9 Nurse Administrator Jobs
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- Nurse administrators supervise staff, educate nurses, and oversee departments.
- Many healthcare administration jobs report strong projected job growth.
- Nurses can follow several paths to administrative and leadership roles.
Nurse administrators help healthcare organizations function effectively, often with an emphasis on patient care. These nursing careers generally require both clinical and managerial experience. And some roles also need a master's degree.
RNs seeking greater responsibilities and a higher earning potential can pursue many paths to administrative roles in nursing. What are the highest-paid nurse administrator jobs? And what degree do you need for nursing administration careers? Our guide introduces jobs as a nurse administrator, including salary and job growth data.
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How to Become a Nurse Administrator
Nurses generally need a bachelor's degree and clinical experience to become a nurse administrator. Some career paths require returning to school for a master's degree. The steps in how to become a nurse administrator include:
- Earn a BSN: Administrative roles in nursing typically require a bachelor's degree. Nurses complete clinical rotations and meet licensure requirements during a BSN degree. These programs typically take four years.
- Apply for an RN License: Nurses who graduate from an accredited nursing school can apply for their registered nurse license through their state's Board of Nursing. Applicants also need passing scores on the NCLEX-RN exam.
- Gain Clinical Experience: Supervisory positions generally require prior nursing experience in a clinical setting. RNs can work in a variety of specializations to gain clinical experience and move into leadership roles.
- Consider a Master's Degree: Many nurse administration jobs require a graduate degree, such as a master's in nursing education or a master's in nursing leadership.
Nurse Administrator Salary
What's the average nurse administrator salary? The earning potential as a nurse administrator varies widely, with many roles reporting average salaries around $75,000-$85,000. More advanced roles like director of nursing or chief nursing officer provide six-figure salaries. Nurses should research the administrative salaries in their area for more specific data.
How to Find a Nurse Administration Job
What's the best way to find jobs as a nurse administrator? Many administrative roles require clinical experience as a nurse. While gaining clinical experience, consider opportunities to take on supervisory responsibilities. Working as a team leader or nursing supervisor can help you gain management experience.
Nurses with specific roles in mind may require an additional degree. For example, nurse educators need a master's degree in nursing education. Many nurse administrators also pursue a master's in nursing administration or nursing leadership.
Finally, prospective nurse administrators can reach out to recruiters or their professional network to learn about job opportunities. Nursing job sites like the American Nurses Association Career Center also list openings for leadership roles in nursing.
Nurse Administrator Professional Organizations
- American Organization for Nursing Leadership: AONL represents over 11,000 nurse leaders. The organization promotes competency-based learning and offers online programs for nurse leaders.
- National League for Nursing: NLN represents nurse faculty and nurse educators. The association provides professional development support, awards nursing research grants, and encourages networking.
- American Nurses Association: A professional organization for nurses in all roles, ANA provides a career center, educational resources, and professional development support for nurses. The association also hosts conferences and events with networking opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nurse Administrator Jobs
What is the highest-paid nurse administrator job?
The highest-paid nurse administrator job is chief nursing officer. CNOs act as the top-ranking nurse in a healthcare organization. According to August 2022 data from Payscale, chief nursing officers earn an average salary of over $134,000.
Other high-paying nurse administrator jobs include director of nursing, patient care director, and clinical nurse manager. Nurse administrator salaries vary based on several factors, including job title, employer, and location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that pay for healthcare managers ranged from around $61,000 for the lowest-paid professionals to over $200,000 for the highest-paying roles in May 2021.
What is the best nurse administrator job?
Nurses pursue administrator jobs for several reasons. Some nurses want more decision-making responsibilities, while others want a higher earning potential. Nurse administrators may also move into supervisory roles to move away from clinical responsibilities.
Nurses considering administrative career paths must consider their priorities. For example, nurses who want managerial and clinical responsibilities can consider becoming a clinical nurse leader. Those interested in higher salaries can pursue roles like patient care director, director of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Before applying to nurse administrator graduate programs, consider the daily and long-term job duties for different roles to find the right fit.
Can I become a nurse administrator with an online degree?
Yes, you can become a nurse administrator with an online degree. Many accredited nursing schools offer online graduate programs in nursing leadership and nursing administration. Nurses can also pursue a master's in healthcare administration. Finally, nurses can enroll in a nurse educator master's program online.
In these online programs, nurses complete coursework virtually and meet any practicum hours locally. Many programs design their schedules for working nurses. An online degree can help RNs take the next step in their career.
How much money can I make as a nurse administrator?
The earning potential for nurse administration jobs varies widely. The median pay for healthcare managers reached $101,340 per year in May 2021, according to BLS data. However, salaries vary based on experience, degree, and location. The salary for nurse administrators ranges from $65,000 at the low end to $133,000 at the high end, according to July 2022 data from Payscale.
Because salaries vary widely — and because nurse administrators hold various job titles — nurses considering administrative roles should research the earning potential for specific roles in their area.
What is the fastest way to become a nurse administrator?
Nurse administrators typically need several years of experience, particularly for the highest-paying nurse administrator jobs. So what's the fastest way to become a nurse administrator? First, nurses must earn a bachelor's degree, which takes four years, and apply for their RN license. Second, nurses either gain clinical experience or apply to graduate programs.
A master's in nursing administration or nursing leadership can help nurses advance into supervisory roles. These programs typically take two years, though some nursing schools offer accelerated one-year programs. After moving into administration, nurses can continue to climb the career ladder to increase their earning potential.