Best Master’s in Nursing Education Online Programs For 2021
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you a registered nurse considering furthering your degree but aren’t sure you have the time it takes to enroll in classes at a local college or university? Perhaps you enjoy being the nurse who trains new nurses on the job or who volunteers to be a preceptor when nursing students are participating in clinicals at your place of employment. Do you do all these things and still wish you could do more? If this sounds like you, do not give up on your dream just yet! If you love nursing and teaching and would like to find a way to combine them both, you could find what you are looking for in MSN in nursing education online programs. If this sounds interesting, keep reading and learn about the best master's in nursing education online programs for 2021, what you need to apply, the curriculum you will study, and get some answers to frequently asked questions.
What Exactly Is The Purpose Of A Master’s In Nursing Education Online Program?
The goal of master's in nursing education online programs is to educate BSN-prepared nurses for leadership roles in advanced practice as nursing educators, nursing professors, and nursing faculty in various programs and settings. Master's in nursing education programs provide the instruction needed so graduates can effectively integrate theories that are specific to educating adult learners. In these classes, students learn to evaluate programs, apply top education modalities that support an environment conducive to learning, and use the latest technology to teach student nurses.
8 Top Reasons Why You Should Pursue An MSN In Nursing Education
Deciding to go back to college and seek a higher degree is a significant step in anyone's life. Here are some of the top reasons pursuing any of the available MSN in nursing education online programs could be a good idea.
1. Job Security:
Any time you decide to improve your skills and learn more, you create the opportunity to secure long-term employment. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports a shortage of nursing faculty across the nation, limiting the number of students colleges and universities can accept into their programs. When you achieve your master's in nursing education, you can help bridge the gap in that shortage and leverage job security for yourself.
2. Work Better Hours:
Nurses with a master's in nursing education typically work in settings that offer more set schedules, usually Monday through Friday day shifts. Many hospitals have education departments that provide patients the opportunity to learn about their diagnoses and treatment options while in the hospital or at some point before being discharged. Nurse educators who work at colleges and universities work during the workweek and often enjoy extra time off during the holidays and summer seasons.
3. Increased Pay:
Because of the high demand for qualified nurse educators, nurses who pursue a master's in nursing education online program position themselves to negotiate higher salaries.
4. Transition to an Administrative Role:
By earning a master's in nursing education, you will learn increased leadership skills, how to engage students, and measures to contribute to curriculum development. All these skills are essential for anyone interested in taking on an administrative position.
5. Earn the respect of your peers.
Nurse educators are highly regarded among their professional peers. The respect that they earn is well-deserved, as nurse educators have such a significant role in the future of nursing as a profession by preparing new nurses to become care providers.
6. The chance to mentor other nurses.
Because they possess both clinical and academic nursing experience, nurse educators who work in clinical settings are often given the task of mentoring new nurses.
7. Personal fulfillment:
Earning a graduate degree in nursing is quite an accomplishment! When you earn a Master of Nursing Education degree, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you have what it takes to help develop and train generations of nurses to come.
8. Less physical toll:
Although nurse educators accompany students to clinical sites and supervise them, they also spend a great deal of time in the classroom. For many, this is a perk, especially for nurses who have worked the clinical side of nursing for several years and now prefer to spend less time in the clinical setting but are not ready to retire.
How Long Are Master’s In Nursing Education Online Programs?
Depending on whether a student enrolls on a part-time or full-time basis, master's in nurse education online programs can take from two to five years to complete.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Duke University
is rated third out of one hundred seventy-three of the best online master’s in nursing programs. As one of the best MSN in nursing education online programs, Duke University MSN in education students can complete the program in as little as two years of full-time study. A few other Master’s in Nursing Education online programs you may consider are Texas Christian University
, which offers a 34 credit hour program with two and three year tracks available, and Benedictine University
whose program can be completed in as little as twenty-four months.
How Much Do Master’s In Nursing Education Online Programs Cost?
The cost of completing MSN in nursing education online programs varies among schools. An online master of nursing education degree can cost anywhere from $30,000 to over $70,000, depending on several factors. For instance, some colleges and universities charge different tuition rates for students who reside in-state and those who live out-of-state. Some programs include fees such as technical support, online instruction fees, and malpractice insurance in their total cost for the program. Other programs may list those fees and others as additional costs.
Tuition at Ferris University
in Big Rapids, Michigan, is $659 per credit hour for United States and Canada residents. International students are charged $989 per credit hour. Additionally, the university has a $12 per credit hour fee that is assessed to online learners. With a requirement of thirty-seven credit hours to complete the program, that brings the total cost of the MSN in Education program tuition at Ferris University to $24,827 for U.S. and Canadian students and $37,037 for international students.
Sacred Heart University
(Fairfield, Connecticut) offers a master in nursing education degree program that can be completed in as little as two years. The program offers one hundred percent online coursework and requires the completion of thirty-nine credit hours at a rate of $695 per credit hour, making the program's total cost $27,105.
MSN in education students may take three to five years to complete the MSN in education program. Successful applicants complete between thirty-six and forty-two credit hours of coursework at a rate of $650 per credit hour, costing the student $27,300 for the program. Please note additional clinical practicum fees may be incurred, depending on the clinical site's contract with the school.
Students enrolled in the best master's in nursing education online programs are typically required to complete between thirty and forty-five credit hours, depending on each school’s approved curriculum.
At Ball State University
in Muncie, Indiana, students enrolled in the masters in nursing education online program must complete thirty-six credit hours. Coursework at BSU includes Pathophysiology and Pharmacology for Clinical Practice, Curricular Designs in Nursing, Teaching in Nursing, Program Evaluation, and both research and nursing core classes.
Florida Atlantic University
students must achieve thirty-nine credit hours, including Advanced Concepts for Direct Care Nursing Situations, Curriculum Evolution and Models in Nursing Education, and Creative Teaching/Learning Methods in Nursing Education. The University of Massachusetts Amherst
offers another of the best MSN in nursing education online programs that we found. A few of the courses required to complete the program successfully include Advanced Direct Care Practicum and Clinical Reasoning for Nurse Educators, Research Methodology in Nursing, Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning, and Curriculum Development and Evaluation Process.
We found other great master's in nursing education online programs at Fort Hays State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The Fort Hays MSN with nursing education pathway
requires students to complete thirty-six credit hours. Twenty-one credits involve foundational courses such as Developing Nursing Theories, Advanced Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Health Assessment for Nurse Educators and Nurse Administrators, and Informatics in Health Care Systems. The other fifteen credits include courses specific to the nurse educator track, such as Teaching Strategies in Nursing, Curriculum Planning: Nursing Education, Development of an Evidence-Based Practice Project, and Implementation and Evaluation of an Evidence-Based Practice Project. At Indiana University-Perdue
, the master’s in nursing education program involves forty-two credit hours and two hundred twenty-five clinical/practicum hours. Students in this program can expect to take classes including Nursing Research Methods, Measurement and Data Analysis, Advanced Nursing Education, and Computer Technologies for Nurse Educators.
All nursing students, including online students, regardless of entry-level degree, must participate in clinical training aligned explicitly with their course of study. Students enrolled in master's in nursing education online programs are being prepared to teach the nurses of tomorrow. Therefore, a potential student should clearly understand the importance of the clinical practicum experience.
• Georgia College and State University:
The program requires the completion of 405 clinical hours. Most students complete their clinical assignments in their home state with preceptors and clinical sites preapproved by the School of Nursing. The School of Nursing assists students in securing preceptors and arranging their own clinical schedules.
• Ferris State University:
270 total hours of clinical practicum. These include thirty hours of community clinical hours and two one hundred twenty-hour supervised clinical practice experiences designed to build on the knowledge the student gains in the core and specialty courses. At Ferris University, students are allowed to complete their clinical hours at their current place of employment. However, they may not have their current supervisor act as a preceptor.
• Thomas Edison State University:
300 clinical practicum hours and submission of a Capstone Project are required of students enrolled in this program. The objective of clinical practicum and the Capstone Project is to demonstrate a student’s master-level achievement of program outcomes and nurse educator competencies.
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas
admits students annually in the fall semester. The university's selection is competitive and based upon an applicant's professional and academic qualifications and the number of available program openings. Students are required to apply to both the Graduate College and the School of Nursing. Applicants must submit a personal statement that is approximately three hundred words describing their professional goals and why they have chosen to seek a graduate degree. Additionally, prospective students seeking admission to the nurse educator track must have completed at least one year of clinical practice as a registered nurse before enrollment in the first nursing education practicum course.
Angelo State University
accepts applications for admission from registered nurses who possess a BSN degree from a nursing program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Applicants must submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended that support an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and show proof of completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a minimum grade of "C." Applicants who have a grade point average of 2.75-2.99 may be granted provisional admission to the program if more qualified applicants are not ready to fill those spots.
Georgia College and State University
limits admission to its master of nursing education program to the most qualified applicants. Therefore, it is essential to submit all required documentation with your application, including documents that support your current degree level and work experience. Any applicant to the program must possess a BSN from an ACEN or CCNE accredited nursing program, have a 2.75-grade point average on a 4.0 scale for the most recent sixty undergraduate hours in the BSN major, and participate in an interview.
5 Tips To Successfully Make It Through MSN In Nursing Education Online Programs
Master of nursing education programs, like any graduate program, take real dedication and a solid mindset to be successful. As students of master's in nurse education online programs, implementing some tips from graduates of the program and instructors can help you make it through the program successfully. Keep the following in mind to help improve your chances of success.
1. Do not procrastinate.
The old saying, "why put off until tomorrow what you can do today," is something you should always remember, especially as an online learner. Although master’s in nursing education online programs offer a lot of flexibility, you should not take advantage of the flexibility but use it to your advantage. Pay close attention to due dates and deadlines to avoid being penalized for submitting late assignments.
2. Technology is not something to be afraid of.
Even if you don't have much experience with computers or feel a little unsteady about searching the internet, you can use technology to help you succeed in this program. One of the most important things to remind yourself is technology is not smarter than you. Whether you are using a laptop, desktop, or tablet for your schoolwork, make yourself familiar with using your device. Practice navigating through the school's website and looking up information online. AND... make sure you have your school's technical support number readily available for the times when you just can't seem to figure things out on your own.
3. Online research tools can be beneficial.
Master’s in nursing education online programs that offer online learning options will likely have an online library and other databases that you can access. These can be valuable tools to gather the information you need to succeed in your classes.
4. Become active in online forums that are dedicated to your program.
In discussion forums, you can communicate with your peers, get feedback, and develop perspectives about the content you are studying that you would not have thought of on your own. Remember, to become an educator, you must learn from others.
5. Ask questions... as many as you need!
Have you ever been in a class and did not understand something, but you were too embarrassed to speak up? Were you relieved when someone else asked the question instead of you, or were you left feeling confused because no one spoke up? If you do not understand something an instructor has said or feel confused about information or assignments, ask questions. Instructors have no way of knowing you need help if you do not ask for it. This is your education, your career. Ask questions until you get the answers you need.
8 Important Factors To Consider While Selecting The Right MSN In Nursing Education Online Program
So, you have decided that pursuing an MSN in nursing education online is the next step in your career. What is next? There are some key factors to consider to help you choose which of the MSN in nursing education online programs is right for you.
This is by far one of the most important things to check for as you are deciding which school to attend. Accreditation is a college or university’s way of saying that their nursing program meets or exceeds the highest quality standards. When you choose a school with an accredited program, you can feel assured that the education you receive is on the same level as other programs. Additionally, to receive federal financial aid for a nursing program, the program you choose must be accredited.
2. Do you need financial assistance?
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons many people do not pursue an advanced degree is the cost. There are, however, several resources available that could help offset the cost of tuition for a master's in nursing education degree. Many online programs offer the same tuition rates to students whether they live in-state or out-of-state, but it is up to you to verify this with a financial advisor at the school you plan to attend. Also, there are several options for MSN degree scholarships and financial aid resources. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
offers scholarship and financial aid information and opportunities. Many prospective graduate students do not realize that they may be eligible for federal financial aid. Some of this aid comes in the form of student loans or grants. You can find out if you qualify by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
3. Ask about faculty credentials and experience.
If you want to become a master of nursing and focus on education, you need to learn from faculty who have more than credentials behind their names. They need clinical work experience to back it up. The quality of the education you receive in any of the best master's in nursing education online programs will strongly depend on the faculty members' experience who will be instructing you. Although on-campus and online programs may have the same curriculum, the format for learning can be quite different for online learners. Therefore, if you plan to enroll in an online program, find out how much experience the program instructors have teaching online classes.
4. How does the program rank in comparison to other MSN in education programs?
You may or may not enroll in the highest-ranked of the available MSN in nursing education online programs. However, it is still essential to make sure you choose a school with a reputation of being well-ranked. U.S. News and World Report
is an excellent source of information that many people look to when searching for the best graduate programs and schools.
5. What is the pass rate for graduates on national certification examinations?
The pass rate of test-takers for the nurse educator certification examination, both first-time and repeat test-takers, should be listed on the college or university's website. You should be able to find the national averages listed so you can compare the school's pass rate with national standards. It is understandable that some people may experience test anxiety and may not score as well as others on exams. However, a school's overall pass rate for the nurse educator certification exams says a great deal about how well the instructors are equipped with the experience needed to prepare students for taking the exams and working in the field, as well as the quality of their program altogether.
6. Who is responsible for choosing clinical sites and preceptors?
Students enrolled in a master’s in nursing education online program are often required to independently find clinical sites and preceptors. However, the school must approve both before a student can participate in clinical assignments and receive credit. Therefore, it is essential to ask what the requirements are for clinical sites and preceptors and begin planning in plenty of time.
7. What kind of support services are offered to online students?
Although online nursing programs are attractive options for nurses who wish to further their degrees, they require dedication. Students should be able to depend on faculty and staff to be available when needed. For instance, if you are enrolled in an online master's in nurse education program, having technical support is essential. You may choose to access course assignments or materials during times that are most convenient for you. Therefore, having internet technical support available is a must. Additionally, faculty or other support staff should be available to answer your questions, whether by email or phone.
8. What is the greatest amount of time the school allows for a student to complete the program?
While this may seem like an odd question, the simple fact is that sometimes life gets in the way of our plans. Ideally, you want to find one of the best master's in nursing education online programs, complete the admissions process and graduate as soon as possible. However, it is a good idea to know what to do if the unexpected happens. Although you can plan to complete the program in the minimum amount of time, make sure you know what your options are if you suddenly have to take a leave of absence from the program or have an emergency that keeps you from progressing as quickly as you had hoped.
FOLLOWING ARE THE 30 BEST MASTER’S IN NURSING EDUCATION ONLINE PROGRAMS FOR 2021
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What Kind Of Career Opportunities Exist For Graduates Of This Program?
Graduates of master's in nursing education online programs have the chance to work in several education-focused healthcare jobs. While many nurse educators work in community colleges, universities, or graduate schools, other career opportunities are available. A few examples of jobs MSN in Education graduates can pursue include the following.
• Community health advisor
• Researcher or research assistant
• Staff development officer in health care settings, such as hospitals
• Clinical supervisor
• Curriculum advisor or consultant for colleges, universities, and nursing boards
Average Earnings For Graduates Of This Program
Earning a graduate degree is a great milestone in anyone's professional career. Although the love for the job is usually the driving force for nurses pursuing a higher degree, it's undeniable that income opportunities for higher-level degree earners also play a big part in some nurses' decisions to go back to school. It is not uncommon for graduates from some of the best accredited MSN in nursing education online programs to see an increase of $10,000 or more in their annual salaries. While the average yearly income for a nurse with a master of nursing education degree is $77,190, other factors may contribute to even higher earnings. For example, prior years of nursing experience, especially in a specialty area where an educator is needed, could be something you could leverage to negotiate a higher salary. Also, keep in mind that while some employers may not immediately offer higher hourly or annual pay rate, many offer perks and benefits that make up or exceed the difference in pay. Employer-sponsored health insurance and retirement plans, paid sick days, paid vacation days and holiday pay are a few examples.
Job Market For Graduates Of This Program
One of the great things about a nursing career is that there are so many choices of settings to work in and jobs to do. Graduates of master’s in nursing education online programs may seem to have the upper hand, so to speak, when it comes to job security. According to a report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) on the 2019-2020 Enrollment and Graduations in Graduate Programs in Nursing
, nursing schools were forced to deny admission to over eighty thousand qualified applicants who hoped to enroll in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2019. The AACN also identified over sixteen hundred faculty vacancies among almost nine hundred nursing schools with BSN or graduate programs who responded to a Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions
. With this information in mind, pursuing a master in nursing education degree could be the right choice if you want to find a career that offers long-term stability.
With current statistics showing a shortage of nursing faculty, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
has begun to leverage resources to secure federal funding for faculty development programs and to help identify ways to address the shortage. If you have a love for nursing and would like to pass your knowledge and passion for this field on to others, this could be the perfect time for you to find one of the best master's in nursing education online programs for 2021 and get enrolled.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
Do all master of nursing education programs require applicants to submit GRE scores?
Although some schools still require applicants to submit GRE scores for admission, many colleges no longer require standardized test results. However, if your cumulative BSN grade point average is low or close to the minimum required by the school you want to attend, you may still want to submit your scores if you have taken the GRE and scored well on it.
Who is responsible for arranging clinical assignments for online master of nursing education students?
Students enrolled in online nursing programs, such as the master of nursing education, are usually required to find clinical sites and preceptors. The school of nursing must approve both clinical sites and preceptors before beginning the clinical practicum. It is recommended that students start selecting clinical sites and preceptors early in the program so there is time to get the approval of their choices or find replacement options.
Are there times when students enrolled in an online master of nursing education program must attend events on the school's campus?
While not all schools require online learners to have any campus attendance, some may have program-specific seminars or lab simulations that students must attend in person. In general, colleges and universities that offer online learning respect the fact that some students have chosen that path because they do not wish to have a campus presence. In the cases where any attendance at the campus is necessary, it is customary for students to be given advance notice in plenty of time to make arrangements.
Should I continue to work while enrolled in the online master of nursing education program?
The decision to continue working while enrolled in any college program is a personal choice, and it should be weighed carefully. Graduate programs such as the MSN education require a great deal of time committed to study and assignments. If you wish to complete the program in a shorter amount of time by enrolling in full-time study, you may find that working full-time is difficult. If you feel like working is a must, discuss your career goals and your schedule with your employer and see if you can work out a plan conducive to meeting both your financial and academic needs.
Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.