Approximately 59,680 nursing instructors are employed in the United States. They work in hospitals, clinics, colleges, and universities that offer nursing education programs. Instructors' jobs can vary greatly, depending on the employer. Many nursing instructors associated with hospitals or medical clinics work in the nursing field in addition to teaching. Those employed by large universities and colleges are more focused on academia, conducting medical research and writing medical reports of their findings.
Because you should first obtain practical experience in this field, begin by becoming a registered nurse. After graduating from an approved nursing program and passing licensure examinations, you can apply directly to hospitals, nursing homes, companies, and government agencies for employment. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through states' employment offices. Other sources of job listings include nurses' associations, professional journals, and newspaper want ads.
In hospitals and clinics, nursing instructors generally advance by moving up in staff ranks. Positions with higher levels of authority, and hence, higher pay, include clinical nurse specialists, advanced practice nurses, nurse supervisors or managers, or medical administrators.
Those who work in nursing schools, colleges, or universities may advance through the academic ranks from a part-time adjunct to a full-time instructor to assistant professor to associate professor, and finally to full professor. From there, those interested in administration may become deans or directors of nursing programs. As professors advance in their careers, they frequently spend less time in the classroom and more time conducting research, public speaking, and writing.
Tips for Entry
To gain experience in teaching, at least on a small scale, form a study group of some of your fellow students so you can practice presenting material and answering questions about it.
Volunteer or acquire a part-time job at a local hospital, health care facility, or a community center that will allow you to teach a class or learn more about nursing.
Work to develop a mentoring relationship with one or more of your teachers.