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Know Before You Enroll: The MSN in Nursing Education Online

MSN in Nursing Education Online

Nurse educators impact patient outcomes by serving as mentors to new and experienced RNs alike. They shape the future of nursing, stand as the frontline of defense in a growing nursing shortage, and support professional development for experienced RNs. While many nurse educators serve as university or nursing program faculty, the classroom isn't the only setting where they shine. Some work in hospitals with patients and families in the midst of a complicated healthcare event. Others work on public health initiatives that benefit large numbers of citizens.

A master's in nursing education prepares you for an exciting and versatile career, and it's the most direct path to becoming a Certified Nurse Educator. If you're an experienced RN and you're worried about juggling work and school, you can choose the flexible and convenient option of an online program to set your own pace and study according to your schedule. Learning online requires great time management skills, but as a BSN-prepared nurse, you already have what it takes to succeed. Follow the links below to learn more about getting started.

What Is an MSN in Nursing Education?

an MSN in Nursing Education prepares nurses to teach

If you want to shape future RNs and support advanced learning for current RNs, an MSN in nursing education is the next step. The degree prepares you for a teaching career in both clinical and classroom environments. Program grads are prepared to sit for the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam as well. From there, you may go on to become a clinical nurse educator, university faculty or patient education coordinator (among other options).

The at the University of Texas at Arlington centers on core skills in curriculum development and teaching strategy, both for simulation and real-world settings. The program features flexible, accelerated courses that are perfect for working nurses. You can keep your job and complete your master's in as few as 19 to 21 months.

Doris Blacksher, UTA MSN in Nursing Education online student
By staying in education, I get to help other people and continue to learn. That's what encouraged me to go back and get my master's degree.

Which Courses Will I Take in a Nursing Education Master's Program?

MSN students in nursing education acquire skills in teaching, active learning and course evaluation. They gain advanced knowledge in several key healthcare competencies as well. This two-pronged approach prepares program grads to become leaders in their field. for UTA students comprise 39 credit hours and include:

UTA's MSN in Nursing Education include clinical hours and course credit hours
  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Exploration of Science and Theories for Nursing
  • Role of the Nurse Educator
  • Advanced Pathophysiology for Nurse Educators
  • Advanced Pharmacology for Nurse Educators
  • Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
  • Curriculum Development and Evaluation
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Teaching/Learning Theories, Strategies, and Evaluation
  • Simulation Application in Nursing
  • Principles of Research in Nursing
  • Evidence-Based Practice

Master's programs additionally feature a practicum or clinical component to allow for hands-on experience. At UTA, students engage in 45 lab/clinical hours, 45 clinical hours in Advanced Health Assessment and 135 clinical hours in Teaching Practicum for a total of 225 hours. This guided implementation of teaching strategies and application of diverse learning delivery methods will ease your transition into the nurse educator role.

Doris Blacksher, UTA MSN in Nursing Education online student
Even though I researched other online nursing programs, this one was different. … I wanted to go somewhere that is really well-known in this area. That's UTA.

What Will I Learn As I Complete My MSN in Nursing Education?

Master's students in nursing education gain advanced knowledge in health assessment, pharmacology and evidence-based practice. More importantly, they learn how to share that knowledge with others. In other words, you'll become an adept educator, one who's comfortable modeling new procedures for nursing students. That's the case whether you're teaching online, leading simulated clinicals, directing traditional classrooms or leading lessons in real-world clinical environments.

Your studies in teaching and pedagogy, when applied through your practicum, allow you to develop effective methods to educate the next generation of nurses and advance nursing practice.

It's teaching me how to precept others in a better way. It's really opening up and increasing my knowledge on how to share knowledge and teach others about the field of nursing … I will attribute that to taking part in the program.

Will My Master's in Nursing Education Lead to a Teaching Certificate?

An MSN in Nursing Education does not lead to a teaching certificate

Degree programs that lead to teacher certification are meant for elementary, middle and high school educators. Teachers at this level often work across multiple subject areas, including math, literature and science.

A master's in nurse education is meant for RN instructors, who may work in a healthcare setting, in higher education such as 2-year or 4-year college programs, or in their community. The degree emphasizes leadership in nursing, including strategies for teaching clinical practice and supporting professional development for RNs.


Learn more about our MSN in Nursing Educationg online program!

Is a Master's in Nursing Education Worth It?

Nursing school applicants are being turned away due to faculty shortage

An advanced degree expands your knowledge and leads to new career opportunities, which often results in an increased salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018), the mean annual income for nursing instructors and teachers in colleges, universities and professional schools is $80,380. Those who teach in general medical and surgical hospitals earn $123,760.

Financial benefits aside, the MSN in nursing education addresses a critical need in healthcare. Lacking enough faculty to meet demand, nursing programs turned away 75,029 qualified bachelor's and graduate applicants in 2018, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found. In the midst of a nationwide RN shortage, a lack of MSN-prepared instructors compounds the problem. Choosing a career as a nurse educator is a step toward the solution. You can help ensure patients have access to qualified RNs, and the care they provide, for a long time to come.

Should I Attend an Accredited Nursing Education Program?

Yes! Accreditation ensures that you're getting a great education from a reputable institution. It also affects your access to financial aid and future employment. There are many advantages to attending an accredited university or degree program. For instance, you can:

Attend an Accredited Nursing Education Program
  • Apply for state and federal financial aid
  • Use military education benefits to pay for school
  • Qualify for tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness programs
  • Transfer course credits to other accredited schools
  • Get the right preparation for a doctoral program

You'll also see better job prospects. While employers regularly hire online program graduates, most prefer candidates from accredited universities. As U.S. News & World Report points out, accreditation is the number one factor employers consider when evaluating potential hires with online degrees.

What's the Difference Between University Accreditation and Program Accreditation?

UTA hold regional institution level accreditation and nursing program accreditation

Among other factors, accrediting bodies look for financial stability, ethical operations and positive student outcomes. Institutional accreditors evaluate the university as a whole. Program accreditors assess specific degrees, and also ensure that they meet industry standards. Nursing degree programs are vastly different than business programs, for example, so accreditation criteria are field-specific.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) maintains a list of approved accreditors by category. Be sure to confirm that your university and program are endorsed by reputable organizations.

UTA holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online MSN in nursing education is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

What Is a Nursing Education Practicum?

UTA MSN Nursing Educator students complete both precepted and non-precepted clinicals

The nursing education practicum offers an opportunity for students to apply the skills and knowledge they acquire throughout the MSN program. Hands-on learning serves as a bridge between theory and practice, preparing future nurse educators for success in their new careers.

At UTA, online MSN nursing education students complete 135 precepted clinical hours during their 10-week Nursing Education Practicum course. They also complete 90 non-precepted clinical hours in a virtual environment. The latter component is split evenly between two 5-week courses: NURS 5220: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning and NURS 5360: Simulation Application in Nursing.

Will I Gain Teaching Experience During Practicum Hours?

Gain teaching experience through MSN Nurse Educator practicum

Yes. Clinical hours in nursing education focus exclusively on your new role as an instructor. From running a simulated lesson to developing curriculum or setting up an online course, practicum hours are designed to maximize your experiential knowledge. You'll benefit from the guidance of a seasoned nurse educator, receive real-time feedback and develop effective strategies for student engagement.

In the nursing education practicum at UTA, you'll cover curriculum development, discussion board moderation, and learning plan creation. It also addresses self-assessments, establishing teaching objectives and methodology, implementing evaluation strategies, and promoting student engagement and retention.

Spotlight on Nurse Educators: Core Competencies for Successful Instructors

You may already be familiar with the Institute of Medicine's landmark 2010 report The Future of Nursing. It called for a majority BSN-prepared RN workforce by 2020 – 80% to be exact – but also recommended lifelong learning in the nursing profession. That's where nurse educators step in. They don't just lead students into clinical practice, they provide continuing and advanced education while serving as frontline role models. In other words, they directly impact the future of nursing.

So how do nurse educators rise to the challenge? By exercising these core competencies set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO):

Spotlight on Nurse Educators: Core Competencies for Successful Instructors
  • Theories and Principles of Adult Learning: Nurse educators apply their understanding of educational theory to benefit all students, no matter their learning style or background.
  • Curriculum and Implementation: In addition to designing and implementing course curriculum, nurse educators monitor learning outcomes and adjust their lesson plans as needed.
  • Nursing Practice: Great nursing instructors are great RNs. That means educators stay up to date on developments in nursing practice while maintaining their skills as clinicians.
  • Research and Evidence: Evidence-based research informs clinical practice and educational methodology alike. Successful instructors rely on vetted research to shape their course content and their teaching strategy.
  • Communication, Collaboration and Partnership: Sharing best practices with instructors will benefit students. Sharing best practices with healthcare providers ensures a seamless transition from the classroom to the clinic.
  • Ethical/Legal Principles and Professionalism: An unshakeable legal and ethical foundation supports an instructor's teaching practice and provides an excellent model for students.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Effective nurse educators consistently track and assess learning outcomes across courses and programs.
  • Management, Leadership and Advocacy: By taking on leadership roles, nursing instructors support and develop nursing programs to shape the future of RN education.

Practicums for nurse educators are designed to move these competencies from the realm of theory to the realm of practice.


How Do Online Nursing Education Students Complete Their In-Person Practicum?

Online students often complete practicum hours at a conveniently located site. Many choose their own workplace, but there are some restrictions. Practicum hours, for instance, must be completed off the clock and outside of your unit.

MSN students at UTA can complete practicum hours in the education development department at their healthcare facility. Hours can also be carried out at a school of nursing.

You can do the hospital setting or the academic setting … I'm familiar with the duties of a nurse educator on the hospital level, so I plan on doing my clinical at a university.

How Do I Select My Preceptor?

Every university sets its own selection guidelines. That said, preceptors are often experienced and master's-prepared nurses.

UTA requires preceptors to hold an MSN in nurse education. Once you've confirmed a preceptor candidate meets this requirement, make sure your selection is not a peer, coworker, current supervisor or relative. Begin your search well before your practicum start date, because an MSN program professor will also have to approve your choice.

Joan Burnham, UTA MSN in Nursing Education Online student
UTA also has a lot of partnerships and contacts with hospitals here in Houston. That has made it really easy for those of us who are down here to do our practicum and our clinical time because we have those things in place.

What Is a CNE?

The Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) is an advanced professional credential

The CNE, or Certified Nurse Educator, is an advanced professional credential issued by the National League for Nursing (NLN). Nurse educators with a CNE have proven expertise in their field, ensuring a high standard of teaching practice.

As a CNE, you might work as nursing program faculty, join a hospital to lead staff development initiatives, or work with different patient populations in public health. In any of those scenarios, the CNE credential guarantees your skills and competencies. It also keeps you at the cutting edge of nursing education. That's because CNEs renew their certification every five years, either through professional development activities or by taking a current version of the CNE exam.

Do I Need a Master's Degree for Nurse Educator Certification?

Since it's an advanced credential, the CNE requires an advanced degree. A master's in nursing education is the most direct path to certification. Once you've met eligibility requirements, you'll be ready to sit for the CNE exam.

A master's degree in nursing education is a direct path to CNE certification

How Do I Prepare for the CNE Exam?

Earning your master's in nursing education is the first and most important step in preparing for the CNE exam. The degree prepares you for every core competency area addressed in the 150-question exam:

CNE is a 150 question exam
  • Facilitate learning (22% of questions)
  • Use assessment and evaluation strategies (19% of questions)
  • Participate in curriculum design based on evaluation of program outcomes (17% of questions)
  • Engage in scholarship, service and leadership (15% of questions)
  • Facilitate learner development and socialization (14% of questions)
  • Pursue continuous improvement in the academic nurse educator role (12% of questions)

The National League for Nursing provides a free guide to CNE Exam Prep and a paid Self-Assessment Exam.

How Are Exam Results Determined, and When Will I Receive Them?

The CNE Exam is graded as pass or fail

The CNE Exam is graded as pass or fail, and results are based on 130 of 150 questions. The remainder are sample questions that may appear in future exams. With multiple test iterations in use at any one time, passing scores fluctuate with each version.

No matter which version you receive, nurse educators who complete their testing at an Applied Measurement Professionals assessment center receive their official results on site. Your CNE certificate will arrive in the mail six to eight weeks later.

Learn more about our MSN in Nursing Educationg online program!

What Do Nurse Educators Do?

Nurse educators work in colleges, universities and hospitals

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, most nursing instructors work in colleges, universities and professional schools. The second most popular employment category is junior colleges, followed by general medical and surgical hospitals. Regardless of the setting, nurse educators expand access to healthcare delivery while advancing the practice of care.

In other words, nurse educators bring new RNs into the profession, and they support seasoned RNs in acquiring advanced knowledge. Many work with patients and families as well. They assist patients and caregivers adapting to complex, critical or chronic health conditions. Some nurse educators may also work on community health initiatives and public outreach.

I love caring for people … And I love teaching, because I feel like it's a part of caring.

What Do Nurse Educators Make?

Nurse educators work in a variety of healthcare settings. They may teach online, in a classroom or clinical setting, via simulated experience or in a hospital. Salaries for this versatile career vary based on roles, settings and geographic location:

Job Title Average Salary in TX Average Salary in CA Average Salary in FL
Online Nurse Educator $72,335 $78,941 $67,563
Nursing Instructor $67,589 $73,761 $63,130
Surgical Nurse Educator $75,391 $82,275 $70,417
Clinical Nursing Instructor $74,136 $80,906 $69,245
Obstetrical Nurse Educator $76,038 $82,982 $71,022
Oncology Nurse Educator $84,842 $92,589 $79,245

Source: ZipRecruiter (February 2020)

Your role in RN instruction also comes with several intangible benefits. Aside from addressing the nursing shortage firsthand, you'll enjoy shorter workdays and less physical demand. That's because earning an MSN in nursing education also means transitioning away from 12-hour shifts on the unit floor. Some instructors even get to choose their course schedules, and online instructors may work entirely from home.

What Are My Career Advancement Opportunities With An MSN?

Once you're established in RN education, you may go on to work in nursing program administration. Experienced nurse educators often hold the following academic leadership roles:

Job Title Average Salary in TX Average Salary in CA Average Salary in FL
Associate Dean of Nursing $78,901 $86,106 $73,696
Director of Nurse Education $83,116 $90,705 $77,633
Nursing Program Director $83,637 $91,274 $78,120
Head of Nurse Education $86,551 $94,455 $80,842

Source: ZipRecruiter (February 2020)

Pursuing a doctorate is another great way to advance your career and increase your earning potential. In its report on income by educational attainment, PayScale lists the average annual salary of a Ph.D. in nursing as $92,000 as of November 2019. The average salary for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is $102,000.

Are Nurse Educators in Demand?

Nurse educators are in such high demand that the BLS included them on its list of 30 fastest-growing occupations.

Nurse educators are in such high demand that the BLS included them on its list of 30 fastest-growing occupations. Through 2028, jobs for nursing instructors and teachers are forecast to grow at a rate of 20%, nearly four times faster than the national average. This is largely attributed to an aging population, which will cause a rise in demand for nurses, and by extension, the professors needed to teach them.

An aging population also heralds the simultaneous loss of existing faculty. In fact, a 2017 NLN Faculty Census Survey revealed that one in five full-time nursing faculty members have reached or are approaching retirement age. Survey respondents are already struggling to recruit replacements as well, with 46% describing the process as somewhat difficult and 28% describing it as very difficult.

Given the results of the AACN's Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions, this assessment is not at all surprising. As of 2018, 871 nursing schools reported a collective 1,715 faculty vacancies. Further, 138 schools without vacant full-time positions need additional faculty to meet student demand. Yet, one in four nursing programs couldn't find enough qualified candidates in their area. Roughly one in three programs also stated that the competition for candidates is so great, it has become a major obstacle in the hiring process.

Taken together, NLN and AACN surveys indicate that new nurse educators can enjoy promising careers.


Through 2028, jobs for nursing instructors and teachers are projected to grow at a rate of 20%, nearly four times faster than the national average.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Are Nurse Educators Most in Demand?

California, Texas and Florida land in the top five states for nursing instructor demand.

California, Texas and Florida land in the top five states for nursing instructor demand. This ranking (derived from a Burning Glass Technologies analysis of job postings from July 2018 to June 2019) pertains to master's graduates in nurse education, health education and comparable categories.

BLS data also supports these findings. Metro areas with the highest employment rates for nursing instructors include Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington in Texas, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim in California, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach in Florida.

The non-metro area surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington also fares well. In fact, the BLS also reports that North Texas is one of the top five non-metro areas for nursing educator employment. The region additionally ranks in the top-five for compensation, with nurse educators taking home a mean annual salary of $83,000.

Are Tuition Rates High for an Online Master's in Nursing Education?

Tuition rates vary widely, and the sticker price isn't always what it seems. Many universities add hidden fees that raise your out-of-pocket costs by thousands. Both nonprofit and for-profit universities engage in this practice, but for-profit universities are typically more expensive overall. You might assume the higher tuition rates are indicative of added value, but that's not the case. According to The Century Foundation, graduates of for-profit institutions have poorer job prospects and lower earning potential.

Check out the comparison chart below for a quick primer on tuition for online MSN nurse educator programs:

University Credit Hours Required Cost Per Credit Hour Includes Most Fees Not-for-Profit
Chamberlain University 36 $650    
University of Phoenix 36 $540    
Loma Linda University 39 $840  
Jacksonville University 33 $650  
University of Houston 42 $586 in-state
$1,108 out-of-state
University of Texas at Arlington 39 $515

*Cost figures taken from university websites (July 2019)

Many universities adjust their tuition rates on an annual basis, so your costs can change as you progress through the program. With the continuous enrollment of one course per semester, UTA MSN students can lock in their tuition rate until graduation.

Do Online Graduate Students Qualify for Scholarships and Financial Aid?

They do! While nurse educators aren't eligible for TEACH grants, they have several scholarship and funding options — the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) maintains a list. State and federal aid are also available, as long as you attend an accredited MSN program. Once you've confirmed you meet the standard eligibility requirements, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Federal Student Aid website.

Can I Apply My Military Education Benefits to an Online Nursing Degree?

UTA is approved for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill and military tuition reimbursement

Active-duty service members and veterans – as well as their spouses and dependents – can definitely apply military education benefits to an online degree. If your MSN program is accredited and you've met VA requirements, you're good to go. You can also get help through the Yellow Ribbon Program if the benefits you've earned don't fully cover the cost of a degree.

UTA is approved for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill and military tuition reimbursement. To learn more about applying your benefits, contact an enrollment specialist at 866-489-2810.

Is Student Loan Forgiveness Available to Nurse Educators?

There are several loan forgiveness programs available to nurse educators, but many require a commitment to work in an underserved area for a period of one to two years after graduation. If you're interested in learning more, there are several options worth exploring:

The AACN's nurse educator funding guide also offers a list of state-sponsored options, so you can find forgiveness programs or scholarships specific to your location.

Do Healthcare Employers Offer Tuition Reimbursement for MSN Students?

As your HR department about tuition reimbursement

Many healthcare employers provide tuition reimbursement for RNs. Some offer it on an annual basis, others allow you to submit a request as soon as you've finished a course. Either way, you'll receive funds toward your tuition for every year you're enrolled in an accredited degree program.

Employer policies vary widely, but some provide funding of $5,000 or more. Be sure to review your benefits package (or speak with a human resources representative) before beginning your studies.

Can I Really Keep Working Full Time While I Complete My Online Degree?

work full time while earning an msn online

You can, and there are also good reasons why you should. Maintaining your career while pursuing your master's isn't just great for your pocketbook. It also provides an opportunity to keep your clinical skills sharp. Since many people learn best by doing, you might find it helpful to apply newfound knowledge in advanced health assessment during work hours.

If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, balancing work and school comes with added financial benefits. It also keeps you connected to your colleagues. If there's a master's-prepared nurse educator at your workplace, you might even ask them to become your preceptor!

Joan Burnham, UTA MSN in Nursing Education Online student
When the Master of Science in Nursing Education became available online, it was a great opportunity that was doable with my work schedule. I was able to switch to 12-hour shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then, I could have time Monday through Thursday to do schoolwork.

How Is an Accelerated Nursing Program Different Than a Traditional MSN Degree?

finish fasters with an accelerated nursing program

Traditional degree programs often operate by semester, with courses lasting roughly 15 weeks. A program on a trimester schedule features courses that are around 13 weeks, and on a quarter schedule courses will take 10 weeks to complete. Regardless, traditional MSN programs require at least two years of full-time study, and will take longer for part-time students.

With an accelerated nursing program, a regular semester is split into two or three sessions, with courses running five to eight weeks. Master's programs on an accelerated calendar can take less than two years to complete, even with part-time study.

UTA's accelerated online MSN in Nursing Education splits semesters into thirds. With the exception of the 10-week practicum, courses are only five weeks long. That means you can complete your degree in as few as 19 to 21 months.

"I'm a self-motivated learner … Being able to control my schedule in the online program and be on top of it made it very easy for me." – , student, UTA MSN in Nursing Education Online

Home/work life balance is really easy with this program … What I really enjoy is the five-week classes to complete your coursework versus an entire three-month semester.

How Much Time Will I Need to Study?

Plan for 12-15 hours per week of study time

Whether you set aside a few days a week or a few hours a day, creating a dedicated study schedule is the key to success in any graduate program. That said, your study time will depend on the number of courses you take or assignments due in a given week. The biggest factor, however, is whether you are enrolled in a traditional or accelerated program. If you're taking a full course load on a traditional semester schedule (typically three courses totaling nine credit hours), you'll need to set aside around 27 hours per week (or nine hours per course).

Accelerated programs cover the same amount of material in a fraction of the time, and semesters are divided into two or three distinct sessions. That means you'll need approximately 15 hours per week for each three-credit class, but you only need to focus on one subject at a time.

As an MSN student at UTA, you can complete three classes by enrolling in all three sessions during each accelerated semester. When compared to a traditional schedule, you'll save 12 hours a week and accrue the same number of credit hours. Since accelerated programs are also more flexible, you might choose to enroll in two sessions and use the third to rest or focus on work and family.

Doris Blacksher, UTA MSN in Nursing Education online student
Your main focus is going back to school and having at least 15-20 hours a week you're going to put into it. Being prepared is the biggest thing.

Is an Online Degree the Same As an On-Campus Degree?

Accredited nursing programs should offer the same rigorous curriculum online or on campus. Your degree will be an MSN in nursing education regardless, and your diploma won't list your method of study. In fact, employers who aren't familiar with your MSN program won't necessarily know how you earned your degree. Those that do know the difference are unlikely to care. According to U.S. News & World Report, most employers accept online degrees. That's especially the case if your program is accredited.

Do I Need to Buy a New Computer?

Probably not, but it's a good idea to make sure that your operating system and software are up to date. Ultimately, if your computer is reliable and it can perform the following functions, you're ready to get started:

computer for online learning
  • Connect to the internet
  • Run word-processing software
  • Upload and download files
  • View PDF files
  • View and create spreadsheets
  • Stream video
  • Access webcam for video chat
  • View and create presentations

"When I did my BSN … back in the 1980s, we didn't do anything online. This has been a completely new experience. Even though I have charted and used computers at work, I had not written much on the computer. I had no idea how to cut and paste, but I think I have got the hang of it now." – , student, UTA MSN in Nursing Education Online

What's an Online Classroom and How Does It Work?

Online classroom and communication

Many online courses are administered through a learning management system, such as Canvas or Blackboard. The LMS serves as a portal to your courses. Once you login, you'll have access to the syllabus, course modules, video lectures, discussion forums and study materials. There's also a section for uploading your assignments. As with any website, it may take a moment to learn the layout, but it's pretty straightforward and user-friendly.

MSN students at UTA access their courses via Canvas. You can view the Canvas orientation guide online, and tech support is also available via 817-272-5727 or

Spotlight on Education: Learning and Teaching Online

Spotlight on Education: Learning and Teaching Online

Online education is a compelling option for course delivery: In a meta-analysis of 50 research studies on learning outcomes in 2010, the U.S. Department of Education concluded that online study can be more effective than traditional study. This may be attributed to student engagement with course materials. For example, instead of participating in off-the-cuff class discussion, online students participate in class forums through reading, writing and reflection.

Online learning is on the rise: In its assessment of postsecondary education in 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics found that 15% of college students were enrolled in fully online programs. Over the same year, 17% of students were enrolled in one or more online courses. Distance learning is particularly popular for master's degrees. The Urban Institute reported that, as of 2016, 31% of master's students were enrolled in fully online programs. Another 21% completed some courses online.

MSN Nurse Educators can also be found on the other side of the screen: With more students enrolled in online courses, the demand for instructors to teach them continues to grow. That's especially the case in healthcare. Because online education is more accessible than other learning formats, it serves as a powerful method to address the nursing shortage, as well as the nursing faculty shortage. Your experience with learning management systems could prove invaluable. Thus, online courses won't shape your education alone. They could also lead to a future career as a nursing professor.


How Do I Communicate With My Professors?

Students learning in a campus setting might meet with professors after class or seek them out during posted office hours. As an online student, you can speak with your professor in class forums, ask questions in an email or request a video chat. Some online professors may share their phone numbers, and even encourage texting. No matter the method of contact, UTA faculty will typically respond within 24 to 48 hours.

Which Student Services Are Available to Online Master's Students?

Every university is different, but many online programs offer tech support, digital library access and remote librarian assistance. In addition to these services, MSN students at UTA enjoy monthly check-ins with a student success coordinator. They're also assigned a master's-prepared nurse who will serve as an academic coach, providing personalized support throughout the nursing education program.

Writing assistance is available as well. Check out the UTA website for further details.

Can I Attend Graduation?

Universities often host graduation and degree conferral for online students. After all, completing a master's program is a major accomplishment. Like all of life's greatest milestones, it's worth celebrating with a formal ceremony. If you can make it to campus, you'll have an opportunity to meet your professors and classmates in person. Friends and family are welcome to share in the festivities as well.

UTA students have up to six opportunities to complete their MSN each year. Formal conferrals take place during graduation ceremonies in May and December.

UTA online MSN students can attend graduation in either May or December

What Are the Admissions Requirements for MSN Nursing Education Programs?

Aside from a BSN, requirements for a master's in nursing education often include an unencumbered RN license and one to two years of clinical experience. You'll also need official transcripts from your prior studies that confirm you meet the program's minimum GPA requirement. Other items that may be requested include GRE scores and letters of recommendation from professional contacts or former professors.

UTA's MSN in Nursing Education program doesn't require letters of recommendation, and it only requires GRE scores if your GPA falls below a 3.0. Otherwise, admissions criteria include a minimum GPA of 2.8, an unencumbered nursing license and two years of clinical experience as an RN. Visit the for additional info on application materials and GRE scores.

Is the Admissions Process Competitive?

UTA's College of Nursing and Health Innovation is the top public MSN provider in the U.S. by enrollments.

The admissions process for any degree program is designed to support your success as a student. In other words, you're probably on the right track if you meet program requirements and the curriculum feels like a good fit. Because on-campus programs limit admission based on available classroom space, your prospects for admission are typically better in online degree programs. Free of space constraints, the online format accommodates more faculty, more courses, and therefore more students.

Admission is the first step, but your ultimate goal is graduation. UTA's College of Nursing and Health Innovation is the top public MSN provider in the U.S. by enrollments. Qualified applicants accepted into the online nursing education program can complete their degree in as few as 19 to 21 months.

When Can I Apply for My MSN in Nursing Education?

That depends on the MSN program you choose. Traditional programs enroll new students anywhere from one to three times a year. Accelerated programs accept new students five to eight times over the same period.

The accelerated online MSN in Nursing Education program at UTA offers eight opportunities for enrollment per year. Visit the for application and registration deadlines. You can anytime.

Learn more about our MSN in Nursing Education online program!


American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN):
Funding Resources for Future Nurse Educators
Nursing Faculty Shortage
Nursing Shortage
Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions

Applied Measurement Professionals: National League for Nursing, CNE Exam

Bureau of Health Workforce (HRSA):
Faculty Loan Repayment
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

The Century Foundation: 8 Facts That Will Make You Think Twice Before Enrolling at a For-Profit College

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA): CHEA-Recognized Accrediting Organizations

Institute of Medicine: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

National Center for Education Statistics: Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions

National League for Nursing (NLN):
Certified Nurse Educator
CNE Eligibility
CNE Exam Prep
Faculty Census Survey, 2016-2017
Nurse Educator Core Competency
Self-Assessment Exam Nursing Scholarships

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Nursing Degree
Salaries by Degree

Urban Institute: The Rise of Master's Degrees: Master's Programs Are Increasingly Diverse and Online

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
Employment Projections: Fastest growing occupations

U.S. Department of Education:
Am I Eligible to Receive Financial Aid?
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness

U.S. News & World Report:
10 Things Employers Think About Your Online Degree
What Employers Look at When Assessing Online Degrees

World Health Organization (WHO): Nurse Educator Core Competencies

Associate Dean of Nursing
Clinical Nursing Instructor
Director of Nurse Education
Head of Nurse Education
Nursing Instructor
Nursing Program Director
Obstetrical Nurse Educator
Oncology Nurse Educator
Online Nurse Educator
Surgical Nurse Educator