Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

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Online nurse educator programs prepare graduates to teach nursing students at colleges and universities or through hospital training programs. A nationwide shortage of both nurses and nursing faculty has produced numerous opportunities for professionals considering this career. Compounding the dearth of qualified instructors, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing points to a study stating that one-third of existing nursing faculty will likely retire by 2025.

In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual salary of $83,160 for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers. Master’s in nursing education programs generally qualify graduates to teach at the associate degree or diploma in nursing level and open doors to doctoral education and university faculty positions.

Master’s in nursing education online learners can expect both scheduled synchronous instruction and self-paced asynchronous coursework. Clinical hours must be completed in person at a local healthcare facility. Students can earn their degrees in two years of full-time study.

View ranking methodology here.

Top Online MSN in Nurse Educator Programs

Rank School Location
1 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
2 Baker University Baldwin City, KS
3 Messiah College Mechanicsburg, PA
4 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
5 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

  1. Gwynedd Mercy University

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    This Catholic university, located in Lower Gwynedd Township, Pennsylvania, offers a master of science in nursing education that prepares learners to teach student nurses in clinical college programs.

    The 40-credit curriculum advances clinical knowledge and explores research skill development, providing students with clinical and teaching experience. Holding specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), GMercyU's hybrid program requires a degree-seeker to complete 12 courses, along with a practicum experience.

    The rigorous curriculum comprises foundation courses and nurse educator concentration courses in the theoretical foundations of nursing, pathophysiology for advanced practice nurses, and advanced pharmacology.

    Each prospective student must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing with a 3.0 GPA or higher from a CCNE-accredited institution. Other admission requirements include a completed application, an unencumbered RN license, evidence of current clinical practice, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

  2. Baker University

    Baldwin City, KS

    BU, a private, liberal arts university in Baldwin City, Kansas, was established in 1858 as the first four-year university in the state. This school offers a master of science in nursing program, which prepares students to apply their skills in nursing education and nursing administration.

    Online MSN students can consider the nursing education or nursing administration tracks, depending on their career goals. Graduate students enjoy a 10% tuition discount if they earned an undergraduate degree from Baker.

    The nursing education track features a curriculum that integrates core master's-level concepts, education-focused courses, and advanced clinical foundations. In the nursing administration track, learners develop their communication, employee management, and team-building skills.

    An eligible applicant must hold a 3.0 GPA or higher, along with an unencumbered registered nurse license. Each candidate must provide official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and evidence that they completed a graduate-level statistics course.

  3. Messiah College

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Messiah opened its doors in 1909 as a private institution that now offers one of the best online nurse educator programs in the nation, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    The online MSN offers a nurse educator track that prepares learners to teach and lead across several clinical and educational settings. The 39-credit curriculum explores nursing research design and methodology, health informatics, and teaching methods for clinical practice in nursing education.

    Degree-seekers typically complete their requirements within two years of full-time enrollment, paying an affordable tuition rate of $710 per credit. Graduates can pursue careers as clinical nurse educators in clinical practice settings or entry-level teaching positions in undergraduate nursing education programs.

    Each applicant should hold a bachelor's degree in nursing with a 3.0 GPA or higher from an accredited institution. During the admissions process, a prospective student must provide a completed application, official transcripts, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a resume.

  4. Xavier University

    Cincinnati, OH

    The sixth-oldest Catholic and fourth-oldest Jesuit university in the United States, Xavier offers a master's in nursing education online degree to prepare nurses for educational, managerial, or consulting roles.

    Students can complete this Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education-accredited online MSN in 2-3 years. Enrollees pay an affordable tuition rate of $670 per credit hour. The 36-credit curriculum serves registered nurses who hold a bachelor's degree in nursing. Learners can specialize their degrees in education, forensics, or general studies.

    Each enrollee explores core courses in healthcare ethics for nursing leaders and health care policy for nursing leaders before completing two practicums and a scholarly project.

    Students develop leadership skills ideal for higher-level functions and responsibilities in healthcare environments. Courses occur in eight-week periods, but summer courses might be shorter. Part-time students typically enroll in one course at a time, while full-time students enroll in two at a time. Most online courses follow an asynchronous format, which offer added flexibility.

  5. Duquesne University

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Founded by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne functions as a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Duquesne offers several flexible degrees, including one of the top master of nursing education online programs.

    Holding accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the online MSN prepares learners to sit for the nurse educator exam. Degree-seekers can choose from three start dates each year and do not need to complete the GRE for admission.

    Online learners benefit from several exclusive online services, such as online writing support, a nursing faculty mentor, and continuing education and conference opportunities. Enrollees typically complete their degree requirements within 2.5 years of full-time study.

    The 36-credit hour curriculum includes 12 courses and 225 clinical hours. Students can tailor their degrees to their personal interests and career goals by pursuing concentrations in forensic nursing or transcultural nursing.

Applying to an Online MSN in Nursing Education Program

A master of science (MSN) in nursing education is the minimum requirement for becoming a nurse educator. Program applicants need a bachelor of science in nursing, an active registered nurse (RN) license, and three years of clinical nursing experience. However, amid the current shortages of nurse educators, some programs may offer conditional admission to RNs with bachelor’s degrees in other healthcare or science fields.

Candidates submit transcripts and many programs require 3.0 GPAs or higher. Additional requirements for admission may include personal interviews, prerequisite statistics courses, and GRE scores, along with reference letters, personal essays, writing samples, and resumes.

Graduates qualify to take the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination, along with other specialty certification exams. Nurse educators must maintain their RN licenses and CNE credentials.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to complete a nursing education program?

    Full-time nurse educator master’s program online students can graduate in two years. Most programs also offer part-time options to accommodate working nurses, which adds about a year to the completion time. Accelerated programs that learners can complete at their own pace typically take 12-18 months to finish.

  • What is certification for nurse educators?

    While not required to work as a nurse educator, certification augments resumes and signifies compliance with high professional standards. Many nurse educators become nationally credentialed CNEs. Nurse educators can also specialize and earn certification in areas like adult health, maternal health, community and public health, psychiatric and mental health, and critical care.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accredited nursing education programs receive regular curricular review to ensure that they provide career preparation that meets rigorous academic standards. The two main organizations that accredit nursing programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Regional accreditation indicates compliance with similar criteria at the institutional level.

  • What skills are important for nurse educators?

    Nurse educators need to possess both clinical experience and teaching abilities. Qualities that serve nurse educators well include creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and leadership. Additional skills required of successful nurse educators consist of advising, management, organization, research, speaking, and writing. Some can be learned, but others may be more innate.