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Become A Clinical Nurse Educator

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Working As A Clinical Nurse Educator

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $61,131

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Nurse Educator Do

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.


Registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.

Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse may work with cancer patients or a geriatric nurse may work with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.

Many possibilities for working with specific patient groups exist. The following list includes just a few examples:

Addiction nurses care for patients who need help to overcome addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other substances.

Cardiovascular nurses care for patients with heart disease and people who have had heart surgery.

Critical care nurses work in intensive-care units in hospitals, providing care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses and injuries that need very close monitoring and treatment.

Genetics nurses provide screening, counseling, and treatment for patients with genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.

Neonatology nurses take care of newborn babies.

Nephrology nurses care for patients who have kidney-related health issues stemming from diabetes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, or other causes.

Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

Registered nurses may work to promote public health, by educating people on warning signs and symptoms of disease or managing chronic health conditions. They may also run health screenings, immunization clinics, blood drives, or other community outreach programs. Other nurses staff the health clinics in schools.

Some nurses do not work directly with patients, but they must still have an active registered nurse license. For example, they may work as nurse educators, healthcare consultants, public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, salespeople for pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, or as medical writers and editors.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They provide direct patient care in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health or pediatrics. CNSs also provide indirect care, by working with other nurses and various other staff to improve the quality of care that patients receive. They often serve in leadership roles and may educate and advise other nursing staff. CNSs also may conduct research and may advocate for certain policies.

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How To Become A Clinical Nurse Educator

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.


In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.


Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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Clinical Nurse Educator Jobs


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Clinical Nurse Educator Career Paths

Clinical Nurse Educator
Instructor Program Director Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Unit Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Psychologist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Therapist Respiratory Therapist
Director Of Clinical Education
11 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Education Director Nursing Director
Director Of Staff Development
8 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Case Manager Clinical Services Director Director Of Health Services
Home Service Director
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Coordinator Clinical Supervisor Clinical Services Director
Hospice Director
12 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Nurse Manager
Inpatient Services Director
12 Yearsyrs
Nurse Case Manager Clinical Liaison Medical Science Liaison
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse Nurse Manager
Nursing Services Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager
Patient Relations Director
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Nurse Specialist Registered Nurse Case Manager Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Nurse Specialist Legal Nurse Consultant Quality Improvement Coordinator
Quality Improvement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Certified Nurse Practitioner Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Nurse 5.9 years
Head Nurse 4.2 years
Nurse Clinician 4.1 years
Nurse Manager 3.9 years
Nurse Educator 3.3 years
Nurse 3.1 years
Clinical Educator 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Staff Nurse 24.6%
Nurse 5.7%
Educator 1.6%
Top Employers After
Staff Nurse 13.6%
Nurse 4.6%
Instructor 2.9%
Educator 2.2%

Do you work as a Clinical Nurse Educator?

Clinical Nurse Educator Demographics










Hispanic or Latino


Black or African American





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Foreign Languages Spoken
















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Clinical Nurse Educator Education


University of Phoenix


Walden University


Grand Canyon University


Indiana Wesleyan University


University of Texas at Arlington


Chamberlain College of Nursing


University of South Alabama


Capella University


Western Governors University


University of Cincinnati


University of Missouri - Saint Louis


Liberty University


Drexel University


South University


Texas Woman's University


West Virginia University


Excelsior College


University of Southern Indiana


Saint Louis University-


University of Rhode Island

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Family Practice Nursing


Health Care Administration




Public Health


Nursing Science


Health Sciences And Services




Clinical Psychology


Educational Technology


Health And Wellness




School Counseling


Health Education


Health/Medical Preparatory Programs


Medical Assisting Services


Elementary Education


Human Development



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Real Clinical Nurse Educator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Nurse Educator Torrance Memorial Medical Center Torrance, CA Jan 01, 2012 $73,400
Oncology Case Manager/Clinical Nurse Educator Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Dec 02, 2015 $70,350
Oncology Case Manager/Clinical Nurse Educator Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Dec 03, 2013 $64,000
Clinical Nurse Educator Centinela Hospital Medical Center Inglewood, CA Dec 15, 2009 $61,337
Clinical Nurse Educator East Valley Glendora Hospital LP Glendora, CA Sep 10, 2013 $57,706
Clinical Nurse Educator Nurses Touch Home Health Provider, Inc. Glendale, CA Sep 01, 2014 $57,054 -
Clinical Nurse Educator Hacienda Dialysis Center, A Medical Corporation Long Beach, CA Jan 09, 2016 $54,262
Clinical Nurse Educator Hacienda Dialysis Center, A Medical Corporation Hacienda Heights, CA Sep 17, 2016 $54,262
Clinical Nurse Educator Glenbridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre Niles, IL Sep 01, 2010 $53,872
Clinical Nurse Educator Health Care Providers, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Dec 01, 2011 $52,718 -
Clinical Nurse Educator Healthcare Providers, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Oct 01, 2011 $52,718 -
Clinical Nurse Educator Ultimate Care Inc. Delray Beach, FL Oct 11, 2012 $50,088
Clinical Educator-Skilled Nursing Care Okeechobee Health Care Facility Okeechobee, FL Oct 01, 2009 $48,001
Clinical Educator-Skilled Nursing Care Okeechobee Health Care Facility Okeechobee, FL Sep 01, 2009 $48,001
Clinical Educator-Medical & Geriatric Nursing Svrc Okeechobee Health Care Facility Okeechobee, FL Sep 01, 2009 $48,001

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Top Skills for A Clinical Nurse Educator

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  1. Patient Care
  2. Educational Programs
  3. RN
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as co-facilitator of Patient Care Leadership among executive nursing and patient care leaders and administrators.
  • Provided consultative services, conference talks and educational programs to interested telephone triage nurses and managers of clinics and programs nationwide.
  • Developed policies and procedures for Internal Medicine Clinic.
  • Implemented and developed competency check off and documentation to ensure patient safety and regulatory standards for nursing in HealthStream system.
  • Work with hospital administrators/leadership teams on process improvements and policy development/reviews.

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Average Salary:

Top 10 Best States for Clinical Nurse Educators

  1. Nevada
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Alaska
  4. California
  5. New York
  6. Connecticut
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Oregon
  9. Hawaii
  10. New Mexico
  • (201 jobs)
  • (950 jobs)
  • (49 jobs)
  • (3,091 jobs)
  • (1,508 jobs)
  • (371 jobs)
  • (204 jobs)
  • (244 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (214 jobs)

Top Clinical Nurse Educator Employers

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