Faculty age continues to climb, narrowing the number of productive years educators teach.
According to AACN's report on 2015-2016 Salaries of Instructional and Administrative Nursing Faculty, the average ages of doctorally-prepared nurse faculty holding the ranks of professor, associate professor, and assistant professor were 62.2, 57.6, and 51.1 years, respectively. For master's degree-prepared nurse faculty, the average ages for professors, associate professors, and assistant professors were 57.8, 56.6, and 50.9 years, respectively.
A wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. over the next decade.
According to an article published in the March/April 2002 issue of Nursing Outlook titled “The Shortage of Doctorally Prepared Nursing Faculty: A Dire Situation,” the average age of nurse faculty at retirement is 62.5 years, and a wave of retirements is expected within the next ten years. In fact, the authors project that between 200 and 300 doctorally-prepared faculty will be eligible for retirement each year from 2003 through 2012, and between 220-280 master’s- prepared nurse faculty will be eligible for retirement between 2012 and 2018.
Higher compensation in clinical and private-sector settings is luring current and potential nurse educators away from teaching.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the average salary of a nurse practitioner, across settings and specialties, is $97,083. By contrast, AACN reported in March 2016 that the average salary for a master’s-prepared Assistant Professor in schools of nursing was $77,022.
Master’s and doctoral programs in nursing are not producing a large enough pool of potential nurse educators to meet the demand.
Efforts to expand the nurse educator population are frustrated by the fact that thousands of qualified applicants to graduate nursing programs are turned away each year. In 2016, AACN found that 9,757 qualified applicants were turned away from master's programs, and 2,102 qualified applicants were turned away from doctoral programs. The primary reasons for not accepting all qualified students were a shortage of faculty and clinical education sites.