Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Education can open doors to various career paths. From universities and hospitals to healthcare vendors and educational publishers, you have a number of employment options to choose from. Here are five potential career paths, including salary and demand.
1. Nursing Faculty or Instructor
The nursing faculty shortage occurring throughout the nation is compounding the nursing shortage. Nursing faculty may work in several academic settings, including universities, trade schools, and junior colleges, among others. Entry-level positions may include adjunct instructor and assistant professor, followed by more senior positions, like associate professor and professor — following tenure. Depending on the position, you may teach either classroom or clinical courses — and frequently, a combination of both. Some nursing faculty also conduct research.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary nursing instructors earn an annual average wage of $75,030, with the top 10 percent earning up to $117,540. The BLS estimates that demand for postsecondary teachers will grow at a rate of 13 percent — faster than average. The Texas Workforce Commission projects that demand in Texas will grow more than 29 percent through 2024.
2. Nursing Education Coordinator
Besides teaching at nursing schools, you may also find that hospitals and other healthcare organizations are interested in hiring nurse educators. Often called nursing education coordinators, staff educators or continuing education specialists, these nurses are responsible for developing, coordinating and carrying out educational activities for an organization’s nurses. Some organizations may assign a staff educator for every unit, while others assign nurse teachers to educational activities and assessments of multiple nursing units. Nursing education coordinators may also conduct new-hire orientations, monitor certifications, and play an instrumental role in quality control.
According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for nursing education coordinators is $85,313. Due to the ongoing need to reevaluate patient care techniques to meet the needs of an evolving population, it is likely that demand for nursing education coordinators will increase.
3. Patient Health Educator
Nurses with an MSN in Nursing Education may also find employment as a patient health educator. Frequently hired by community health organizations, hospitals and other healthcare entities, nurses in this role work closely with patients and members of the community. They may provide information about healthy living and disease prevention. When a health crisis affects the community or a significant portion of the organization’s patients, health educators may coordinate educational and outreach efforts with community or hospital leaders. They may conduct seminars or health fairs, or design mailers to relay pertinent information to the public.
According to the BLS, health educators earn an average annual wage of $57,900, with the top 10 percent earning $95,730. The BLS estimates that the need for health educators nationwide will grow faster than the average at 13 percent through 2024. As of May 2016, the BLS reported that Texas had the fifth highest employment of health educators in the nation. The Texas Workforce Commission predicts health educator job growth of almost 28 percent in Texas through 2024.
4. Healthcare Consultant
While nurse educators have traditionally worked at colleges, universities, and hospitals, the rise in medical companies has created an additional career pathway. With a number of healthcare companies entering the marketplace — medical device manufacturers, pharmaceuticals companies, electronic health records and software vendors — nurse educators may find their expertise in high demand. These emerging organizations may hire nurse educators to study their products or services as a subject matter expert. The vendor may then send you to client locations, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations, to work with management and nursing staff, teaching them how to properly use and implement the new product or service.
According to PayScale, healthcare consultants earn an annual average salary of $75,5116, with the top 10 percent earning nearly $140,000 per year. Since nurse educators can consult for a range of companies, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific growth rate. As a reference point, the BLS reports that jobs for management consultants will likely grow 14 percent through 2024. For IT analysts and consultants, the BLS projects growth of 21 percent through 2024. The Texas Workforce Commission estimates growth rates of nearly 25 percent and 32 percent, respectively, through 2024.
5. Curriculum Development Specialist
If you have an MSN in Nursing Education, several years of on-the-job experience, and research skills, a career as a curriculum development specialist may be an ideal fit. In this role, you will develop healthcare-related curricula and learning modules for use in print textbooks and digital publications. Employers typically include educational publishing companies, although the end user of the content may be postsecondary students, licensed nurses or even high school students pursuing healthcare studies. These positions are often offsite and freelance-based, providing a greater level of flexibility for nurses who pursue this career option.
According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a curriculum developer is $59,132, with the top 10 percent earning approximately $95,000 per year. The BLS estimates that demand for instructional coordinators will grow 7 percent through 2024. However, the Texas Workforce Commission projects the demand in Texas will grow more than 21 percent through 2024.
Which Career Path Is Right for You?
As you can see, earning an MSN in Nursing Education can lead to several unique and rewarding career opportunities. Whether you wish to teach at a community college, work closely with the community, or develop curriculum, there is likely a position that accommodates your distinct skills, strengths and interests.
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