California Nursing Education Careers

Nurse educators plan, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs and curricula for the professional development of student nurses and registered nurses (RNs). According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse educators also demonstrate and teach patient care in classrooms, in clinical units to nursing students, or both. Nursing educators are also involved in research.

Nurse educators work in colleges, universities and professional schools; junior colleges, technical and trade schools, general medical and surgical hospitals, business schools and computer and management training facilities, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and in state government. They work in all areas across the U.S. with the highest employment levels in Texas (highest), Ohio (#2), New York (#3), California (#4), and Pennsylvania (#5).

Nursing Education, Education and Training Programs

The education and experience requirements for nurse educators varies by desired area of specialization. To teach the next generation of RNs, a Master’s degree from an accredited program is preferred. To become an instructor for Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) programs, nursing educators must hold a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) or higher. However, an advanced degree is preferred. Institutions that offer Master’s degree level programs typically employ educators with a Master’s degree, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or a PhD in Nursing. However, most institutions prefer a DNP or PhD.

A typical Master’s program in nursing education will require advanced study in the areas of continuing education for clinical staff, patient education, and teaching as a faculty member in a pre-licensure program. Students may choose a specialization/advanced clinical-focus area such as Adult Health Nursing, Gerontology or Adult/Gerontology, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Women's Health & Perinatal Nursing, or Pediatric Nursing.

Course titles will vary by school, program and focus area and may include advanced:

Adult Health Nursing
Health Assessment    
Health Assessment - Clinical    
Nursing Research
Pathophysiology    
Pharmacology
Role Development

The program may also include required courses with titles such as:

Curriculum Design & Education Theory    
Health Care Policy
Teaching Strategies & Evaluation Methods
Theories in Nursing Education

In addition to an advanced degree, many employers prefer to hire Certified Nurse Educators (CNE). Although optional, according to The National League for Nursing (NLN), “the CNE credential allows nurses to demonstrate their expertise in Nursing Education. This credential was created as part of a movement by the NLN to distinguish nursing education as a professional specialization.”

Nursing Education Schools and Training Programs in California

The State of California is home to a number of accredited programs that can prepare aspiring nurse educators for a career in this field and to sit for the CNE examination. Some of the top programs for aspiring California nurse educators include:

Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA
California College-San Diego, San Diego, CA
California State University-Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
California State University, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA
California State University-Stanislaus, Turlock, CA
Holy Names University, Oakland, CA
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA

The programs listed may hold any number of  accreditation seals such as Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), or American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to name a few.

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Nurse Educators

The State of California is home to 3,300 nurse educators (nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary). They average $89,060 per year, which is the 2nd highest salary for nurse educators in the U.S. In 2008, California-based nurse educators averaged $74,440 per year, when the State was home to 3,470 nurse educators. Although the population decreased between 2008 and 2012, California still has the 4th highest employment level for nurse educators.

The State is also home to 5 of the Top 10 Highest Paying Metro Areas for Nursing Instructors and Teachers. They include:

#3: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, average salary $96,680 per year
#4: Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, $94,150 per year
#5: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, $90,280 per year
#7: Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, $89,550, per year
#9: San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City,    $87,900 per year

In addition to being one of the highest paying Metro areas, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro Area currently holds the #4 spot on the list of the nation’s Top 10 Metro Areas with the Highest Employment Levels for Nursing Instructors and Teachers. This Metro area is home to 820 nurse educators.

The U.S. is home to 67,800 nursing instructors and teachers averaging $64,850 per year. In 2008, the nation was home to 46,890 instructors averaging $62,660 per year. The Bureau projects a 35% increase in employment for nursing instructors and teachers for the 2012-2022 decade. This amounts to roughly 24,000 jobs in the coming years.

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Schools Programs Nursing
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