
  • Students Enrolled70,418
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment33%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Western Governors University

  • Location-markerSalt Lake City, UT
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,380
  • Out-of-state$6,380
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled147,866
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Stony Brook University

  • Location-markerStony Brook, NY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,070
  • Out-of-state$24,740
  • Retention Rate90%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled26,782
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment90%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Location-markerEdinburg, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,233
  • Out-of-state$17,049
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate82%
  • Students Enrolled32,441
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

The University of West Florida

  • Location-markerPensacola, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,735
  • Out-of-state$16,004
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled13,061
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Cedarville University

  • Location-markerCedarville, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$32,364
  • Out-of-state$32,364
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled4,461
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment41%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Texas Christian University

  • Location-markerFort Worth, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$51,570
  • Out-of-state$51,570
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate48%
  • Students Enrolled11,379
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment95%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

  • Location-markerLancaster, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$29,386
  • Out-of-state$29,386
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate54%
  • Students Enrolled2,011
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment61%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Duquesne University

  • Location-markerPittsburgh, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$41,892
  • Out-of-state$41,892
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled8,830
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment82%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Union University

  • Location-markerJackson, TN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$22,080
  • Out-of-state$22,080
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled3,071
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes

How Online MSNs in Nursing Education Work

When compared to in-person programs, online programs can be completed entirely online or with minimal campus visits. On-campus requirements may include meeting with instructors, attending lectures, or completing labs.

Online courses are either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses happen in real-time with students and instructors interacting at a scheduled time. Asynchronous courses contain lessons that students complete on their time through the use of videos, podcasts, and other online tools.

While you might not have to complete any courses on campus, depending on your program, your teaching practicum will be in person. Practicums allow for the practical application of what you learned in your courses to a real-life educational setting under the supervision of an instructor or mentor.

Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in an Online MSN in Nursing Education

When deciding on an online MSN program, it’s important to consider several key characteristics. Knowing a program’s admission requirements, accreditation, length, and format lets you determine if the school is the right fit. You can then avoid applying to programs that don’t meet your academic and professional needs.

Admission Requirements

Although nursing schools may have similar admission requirements, some want applicants to meet specific criteria for previous academic, clinical, and professional experiences. You do not want to waste time applying to programs with prerequisites you do not meet.

Program Curriculum

When focusing on a specific specialization such as nursing education, most programs will follow a similar curriculum. However, certain schools may offer students a variety of courses to choose from. Look for a program with courses that align with your professional goals.

Clinical Experience

Most nursing education programs require students to complete a teaching practicum designed to give them experience teaching under the supervision of a mentor. Schools typically assist with placement for a teaching practicum. You want to know when and how long these practicums are to make sure they fit your schedule.


Accreditation indicates that the program meets the highest education and training standards. Choosing a program that is not accredited can limit professional and academic opportunities.

Program Length

Knowing the program’s length helps you determine if the time commitment works for you. Most online programs offer part- and full-time options. Full-time students complete the program faster, but it limits their ability to simultaneously hold a job. Part-time students can stay employed, but it will extend the length of the program.

School Graduation Rate

A nursing school’s graduation rates are based on the percentage of students who complete their program within a certain timeframe. Higher graduation rates are an indication of a high-quality program.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Some programs are completely online, while others require certain on-campus requirements. All schools will require students to complete their practicum in person. Decide what works best for you by determining if you can meet any on-campus requirements, if your schedule allows you to attend in-person practicums, and if the delivery format fits your needs as a student.

Applying to an Online MSN in Nursing Education

Before applying to an online MSN program for nursing education, you want to make sure you meet the conditions for acceptance. Graduate nursing programs look for candidates with the right academic and experiential backgrounds.

While admission is highly competitive and schools may look for specific prerequisites, many programs seek applicants who meet the following conditions:

  • chevron-right

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants must have an unrestricted and unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license, a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from an accredited hospital-based program, and at least two years of clinical experience.
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    Admission Materials

    General admission materials include post-secondary transcripts, professional references, a written statement of professional goals, and a resume.
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    GPA Requirement

    3.0 GPA or higher

Paying for an Online MSN in Nursing Education

One of the most important contributing factors in choosing a program is the cost. The cost of operating buildings, maintaining on-site faculty and staff, and providing health-related services is often subsidized with tuition and fees. Because online students do not use all of these resources, schools may offer lower costs for remote programs.

To help pay for their nursing degrees, students have access to various financial aid options. They can apply for scholarships, grants, or loans to help reduce the financial burden. Scholarships and grants provide funds based on merit, need, or academic performance, while loans are borrowed money that must be paid back after the program’s completion.

What Can You Do as a Nurse Educator?

A nurse educator’s primary responsibility is preparing future generations of nurses for employment. Nurse educators typically work in healthcare facilities or educational institutions, including universities, community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools.

Those who work in healthcare facilities are responsible for helping nursing staff develop and maintain skills, keeping up to date on new regulations, advising nursing staff on best practices, evaluating nursing students, and interacting with patients, families, and coworkers.

Nurse educators who work in academic settings develop curricula, teach classes through lectures and discussions, assess student performance, evaluate educational programs, and conduct research on best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSNs in Nursing Education

Is an MSN in nursing education worth it?

Determining if an MSN in nursing education is worth it depends on the individual. Nurse educators often benefit from high job satisfaction knowing they are preparing future generations of nurses. They can work in various settings, including academic and patient care. Working in nursing education can also be less stressful than clinical nursing.

However, nurse educators, compared to all other MSN jobs, are the lowest paid, especially in academic institutions. According to the Payscale, nurse educators earn an average salary of $78,910 as of October 2022.

How long does it take to become a nurse educator?

It can take 8-10 years to become a nurse educator from start to finish. This includes the four years needed to earn a BSN, two years of clinical experience, and 2-4 years to complete an MSN program.

What do nurse educators do?

Nurse educators work in nursing schools, hospitals, and community health settings preparing the next generation of nurses and ensuring ongoing education for experienced nurses. They can also work in academic settings. Their main responsibilities include developing lesson plans, providing direct instruction, and assessing and evaluating learning outcomes.

Can I become a nurse educator online?

Yes, you can become a nurse educator online. However, students must complete a teaching practicum in person. Some schools may also require a certain number of on-campus visits throughout the program.

Related Pages

Page last reviewed: October 10, 2022. Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.