The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs 2021

by NurseJournal Staff

Trying to earn an MSN online? Accreditation matters. Explore some of the best online nursing education programs.

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The Best Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs 2021

The demand for healthcare continues to grow while nursing shortages plague many parts of the country. One prevalent reason for this shortage appears that as nursing applicants rise, many programs do not have enough nursing faculty or educators to meet the need. Nurse educators can find expanding career opportunities training the next generation of nurses at colleges and universities and hospital-affiliated programs. This guide explores how to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) with a focus in nursing education and provides information about career options in teaching and clinical settings.

We use our data-driven methodology to rank the top direct-entry master's in nursing 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, program offerings, and online flexibility.

Keep reading to find out more about job opportunities and information on how to apply to an online MSN in nursing education program, or click here to learn more about the best online MSN in nursing education programs on our list.

Featured Online Programs

What Can You Do With an Online MSN in Nursing Education?

Nurses with an MSN nursing education degree typically finds employment teaching at colleges, universities, and hospital nursing programs, training and advising nursing students. Nurse educators may also find well-paying careers in clinical and private settings, supervising nursing staff, conducting research, and developing continuing education and professional development programs for nurses seeking licensure or certification renewal. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18% growth in employment for this in-demand advanced nursing specialty between 2019 and 2029.

  • College/University Professors: These nurse educators create and teach postsecondary-level nursing courses, advise students, develop curriculum, and conduct research. Some academic positions may require nurse educators to also earn their doctor of philosophy in nursing (Ph.D.) or doctor in nursing practice (DNP).
  • Clinical Instructors and Supervisors: These nurse educators work in hospitals and clinical settings directing staff training sessions, mentoring nurses, and developing policies to ensure quality patient care.
  • Nurse Education Consultants: Working in the public and private sector, consultants teach continuing education and professional development classes, assess training needs, and evaluate nursing programs.

What to Look For in an Online MSN in Nursing Education Program

Online nurse educator programs have emerged in response to the on-going national shortage of nurses and nursing faculty. Before enrolling in any degree program, prospective MSN nursing education students should consider key factors such as admission requirements, curriculum, online delivery formats, and accreditation.

Admission Requirements

Because every MSN program establishes its own admission requirements, students should make sure they meet their intended program's specific undergraduate degree, minimum GPA, and standardized test score benchmarks. Most schools require completing prerequisite math, statistics, and natural science courses and 1-2 years of nursing experience.

Program Curriculum

An MSN generally covers advanced topics in areas such as community nursing, health promotion, disease prevention, policy, ethics, and research. The MSN nursing education specialty should offer a teaching practicum and a culminating capstone project on nursing education or administration.

Clinical Experience

Earning a master's in nursing education online or in a traditional campus-based program requires the completion of supervised clinical rotations at an approved setting. Prospective online MSN students should find out if they can complete all clinical experiences near their home communities and the number of in-person hours required.

Accreditation

One of the most important metrics for assessing program quality, accreditation confirms that a nursing school has met national standards set by independent accrediting agencies. A degree from an accredited program assures prospective employers and state licensing boards that graduates have sufficient preparation for licensure and practice.

School Graduation Rate

A school's graduation rate provides a reliable indicator of the program's quality and the level of teaching. A high graduation rate indicates that the program has effectively prepared students to master the material needed to earn their degree.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

While online nurse educator programs offer some convenience, distance learners should make sure they have the required technological capabilities and self-motivation needed for online coursework. Keep in mind that synchronously delivered formats require specific times for virtual class meetings, while asynchronous delivery allows for more flexible access to courses and study materials.


Applying to an Online MSN in Nursing Education Program

Nurse educators must hold a valid registered nurse (RN) license and a graduate degree in nursing. An MSN serves as the minimum educational credential, although university nursing programs may prefer to hire faculty with either a DNP or Ph.D. MSN programs generally expect applicants to have completed specific prerequisites and nursing experience prior to admission.

Admission Requirements: Valid RN license and clinical experience; bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or a related field from an accredited school; transcripts; recommendation letters; personal statement; resume; completion of prerequisites; GRE scores and an interview (for some programs) Clinical Requirements: At least 150 supervised hours in both clinical and academic settings GPA Requirement: 3.0 minimum Other Requirements: Criminal background check and drug screening

Why Is Accreditation Important for an Online MSN in Nursing Education?

Accreditation is an important component in evaluating any degree program. Job prospects are higher with accredited degrees, and financial aid can depend on accreditation status. Check below for more benefits.

  • Accreditation organizations regularly evaluate MSN programs to make sure they meet nationally established standards for quality education. A degree from an accredited program confirms that graduates have the requisite knowledge and training to practice.
  • Most graduate nursing programs do not accept applicants from unaccredited BSN or other master's programs; credits earned at an unaccredited school may not transfer to accredited programs.
  • State nurse licensure and national certification boards require candidates to hold degrees from accredited programs.
  • Students who attend an unaccredited institution do not qualify for federal financial aid.
  • Many employers prefer to hire or only hire graduates of accredited nursing programs.

Who Accredits Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs?

Programs and institutions are accredited by different accreditation bodies. The following are key accrediting bodies for nursing programs and institutions:

How Do I Know an Online MSN in Nursing Education Program Is Accredited?

Online MSN programs undergo the same accreditation process as campus-based programs, ensuring the same level of quality as a traditional degree. Before choosing an MSN program, students should check accreditation organizations' websites to determine the accreditation status of their intended school. Because accredited schools always post their accreditation on their websites, be wary of programs that do not.

The schools in this guide and on NurseJournal.org pages have all been accredited by one or more of the major accrediting organizations.

Paying for an Online MSN in Nursing Education Program

Several factors affect the affordability of an MSN degree. State-sponsored public institutions generally cost less than private schools, but some schools charge higher tuition to out-of-state students. Accelerated programs or part-time options allow students to continue working while enrolled in school. Online programs help students reduce housing and transportation costs, although some degrees require distance learners to travel to mandatory on-campus residencies at their own expense.

Useful financial aid resources for MSN nurse education students can be found below. The most common funding options include government student loans, school and honor societies scholarships, foundational grants, and nonprofit assistance. Additionally, many states offer loan repayment programs. Students may also apply for private bank loans or work-study programs. Healthcare employers sometimes offer nurses tuition remission or reimbursement benefits conditional upon their continued employment.

Learn More About the Top Online MSN in Nursing Education Programs

Texas A&M University true View School Profile $$$ College Station, TX 82% 32% 8% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Texas A&M University-College Station offers an online master of science in nursing degree with a track in nursing education. This MSN program utilizes online course delivery, allowing students to balance their career, family, and education.

Texas A&M's online MSN students complete a total of 36 credits of coursework to earn their degree. Students learn in-depth nursing education courses, including advanced health assessment, teaching and learning theory, teaching strategies for health care professionals, and educational assessment and evaluation.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing-nursing education
  • Campus: College Station, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $1,639 per credit for resident students; $3,173 per credit for non-resident students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; official college transcripts; three professional reference evaluations
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Stony Brook University true View School Profile $$ Stony Brook, NY 74% 38% 17% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Stony Brook University offers an online master of science in nursing education program to prepare nurses to educate new and advanced nurses. SBU's online MS in nursing education program requires students to complete 45 credit hours to earn their degree.

Students of this program develop their expertise in advanced health assessment, health care policy and advocacy, clinical pathobiology, and educational courses such as facilitating adult learning, advanced teaching strategies, and curriculum design and implementation. Graduates of the MS in nursing education degree now assume teaching roles in universities and colleges, as well as in clinical settings.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Stony Brook, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $471 per credit for resident students; $963 per credit for non-resident students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing; cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; current professional Registered Nurse (RN) license, three online letters of recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Texas Christian University true View School Profile Fort Worth, TX 83% 29% 3% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Texas Christian University offers an online master of science in nursing education degree for nurses wanting to assume teaching and leadership roles in curriculum, instruction, and evaluation. TCU also provides nurse education students with the options to focus on adult-gerontology or pediatrics.

Students of this online MSN program should complete a total of 34 credit hours, including two hours of practicum and three hours of teaching practicum. TCU also allows students to choose between a two-year plan of study or a three-year track.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing-nursing education
  • Campus: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $1,790 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; current unencumbered RN licensure in the state of Texas; current CPR certification and immunizations
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley true View School Profile Edinburg, TX 46% 37% 50% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an online master of science in nursing education program designed for registered nurses interested in a position in nursing education. UTRGV offers this program fully online, providing a flexible and affordable education for aspiring nursing educators.

Graduates of this online MSN program now work as patient educators and nursing educators in academic and clinical settings. MSN nursing education students learn to implement health assessment and evaluations, employ instructional strategies, and demonstrate leadership and innovation in teaching nursing.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Edinburg, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $1,481 per three-credit hour course for Texas residents; $2,708 per three-credit hour course for non-residents
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0; current unencumbered RN license; evidence of current immunizations
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Messiah University true View School Profile Mechanicsburg, PA 78% 64% 17% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Messiah University offers an online master of science in nursing degree with a focus on the nurse educator track. This MSN degree also provides students with a foundation for continuing to a doctoral study.

Students of this online MSN program must complete 27 credits of nurse educator courses, including curriculum in nursing education, teaching methods for clinical practice in nursing education, and principles of measurement and evaluation. Graduates earn the eligibility to take the National League for Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator examination.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing-nurse educator
  • Campus: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $710 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0; current unencumbered RN license; minimum of one year of recent professional nursing practice
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Olivet Nazarene University View School Profile Bourbonnais, IL 61% 73% 39% Higher Learning Commission

Olivet Nazarene University offers an online master of science in nursing education degree designed for registered nurses wanting to work as academic nurse educators. This online MSN program integrates an accelerated eight-week class set-up, and students can complete their degree in as little as 15 months.

Students must complete 33 credits of coursework, including nursing education track courses in teaching roles and strategies, evaluation in nursing education, and advanced clinical practice for the academic nurse educator. Upon completion of this MSN degree, graduates earn the eligibility to take the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination from the National League for Nursing (NLN).

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Bourbonnais, Illinois
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $690 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; current unencumbered RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 15 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences View School Profile Lancaster, PA 66% 49% 58% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences offers an online master of science in nursing education program to provide students with the skills and competencies required for a career as a nurse educator. This online MSN program also requires students to commit to three face-to-face sessions on campus.

Students of this program must complete 39 credits of coursework, including practical experience in the academic setting. MSN education students learn intensive courses in curriculum and design, teaching strategies, leadership in healthcare, and advanced assessment and clinical reasoning.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $896 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Mary View School Profile Bismarck, ND 55% 59% 46% Higher Learning Commission

The University of Mary offers an online master of science in nursing degree with a focus on the nurse educator track. Mary offers this program to nurses aiming to move into nursing education in a clinical or academic setting.

Mary requires MSN nurse educator students to complete a total of 38 credits to earn their degree. Graduates of this online MSN program now work as nursing education consultants, unit nurse educators, directors of education, nursing instructors, clinical competency coordinators, and university faculty members.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing - nurse educator
  • Campus: Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $450 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75; official transcripts of records
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 20 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Concordia University-Wisconsin View School Profile Mequon, WI 59% 64% 36% Higher Learning Commission

Concordia University-Wisconsin offers an online master of science in nursing program with a focus on the nurse educator emphasis. This 39-credit online MSN program also provides students with part-time and full-time study options.

CUW designed this MSN degree for students aiming to work as nurse educators, nursing professors, and clinical instructors. CUW also offers graduate students with scholarships and financial aid, providing students with an affordable and flexible education.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing - nurse educator
  • Campus: Mequon, Wisconsin
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $779 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; current licensure as a registered nurse; current CPR certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Bellin College View School Profile Green Bay, WI 74% 53% 33% Higher Learning Commission

Bellin College offers an online master of science in nursing with a nurse educator track. Bellin offers this course on a full-time and part-time basis while integrating a 100% online course delivery.

Students of this online MSN program must complete 39 credit hours of coursework, including 255 hours of practicum experience. Bellin's MSN graduates earn the eligibility to take the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $755 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Official transcripts of records; unencumbered RN license in the state of residency and/or practice
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Indiana Wesleyan University View School Profile Marion, IN 71% 59% 84% Higher Learning Commission

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global offers an online master of science in nursing education degree designed for students to learn the art and principles of teaching in nursing and clinical settings. IWU's nursing education curriculum ascribes to the standards set by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Students in the nursing education program must complete 41 credits of coursework, and a minimum of 175 hours of supervised online and onsite practicums. All online students must meet the minimum computer and internet connection requirements.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Marion, Indiana
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $587 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Roberts Wesleyan College View School Profile Rochester, NY 68% 74% 15% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Roberts Wesleyan College offers an online master in nursing education program focused on developing the evidence-based teaching skills of current registered nurses. Students can complete this program within 20 months, and benefit from the 100% online course delivery.

The college's nursing education graduate program requires students to complete 39 credit hours to earn their degree. Students learn a combination of nursing and teaching courses, including research for advanced nursing practice, advanced clinical foundations for nurse educators, and teaching strategies and learning assessment.

  • Program: Master's in nursing education
  • Campus: Rochester, New York
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $865 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; licensure as a professional registered nurse within the United States; current position in nursing; accumulated undergraduate GPA of 3.00
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 20 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
SUNY Polytechnic Institute View School Profile $$ Utica, NY 57% 51% 44% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

SUNY Polytechnic Institute offers an online master of science in nursing education program that prepares students for a nurse educator position in academic and clinical settings. Upon completion of this program, graduates can continue to a doctoral degree.

This 39-credit hour MSN education program requires students to complete a minimum of 150 hours of practical internship. Course content includes foundations of teaching and learning in nursing education and curriculum development in nursing education.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing education
  • Campus: Utica, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $163 per credit for North Carolina residents; $664 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Union University View School Profile Jackson, TN 71% 47% 42% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Union University offers an online master of science in nursing degree with a focus on the nursing education track. This MSN education program prepares professional nurses for teaching and leadership roles in a variety of school and clinical settings.

To earn their graduate degree, students must finish a total of 41 credit hours within a minimum span of 16 months. Graduates of this MSN program now assume teaching roles in staff development, patient education, and in schools and colleges.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing
  • Campus: Jackson, Tennessee
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $645 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; current unencumbered Tennessee or compact state RN licensure
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Cox College View School Profile Springfield, MO 60% 74% 100% Higher Learning Commission

Cox College offers an online master of science in nursing degree with a nurse educator concentration. This MSN track requires 24 months of full-time study, designed to provide flexibility for working nurses.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates earn the eligibility to take the national certification exam as a nurse educator. Students must complete 36 credits of coursework, including advanced physiology and pathophysiology, educational theory and practice, and instructional strategies and technologies.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing
  • Campus: Springfield, Missouri
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $600 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school; official transcripts of records
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Online MSN in Nursing Education Program FAQs


How much can you earn with an MSN in nursing education?

Salaries vary by degree level, certification, geographic location, and type of employer. In 2020, the BLS reported an annual average salary of $84,060 for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers. Certified nurse educators working in hospitals and other medical settings earn the highest salaries. Community college teachers earn less than faculty working at four-year colleges and universities.

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

Most online nurse educator programs take between 18 and 24 months of full-time study. Nurses who need to continue working while enrolled in school may choose from several part-time options which may add a year or more. Accelerated programs can shorten program length to 18 months or less.

What is certification for nurse educators?

The certified nurse educator (CNE) credential, administered by the National League for Nursing, demonstrates a high level of professional competencies in nursing education roles and functions. RNs qualify for this voluntary certification by meeting all educational and clinical requirements and receiving a passing score on the 150-question CNE exam.

Is an MSN required to be a nurse educator?

Nurse educators need at least an MSN degree to teach at most nursing schools and postsecondary institutions. Universities usually require a doctorate for full-time faculty appointments. An MSN nursing education degree emphasizes curriculum design, student learning, informatics and technological applications, and assessment, preparing graduates for a variety of clinical, teaching, and administrative roles.

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