Best Nursing Administration Programs

Do you want to transition from direct patient care to nursing administration? Learn more about the best nursing administration programs.

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by Nalea Ko

Published August 3, 2022

Reviewed by Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, CCRN, RN

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Not all nurses are involved with direct patient care. Nurse administrators, for example, manage teams of nurses at hospitals, physician offices, nursing and residential care facilities, government agencies, and outpatient care centers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers, as of May 2021, make a median annual salary of $101,340 —well above the median annual wage of $77,600 for a registered nurse (RN).

www.bestcolleges.com 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.

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Also, the BLS projects jobs for medical and health services managers will increase by 32% from 2020-2030.

Becoming a nurse administrator requires a current RN license, leadership experience, and at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), if not a master's degree in nursing (a preference by some employers).

A bachelor's in nursing administration program covers computer-based management systems, financial management in healthcare and public administration, and personnel administration in healthcare and the public sector.

It takes about four years to graduate, although some online bachelor's in nursing administration programs can take just 15-18 months. Additionally, online colleges often cost less, mainly because online students go to school for a shorter period of time. Tuition can vary widely, depending on the program and school you choose.

Keep reading to find out about the schools that made our list of the best nursing administration programs, and see how much graduates earn.

Our Top Pick

Long Island University — Brookville, New York

Why It's #1: Long Island University (LIU) is the No. 1-ranked school on our Best Nursing Administration Programs list. The admission rate is 80%. This university has a higher-than-average undergraduate tuition rate of $36,452 a year. However, about 95% of students receive financial aid, and 35% get student loans. Classrooms also offer personal support with a student-to-teacher ratio of 12-to-1.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

Best Accredited Bachelor's in Nursing Administration Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

Long Island University

School Information
Location Brookville, New York
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 46%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Academic Year

In State | $38,684

Out of State | $38,684

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate | 75%

On-Campus Requirements | Yes

Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Graduates of LIU's bachelor's in health administration program go on to pursue organization and management leadership roles. 

The program emphasizes healthcare systems components with courses in legal aspects of healthcare, research methods, statistics, personnel administration, strategic planning, and organizational leadership. Students gain work experience through a six-credit internship.

LIU offers rolling admissions. At a minimum, candidates need a 2.5 GPA to apply.

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#2

Shawnee State University

School Information
Location Portsmouth, Ohio
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online and On Campus | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $291

Out of State | $321
 

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate | 83.33%

On-Campus Requirements | The online program is completely remote

Program Accreditation | National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards

Students pursuing SSU's bachelor's in healthcare administration degree can choose from tracks in healthcare administration or long-term care administration. SSU features a fully online degree program or an on-campus option. 

Both program options require business core classes, such as finance, marketing, and business statistics. Additionally, students take 200 practicum hours and complete a 600-hour internship. 

High school students from southern Ohio and northern Kentucky can qualify for SSU's Free Tuition Initiative. SSU accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Applicants must submit an online application and official transcripts.

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#3

Concordia University-Ann Arbor

School Information
Location Ann Arbor, Michigan
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 39%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester

In State | $16,385

Out of State | $16,385

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate | N/A

On-Campus Requirements | Yes

Program Accreditation | N/A

Concordia offers a Christian-perspective bachelor's in healthcare administration program. Students take common core courses on the Old and New Testaments, Christian faith, the Bible, and Western thought and worldview. 

The curriculum also covers eldercare, management principles in healthcare, and healthcare ethics. Additionally, students take business core courses, such as marketing, policy and ethics, and managerial accounting. They finish the course with a business internship.

Entrance requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students with 60 or more transferable credits do not need to submit standardized test scores.

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#4

Felician University

School Information
Location Lodi, New Jersey
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester

In State | $16,600

Out of State | $16,600

Credits to Graduate

120

Program Information

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate | 80.6%

On-Campus Requirements | Yes

Program Accreditation | N/A

At Felician University's School of Business and Information Sciences, students can earn a bachelor's in healthcare administration degree and master's degree in five years.

Students study business courses in accounting, economics, management, finance, marketing, and information systems. The program culminates with a business capstone. 

The college offers rolling admissions. Admission requirements vary by a student's status. Transfer students need at least 24 or more credits, or they must submit SAT or ACT scores.

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How We Rank Schools

In order to create the Best Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Administration ranking, the BestColleges Rankings Team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

We identified four schools that qualify for our ranking list, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (50%), affordability (25%), and the availability and popularity of online programs (25%).

Popular Online Nursing Administration Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top Three Benefits of a Nursing Administration Degree

Nursing administrators are in high demand and are projected to be in demand for the next decade

Between 2020-2030, the BLS projects employers will add about 51,800 medical and health services management positions every year, on average. The BLS' projected job growth rate for these professionals is 32% during that decade. That rate exceeds the average job growth projection of 8% across all occupations.

Nursing administrators take home a median salary of around $100,000 each year, but workers in certain industries make more

Nursing administrators make a median annual salary of $101,340. Hospitals pay nursing administrators a median annual salary of $119,450, and the government pays them a median wage of $117,000.

RNs can become healthcare administrators with only a bachelor's degree

While some employers prefer nursing administrators who hold a master's degree, others will hire graduates with just a bachelor's degree. Additionally, some colleges offer accelerated pathways to earn a master's degree in one year, if students complete graduate-level courses during their undergraduate studies.

What Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Nursing Administration Program?

Nurse administrators tend to have natural leadership and organizational skills —and a clinical nursing background. They are typically required to have a current RN license and a college degree.

A bachelor's in nursing administration program requires at least 120 credits. Dual degrees, which lead to a master's degree, typically require an additional 30-40 credits and another year of study.

Online programs are often self-paced, which allows students to shape their school schedule around their work and family commitments. Internships and practicums, however, will need to be completed in person.

Instead of a bachelor of arts (BA) degree, nursing administration graduates usually earn bachelor of science (BS) degrees.

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Program Snapshot
Average Bachelor's Degree Tuition Cost

Public Institution: $9,349

Private Institution: $32,769

Length 4 years
Credits 120
Program Tracks Bachelor of science (BS)
Courses
  • Administrative leadership
  • Computer-based management systems
  • Healthcare human resource management
  • Healthcare marketing
  • Healthcare policy
  • Internships in acute healthcare management
  • Legal issues in healthcare
  • Management issues in acute care facilities
  • Organizational behavior

What Programs Are Similar to Nursing Administration?

What Are the Admission Requirements?

Requirements for a bachelor's in nursing administration program depends on the student's status. For instance, entrance exam requirements vary for first-year versus transfer students.

Admission requirements generally remain the same for online and on-campus programs. First-time college students may need to submit ACT or SAT scores in addition to an application and fee. Regardless of a student's status, they are usually required to submit official high school and/or any college transcripts.

Rarely are letters of recommendation or personal essays required for admission to bachelor's in nursing administration programs. A future nurse administrator should choose a college based on the curriculum, reputation, price, and program format.

Explore Our Undergraduate Application Guide

How Do I Pay for a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Administration?

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Graduates of bachelor's in nursing administration programs apply for jobs as charge nurses, patient care directors, nursing instructors, RN assistant directors of nursing, and medical and health services managers.

The industry employs roughly 429,800 medical and health services managers, as of 2020, and is projected to grow with 139,600 positions added from 2020-2030, according to the BLS.

Roughly 33% of nursing administrators work in hospitals, according to the BLS. Another 12% work in physicians' offices, and the remaining have jobs in nursing and residential care facilities, government, and outpatient care centers.

Medical and health services managers can make more with experience. The lowest 10% of these professionals make $60,780, while the highest 10% make more than $205,620.

Popular Nursing Administration Careers

Career Median or Average Annual Salary
Charge Nurse $76,750 (as of July 2022)
Health Educator $48,860 (as of May 2021)
Assistant Director of Nursing $74,740 (as of July 2022)
Nursing Home Administrator $93,840 (as of July 2022)
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340 (as of May 2021)

Learn More About Nursing Administration Careers

Nursing Administration Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Nursing Administration Licensing and Certification

Before advancing to positions in nursing administration, many nurses spend years in clinical settings. They have a current RN license and clinical nursing credentials.

Companies usually want their workers to hold basic life support, advanced cardiovascular life support, and pediatric advanced life support certifications. Nurses also may have credentials and expertise in a nursing specialty, such as surgical outpatient centers and detox and recovery centers.

A certified RN may have greater negotiating power with hiring managers. Being a certified nurse can increase an employee's value in the workplace. And their training and expertise can lead to better patient outcomes.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Nursing Administration Online?

Getting a bachelor's in nursing administration degree may provide a pathway to a career that offers a higher salary than the U.S. median wage and a higher projected job growth. And those in the field may find a less strenuous work environment than the typical work setting for a clinical nurse.

Online degree programs make becoming a nurse administrator easier for working nurses.

These online programs may feature virtual classes that do not require any campus visits. Convenience often weighs heavily in the decision-making process for college prospects. Online course offerings — or the lack of them — can influence a student's decision about where to go to school.

Online vs. On-Campus Degrees

On-Campus Pros

  • Access to on-campus resources and support services
  • In-person social interaction and networking
  • Hands-on learning
  • Classroom learning environment with fewer distractions
  • Extracurricular clubs and activities

On-Campus Cons

  • May be more expensive than online programs
  • Set class times with less flexibility
  • Time/money commuting

Online Pros

  • Flexibility to learn on your schedule
  • Learn from anywhere
  • Network with people around the world
  • Save time/money on commuting
  • May be more affordable than on-campus programs
  • Access to online tutoring and career services

Online Cons

  • Requires more self-discipline
  • Not all programs are available online
  • More technical requirements
  • Potential social isolation and loneliness

How to Choose an Online Degree Program

Factors to Consider Resources
Cost Comparing the Costs of Online vs. On-Campus Programs
Program Format Synchronous Learning vs. Asynchronous Learning
Accreditation How Does Online College Accreditation Work?
Student Support Your Guide to Online Student Services and Opportunities

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Administration Programs

Is a bachelor's in nursing administration worth it?

Yes, it can be. Nurse administrators make a median salary of around $100,000, according to the BLS. They have a background as RNs who administer direct patient care, but they also have a knack for organizational management.

Nursing administration and healthcare management careers offer an alternative to the clinical setting, where nurses often work long hours on their feet. Nurse administrators and nurse directors do not typically experience the emotional and physical toll of working on the front lines — although the job is not stress-free.

Responsibilities for nurse administrators include managing and resolving macro issues at healthcare facilities. Nurse administrators help to improve patient outcomes by evaluating the quality and effectiveness of nursing practices. They also collaborate with department heads to solve problems, handle shift rotations, and supervise employee educational programs.

What can I do with a bachelor's in nursing administration?

A bachelor's in nursing administration program helps prepare RNs for leadership positions as assistant administrators, nurse managers, directors of nursing, nurse administrators, and nurse educators.

Programs incorporate classroom learning with work experience through internships and practicums. Lessons give students a solid understanding of healthcare planning and evaluation, financial issues in healthcare, management principles, and ethics.

Graduates work in hospitals, surgery centers, long-term care facilities, acute nursing and rehabilitation centers, or as traveling nursing home administrators.

They may also decide to take another route: graduate school. Graduates can transition to earn a master's degree, an education that may help them pursue roles as advanced nurses in a clinical setting or nursing executives.

What continuing education is available for nursing administration graduates?

Nursing administrators need a valid RN license and must renew it every 2-3 years. Specific restrictions and educational requirements for RN license renewals depend on the state. Certain states may only require RNs to submit a payment to renew their license, while others mandate specific continuing education hours.

Graduate school offers an opportunity for nursing administrators to grow and potentially earn more money. Master's degrees usually take about two years to complete, but some colleges offer accelerated joint bachelor's and master's programs that only take a total of five years.

Another popular continuing education option: certifications. Professional nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center offer the informatics nursing certification, nurse executive board certification, and nurse executive advanced board certification. Certifications may open doors to even more opportunities.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in nursing administration?

With a bachelor's in nursing administration degree, you may decide to pursue jobs as a nurse administrator, nurse educator, nursing home administrator, or nurse case manager.

Your salary depends on personal and professional factors, as well as where you live and the work setting.

Nursing home administrators, on average, make an annual salary of $93,840, as of July 2022, according to Payscale. Nurse case managers earn an average annual salary of $75,740, and nurse educators earn an average annual wage of $78,940, as of July 2022, according to Payscale.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in nursing administration?

Medical and health services managers make some of the highest salaries for graduates of a bachelor's in nursing administration program. Of course, wages vary by experience, setting, and location.

New York pays medical and health services managers the most, with an average annual salary of $155,430, as of May 2021, according to the BLS. Other top-paying states/regions for medical and health services managers are: the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Washington, and New Jersey. They pay these executives, on average, about $151,370-$136,580 a year.

A nursing administration degree also can lead to a career as a human resources manager, a position that pays a median annual salary of $126,230, according to the BLS.

Feature Image: sturti / E+ / Getty Images

BestColleges.com 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.

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