Data Spotlight: Nurse Faculty Vacancies

Strengthening the nation’s supply of nursing faculty is critical to meeting workforce needs and educating the next generation of nurses. According to the latest data collected through AACN’s 2022 Faculty Vacancy Survey, 2,166 nurse faculty positions remain unfilled, and 62 percent of schools are not able to fill their budgeted full-time faculty. The vacancy rate has continued to increase from 6.5 percent in 2020 to 8 percent in 2021 and 8.8 percent in 2022 (Figure 1). This vacancy rate is the highest rate since AACN began collecting this data in 2008.

The number of open nurse faculty vacancies in baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs is highest in the West, with a 10 percent vacancy rate and 67 percent of schools reporting vacancies (Figure 2). Comparatively, the faculty vacancy rate of Midwestern schools is 6.9 percent, and 53 percent of schools report vacancies. The vacancy rate is 8.1 percent for North Atlantic schools and 9.8 percent in Southern schools.

Of the schools that did not report any budgeted full-time vacancies (n=347), 37 percent are still in need of additional full-time faculty. The inability to hire needed faculty is most often driven by insufficient funding and an unwillingness of school administration to commit to additional full-time positions (Figure 3). If allotted the needed resources, these schools could support nearly 4000 more students each year and actively combat the workforce’s growing need for nurses.

For more details on the nurse faculty shortage and efforts to address this priority concern, see AACN’s recently updated Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet.

Figure 1: U.S. Nursing Faculty Vacancy Rates 2012-2022

Line chart showing faculty vacancy rates from 2012-2022

Figure 2: Regional Distribution of Faculty Vacancy Rates

Map showing regional distribution of faculty vacancy rates.

Figure 3: Major Barriers to Hiring Full-time Faculty

Bar graph showing percentage of each barriers to hiring full-time faculty.

Categories: Research & Data