How to Become a Nurse Educator in 7 Steps

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Being a nurse educator is a position of great responsibility. As such, it is a long but worthwhile road to become a licensed CNE. Learn how to become a nurse educator and how the ABSN program at Notre Dame of Maryland University can jumpstart you.

nurse educator in classroom

Are you considering combining your passions for teaching and nursing? Maybe you’ve always gotten a sense of pride and accomplishment from educating others but don’t have an outlet to teach as a registered nurse (RN). Become a nurse educator and inspire the next generation of nurses.

Whether you prefer teaching in a classroom or clinical setting, becoming a nurse educator is a rewarding and worthwhile career move. At Notre Dame of Maryland University, we are here to help you achieve your goals in a timely manner with our Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, which can be completed in as few as 15 months.

Why Become a Nurse Educator?

As nurses advance in their careers and hold more management positions, some enjoy educating their staff during the training process. Sharing expertise with younger and less-experienced colleagues is vital for the future of the nursing profession. While this may not apply to everyone, it is not uncommon for experienced nurses to realize they have a passion for teaching, something they may not have previously explored.

Nurses are among the most vital individuals in our health care system, which is why nurse educators play such an important role. They are responsible for educating the next generation of nurses and impacting future patients’ care. The future of nursing and health care as a whole lies in the efforts of nurse educators. While this is a huge responsibility, it is also why becoming a nurse educator can be incredibly rewarding.

Whether you discovered your passion for education during your nursing career or have known from the start that you eventually want to become a nurse educator, here are seven steps to achieve this goal.

How to Become a Nurse Educator

Nurse educators are vital to the success of the overall health care system as they prepare students for excellence in nursing. While the process may seem long, it is worth the wait. Now that you have a better idea of why being a nurse educator can be a great career choice let’s review the steps you’ll take to get there.

NDMU student in scrub walking hallway with woman

1. Meet ABSN Program Requirements

The first step to becoming a nurse educator is meeting Notre Dame of Maryland University’s ABSN program admission requirements to obtain your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These requirements include:

  • Holding a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • Meeting the 3.0 minimum GPA requirement
  • Completing all prerequisites (22 credit hours)

Our admissions counselors will be happy to walk you through the specifics of the admissions process and create an education plan that makes sense for you. And with start dates in January, May, and September, you won’t have to wait long to start, no matter the time of year.

Remember that these admission requirements are specific to the ABSN program at NDMU, and each school’s requirements may differ. Be sure to thoroughly review the criteria before applying to any program.

NDMU ABSN student sitting at desk studying

If you’re wondering why these requirements are in place, learn why nursing school requirements are so important for your success as a nurse.

2. Obtain Your BSN Degree

Once you’ve met the requirements, completed the prerequisite courses, and enrolled in Notre Dame of Maryland’s Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program, you are ready to officially hit the books. Our accelerated curriculum is composed of three components:

Online or In-Person Coursework

The courses will provide you with the foundational knowledge of nursing concepts you will build on during your labs and clinicals. Our coursework is delivered online or in person to meet your learning style and needs. Our online program allows you the flexibility to adjust your schedule as needed. Bear in mind that you still must meet all assignment deadlines.

nursing student using stethoscope in sim lab

Have questions about clinical rotations? Learn more about what to expect in your nursing clinicals.

Skills and Simulation Labs

During your skills labs, you will practice nursing skills, such as catheterization, wound care, and checking vitals, with actual hospital equipment on our high-tech medical manikins. Your simulation labs, on the other hand, will provide an opportunity to practice real clinical scenarios on our medical manikins in a controlled setting.


Clinicals are your opportunity to get real-world experience in nursing school. With placements in quality facilities in the Baltimore metro area, you’ll be exposed to diverse specialty areas, which can help you decide in which direction you want your career to go.

3. Pass the NCLEX Exam

Once you have completed our ABSN program, you will be ready to sit for the NCLEX. While we highly encourage you to create your own study plan, Notre Dame of Maryland University designs our nursing programs to set you up for success on this exam. If you pass the exam, you will receive your license and can officially become a registered nurse.

2 nursing students reviewing coursework

4. Gain Experience as an RN

Aside from finding a nursing position to help you save for your advanced degree, gaining work experience as an RN will prove invaluable for your career. Having some years of experience under your belt is vital to truly be an expert and outstanding nurse educator.

Additionally, with work experience, you can further explore your interests and strengths in a way you cannot in a classroom. Learning more about yourself and what you like and dislike in the world of nursing can help you narrow down exactly what you’re interested in teaching as a nurse educator.

5. Enroll in a Nurse Educator Program

Being a nurse educator is no small responsibility. Nurses are the backbone of the health care system, so they must be well-trained to ensure patient safety. Because of the importance of nurse educators, they must have advanced credentials.

To qualify for a nurse educator position, you must have at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). While there are various options when choosing an MSN program, keep in mind that NDMU offers an excellent MSN program.

Also, remember that a master’s degree is a minimum qualification to be a nurse educator. Depending on the university you wish to teach at, you may be required to hold a doctorate. You can also receive a post-master’s certificate or pursue an additional degree to boost your credentials and ensure you are well-prepared to teach the next generation of nurses.

6. Pass the Certified Nurse Educator Exam

Once you have your advanced education, you might consider becoming certified. While this is not currently a requirement, certification can help you become a competitive job applicant. To qualify for the certified nurse educator (CNE) exam, you must have at least an MSN degree, an RN license, and an advanced nursing education course under your belt.

7. Start Your Career as a Nurse Educator

Once you have all the aforementioned qualifications, it’s time to seek a position as a nurse educator. Whether you want to stay in the clinical world and teach at a hospital or prefer to move into the classroom, becoming a nurse educator opens many new doors for your career.

NDMU student in scrubs smiling in front of lockers

Postsecondary teaching is a growing field in general. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the profession will grow 12% between 2021 and 2031. This means that now is the perfect time to start working toward your dream.

Start the Journey to Becoming a Nurse Educator Today!

Now that you have more knowledge on how to become a nurse educator, we can help you get started with the first step. Contact us today, and an admissions counselor will connect with you to answer any questions about Notre Dame of Maryland University’s 15-month ABSN program.