Now that you’ve decided to become a nurse educator, you’re probably wondering how you will pay for graduate school.
Financial aid for graduate programs includes scholarships, grants, tuition assistance and low-interest loans.
You may be hesitant to use student loans for college, but becoming a nursing professor allows you to apply for a program that provides loan cancellation if you meet the requirements.
The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is an option for those considering a Master of Science in Nursing with an education focus, a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a Doctor of Education.
What is the Nurse Faculty Loan Program?
There continues to be a shortage of nurses nationwide, which means there’s also a need for nurse educators to teach the next generation of nurses. To address the demand, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration created the NFLP.
"Our aging population and changes in healthcare continue to escalate the demand for more nurses. We need nurse faculty to provide that education," said Marla Kniewel, MSN, EdD, RN, director of the MSN program. "The NFLP program provides the incentive and the financial support to recruit the professionals who will be charged with educating that next generation of nurses."
The NFLP provides low-interest loans to individuals pursuing a graduate degree and becoming faculty members within an accredited nursing program. At Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), that means acceptance into the nurse educator track of the following programs:
- BSN to MSN
- RN to MSN
- Nurse Educator Post-master’s Nursing Certificate
- DNP (with educator courses as electives)
- EdD - Education and Leadership in Healthcare
After graduating, you may qualify for cancellation of up to 85% of the loan principal and interest in exchange for four consecutive years as a full-time faculty member of an accredited nursing school.
“The Nurse Faculty Loan Program helped me focus on my continuing education without financial concerns,” said Taylor Temperley, an assistant professor at NMC and a graduate of the MSN Nurse Educator program.
Here are the top three myths about the NFLP at NMC:
1. You have to teach in Nebraska.
A common assumption with the NFLP is that you must teach in the same state as the college or university where you obtained your degree.
NMC is in Omaha, Nebraska, so many students think you must continue living here if you already live in Nebraska or move here if you live elsewhere.
The NFLP allows nurse educators to fulfill the full-time faculty requirement at any accredited nursing college or university in the United States.
NMC’s accredited graduate programs are 100% online, allowing students near and far to obtain a high-quality advanced degree.
2. Nurse educators don’t get to practice anymore.
Some nurses no longer wish to work 12-hour shifts or nights and weekends. Others feel called to teach. Despite wanting to make a career transition, many nurses don’t want to give up providing personal care to patients.
As a nurse educator, it isn’t all just lesson plans and grading papers. Nursing students need clinical instructors. Many of NMC’s professors’ favorite work occurs outside the classroom, in the hospital, teaching patient care practices.
It’s beneficial for educators and students. Students learn from nurses who remain on the cutting edge of what is going on in the field. Nurse educators stay connected to patient care while enjoying a better work-life balance without the exhausting schedule of clinic or hospital shifts.
3. Nurse educators make less money.
Salaries for nurse educators vary widely in the U.S. and are based on many factors, including geography, job description, specialty and experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers was $79,640 per year in May 2021.
The median salary for novice nurse educators is on par with registered nurses. The median wage for registered nurses was $77,600 per year in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But like all other higher education teachers, more years or service equate to a higher salary.
If you consider that 85% of your loans will be canceled through the NFLP, you could save tens of thousands of dollars.
While the salary of entry-level nurse faculty may not be significantly higher than registered nurses, there are benefits of being a faculty member at a college or university.
Nurse educators enjoy a more traditional work day, allowing valuable work-life balance.
Depending on the college, they could get the summers off in addition to spring, fall and winter breaks.
How to Apply to the Nurse Faculty Loan Program
Nurse educators make a huge difference in so many people's lives. Only now, they do so through their students, reaching all the patients their students will eventually care for. The impact on the future of nursing and the community is priceless.
If you want to learn more about becoming a nurse educator through the MSN, DNP or EdD programs at NMC, download our free guide.