Top 10 Best Online Doctor of Nursing Education Degrees

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Updated: March 13, 2024, Reading time: 17 minutes

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With the nursing and health education shortage, now is the best time to enroll in a nursing education program. The most significant factor for the lack in this field is the growing population.

There is a rising need for highly qualified and socially conscious nurse educators who will train future generations of nursing professionals as the population continues to expand and evolve.

Quick audio summary:


There are two ways to earn a doctorate in nursing education: the Education Doctorate (EdD) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The EdD in nursing education aims to provide educators of aspiring nurses with training in contemporary scholarship and nursing research; these professionals add to the body of nursing knowledge and offer practical advice for using it in the field. 

The Ph.D. in Nursing Education takes more time and entails more work than the EdD in Nursing Education. Except for the fact that the emphasis on nursing education is a given, the Ph.D. in Nursing Education prepares one similar to the ordinary Ph.D. in Nursing programs. You should have a registered nurse license before enrolling in either.


If you’re interested in helping future generations advance nursing practice and research, you can obtain an online Doctor in Nursing Education. This doctoral degree will help you move into a role where you can support the education and experience of current and aspiring nurses.

We indexed the top Nursing Education doctorate programs offered online! Each program was picked based on these features that reflect academic excellence:

Please read our Methodology page for in-depth information on our doctorate program ranking process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top Nursing Education Online Doctorate Programs

The Ohio State University

Ohio State University - College of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Education

Ohio State University delivers a comprehensive Doctor of Nursing Education available online. The first of its kind, this program accepts applicants who are expected to complete the degree program in five semesters, two years full-time and three years part-time.

Students can choose between academic nursing education or the nursing professional development track to further customize their degree toward their future career goals.

The degree is completed through online courses, field experience/immersion hours, and culminating in the final project. The program only admits students with a minimum of 50 credit hours in the post-master’s degree and an active RN license or APRN certification.

OSU’s Doctor of Nursing Education degree program meets certain criteria for the CNE certification, allowing students to become CNE-certified. The school will start admitting its first batch of cohort students.

University of West Georgia

University of West Georgia
Doctor in Nursing Education

The University of West Georgia runs an online Doctor in Nursing Education that helps registered and advanced practice nurses enter the field of education. The degree requires students to complete 60 credit hours of coursework in two to four years, depending on student enrollment status; a dissertation worth 12 credits is included in the total number of credits necessary. The doctoral program is one of the most flexible since most of its students work in a healthcare setting.

This degree program allows students to transfer up to 6 hours of previously earned credit. New and veteran students with active RN status and APRN certifications are accepted into the program.

The University of West Georgia offers nurse practitioners the vastest scholarship and fellowship programs. The program is taught by world-class nursing faculty that allows students to engage in their modern laboratories and simulation rooms.

Liberty University

Liberty University - Online
Ph.D. in Nursing – Nursing Education

Liberty University offers an online Ph.D. in Nursing – Nursing Education available 100% online. The curriculum is provided in convenient 8-week sessions, has 60 credits, and most students finish it in three years.

Additionally, this degree allows transfer students to transfer up to 50% of their previous doctoral education, helping them complete the degree faster.

For admission in good standing, candidates must have a master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA and at least a year of experience working as a registered nurse. Students have the option to participate in synchronous sessions that are offered most weeks to connect with peers and professors more.

Anyone seeking to develop quality in healthcare practice, patient advocacy, and research should strongly consider Liberty University’s program because it offers several-year start dates, military tuition savings, and reasonable total prices.

University of Nevada

University of Nevada
Doctorate of Nursing Education

Students with varying educational backgrounds can advance their careers as nursing educators thanks to the online Ph.D. in Nursing Education offered by the University of Nevada–Las Vegas. All degree candidates must complete 33 credits of required core coursework. The next step is an oral and written comprehensive test for all candidates, after which they move on to the dissertation, which carries 12 credits of coursework.

Application requirements include a 3.5 master’s GPA, passing grades in a statistics course taken within the last five years of study, and GRE scores for those without a DNP. However, students should be aware that the program does not lead to certification as a nurse educator and that online study may not be permitted in all states.

Applicants with an MSN or bachelor’s degree in nursing can enroll in the 62-credit Education Track. Applicants with an MSN with the equivalent of four Ph.D. in nursing education courses should apply to the 50-credit Accelerated track. A family nurse practitioner with a DNP can enroll in the accelerated 45-credit track.

National University

National University
Doctorate of Education in Nursing Education

National University’s Doctor of Education in Nursing Education online program was created in response to the shortage of the nursing profession. Students must complete 54 credit hours, with an estimated completion time of 36 months. The development of leadership abilities, ethical and productive research methods, and scholarship are all taught to students.

Entry into this online doctorate program requires a master’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree in a closely related profession with an RN licensure. Students with a doctor’s degree in other fields can transfer credits to the school at the discretion of the Dean’s office.

NU’s nursing education doctoral program is one of the most selective degrees. Because of the low student-to-teacher ratio, postgraduate students can have one-on-one sessions with their professors and receive personalized mentoring.

Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University
Nursing, EdD – Nursing Education

Southern Connecticut State University offers an online Doctoral Nursing Education program that collaborates with Western CSU. The program requires students to complete 51 credit hours in cohort-based learning.

The curriculum aims to prepare nurses to become nursing professors in higher education, including exploring courses in Leadership theories, instructional strategies, and classroom and clinical instruction.

The minimum requirements include a master’s degree, a GPA of at least 3.0, and the graduate program coordinator’s endorsement. Candidates who fall short of the minimum GPA required for admission may be qualified for conditional admission.

While the courses can be completed 100% online, students must attend three days of on-campus visits at the beginning of their first and second year of study.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University
Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership

Grand Canyon University offers the web-based Doctor of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership specialization. This online program is designed for those looking to advance the healthcare system and work in one of the many nurse educator positions to shape the future of healthcare delivery. The degree requires students to complete 48 credits.

A 3.4 GPA is required for admission to the Ph.D. program, but candidates with GPAs above 3.0 may be admitted with restrictions. Additionally, candidates must have earned a grade of C or above in a statistics course.

The curriculum encourages professional and personal growth to create compassionate servant leaders in the nursing sector from a Christian perspective on education. This Ph.D. program provides nurses with the advanced skills and nursing science knowledge to develop and execute new ideas to improve healthcare for all, with the primary goal of leveraging nursing practice to improve patient care.

William Carey University

William Carey University - William K. Ray College of Health Sciences
Doctorate of Nursing Education & Administration

William Carey University offers a Doctorate of Nursing and Administration degree program online. The program allows students to finish all credit hours in two or three years.

Aside from choosing completion time, students can further adjust their study based on their needs if they wish to take more time; however, the degree should be completed within six years.

To gain admission to the program, students need a valid RN license and have completed an MSN degree from an accredited institution. If the candidate has previously been enrolled in a Ph.D. program, they must be in good standing with that program and present a letter confirming their good standing.

The degree was created for nursing professionals to prepare graduates for the educator role in nursing by utilizing reliable educational concepts and methods. While degree courses are fully online, students are required to attend four on-campus weekend meetings per year.

University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado - School of Nursing
Doctorate of Nursing Education

The University of Northern Colorado offers a Doctorate of Nursing Education online. The program requires students to complete 66 credit hours to earn the degree, which takes four years, depending on the student’s enrollment status.

The program is done in a cohort format, with students progressing through the curriculum alongside the same group of peers. Since admission is very competitive, students are encouraged to apply early before the deadline. To gain admission, students need to submit GRE scores.

The four-year nursing curriculum is highly structured, with goals and evaluations specified in detail. Most of the courses are online, but before beginning the program, students must go for a 2-day school visit and attend the 3-day Nurse Educator Conference in Vail.

Columbia University

Columbia University - A Graduate School of Educatio, Health & Psychology
Doctor of Education in Nursing Education

According to the Columbia University website:


“The Online Nursing Education program no longer accepts applications and will not admit new students going forward. Thank you.”

Columbia University is one of the country’s oldest institutions to offer nursing programs online, including the Doctor of Education in Nursing Education. The program requires students to complete 57 credit hours to earn the degree. Since this degree program is specifically designed for RNs with master’s degrees, the university expects students to transfer at least 33 credit hours.

A master’s degree and RN licensure is required for admission. Students can also submit GRE scores to increase their chances of admission.

On a per-student basis, Columbia University School of Nursing consistently ranks among the nursing schools with the greatest levels of NIH funding. In a variety of research fields, students are taught by distinguished instructors.

Common Courses for Online Doctor of Nursing Education Programs

Nursing Research

Study analysis and design may be covered in nursing research courses, offering a platform for learning how to evaluate, apply, and utilize current information. This course provides insight into existing knowledge development issues and teaches nursing research methodologies and critical evaluation for evidence-based practice.


In this class, students examine teamwork, organizational changes, strategic planning, and leadership techniques.

Theory of Nursing Development

The philosophies, theories, and backgrounds of nursing science are studied in this course. Students learn to utilize evidence-based innovations, nursing theory, and other theories applicable to practice with an emphasis on global settings. This focuses on the theories’ contributions and examines the roles of educator, clinician, and manager.

Teaching Methods for Nurse Educators

This course helps future nursing educators learn about the concepts, techniques, and instructions they need to help shape healthcare education.

Healthcare Policy 

Students are educated on healthcare policy concerns and their ramifications, including political and economic aspects of healthcare access and health inequities.

Curriculum Development

This course allows nursing education students to contribute to developing healthcare teaching. This course will teach students how to be innovative, interpretive, and data-driven leaders to modify and upgrade the current curriculum to match contemporary nursing situations.

Healthcare Economics 

This course examines healthcare’s financial and economic aspects, such as insurance, payment, and the price of medical treatments.

Typical Coursework for a Doctor of Nursing Education Degree

Doctors of Nursing Education are typically for RNs or APRN certification holders with a master’s degree. This degree is designed to help future nurses have effective nursing education programs. The curriculum focuses on the science of teaching and learning using a novel interdisciplinary methodology. 

In preparing to educate the next generation of nurses, student educators will do academic research to design and assess curricula, construct and analyze teaching strategies, employ cutting-edge technology to enhance learning, and much more.

To achieve a program’s goals, students should expect this coursework in place:

The large, researched-based project is the most crucial part of the Doctor in Nursing Education programs. This can be a capstone project, a standard dissertation, or a dissertation in practice. 

The standard dissertation seems to be the most popular option for EdD programs in nursing education. For nursing faculty posts, EdD holders frequently face competition from Ph.D. holders. Therefore, nursing schools naturally want to ensure EdD students adhere to industry standards.

Nurse Educator Salary and Employment

A job in nursing education is very in demand today. There will be a high demand for new and replacement nurses. Nursing schools turned away about 65,000 qualified applicants in recent years owing to a lack of nurse educators.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a vast employment demand for post-secondary nursing teachers between 2022 and 2032. The average yearly wage for nursing educators and instructors in May 2022 was $84,180. The amount of teaching and clinical experience a nurse educator has and their specific workplace significantly impacts this figure. 

The mentioned average yearly wage is for nurse educators without doctorates. Nurse educators with doctoral degrees and those in charge of administrative or leadership duties at academic institutions typically earn more money each year.

Nurse educators with doctorates should expect to be paid at least 25% more than the national average wage of non-doctorate degree holders. Nurse educators can also make extra money by helping patients.

However, because of the increasing demand for nursing educators, nursing schools and establishments are increasing their efforts to encourage more nurses to switch careers. The main reason there’s a lack of nursing educators in the United States is the pay. Thus, the government is also making extra efforts to increase the pay in this field to encourage more nurses.

Governmental entities, trade associations, and some charity organizations have started campaigns to persuade young people to choose a career in nursing education due to the severe lack of nursing educators.

Online Doctor of Nursing Education - fact

Financing Doctorate in Nursing Education

Pursuing a Doctor in Nursing Education may take a toll on your finances. Fortunately, there are several funding opportunities for which you may be qualified and could help lower the overall cost of your degree.

Because of the demand for nursing educators, most nursing schools help students locate financial aid opportunities for their studies. In some situations, the university you are enrolled in will pay for the program in return for any research efforts you make on its behalf. You may be qualified to apply for grant and loan programs that the federal and state governments also offer.

There are also scholarships from private organizations, each of which may have different eligibility conditions. 

You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about the student aid alternatives for which you might qualify. 

Professional Nursing Education Organizations and Associations

One of the most practical ways to succeed in nurse education is to join a professional organization. Many professional organizations provide full access to the organization for reduced student prices.

The top organizations for students in a doctorate in nursing education are:

What is Certified Nurse Education or CNE?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Certified Nurse Education or CNE?

The formal designation for an RN who has fulfilled the qualifications and received a passing score on the National League for Nursing exam is CNE, which stands for Certified Nurse Educator. According to standards set by the NLN, CNE is a voluntary professional certification that shows the holder has proven specific proficiencies in the field of nursing education.

How much does an online Doctorate in Nursing Education cost?

The cost per credit hour for an online doctorate in nursing education could range from $400 to $2,300. Notably, because so much research is done as part of most programs, some programs may be fully or substantially financed by the nursing school you decide to attend.

Receiving financing support from an organization may drastically lower the overall cost of your online degree, albeit this is decided school by school and case by case.

What’s the duration of a Doctor of Nursing Education program?

Time completion varies on several factors, such as enrollment status, curriculum requirement, and previous credits. But usually, it takes about 3 to 5 years of full-time study to finish a doctor of nursing education.

While some programs offer accelerated online nursing programs, others may be offered part-time, allowing you to balance your degree requirements with other responsibilities. Your degree will probably take longer to complete if you enroll in a school part-time.

What are the career opportunities that a Doctorate prepares Nurses for?

Nurse educators, researchers, chief nursing officers, health services managers, and nurse practitioners are common nursing education vocations in this area. A doctorate in nursing education could open up various employment opportunities for you in academic research, business leadership, and teaching.

What’s the difference between a Doctorate in Nursing Education and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice?

The EdD degree is founded in education, but the DNP degree is developed in nursing, which accounts for the fundamental variations between EdD and DNP programs in nursing education.

What’s the difference between a Doctorate in Education in Nursing Education (EdD) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education (Ph.D.)?

Compared to the practical structure of an EdD, Ph.D. programs are more theoretical and study-based in character. It’s a better option for students who wish to work in academic research, become tenure-track faculty members, or become professors.

Key Takeaways

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