Faculty age continues to climb, narrowing the number of productive years educators teach.
According to AACN's report on 2019-2020 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 62.6, 56.9, and 50.9 years, respectively. For master's degree-prepared nurse faculty, the average ages for professors, associate professors, and assistant professors were 57.1, 56.0, and 49.6 years, respectively.
A wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. over the next decade.
According to an article published in Nursing Outlook on Retirements and Succession of Nursing Faculty in 2016-2025 by Drs. Di Fang and Karen Kesten, one third of the current nursing faculty workforce in baccalaureate and graduate programs are expected to retire by 2025. This finding underscores the urgency for the nursing education community to address the impending exodus of senior faculty and to develop younger faculty for succession.
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 $110,000. By contrast, AACN reported in March 2020 that the average salary for a master’s-prepared Assistant Professor in schools of nursing was $79,444.
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 2019, AACN found that 8,471 qualified applicants were turned away from master's programs, and 3,157 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.