How can I become a professor international setting?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Has anyone become a professor of nursing in an international setting? What steps did you take to make it happen?

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

There are some general steps to consider to become a nursing professor in an international setting. However, these steps may vary based on individual experiences, different countries, or institutions' requirements.

  • Start with a Bachelor's degree. Start with obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four-year program that introduces you to the nursing profession, health promotion, and patient care and includes a clinical practicum. This foundation is necessary and prepares you for state requirements for nursing licensure.
  • Advance to graduate education. Most nursing professors have at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), but with the increasing demand and the evolving scope of nursing education, doctoral degrees are becoming the norm for many positions. Doctorates in nursing include the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Each has its focal area, with the PhD being more research-oriented and the DNP focusing on advanced clinical expertise.
  • Gain certification. While not mandatory, obtaining certification in nursing education, for example, Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), can bolster your credentials and show a committed focus on nursing instruction.
  • Build clinical experience. Gain substantial clinical experience in nursing. This practical experience not only enhances your qualifications but also provides you with credibility and valuable insights to share with your students.
  • Research and publications. Engage in nursing research and try to publish your work. Academic institutions often value faculty members with a strong research background. Publications can include research articles, book chapters, and other scholarly contributions.
  • Networking. Establish connections within the academic and nursing community, both nationally and internationally. Attend conferences, participate in professional organizations, and collaborate with colleagues on research projects.
  • Teaching Experience. Gain teaching experience as a clinical instructor, lecturer, or adjunct faculty member. This experience demonstrates your ability to convey complex nursing concepts to students.
  • Stay updated on international nursing education trends. Familiarize yourself with the nursing education trends and standards in the specific international setting where you wish to work. Each country may have unique requirements for academic positions.
  • Understand credentialing and licensing. Be aware of the credentialing and licensing requirements for nursing faculty in the country where you plan to work. Some countries may have specific regulations for foreign-educated professionals.
  • Cultural Sensitivity. Develop cultural sensitivity and awareness, as teaching in an international setting involves working with students from diverse backgrounds. Understanding and respecting cultural differences is essential.
  • Apply for academic positions. Monitor job opportunities at universities and nursing schools in your target country. Tailor your applications to highlight your relevant experience, research, and teaching achievements.
  • Language proficiency. If English is not your first language and you plan to teach in an English-speaking country, demonstrate proficiency in English. Many institutions may require language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Work on professional development. Continue your professional development by attending workshops, seminars, and training sessions related to nursing education and pedagogy.
  • Seek Mentorship. Connect with experienced nursing educators, either locally or internationally, who can provide guidance and mentorship as you pursue an academic career.
  • Join professional organizations, such as the National League for Nursing (NLN) and 

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

Remember that breaking into academia in an international setting may take time, persistence, and adaptability. Each country has its requirements and expectations, so thorough research and preparation are crucial.

Additionally, networking and building a solid professional reputation can open doors to opportunities in the academic field.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth