Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01
There is a great demand for nurse educators, which is why so many nurses are searching for an online Master’s in Nursing Education that will help them reach that status. As nursing becomes an advanced and critical part of the healthcare system, the need grows for working professionals to work as educators, teaching the next generation of nurses how the field works. Now, with so many schools choosing to heed the call of the industry, there are over a hundred online programs in America that provide graduate degrees in nursing.

Nurses are working professionals, so it makes sense that they would flock to online degrees. Programs that provide flexibility, affordability, and the chance to accelerate a degree plan are finding themselves to be very popular with the professionals in the field. With so many nursing education programs available online, it was time to make a ranking that showcased the most affordable programs in America.

This ranking began with research from the National Center for Education Statistics. Using the College Navigator database, an initial pool of 90 schools was created. We then narrowed down to the final 10 listed below, based on in-state graduate tuition rates.

Ranking Low-cost Online Nursing Education Master’s

10. University of Texas Medical Branch

Galveston, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator Track

Website

Tuition: $6,347

The University of Texas Medical Branch provides an online Master’s in Nursing Education that is designed for nurses with at least one year of work experience in the field; this program can also lead to advanced licensure in Texas and compact states. The track, which is part of the Master of Nursing program, can also be taken separately as a stand-alone certificate. Students are advised that only candidates with an NLNAC or CCNE accredited baccalaureate degree and a license to practice nursing in their state will be considered for this 100 percent online program. Students will also be required to take on at least 300 clinical hours for their degree and may be subject to Texas state nursing license laws. This degree requires 40 credit hours of coursework as well as a program evaluation. Sample courses include Public Health Principles in Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Pharmacology, and Educator: Foundation of Learning.

9. Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Education

Website

Tuition: $6,048

Students interested in a Master’s in Nursing Education online degree will find a home at Lamar University, which is a member of the Texas State University System. This is a highly respected online degree that has several starting dates throughout the year. Students will find that this curriculum favors teaching and curriculum design skills, both of which are necessary for nursing educators. Students must hold an accredited nursing license as well as a nursing license in good standing. The degree is structured so that part-time students can complete the degree in three years; those that study full-time can complete all the requirements in less than two years. The program requires a research project, 37 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Role Development and Teaching Theories, Healthcare Policy and Finance, and Curriculum Design.

8. Texas Tech University Health Science Center

Lubbock, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Education

Website

Tuition: $5,760

Texas Tech University Health Science Center provides BSN entry-level students with the opportunity to earn an online Master’s in Nursing Education. The program is available fully online with the exception of practicums; these are completed in a student’s community the supervision of a preceptor. This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. While the school prefers BSN students, non-academic considerations may apply for conditional acceptance; students are advised to discuss their options with the graduate admissions office. Clinical hours are required for the degree but can be completed in a student’s community upon approval of the department. Students can expect to complete 42 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, a practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Leadership for Advanced Nursing Practice, Comprehensive Clinical Care, and Best Practices for Curriculum Development and Program Evaluation.

7. University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Education

Website

Tuition: $4,896

A 100 percent online Master’s in Nursing Education is available at the University of Texas at Tyler. This program was designed for nurses with an accredited bachelor’s degree in nursing and who hold a valid nurse’s license in their state; this program also offers students the chance to seek advanced licensure and certification for Nurse Education. The program is available asynchronously and provides truncated summer terms for students who wish to continue their education year-round. This is an advanced professional degree that is dedicated to nursing education; the bulk of the courses are built around leadership and education. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, clinical hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Translational Science, Advanced Health Policy and Population Health, and Health Care Informatics.

6. Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator

Website

Tuition: $4,644

Missouri State University offers students the chance to earn a nursing education master’s online degree that was built to provide nurses with the advanced professional education they need in this particular field. It is a unique program because it provides students with the chance to design their curriculum to fit their needs. While this program is often delivered online in a traditional format, ambitious nursing students who have two years of work experience in the field of nursing can apply for the Accelerate Program; be advised, this program does require some campus residencies. Courses are delivered in an asynchronous format and in eight-week terms, enabling part-time students to complete more courses throughout the year. Students will be expected to complete 48 credit hours of coursework, clinical hours, a thesis or creative project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Technology in Health Care Education, Population Health: A Local to Global Perspective, and Curriculum Design and Program Development.

5. Texas Woman’s University

Denton, Texas

Online Master in Nursing Education

Website

Tuition: $4,522

The Master in Nursing Education that is conferred by Texas Woman’s University is a fully online program that focuses on the advanced education nurses need in order to become educators. The track is also available as a stand-alone certificate for post-masters graduates. Courses are taught asynchronously online and students can choose to complete their program of study either as a part-time or full-time study. It is also critical to note that only students with a valid Texas nursing license are eligible for this program; nurses from compact states are ineligible to apply. A teaching practicum is part of the requirements for this degree plan; students can complete this in their own community. Students will also complete 40 credit hours of coursework as well as a capstone project and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Research and Quality Improvement in Nursing, Health Policy and Health Promotion, and Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Nursing Practice.

4. University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, Texas

Online Master in Nursing Education

Website

Tuition: $4,497

The University of Texas at El Paso offers a 100 percent online Master’s in Nursing that is built for working professionals. This program aligns with the AACN Masters Essentials and provides students with a quality education taught by working professionals. The MSN-Edu is a compacted accelerated program that utilizes flexible scheduling and short term weeks so that professionals have the flexibility needed in order to complete the degree in two years. As with many programs, this degree does require clinical hours; the exact number of hours depends on a student’s previous work and educational experience. Students can also expect to complete 33 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Integrated Concepts in Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, Nursing Research Appraisal and Application, and Managing Health Care Outcomes.

3. University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Education Concentration

Website

Tuition: $3,996

Students at the University of West Georgia are treated to highly ranked online Master’s in Nursing Education. This degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is delivered 100 percent online with a mix of asynchronous and synchronous courses. Students are given the opportunity to engage in evidence-based projects throughout their program of study and the focuses in on educational technology and professional development. The nursing education concentration may also be taken 100 percent online as a stand-alone certificate. Practicums are also required for this degree and are completed in a student’s community under the supervision of a preceptor. Students will also be required to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam; the requirements can be completed in as little as two years with full-time study. Sample courses include Health Promotion and Advanced Health Assessment, Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice, and Leadership for Quality, Safety, and Health Policy.

2. Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator Track

Website

Tuition: $3,783

The online Master’s of Nursing Education at Angelo State University is designed for nurses who have obtained an accredited undergraduate degree in the field and have a valid nurses license in Texas; nurses who are licensed outside of the state are ineligible for acceptance into this program. While the coursework is delivered entirely online, practicums and field assessments must take place in the state under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Students will have a comprehensive degree plan that will take 18 months of full-time study to complete. They will be required to complete 39 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a capstone course, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Informatics and Healthcare Technology for Advanced Nursing, Curriculum in Nursing Education, and Teaching Strategies in Nursing Education.

1. Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator Track

Website

Tuition: $3,568

The MSN Nurse Educator degree offered by Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi is a professional and academic degree; it is designed specifically for nurses who wish to become educators. This is a cheap online Master’s in Nursing Education degree that is only available to professionals who have earned an accredited undergraduate degree in nursing, hold a Texas nursing license in good standing, and have at least one year of work experience in the field. Students who completed the program may become eligible to sit for National League of Nursing Certified Nurse Educator Certification. The practicum requirement may be completed within the state of Texas under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Students will be required to complete 37 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Diverse Care Environments, Theories and Concepts for the Nurse Educator, and Nursing Curriculum Planning, Development, and Evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Nursing Education Degree?

The most common career path for graduates of an online Master’s in Nursing Education is that of a nurse educator. These are the professors and instructors who teach the new generation of nurses while in college or university. It is important to note that most nurse education graduates do pursue a doctorate in the field prior to going into clinical education.

There are other avenues for nurse educators, however. Some may choose to pursue a postgraduate certificate in another specialization and continue as nurses while others take on an MBA and become administrators and senior-level executives in hospital systems and other medical facilities. Some even gain employment in nonprofit medical charities, providing services to underserved populations at home and abroad. A select few become researchers and scholars, writing papers for journals and working as freelance journalists and authors.

For students who are interested in other avenues for nurse education, here are some examples:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Director of Nurse Education
  • Clinical Educator
  • Diabetes Consultant
  • Patient Care Coordinator and Educator
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Community Health Worker

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The average salary for a nurse educator, the most common career for an online degree in nursing education, is around $72,000. Unlike other salaries, this pay does not fluctuate much with experience, with the highest paid nurse educators making around $80,000.

Where salary difference comes in is the location in America where a nurse educator lives and works. Nurse educators in Texas, California, and New York make anywhere between $75,000 to $95,000; this accounts for nurses who work at universities and colleges, health centers, and as online teachers. Nurse educators in rural areas make slightly less, with salaries ranging from $65,000 to $77,000 a year.

What are the Various Disciplines of Nursing Education?

Nursing education has many facets, but it is firmly rooted in the relationship between nursing, education, and technology. Because nurses often earn graduate and postgraduate degrees, they must be taught by working professionals who understand that technology is the new ally in the fight to prepare more nurses for the future of healthcare. Online degrees are becoming much more popular and so many nursing education degrees focus on how technology can help nurses, both in the field and in the classroom.

There are other disciplines as well. Leadership, management, curriculum design, administration, and soft skills are all focused on in nursing education programs. This is because nurse educators must lead the new generation of nurses in the classroom; their duties as nurse educators also means that they must communicate with students and have the ability to structure their time and educational department.

Why is a Nurse License Necessary for this Degree?

An online Master’s in Nursing is an advanced professional degree; these programs are built for working professionals with some degree of work experience in nursing. They are not built for academics or scholars, but rather for nurses who wish to transition into teaching. It is very rare to find an accredited program that does not require licensure.

One of the main reasons graduate schools in nursing require licensure is because licensure is the natural next step for an undergraduate nursing student. Without holding licensure they cannot practice nursing anywhere in America. A student without a valid license who is trying to obtain a graduate degree is very likely to be rejected by every program simply.

The other main reason that nursing schools require licensure is that advanced degree builds not only on previous educational experience but work experience as well. A nurse who does not hold licensure cannot work in the field and therefore would be far behind their classmates in terms of curriculum and concepts. They would also be unaware of many of the technical aspects that come with being a nurse.

Many students will also know that clinical hours are required for undergraduate students; this is the same for graduates. Without a valid license, students cannot partake in the practicums at the graduate level. This would bar them from finishing the degree, so schools have decided to require licensure.

It is possible to go from a BSN to a Master’s in Nursing, especially through online schooling, but even here, students must hold a nursing license that is in good standing with the state. This is something to bear in mind as a school that does not require licensure should be considered suspicious.

Is Accreditation Important for an Online Master’s in Nursing Education?

Accreditation matters for professionals that wish to earn advanced nursing certification and other credentials in their state. For some students, that is the main goal of entering into the field of nursing education; for others, advanced licensure and certification is not as important. The decision really is up to the student.

Most nursing education programs are delivered with accreditation; this is because nursing is a highly regulated field and must be kept to high standards. It’s also telling that most of the programs, including all of the ones listed in this ranking, require an accredited bachelor’s degree in order to apply for their programs. Accredited graduate programs make a practice of preferring students with an accredited undergraduate degree.

For nursing educators, accreditation is important. The distinction of having graduated from an online accredited master’s program is attractive to potential employers. It denotes a commitment to excellence in nursing and is seen as a sign of a valuable candidate.

Professionals should always try to receive a degree from an accredited university, regardless if their next step is to apply for advanced licensure. In fact, many states require their nurse educators to hold advanced licensure; this is not applicable for many states, so students are advised to do their research on the matter.

Nursing education is a field that requires more educators from the professional side of the field. The best teacher for a new nurse is a nurse with experience both in the hospital and in the classroom, which is why this is a great choice for nurses who are ready to move into the next phase of their careers. With this ranking of the top most affordable online master’s in nursing education, nurses can pick and choose the schools to apply to that are right for them.

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Nursing Education Online for 2018.