9 Nurse Administrator Jobs

Nursing administration jobs report high salaries and strong demand. Learn more about the types of jobs for nurse administrators.

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by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published August 30, 2022

Reviewed by Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, CCRN, RN

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9 Nurse Administrator Jobs
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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.

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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9 Types of Jobs for Nurse Administrators

Nursing Manager

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $89,730
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Nursing managers oversee a team of nurses in a hospital or clinical setting. As managers, they make sure nurses follow the organization's procedures and policies. Nursing managers also ensure compliance with regulations.

Within a unit, nursing managers play a role in hiring and training staff. They create schedules, ensure coverage for shifts, and evaluate job performance. Nursing managers generally need a bachelor's degree and experience as a registered nurse.


Clinical Nurse Leader

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $84,650
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Master's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Clinical nurse leaders oversee clinical tasks in a healthcare organization. They ensure their unit meets clinical goals by supervising the nursing team. Clinical nurse leaders manage schedules, assign and review clinical tasks, and organize medication and supplies.

Careers as a clinical nurse leader typically require a master's degree and prior nursing experience. These nurses also need strong communication and teamwork skills, along with an attention to detail.


Charge Nurse

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $76,750
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Charge nurses serve as the head of a department or unit. They oversee operations during their shift. Charge nurses monitor nursing staff, track admissions and discharges, and provide some direct patient care. In addition, they oversee the schedule and monitor supplies.

Most charge nurses hold a bachelor's degree and bring experience as a registered nurse. They typically work in hospital settings, which often means working 12-hour shifts.


Clinical Nurse Manager

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $84,930
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Clinical nurse managers oversee nurses in clinical settings. They create shift schedules, resolve complaints from nurses, and coordinate with other clinical managers. Clinical nurse managers ensure that nursing units run smoothly.

These roles typically require several years of clinical experience as a nurse. Clinical nurse managers also typically bring prior supervisory or management experience. Some employers prefer to hire advanced practice nurses for these roles.


Patient Care Director

  • Average Salary (June 2022): $103,410
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Patient care directors oversee the patient experience in a healthcare organization. They evaluate departments to identify areas for improvement. Patient care directors also create programs to train healthcare personnel on improving patient care.

As part of their responsibilities, patient care directors typically visit departments to evaluate their performance. Some roles require a master's degree in nursing or healthcare administration. Patient care directors also generally need several years of clinical experience as a nurse.


Nurse Educator

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $78,940
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Required Education: Master's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Nurse educators train nurses in new procedures and the best practices in patient care. They often work in hospital settings, where they work closely with hospital administrators to create continuing education programs. Nurse educators may also analyze data and organizational needs to determine areas for further training.

As part of their responsibilities, nurse educators may also train new hires. Nurse educators typically need a master's degree and a current RN license.


Nursing Informatics Specialist

  • Average Salary (June 2022): $84,780
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

Nursing informatics specialists analyze data to improve patient outcomes and clinical procedures. These specialists evaluate medical data and connect clinical personnel with information technology staff. They develop medical systems to record data and train nurses on using data collection systems.

Roles as a nursing informatics specialist typically require an RN license and training in nursing informatics. Advanced roles may require a master's in nursing.


Director of Nursing

  • Average Salary (July 2022): $93,910
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

The director of nursing oversees a unit and takes on administrative responsibilities. These nurse administrators set long-term goals, supervise nursing staff, and ensure compliance with healthcare laws and regulations.

A director of nursing must also set procedures and ensure necessary training and staffing. They assign tasks to staff and evaluate their performance. These roles often require a graduate degree or several years of experience in nursing management.


Chief Nursing Officer

  • Average Salary (August 2022): $134,900
  • Job Outlook: 32%
  • Required Education: Master's degree in nursing or healthcare administration
  • Licenses/Certifications: Registered nurse license

The chief nursing officer holds the highest administrative role in nursing. They oversee nursing activities at their organization. Chief nursing officers also set patient care policies, manage staffing needs, and oversee training programs.

Chief nursing officers regularly work with other top executives. The role requires a clinical background in nursing and managerial experience. These professionals also need a master's degree, typically in nursing leadership, healthcare administration, or nursing administration.

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:

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.

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