What is a Master’s in Nursing Education?

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Updated March 19, 2021

Nurses with a masters degree are Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) with different specialties and nurses who have earned a Master's in Nursing Education have an advanced practice specialty focused on education. Like other masters level programs in nursing, you must first complete a bachelors degree, pass your exams, and have some experience practicing as a registered nurse (RN) before enrolling in a Master's of Nursing Education program.

Resource: 30 Best Affordable Online Master's in Nursing Education

Requirements to Start the Program

As an advanced practice specialty, masters level programs in nursing education require that you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) or a similar degree from an accredited program. Some programs may also accept an associates degree in nursing with a bachelor's degree in a related field of study. Many programs also ask for you to maintain a good grade point average (3.0 and above) and pass the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) with a satisfactory score. Most programs also request at least one year of practical experience as a registered nurse, and some require two years or more. You will also need to be able to become licensed as a nurse in the state where your program operates. Duke University is located in North Carolina, for example. Nurses in its MSN Nursing Education program must be able to become licensed nurses in that state.

Nursing Education Program Courses and Curriculum

Part of the role of MSN Nurse Educators is combining teaching and educational assessment skills with masters level nursing skills. In the area of teaching and educational skills, MSN Nurse Educator program participants will take courses in test development, best classroom practices and teaching principles, and curriculum development and implementation. Advanced clinical skills include assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology among many others. Most programs involve practicums or in-class teaching and educational experiences. These can range from 100 hours to longer periods in the classroom being observed and working with a mentor or master nurse educator.

Career Paths for Nurse Education Master's Graduates

Most larger healthcare organizations have a number of roles for advanced practice nurses with masters degrees in education. These positions may educate other health professionals, including nurses, or they may be focused on the public, providing health education to a general population. Another career option is to work in health academic settings, such as colleges and universities. Many nursing instructors are seeking masters degrees with educational components to better-serve their nursing students.

Nurse education is a rapidly growing field of advanced practice specialty for registered nurses. If you enjoy teaching and working with others, the degree will provide the education and skills you need to work with members of the public, special populations with healthcare needs, and nursing students in an accredited nursing program at any level. Some masters degree programs in nursing do not provide higher income earning potential than bachelors degrees, U.S. News reported. But a Master's in Nursing Education may provide long-term earning potential.

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