Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Nurse Administrator Make?

Nurse administrators perform a fundamental role in the healthcare industry. Find out what their job entails and how well they are compensated.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published September 29, 2022

Reviewed by Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, CCRN, RN

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Nursing Salaries: How Much Does a Nurse Administrator Make?
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Nurse administrators may go by other names in the nursing discipline, including clinical, medical, or healthcare services managers. While their tasks can vary, they typically oversee the operations and delivery of care within healthcare settings. Their jobs can resemble a more specialized version of business administration careers.

To become a nurse administrator, candidates typically need a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree can lead to better positions and higher salaries as well. Students who heed career advice in college and take the appropriate career planning steps can improve their nursing salary expectations by building experience via internships and part-time work.

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What Is the Average Nurse Administrator Salary?

Nurse administrator salaries vary depending on the professional's location, credentials, employer, and salary negotiations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nurse administrators and managers was $101,340 in May 2021. This exceeded the median annual salary for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations by more than $25,000.

Highest-Paying Nurse Administrator Industries

To access the highest-paying jobs and industries in this field, nurse administrators may need advanced credentials, such as a master's or doctoral degree or a medical manager or health information management certification.

Nurse Administrator Industries Average Annual Salary
Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers $208,890 as of May 2021
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing $204,380 as of May 2021
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods $199,480 as of May 2021
Scientific Research and Development Services $188,580 as of May 2021
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $185,770 as of May 2021

Source: BLS

How Much Do Nurse Administrators Make in Your State?

Within each field, there are states that benefit your career and those that do not. For example, nurse admin salaries tend to be higher in coastal states. Every state has its own internal variations as well, with metropolitan regions typically providing higher wages than rural areas.

Average Salary for Nurse Administrators by State (2021)


Source: BLS

The Highest-Paying States for Nurse Administrators (by Average Salary, 2021)
Administrative Services Manager Human Resources Manager Medical Records Specialist Registered Nurse

Delaware: $145,500

New York: $144,810

New Jersey: $141,450

New York: $180,380

New Jersey: $170,850

District of Columbia: $162,810

New Jersey: $67,130

District of Columbia: $63,270

Massachusetts: $58,950

California: $124,000

Hawaii: $106,530

Oregon: $98,630

Data sourced from the BLS

Job Growth for Nurse Administrators

In addition to being one of the top-paying jobs for career changers, the nurse administrator profession continues to expand as medical services become more diversified and in-demand from an aging population.

As students prepare for jobs after graduation, new medical technologies and capabilities allow smaller healthcare service providers to take on more responsibility from hospitals. The BLS projects a 32% growth for this field between 2020 and 2030, four times the projected rate for all occupations. In fact, the nurse administrator profession is one of the fastest-growing among all medical fields, trailing nurse practitioners as the fastest in the industry.

More Education Leads to a Higher Nurse Administrator Salary

BSN Salary

According to the BLS, most nurse administrators have a bachelor's degree at minimum. Professionals with a BSN and nursing experience may enjoy improved prospects and a better chance of landing a job in many healthcare settings. After earning a bachelor's in nursing, professionals can further develop their qualifications and earning potential with postgraduate certifications.

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide care to patients, including assessing, monitoring, and assisting them. They administer medications and deliver information to the patient and their families about the patient's condition and treatment options.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $77,600


Administrative Services and Facilities Manager

Administrative services and facilities managers oversee the operations of organizations and facilities, including those in the healthcare field. They manage the clerical duties, keep supplies in stock, and maintain all safety and regulatory requirements. They may also take care of staffing and record-keeping.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $99,290


Medical Records and Health Information Specialist

These professionals work with patient records for medical and insurance purposes. They organize and maintain the information, assign medical codes for better care and tracking, and follow up with patients as required.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $51,840


MSN Salary

With an MSN degree, nursing professionals can access some of the most desirable nurse administrator positions available. They also can work as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). There are more than 270,000 ARPN professionals, as per the BLS. After completing an online MSN, graduates can pursue post-graduate certifications to further specialize in their field.

Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists specialize in administering anesthesia during various medical procedures. They administer the adequate and safe amount and type of anesthesia depending on the procedure and the patient's medical needs.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $195,610


Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide primary care to patients, often specializing in a certain demographic, such as pediatric or geriatric care. These professionals develop treatment plans and offer health promotion strategies to patients.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $120,680


Nurse Midwife

Nurse midwives care for patients before, during, and after birth. They help physicians with medical procedures during birth, provide maternity care to new mothers, and offer support and care regarding sexual health.

Median Annual Salary (2021): $112,830

Frequently Asked Questions About Nurse Administrator Salary

Is a nurse administrator a nurse?

Yes. Nurse administrators typically oversee the daily operations of a healthcare facility. They take care of the administrative duties, handle the staffing and training, and ensure that nurses and other healthcare professionals can work unimpeded.

Registered nurses can become nurse administrators. In fact, their training and experience prepare them well for this type of position. To become a nurse administrator, nurses may need additional administrative training.

What is the highest paid nurse position?

The highest-paying nurse position belongs to APRNs or, more specifically, nurse anesthetists. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for APRNs was $123,780 in May 2021. The median annual salary for nurse anesthetists was $195,610 during that same period.

The top 10% of APRNs made over $200,540 in May 2021. Among the top industries for these professionals, the highest-paying were hospitals and outpatient care centers, with median annual wages of $128,190. Physician offices paid $121,280, and health practitioner offices paid $104,790.

What is the difference between nursing administration and nursing management?

The difference between nursing administration and nursing management depends entirely on the employer and the terminology used. In many cases, however, nurse administrators are considered more senior than managers. While nurse managers run specific operations, such as records or budgeting, administrators may oversee the entire operations.

Due to the greater responsibility, nurse administrators may also have stricter job requirements than managers, such as a master's degree compared to a bachelor's degree. They might also make more money as well.

What type of nurse is most in demand?

The most in-demand type of nurse is a nurse practitioner. The BLS projects 45% growth for the APRN occupational group between 2020 and 2030. For nurse practitioners specifically, the BLS projects a 52% growth throughout the decade. That works out to an addition of nearly 115,000 new nurse practitioner positions during that time.

Not only are nurse practitioners the most in-demand type of nurse, but they are also one of the most in-demand professions in the country. According to the BLS, they sit fourth on the list of fastest-growing occupations.

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