Online Master's in Nurse Education - MSN Degree Nurse Educator

“Nurse educators must remember that our students have personal lives and responsibilities, and they need our understanding and compassion too as we educate them to treat their patients with respect and humility.”

Tonya Breymier, PhD, Dean of Nursing at the Arizona College of Nursing (Cincinnati)

Our hospitals need good nurses, and an effective nursing system needs nurturing from a good faculty. Nurse educators play an important role in preparing students to deliver the best patient care. An online master’s program in nurse education paves the way for budding nurse educators to take up faculty positions in bachelor’s- and associate-level nursing programs, create a curriculum, and develop new teaching methods.

A number of universities offer online master’s programs in nurse education, generally comprising 30 to 40 credit-hours, which can be completed in two years. The curriculum focuses on the role of nurse educators, how to develop nursing curricula, the engagement of students in the classroom, and advanced nursing practice. At the end of the program, students can pursue roles such as clinical nurse educator or adjunct professor in universities, colleges, and hospital-based nursing schools, among other opportunities.

The following guide covers online master’s programs in nurse education and the perspective of an accomplished nurse educator.

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Meet the Expert: Tonya Breymier PhD, RN, CNE, COI

Tonya Breymier

Dr. Tonya Breymier is a distinguished figure in the nursing education community, currently serving as the dean of nursing at Arizona College of Nursing.

With a career spanning over three decades in nursing and 17 years dedicated to higher education, she has amassed extensive experience across various clinical settings, including obstetrics, PACU, telemetry, homecare and community health, and significant leadership roles. Her previous positions include serving as a campus president at Chamberlain University, BSN program director at the University of Dayton, and associate dean at Indiana University East.

Dr. Breymier’s academic credentials are as impressive as her career, holding a BSN from Wright State University, an MSN from Ball State University, and a PhD from Capella University. An accomplished nurse, educator, and leader, she has contributed to the field through national and international presentations and numerous publications, particularly on simulation education.

Dr. Breymier has earned many accolades, grants, fellowships, and awards for her teaching and service throughout her career. Her commitment extends beyond academia into community service, where she actively supports various organizations. As dean of the Arizona College of Nursing in Cincinnati, she is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment that supports the holistic well-being and professional growth of nursing students and faculty, promoting a balance between life and work. What is something most people don’t know about being a nurse educator?

Dr. Breymier: There’s a common saying that “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” The phrase dates back to George Bernard Shaw in the early 1900s, and represents a false, dated idea of what it means to teach. This is especially true in nursing education.

When a nurse enters the education field, it does not mean they are unable to practice competently; it means they choose to bring a wealth of expertise and advanced education to teach and nurture the next generation of nurses. Many assume nurses leave the bedside to have weekends and holidays off, daytime hours, and shorter workdays. This is a misconception. Nurse educators are an advanced nursing specialty with specific advanced degree requirements and certifications. The clock never turns off for nurse educators. It lasts throughout the semester, only to pick right back up when the next cohort begins.

It’s all worth it, though. Nurse educators are motivated by the impact they make on future nurses, and student success is our greatest reward. What is one piece of advice you would give to a prospective nursing education student?

Dr. Breymier: First, find your passion. Whether it’s for student success or the opportunity to contribute toward our profession’s future, find what drives you as a nurse educator.

Secondly, patience and empathy are key. Nurse educators must remember that our students have personal lives and responsibilities, and they need our understanding and compassion, too, as we educate them to treat their patients with respect and humility. Above all, nursing educators must prepare students to join the workforce. That means teaching them all parts of nursing, both the art and the science.

Career & Salary Outlook for Nurse Educators

The career outlook for nurse educators remains robust and promising from 2022 to 2032, with a growing demand driven by an aging population and the subsequent need for more healthcare professionals. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2024), employment of postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers is projected to grow by 38 percent, significantly faster than the average for all occupations (3 percent). This growth underscores the critical role nurse educators play in shaping the future of healthcare.

Here are the salary percentiles for nurse practitioners, a closely related occupational category for nurse educators (BLS May 2023):

  • 10th percentile: $94,530
  • 25th percentile: $106,960
  • 50th percentile (median): $126,260
  • 75th percentile: $140,610
  • 90th percentile: $168,030

Additionally, data from in June 2024 indicates that the median annual salary for nurse educators is approximately $83,948, though this can vary widely based on experience, education level, and geographic location.

Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani has written many how-to career, online program, and scholarship guides related to master of healthcare administration degrees since 2018. Some guides she has written include online healthcare management programs, master's in regulatory science programs, and health administration scholarships. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd

As a contributor on MHAOnline, Rachel Drummond has brought her expertise in education and mindfulness to the healthcare management field since 2019. She writes about integrating innovation into healthcare administration, emphasizing the importance of mental and physical well-being for effective leadership and decision-making in the fast-paced world of healthcare management.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.

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