Professionals who are interested in becoming the teachers of tomorrow’s nurses may wish to explore a doctorate in nursing education.
Doctorate in nursing education online programs provide nurses with advanced expertise to help them become nursing leaders, scholars, and educators.
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If you’re interested in becoming a nurse educator, read on to discover some of the doctorate-level programs available and to learn more about the professional possibilities in this field.
Online Doctorate in Nursing Education Programs
You can typically choose from three different areas of study when pursuing online doctoral programs in nursing education. While providing education for nurses is the focus of each of these programs, the specialization, coursework, and methodology is a bit different in each.
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
Exploring your options may help you determine which academic path is right for you.
PhD in Nursing Education
This degree path is typically chosen by those who wish to become researchers and scientists in the field of nursing. The goal of online PhD programs in nursing education is to inspire future nurse educators.
The curriculum often focuses on the research toward advancing nursing efficacy through experimentation and analyzing outcomes. Typical curriculum may include immersion into the technology that aids nurses in their practice as well as courses that outline how to design research, from theory to methodology. Scientific procedures as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis will likely be studied, too.
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Those who pursue online PhD programs in nursing education have generally completed their bachelors or masters in nursing and are familiar with processes and procedures. The PhD program allows you to concentrate on scholarly pursuits in the field of nursing education.
With this science-based program, many graduates apply their nursing education PhD toward the development of new nursing procedures and technology. They then share their findings with the field.
DNP in Nursing Education
“DNP” stands for “Doctor of Nursing Practice.” Students who pursue this type of degree often wish to be classroom educators who train others who plan to practice nursing. Others want to become involved in community medical education and policy.
This means DNP in Nursing Education students plan to educate the nurses who are hands-on, helping patients through treatment programs and wellness objectives. As a result, their curriculum frequently focuses on clinical responsibilities and procedures.
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A DNP for nurse educators prepares graduates for roles in which they can train future or current nursing professionals. Since there are many types of nurses and nurse practitioners focusing on various specialized areas of care, their coursework often reflects these areas of medicine.
In general, much like a masters in nursing leadership online or on campus, a DNP in Education will not only emphasize clinical procedures and outcomes but also include leadership, policy, and ethical considerations.
EdD in Nursing Education
In essence, a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Nursing Education provides students with the skills to educate future nurse educators.
If you are interested in teaching students to become nursing professors, nurse educators, and nursing leaders, this program may be a good fit for you. Common courses in these doctorate in nursing education online programs include how to create a curriculum, evaluate nursing education students, and teach various types of nursing subjects.
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Students who pursue their EdD in Nursing Education may be advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) or those who took advantage of an on-campus or online accelerated RN to BSN program, and who now wish to become teachers in their areas of specialty. It is also a path chosen by those who have an educational background in nursing but do not wish to practice.
Those who choose an EdD program will be immersed in educational practices, research, theory, and ethical concerns among nurse educators. They will study the methods and procedures used to educate the next generation of nurse educators.
Nursing Education Careers and Salaries
There are many opportunities for those who have completed online doctoral programs in nursing education. Many complete this degree with the intentions of becoming nursing instructors at a college or university. Nurse educators may also be found in clinical settings, keeping RNs up to date with their training.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median wages of positions related to the field of nursing education.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners||$123,780|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,130|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$96,910|
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers||$77,440|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$74,000|
|Health Education Specialists||$60,600|
Many individuals earn their doctorate in nursing education with the desire to become professional nurse educators. There are many fields, though, in which those with a solid background in nursing and education can find careers.
Some graduates move into executive careers, such as that of a Chief Nursing Officer. Others work to form public policies surrounding health care and health education. They may also work in research or community settings to share their expertise.
Some professionals who earn their doctorate in nursing education continue working as practicing nurses, though frequently in a trainer, managerial, or directorial role.
Nursing Education Doctorate Curriculum & Courses
The courses you encounter in your nursing education doctorate program online will largely depend upon the type of program you select. For example, a DNP in Nursing Education program will likely offer different courses than a nursing education PhD.
Some common courses you might encounter include:
- Foundations of Healthcare Education: This course provides you with a basis for your concentration, with a focus on procedural and practical measures for nurse education.
- Measuring Clinical Outcomes: In this course, you can learn how to design, implement, and analyze the success of various treatment plans.
- Healthcare Policy: This course is a deep-dive into the various ethics, laws, and regulations by which nurses and nurse educators adhere.
- Leadership and Collaboration in Healthcare: In this course, you’ll learn what makes a good leader and how nurses can collaborate to provide patients with the best outcome.
- Quality Measurement in Healthcare: You can learn how to assess the quality of your work and how to implement your own evidence-based practice methods.
- Advocacy for Health Development: This course helps you appreciate global, federal, and state health issues as well as understand how they impact specific populations.
- Developing and Evaluating a Nursing Curriculum: In this course, you’ll learn how to create effective lesson plans as nurse educators.
- Technology and Nurse Education: You can learn about the technology that can assist not only in the education of nurses but by practicing nurses.
- Advanced Theoretical and Scientific Perspectives in Nursing: This type of course will help you learn to utilize your analytical skills in research and practice.
- Innovations in Nursing Education: In this course, you’ll look at nursing education from both a historical and future-facing perspective.
You may want to peruse several course catalogues to select a program that best suits your interests.
Admissions requirements will vary from school to school, so it’s beneficial to review the application process for each school you want to apply to.
Some of the common requirements for online doctorate of nursing education programs include:
- GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
- Active registered nurse license
- All educational transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of intent
You may also be asked to complete an application that includes writing samples. Additionally, some schools ask prospective doctoral students to complete an interview with academic staff.
Nursing Doctorate Programs Accreditation
When examining the various doctorate in nursing education online programs, you may wish to pay close attention to whether each program holds regional accreditation. Schools and programs that are accredited have been found to meet higher educational standards.
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You can verify a school’s accreditation status by visiting the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Many employers prefer or require candidates who have completed an accredited doctorate program. Additionally, pursuing certifications or membership in professional associations may also require the completion of an accredited nursing education program.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you’re interested in pursuing need-based financial assistance, you may want to start by completing the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You may also be eligible for financial aid directly from the school you select.
Many programs offer scholarships and grants for students looking to enroll in online doctoral programs in nursing education. Some financial aid opportunities are linked to academic performance, professional achievement, or career goals. You may wish to connect with a financial representative from each of your prospective programs for more details.
In addition, you may qualify for tuition reimbursement or educational assistance from your employer. Some professional organizations also offer tuition assistance for members who wish to continue their education.
What Is a Doctorate in Nursing Education?
A doctorate in nursing education is designed for nurses who are interested in reaching the highest scholarly and professional level of nursing.
Earning your doctorate in nursing education could help place you on a path to becoming a leader among the nursing community. Whether your overall interests in nursing are research-based, practice-based, or education-based, you might consider this degree path.
Nurse educators have the opportunity to teach and guide many aspiring nurses, researchers, and teachers to improve the health and wellness of many individuals around the world.
What Can You Do with a Doctorate in Nursing Education?
A doctorate in nursing education is commonly associated with the career path of teaching courses that will guide aspiring nurses. There are many options available for those who earn this degree, though.
Some doctoral graduates may go on to hold executive nursing positions in healthcare organizations. Others may work as medical researchers. Some nurse educators oversee the training and development within healthcare facilities.
A doctoral degree in nursing education can prepare students for a variety of leadership and development roles in which education and medical knowledge are equally valuable.
How Long Is a Doctor of Nursing Education Program?
The length of time it takes to complete a doctoral degree in nursing education depends on the type of program. The number of credit hours required and the academic calendar can often vary from school to school. Generally speaking, a doctoral degree can often be completed in 3 to 5 years of full-time study.
If you choose a program with no dissertation requirement, you may be able to complete your nursing education doctoral program in 3 years of full-time study. Most PhD programs require a dissertation, which could extend your time to completion.
Is a Doctorate Degree in Nursing Education Worth It?
Yes, a doctorate degree in nursing education is worth it for many professionals. The role of nurse educator could provide an opportunity for you to share your understanding of nursing, healthcare, and education simultaneously.
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As more specialized medical fields continue to grow, the need for nursing educators will also rise. As a result, there may be more opportunities for those who have a unique blend of these talents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% job growth is expected for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers over the next ten years, which is much faster than average.
Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Nursing Education Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Adelphi University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Education. The program focuses on research, clinical practice, and teaching skills that students will need in healthcare and academic settings. The curriculum uses a convenient online format and requires the completion of 54 credit hours. On average, students can finish in 3 years.
Adelphi is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
American College of Education offers a Doctor of Education in Nursing Education. Students can further specialize in Adult Education, Leadership, Curriculum Design, Health and Wellness, Higher Education, Online Learning, or Community Education. All classes meet online. Students can potentially complete the program’s 64 required credits in just 3 years.
American College of Education is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Arkansas State University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Education. The program covers key concepts like healthcare leadership, research methods, learning assessment, student evaluation, and curriculum development. The program requires the completion of 39 credit hours. Students attending full-time may be able to complete their course requirements in just 12 months.
Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Education program at Capella University offers an online concentration in Nursing Education. Graduates may pursue careers as nurse educators, nursing faculty, deans of nursing, department chairs, or curriculum specialists. Students may be able to transfer in up to 16 of their 77 required credits from outside institutions.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership. This program is designed to prepare registered nurses for teaching and leadership roles in their field. The program requires the completion of 48 credit hours. Classes are housed in a convenient online learning format, and each one is 8 weeks long.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Indiana University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science. Students can choose a concentration in Clinical Nursing Science or Health Systems. The program uses a hybrid learning format that combines synchronous virtual courses with occasional on-campus intensives. The 90 credit curriculum consists of professional development, theory, research, concentration, and dissertation coursework.
Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of leadership, practice, and educational principles. On average, students can complete this 60 credit program in 3 years. Classes meet 100% online, and each one is 8 weeks long.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nova Southeastern University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. Potential courses include Leadership in Nursing, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy, Theories of Education, and Evidence-Based Evaluation. The program requires the completion of 60 credits. While courses are held online, students must also attend yearly summer intensives on campus where they can gain valuable hands-on experiences.
Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Ohio State University offers a Doctor of Nursing Education. Students can choose between concentrations in Academic Nursing Education or Nursing Professional Development. The curriculum uses a blend of online didactic courses and clinical hours in the field. On average, students can complete the program in 2 years when attending full-time or 3 years when attending part-time.
Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Pittsburg State University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice with an emphasis in Education. This program is intended for advanced practice nurses who have previously completed a master’s in nursing. Students can potentially finish this 39 credit degree in just 18 months. All classes meet entirely online.
Pittsburg State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice online program at Post University offers a specialization in Educational Leadership. Nurses invested in the professional development of their colleagues may find an excellent fit in this program. The program offers two start dates for incoming students each month. Students can typically complete the program’s requirements in 28 months.
Post University is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
Southern Connecticut State University offers a Doctor of Education in Nursing. The curriculum is designed for nurses who are interested in pursuing nursing education roles in academic settings. Classes cover concepts like academic research and publication, curriculum design, clinical teaching, ethics in higher education, and leadership. Students can attend fully online.
Southern Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership program at the University of Alabama offers a concentration in Nurse Education. The curriculum is designed to impart advanced knowledge of clinical practice, research, and instructional skills. Classes meet primarily online, though students are required to attend occasional on-campus experiences. Most students can complete the program’s 72 required credits in 3 years.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Nevada—Las Vegas offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. The program aims to provide students with advanced research, evidenced-based education, and dynamic leadership skills. Students can attend classes online with part-time or full-time schedules. Many graduates pursue careers as leaders, researchers, and educators in settings like academia, healthcare, or nonprofit organizations.
UNLV is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The University of Northern Colorado offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education. The program equally emphasizes advanced competencies in research, leadership, and education. Classes utilize an online learning model, though there are several on-campus learning opportunities at the beginning and end of the program. The curriculum spans 66 credit hours total.
The University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences offers a Doctor of Education. This program is designed specifically for healthcare practitioners and educators hoping to deepen their knowledge of instructional theory and practices. The program blends online learning with hands-on experiences. On average, students can complete the program’s requirements in 4.5 years.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
The University of West Georgia offers an online program for a Doctor of Education in Nursing Education. Nurses pursuing nurse educator roles may find an ideal fit in this program. The program requires the completion of 60 credits and can be attended full-time or part-time. Classes cover topics like research methods, nursing education ethics, curriculum development, scholarly writing, and healthcare policy.
The University of West Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Doctor of Philosophy at Walden University offers a concentration in Nursing Education. This program has pathways for registered nurses who currently hold either a bachelor’s or a master’s in nursing. BSN-to-PhD students must complete a minimum of 106 credits, while MSN-to-PhD students need at least 81 credits.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Wilkes University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. Students can specialize in leadership, culture, practice, disease management, policy, or nursing education. Classes meet primarily online, and each one is 12 weeks long. Incoming students can select one of two start dates offered each year, and most students can complete the program in just 3 years.
Wilkes University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
William Carey University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education and Administration. This program aims to prepare practicing nurses for careers as educators and leaders in a wide variety of healthcare settings. On average, students can finish the degree in 2 to 3 years. Most classes meet fully online.
William Carey University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Doctorate in Nursing Education Online
Whether you choose to pursue a PhD, EdD, or DNP for nurse educators, getting your doctoral degree in nursing education online could be a significant step forward in your professional journey.
With an online doctoral degree in nursing education, you may have the ability to educate future nurses, advance the training of current nursing professionals, and contribute original scholarship to the field. Your personal interests and desired outcome may dictate which type of nurse educator doctoral degree you pursue.
You can take a look at some of the various doctorate in nursing education online programs available from accredited schools to determine which ones best suit your overall professional goals.