nurse administrator vs. nurse educator career options

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator: What’s the Difference?

Do you want to become a leader in the nursing field, but are unsure if you want to continue in clinical, patient care? The ecosystem of any healthcare facility requires more than just hands-on healers, and in fact, there are so many opportunities behind the scenes for advanced nursing careers. Nurse educators and nurse administrators are two career paths that might interest you. They both require a Master’s in Nursing (MSN) plus nursing experience. To understand how an MSN could serve you as a nurse educator, teaching a new generation of bright, aspiring nurses, or as a nurse administrator, managing entire facilities and nursing departments, read on!

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator Work Environments
If you’re considering an MSN degree, we know that as an RN, you’ve spent many hours providing patient care. The work environment for a nurse administrator or nurse educator is a departure from that direct clinical care. Although 33% of nurse administrators work in hospitals, 12% work in physician’s offices, and 10% in residential care facilities, this role often has little contact with patients. Nurse administrators, instead, work behind-the-scenes leading their department or facility. Meanwhile, postsecondary nurse educators can be found working in the highest numbers at colleges, universities, and professional schools, followed by junior colleges, then general medical and surgical hospitals. Their closest contacts are typically nursing students in a classroom. However, nurse educators might lead trainings in a clinical environment as well.

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator Job Duties
Both the nurse educator and the nurse administrator roles are multidisciplinary. Nurse educators draw on their nursing experience to make lessons more meaningful for students. Besides teaching, nurse educators develop curricula, participate in research, and evaluate educational programs. Why is nursing experience so essential to being a successful nurse educator? Respect and rapport with students are easier to win and sustain when you have words of wisdom and anecdotes to share; when you show students examples besides just telling them. A great nurse educator is capable of making coursework come alive.

Nurse administrators have an interest in organizational leadership. They observe systems where they’ve worked as a nurse, and consider how to apply the most successful processes and structures to their own departments and employees. A nurse administrator brings strategy to the management of nursing staff and healthcare operations. This career choice includes not only team management and employee evaluation, but also policy and procedure development, budget maintenance, and reporting to overseeing boards and committees.

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator Education
The entire curriculum included in an MSN program will cover topics that are key to advanced nursing practice. At Goodwin University, this flexible, career-focused MSN can be completed part-time in as few as 20 months, and is offered fully online so that you can continue building your resume and working while you study. Courses such as Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Physical Assessment for Advanced Nursing Practice ensure that you are proficient in advanced nursing principles. On the non-clinical side, courses like Policy, Politics, and Organization of Healthcare, as well as Leadership Practices in Organizational Communications, will help you build your leadership skills as you develop your nurse educator or nurse administrator acumen.

Goodwin University is also committed to engaging with important, sometimes challenging modern issues in nursing, such as equity and access, which you are sure to encounter during your professional life in nursing education or management. Therefore, you’ll find themes of advocacy woven into MSN coursework, which further boosts your professional skill set by raising your cultural competence quota, which is deemed by the National Institutes of Health to be critical to reducing health disparities.

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator Job Outlook
There’s no better time to move up the career ladder with an advanced nursing degree. Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that medical and health services manager employment will grow by 32%. Compared with the 3% average job growth rate among all other management occupations, it is clear that for a leadership-minded individual, a career in nurse administration will lead to numerous opportunities.

Similar is true for the nurse educator role. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing released a report on academic vacancies between 2018-2019 and found that out of 871 nursing schools, 56% reported that they had full-time vacancies, amongst their staff. Most, or 11%, of those schools reporting vacancies are located in the North Atlantic region. 70% of those total vacancies call for instructional responsibilities in both the classroom and clinical areas, and degree requirements begin with a master’s degree. As you can see, a well-rounded MSN program is key to achieving desirable nurse educator positions.

Nurse Educator vs. Nurse Administrator Earning Potential
Both nurse educators and nurse administrators make a great living wage. According to the national average, nurse administrators can make $104,280 annually, while nurse educators make on average $84,060 annually.

When considering which direction to forge your career, think back to the sparks during your nursing practice that reminded you why you love your job. Was it when you gave a seminar on your research on new medical technology, or explained breastfeeding techniques to a brand-new mom? Was it when you recommended the adoption of a new employee policy to your HR team, or found a more efficient way to dispose of biohazardous material? You might already know whether you’re a natural at teaching or administrative strategy. To learn about how Goodwin University’s MSN could help you advance your career, visit us online, or call 800-889-3282 to speak with a member from our Admissions team today!