I am just starting my education for nursing, but have always had a knack for teaching others. Just wondering what the pay scale is for Nurse educators and what education path is the most relevant/situated for this career.
In most cases, the pay is quite a bit less than the individual could make in clinical practice. No one goes into nursing education for the money. The trade-off is supposed to be that the job is a lot "cushier" (academic schedule, regular hours with no nights/weekends/holidays), but that is not nearly as true as nurses outside of academia think.
You will need several years of solid clinical experience and, in most cases, a graduate degree to be a viable candidate for most teaching positions.
I was a nurse educator (depending on where you work, it might or might not require an advanced degree) in a hospital, for a hospice, and for a few universities. Pay at the hospital and hospice were the same hourly rates as all the other nurse with my same level of seniority and education. At the universities it varied. When a person teaches part time/adjunct, the pay is often pitiful. This was the case at 4 different universities in my area. One place that wanted to hire me would have really only been paying for my gasoline to get to and from the site. Others paid better, but it wasn't enough to survive financially. I had to have another job. Teaching full time is much better--it pays up to ten times more per hour-worked than part time paid. You also get paid more if you have more seniority or education. At my current job, at a university, I earn a smidge less per hour than I earned at my last clinical nursing job.
Teaching in a hospital you get the same time off as all the other nurses--dependent on your seniority and education. Often you don't have to work weekends, nights, or holidays, but if you need to present a topic to staff, you have to work when they work, so it can mean working all shifts sometimes.
Teaching at a university, you can have a spring break, and a long summer vacation, if you choose not to teach in the summer. Your hours are when you teach plus you put in office hours and it takes a long time to prepare classes and grade students' work. If you don't work during the summer, you don't earn any pay for the summer. The pay you earn during the school year is likely spread over the entire year, but that means per-week amount you can spend is less than if you get paid just during the school year.
Time off in the summer and not working nights and holidays are what swayed me to teach at a university.
I will certainly confirm what several others have stated - don't do it for the money. I work at a state unversity in an Associate Degree Registered Nursing Program. Often my student graduates start at a higher wage than I earn. And on average we work about 62 hours per week for 11 months per year, with 24/7 hour cell phone availability for our clinical students. Educators in a BSN program probably work about the same number of hours.
That stated, however, it is a good career with a lot of job satisfaction. Most of the educators at local hospitals make more, with pay commensurate with experience and certifications, but dealing with eager, young, and energetic nursing students can make a university more attractive.
To teach RNs in classrooms, a MS is usually required. Clinical preceptors may just need a BSN, but that can be highly variable. Personally (and certainly I do not want to upset anyone), as you look at MS programs, I would not choose an education option - I would choose a CNS or NP option. Once you get that MS, you can teach, and the advantage of being a Advanced Practice Nurse provides you more opportunity.
BSN's can teach Practical Nursing students most places - that may give you an opportunity to see how you like education.
In most of the USA states there is a baseline requirement for teaching in higher education programs. Teaching in a facility depends on that facility requirements. I will say that my MSN in Education track has served me well. I do not make as much as critical care nurses, however. So pay will depend on the market. Don't think it is too cushy either. I move furniture, set up props, come in early and late to meet people or attend staff meetings for various departments, and all sorts of things