Nurse educators are advanced registered nurses who teach and train the next generation of nurses. They are more than just teachers — they’re mentors, guides, and experts in nursing, helping both new nurses and experienced professionals improve their skills and deliver the best care to their patients.
The average nurse educator in the United States earns $65,381.98 per year. This salary is the median (mid-point) for all nurse educator salaries across the country.
If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse educator, your earnings could range from $59,000 to $96,000 annually, depending on where you live and your experience level.
Role of a nurse educator
Nurse educators work in educational settings, like colleges, nursing schools, and technical schools, to teach students everything they need to become qualified RNs. Some nurse educators serve as clinical supervisors in healthcare, overseeing their team's entire care delivery model.
Like other educators, nurse educators spend their days planning lessons, grading assignments, giving students feedback, and giving lectures. Their work does not involve direct patient care; instead, they lead skills labs, teach nursing theory, and ensure their students always learn the latest, science-backed approaches to nursing and healthcare.
Nurse educators are RNs who have years of direct nursing experience. They have decided to further their career by transitioning from an RN to a teacher. However, some nurse educators also work as RNs, teaching while managing their shifts at a hospital or other healthcare facility.
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How much does a nurse educator make a year?
Nurse educators earn between $44,000 to over $89,000 in the U.S., according to the latest data from Zippia.com, last updated July 2022. We compiled the median salary in every state and found pay for nurse educators ranges from $43,536 (in Iowa) to $96,871 (in California).
The median salary for all nurse educators in the United States is $65,381.98.
How much does a nurse educator make an hour?
Nurse educator hourly wages vary by state and experience. The median hourly wage for a nurse educator is $31.43.
Nurse educator salary by state
You can use the table below to compare your state’s average nurse educator pay with the national average. These figures represent the most common pay in each state, but there will still be some jobs that pay more or less.
Our data is here to help you establish a baseline for pay where you live. You can also use this table to find where nurse educators make the most and consider relocating if you’re open to moving for work.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors that affect how much a nurse educator makes
Here are the most influential factors for a nurse educator’s salary:
1) Educational background and experience
All nurse educators must hold a BSN (bachelor’s degree in nursing), MSN (master’s degree in nursing), or a Ph.D. in nursing. They have the most advanced theoretical education in nursing, so they naturally qualify for more money as members of an academic institution’s faculty.
Experience also plays a large role in the nurse educator’s salary. The more experienced they are, the more they can teach. Having a lot of nursing experience makes a nurse educator more valuable to employers. Rather than just teaching concepts, they have a seasoned registered nurse's lived experience and understanding.
2) Work environment
You might earn more as a nurse educator at a university than at a vocational school, and different institutions will set their salaries accordingly. The standards for nurse educators in different programs can also vary, which affects earnings. For this reason, you should research the salaries offered where you want to apply.
3) Specialty certifications
Nurse educators with specialized training and certification in sub-fields of medicine can earn more because they can teach more students. You may, for example, be a certified emergency nurse who wants to train other aspiring CENs. Working with certifying organizations as a nurse educator is one way to earn even more from your specialty.
You can also become a certified nurse educator (CNE) or certified academic clinical nurse educator (CNE-CL) to demonstrate your mastery of nursing theory and pedagogy (teaching practice). The National League for Nursing issues the CNE and CNE-CL.
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How quickly can you become a nurse educator and start earning?
The average has 8 to 10 years of experience in total. In addition to completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees, they must spend years in clinical settings to develop their skills. You will likely find most employers require a minimum of 5 years of nursing experience, though some require ten or more.
In universities, Nurse Educators are typically required to hold a Ph.D. in nursing and have extensive clinical experience.
Nurse educator salary vs. other nursing professions
If you’re interested in pursuing an advanced nursing degree, here is how much you could earn. Compare the typical nurse educator’s salary with other nursing jobs you can do with a master’s degree.
Average nurse educator salary: $65,381.98
CRNA Nurse Anesthetist: $140,357.71
Nurse Practitioner: $116,438.80
Registered Nurse: $76,944.90
Nurse Administrator: $76,104.25
Nurse educator salary FAQ
Am I being paid fairly as a nurse educator?
To determine fair pay as a nurse educator, compare your annual salary to your state’s average salary for all nurse educators. If you’re underpaid, you can present the data to your employer and start a conversation. Be sure to compile enough data so your employer can accurately determine.
Salaries will vary by employer, schedule, and experience. Nurse educators with the most education and experience will be given the highest pay, and those with certifications can also qualify for additional compensation.
Remember that you are allowed to negotiate your pay if you feel your compensation does not align with your education and skill set. Even if you just started, you should be compensated according to your credentials and specific skill sets.
Are nurse educators mostly paid hourly or annually?
Most nurse educators receive a salary. Their compensation package includes other benefits from their employer, such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement accounts.
Do nurse educators get paid overtime?
As an employee, nurse educators should receive overtime if they work over 40 hours a week. However, every state has its own overtime laws and nursing work regulations. Check with your state nursing board to explore your rights.
The base overtime pay for any nurse is their hourly wage plus a half.
Do nurse educators get paid more privately or in hospitals?
Nurse educators make the most in private academic settings. Pay will also be influenced by the need for nurse educators in their state and even at individual schools.
What state pays nurse educators the most per hour?
Nurse educators in California earn 48% more than anywhere else in the country. Find out how much they earn and what the top-paying nurse educator states in the table below.
Median Hourly Wage
Annual Median Salary
Can you live off of a nurse educator’s salary in the USA?
A good way to determine if being a nurse educator could work for you is by assessing your state’s cost of living index.
The cost of living index shows how expensive a state is compared to the national average. So for example, Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in, but its median annual nursing salary is below other states.
Earning $75,000 a year as a nurse educator in a rural state would be easier to live off of than in a more expensive state.
Consider the cost of living, your personal and financial needs, and obligations as you explore nurse educator opportunities and plan your career.
The cost of living index can also help you understand how comfortably you could live off a mental health nurse’s salary in your state. Metropolitan areas have higher living costs overall, but they also tend to present greater job opportunities.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.