Medical students learning from a virtual instructor

How to Become an Online Nursing Educator

Duties, Responsibilities, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Medical students learning from a virtual instructor

Online Nursing Educators are the nursing professionals responsible for training and preparing the next generation of nurses. For this reason, they fill a very vital role within the healthcare field. Online Nurse Educators oversee various types of training, teach others how to perform an exact assessment of the needs of each patient, and demonstrate the planning that goes into designing a complete care plan for patients.

We’ve put together this career guide to help you better understand the role of an Online Nurse Educator. If you’re a nurse that possesses leadership skills, clinical expertise, and subject mastery, then becoming an Online Nurse Educator could be a great career choice for you. One of the key perks to this position is the ability to work remote. In fact, Online Nurse Educator was featured on our list of the best work from home nursing jobs.

(Click here to see our full list of the best work from home nursing jobs)

Continue reading to learn more about the requirements, responsibilities, training, salary, and job outlook of Online Nursing Educators.

Online Nursing Educator Definition

What is an Online Nursing Educator?

Online Nursing Educators are responsible for educating the next generation of nurses. Depending on their experience and employer, they might manage classes for a diploma program, associate degree program, or bachelor’s degree program. They can also teach at higher levels and offer refresher courses for nurses who would like to reenter the field.

Online Nursing Educator Duties & Responsibilities

What Does an Online Nursing Educator Do?

Online Nursing Educators strive to prepare nurses entering or reentering the field. They also perform several other duties, such as maintaining clinical standards in a medical organization, compiling grant proposals, performing research for laboratories, and evaluating curriculums for other nurse educators. While teaching, Online Nurse Educators also work directly with their students to resolve any issues and help them pass the course.

Some of the day-to-day job responsibilities of an Online Nursing Educator include:

  • Counseling and mentoring students
  • Grading assignments
  • Joining faculty meetings
  • Presenting at professional conferences
  • Training students to use a simulation lab
  • Determining the best approach to undertake a course of study
  • Facilitating group discussions within a classroom
  • Creating curriculums and coursework
  • Instructing students on teaching practicums and/or research projects
  • Supervising students during their clinical rotations

Where Do Online Nursing Educators Work?

As previously mentioned most Online Nurse Educators work from the comfort of their own home. However, some of these educators may have elements of their curriculum that require in-person attendance. These in-person portions can take place in any of the following facilities:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Professional schools
  • Medical companies

Online Nursing Educator Hours

The hours of an Online Nursing Educator can greatly depend on the classes they teach. For instance, some educators teach throughout the day, while others may only teach in the morning, at night, on weekends, etc. In addition, some Online Nursing Educators work part-time, while others maintain a full-time schedule.

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Online Nursing Educator Skills

Becoming an Online Nursing Educator might be a great fit for you if you:

  • Offer clinical expertise
  • Maintain subject mastery
  • Bring evaluation and testing skills
  • Have curriculum and course development skills
  • Have superior teaching skills
  • Have strong communication skills
  • Have a love of teaching and mentoring

Online Nursing Educator Schooling & Certification

How Long Does it Take to Become an Online Nursing Educator?

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Online Nursing Educator?

In order to be qualified for the role of an Online Nursing Educator, you will need to complete each stage of becoming a Registered Nurse. This means you must graduate from an accredited nursing program, pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, and obtain experience in your chosen specialization.

Most Online Nurse Educators earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, which is often the minimum education requirement for this profession. Some may also seek a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D. in Nursing) before pursuing a certified nurse educator exam from an accredited association.

If you’d like to become an Online Nursing Educator, then you’ll typically need to follow these steps:

1. Earn a BSN Degree

The first step to becoming an Online Nursing Educator is to earn a BSN degree. Earning a BSN degree will set you up for better job opportunities, higher earning potential, and a substantially greater job outlook.

Candidates of BSN programs must usually submit various application materials, such as academic transcripts, GRE scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

Core nursing classes during a BSN program often include the following topics:

  • Professional nursing
  • Health assessment
  • Family nursing
  • Medical and surgical care
  • Nursing management
  • Psychosocial nursing

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Licensure Exam

Before you can become a Registered Nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed two exams to test the competence of aspiring RNs and LPNs/LVNs.

Learn more about the NCLEX and what to expect with this detailed FAQ section.

(Click here to learn how to become a nurse)

3. Gain Experience in Your Specialization

If you’re looking to become an Online Nursing Educator, you must gain hands-on experience working in the field as well as your chosen specialization. By gaining this experience, you’re ultimately establishing the level of expertise that is required in order to teach aspiring nurses.

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4. Earn an MSN degree

If your ultimate goal is to become a nurse educator, then a graduate degree will be required in most circumstances. This means that you will at least need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Many nurse educators also hold doctoral degrees. This is especially true if you’d like to teach full time at the university level.

An MSN degree program can typically be completed in a span of 18 months to two years. We recommend choosing an MSN program that is specialized in education or administration. These specialized programs usually include a teaching practicum that will serve as a great way to prepare for your first job as an Online Nurse Educator.

5. Earn Certification

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a successful job hunt is by earning your certification. The best certification for a prospective Online Nurse Educator to earn is the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), which is offered by the National League for Nursing.

To meet eligibility requirements for the CNE exam, applicants will need to qualify for Option A or B:

  • Option A
    • Licensure
      • Documentation of valid licensure/ certificate or other documentation of unencumbered practice in the country of residence
    • Education
      • a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with a major emphasis in nursing education or
      • a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing plus a post-master’s certificate in nursing education or
      • a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and nine or more credit hours of graduate-level education courses
  • Option B
    • Licensure
      • Documentation of valid licensure/ certificate or other documentation of unencumbered practice in the country of residence
    • Education
      • A master’s or doctoral degree in nursing (with a major emphasis in a role other than nursing education).
    • Experience
      • Two years or more employment in a nursing program in an academic institution within the past five years.

To learn more about eligibility requirements, see the National League for Nursing’s FAQ page.

Online Nursing Educator School Cost

So, how much does it cost to become an Online Nursing Educator? As previously stated, most nurse writers are Registered Nurses, which means they will have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

It’s highly recommended that candidates also pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. This is because an MSN degree is often the minimum education requirement for various positions and employers.

The cost of your BSN and MSN degrees will normally depend on the institution. However, you can probably expect to pay anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 when this process is all said and done.

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Work from Home Opportunities

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of nursing programs offered virtual classes or a combination of online and in-class learning. Now, this virtual platform has become all the more relevant.

It’s also essential that you network and check job recruiting sites like IndeedZipRecruiterFlexJobs, and LinkedIn. You could also make a list of schools you admire and check their website for job listings or opportunities.

Of course, it’s also suggested that you contact the career services team at your school. In addition, you can ask faculty members for advice, develop connections, network, etc.

Online Nursing Educator’s Salary

How Much Does an Online Nursing Educator Make?

According to, The average Online Nursing Educator earns about $94,000 per year or around $45.00 per hour. Typically, their salary range falls between $85,000 and $103,000. Online Nursing Educators that earn salaries in the 90th percentile can make more than $111,000 per year.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary earned by Nursing Instructors and Teachers is about $84,000. Nursing Instructors and Teachers that earn salaries in the 90th percentile can make more than $133,000 per year.

(Click here to learn about the highest paid nursing jobs)

Online Nursing Educator Job Outlook

While the BLS does not offer specific job outlook data for Online Nursing Educators at this time, they do forecast the overall growth for Postsecondary Teachers through the next decade. According to the BLS, overall employment of Postsecondary Teachers is expected to grow 12 percent by 2029.

Why Pursue a Career as an Online Nursing Educator?

If you’re a nurse who’s interested in the future of healthcare and have a love of teaching, then a career as an Online Nursing Educator might be ideal for you. As a nurse educator, you can be a mentor and role model for students who study nursing at colleges, universities, and professional schools. Throughout your career, you’ll have the opportunity to influence the evolution of nursing and healthcare.

If you’re an aspiring nurse but don’t know where to begin, you can earn your Vocational Nursing diploma, BSN degree, or enroll in any of our other nursing programs at Unitek College.