As the need for nurses has grown over the years, so has the need for nurse educators. Yet this need has not been met, and today nurse educator shortages at facilities across the U.S. are limiting student enrollment numbers. According to an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) report, nursing schools rejected over 78,000 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate programs in 2013 due to faculty shortages, demonstrating that a lack of educators may be playing a large role in fueling the nursing shortage.
Thus, for those considering a career in the field of nurse education, the time is right for you to build your knowledge and skills and pursue a career where you are needed!
Graduate Degrees Required for Open Positions
If you are interested in a career as a nurse educator, a graduate degree is highly recommended and valued by employers. This is especially true for nursing programs where not having enough faculty members with a master’s degree can lead to the possibility of losing accreditation. For example, The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) requires that at least half of the nurse educators employed by educational centers running associate degree nursing programs hold a graduate degree.
Historically, it has been hard for nursing schools to find nurse educators possessing master’s or doctoral degrees. In 2012, 8% of full-time nurse educator positions and 7% of part-time positions were unfilled, according to an AACN survey of nursing programs across the country. These open nurse educator positions leave many opportunities for individuals with the right passion, skills, and educational experiences.
More Nurse Educators Retiring in Coming Years
For institutions not currently feeling the effects of the country's nurse educator shortages, the upcoming retirement of many nurse educators may lead to even more open positions. According to a report administered by the AACN, the average age of a doctorally prepared nursing professor was 60.5 in 2010. This means that many nurse educators will be retiring and leaving vacancies in the coming years. Experts predict that even the country’s best-rated nursing schools will need to recruit aggressively to attract the right applicants for their vacancies.
To minimize the impact of the nurse educator shortage, the American Nurses Association is working to encourage registered nurses to study for master’s and doctoral degree programs to provide them with an opportunity to move into educator positions. If you’re interested in this career, get started by learning about the graduate programs in the area of Nursing offered by South University, Online Programs at http://online.southuniversity.edu/area-of-study/nursing.aspx.