Career Development

What Does a Clinical Instructor Do?

Find out what a clinical instructor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a clinical instructor.

Clinical instructors are professionals who teach students in clinical settings. They may work with medical, dental, or other health-related students to help them gain hands-on experience and knowledge of their chosen field.

Clinical instructors typically have a background in the subject they’re teaching. This could be anything from nursing to radiology to physical therapy. Their role is to provide guidance and support to students as they complete their clinical rotations.

Clinical Instructor Job Duties

A clinical instructor typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Working with patients to develop treatment plans based on their individual needs and goals
  • Providing educational materials to patients regarding the treatment process and their role in the treatment process
  • Maintaining records of patient progress and updating patient files with new information as needed
  • Communicating with other healthcare providers such as physicians and nurses regarding patient progress
  • Providing feedback to students on their performance in clinical settings
  • Teaching students about medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and other topics relevant to their field of study
  • Conducting research on topics related to medicine, such as new treatment methods or disease prevention strategies
  • Supervising students during clinical rotations or other training activities
  • Teaching principles of effective communication skills

Clinical Instructor Salary & Outlook

Clinical instructors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of position they hold. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of clinical instructors is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for clinical instructors depends on the demand for healthcare services. As the population grows and ages, more people will need healthcare services. Clinical instructors will be needed to teach students how to provide these services.

Related: Clinical Instructor Interview Questions and Answers

Clinical Instructor Job Requirements

A clinical instructor typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most clinical instructors hold a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, such as nursing, physical therapy or occupational therapy. Some employers prefer candidates who also have a master’s degree in health care administration or health care management.

Many clinical instructors choose to pursue a post-graduate certificate in teaching or education. This program typically takes one to two years to complete and includes coursework in teaching methods, classroom management and assessment.

Training & Experience: Clinical instructors are generally required to have a minimum of five years of experience in a clinical setting. They may receive on-the-job training as a resident or intern, but they will need to have experience working with patients or clients independently. They may also receive training in teaching methods and techniques.

Certifications & Licenses: Clinical instructors do not need any certifications to earn their teaching license, but earning a teaching license qualifies them to become a clinical instructor. Since clinical instructors may be teaching students who have a wide range of health issues, they should have a basic understanding of first aid and CPR.

Clinical Instructor Skills

Clinical instructors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Clinical instructors must be able to communicate with their students and other faculty members. You may be responsible for creating lesson plans, grading assignments and answering student questions. Communication is an essential skill for clinical instructors because it allows you to collaborate with other faculty members and help students understand course content.

Teaching methods: Clinical instructors often use a variety of teaching methods to convey information to students. Consider the learning styles of your students and choose teaching methods that best suit their needs. For example, some students learn best through visual learning, while others learn best through auditory learning. Consider the learning styles of your students and choose teaching methods that best suit their needs.

Empathy: Clinical instructors often work with students who are nervous about their first day of clinicals or who are unsure of their abilities. Empathy can help clinical instructors understand and support their students. This can help them create a positive learning environment for their students.

Organization: Clinical instructors often have several responsibilities throughout the day, including teaching, grading and attending to student concerns. Being able to stay organized can help you manage your time and responsibilities. This can also help you prepare for your classes, allowing you to create engaging lessons and activities.

Time management: Clinical instructors often have multiple responsibilities throughout the day, including teaching, grading assignments and observing clinical practice. Having strong time management skills can help clinical instructors manage their workload and ensure they complete all of their tasks.

Clinical Instructor Work Environment

Clinical instructors typically work in hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. They may also work in academic settings, such as medical schools or universities. They typically work full time, and their hours may include evenings and weekends. Clinical instructors may be on call, which means they are available to work at any time. Clinical instructors may work with a variety of patients, from those who are healthy to those who are critically ill. They may also work with patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Clinical instructors must be able to handle the stress of working with sick or injured patients. They must also be able to work well under pressure and be able to make quick decisions.

Clinical Instructor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how clinical instructors work. Clinical instructors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Patient Experience

As healthcare becomes more focused on patient experience, clinical instructors will need to focus on providing a positive learning environment for their students.

Clinical instructors can do this by creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in the classroom, as well as by providing feedback that is both constructive and positive. They can also help students develop skills that will help them succeed in the workplace, such as communication and teamwork.

The Rise of Telehealth

Telehealth is an emerging trend in healthcare that allows patients to receive care from remote locations. This trend is being driven by the increasing popularity of online health services, which allow patients to communicate with doctors and other medical professionals without having to leave their homes.

As telehealth becomes more popular, clinical instructors will need to learn how to provide quality education through online platforms. This includes developing effective video-conferencing tools and ensuring that students are able to access course materials easily.

More Attention Paid to Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry, as hospitals and clinics strive to provide better care for patients from diverse backgrounds.

As clinical instructors, you can play a key role in helping your students become more culturally competent by providing them with the resources they need to understand different cultures and customs. In addition, you can also help them to develop the skills they need to work effectively with people from different backgrounds.

How to Become a Clinical Instructor

A clinical instructor career path can be a great way to get started in the medical field. As a clinical instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to work with patients and learn from experienced clinicians. You’ll also gain experience teaching and working with students. This experience will help you develop your skills as a clinician and educator.

To become a clinical instructor, you’ll need to have completed your training in your specialty area and be licensed to practice medicine. You may also need to have some experience working with patients.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to gain more experience. Many clinical instructors start out as part-time instructors, working only a few hours per week. As they gain more experience, they may be promoted to full-time positions. Some clinical instructors may eventually move into management positions, such as program coordinator or director. Others may become involved in research or teaching at the college level. Still others may open their own private practice.

Clinical Instructor Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our students with the best possible clinical instruction so they can be successful in their chosen field. We’re looking for a clinical instructor to join our team and help us provide high-quality instruction to our students. The ideal candidate will have experience in the field of nursing and be able to provide instruction to students in a clinical setting. He or she will be responsible for developing and implementing clinical curriculum, as well as providing guidance and support to students during their clinical rotations.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as a resource to students, providing knowledge and expertise in the field of nursing
  • Develop and implement lesson plans that are aligned with course objectives
  • Deliver lectures, lead discussions, and facilitate learning activities in the classroom and clinical setting
  • Evaluate student progress and provide feedback to help them reach their full potential
  • Maintain accurate records of student attendance and performance
  • Serve on committees and work groups as needed, contributing to the development and revision of curriculum
  • Participate in professional development activities to keep abreast of new trends and developments in nursing education
  • Foster a positive learning environment that is conducive to student success
  • Model professional behavior and ethical conduct at all times
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration among students
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the diverse needs and backgrounds of students
  • Adhere to all policies and procedures of the school and clinical agencies

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in nursing or related field
  • Current RN license in good standing
  • 3+ years of clinical experience in desired specialty area
  • Excellent communication, writing, and presentation skills
  • Ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with students, staff, and faculty
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in nursing or related field
  • 5+ years of clinical experience in desired specialty area
  • Experience working in a higher education setting
  • Teaching experience in desired specialty area
  • National certification in desired specialty area


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