How to Become a Nurse Administrator

How to Become a Nurse Administrator

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

How to Become a Nurse Administrator

One of the benefits of nursing is your ability to specialize in the area of healthcare that interests you most.

These specializations vary in responsibility, work environment, and patient group, but they also come with their own educational and certification requirements.

(Click here to see our full list of highest paid nursing jobs)

While many registered nurses (RNs) work to become specialized in treating a specific patient group or illness, others may desire more administrative roles.

If you want a nursing career that emphasizes greater managerial and leadership responsibilities, you should consider becoming a nurse administrator.

Nurse administrators manage staff and oversee the work of other nurses. Their job responsibilities vary depending on the healthcare setting, but their primary role is to supervise their staff.

Becoming a nurse administrator requires extensive RN experience, as well as an advanced degree in nursing administration.

If the idea of healthcare management and nursing administration piques your interest, then continue reading to better understand the role of a nurse administrator, their job responsibilities, salary*, and educational requirements.

Nurse Administrator Definition

What Is a Nurse Administrator?

A nurse administrator is an advanced practice nurse that manages and oversees nursing staff. They help coordinate between nurses and other departments, develop policies and procedures, and deal with HR and budgeting.

Nurse Administrator: Job Description

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do

As previously mentioned, the job responsibilities of a nurse administrator can vary depending on where they work. Their general responsibilities involve overseeing their nursing staff and supervising assistant administrators.

Nurse administrators also manage finances, create budgets, and keep a record of their services and resources to ensure that the institution is operating within its financial means. Finally, the nurse administrator role is managerial; therefore, they must conduct performance reviews of their staff.

Nurse Administrator: Day-to-Day Responsibilities

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of nurse administrators include:

  • Overseeing nursing and medical staff
  • Conducting staff performance reviews
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training nurses
  • Budgeting and managing finances
  • Meeting with other hospital executives to refine or develop policies and procedures

Nurse Administrator Jobs

Where Do Nurse Administrators Work?

Nurse administrators can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations. The path to becoming a nurse administrator varies in length for each of these settings. There are also some nurse administrators that oversee several medical units within a system. At the peak of a nurse administrators career, they may find themselves working alongside the CEO to manage organization-wide systems.

Nurse Administrator Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Administrator?

What Degree Do You Need to be a Nurse Administrator?

To become a nurse administrator, you’re typically required to devote 6 to 8 years to nursing education and training.

Whether you’ve already earned a nursing degree, or you’re just beginning your education, you must receive a Master’s degree in nursing administration before earning the title of nurse administrator.

Just like any managerial role, nurse administrators must spend a significant amount of time gaining real-life experience working as a registered nurse before they can be considered for a promotion.

Becoming a nurse administrator requires a lot of time and hard work, but it all pays off in the end as nurse administrators rank amongst the highest paying nursing jobs in the US.

Here are the steps typically required to become a nurse administrator:

1. Earn Your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

The first step to becoming a nurse administrator is earning your BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree. If you’re just starting, a BSN program will take you about three to four years to complete.

However, if you’ve already earned your associates degree in nursing, you can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program. These bridge programs are very convenient and can be completed in as little as 20 months.

Accelerated nursing programs are also available to licensed vocational nurses with an associate’s degree in vocational nursing (AVSN). These LVN to BSN courses allow you to skip the first three semesters of the BSN program.

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Certification Exam

Upon earning your BSN degree, you’ll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to earn your nursing license. With the NCLEX, you’ll be certified to enter the workforce as a registered nurse (RN).

3. Earn a Master of Science in Nursing Administration Degree

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing Administration Degree

In order to become a nurse administrator, you’ll have to take your education one step further by earning a Master’s degree. While a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree technically meets this requirement, we recommend you look into earning an MSN Administration degree. This will tailor your education specifically to the nurse administrator role.

4. Gain Real-World Experience Working as an RN

Now that you’ve earned your Master’s degree, you’ll be qualified to work as nurse administrator. However, just like any managerial role, you’ll need to commit a few years to gain nursing experience before you’re entrusted to lead an entire nursing staff. The amount of experience required to be a nurse administrator varies depending on where you’re working.

Nurse Administrator Salary

How Much Do Nurse Administrators Make?

According to, the average salary* of a Nurse Administrator is about $95,000 per year, or about $46 per hour.

Nurse administrator salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $115,000 or more.

What Is the Job Outlook for Nurse Administrators?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of medical and health service managers is projected to grow 32% from 2019 to 2029.

Nurse Administrator Career

Are You Ready to Start Your Career as a Nurse Administrator?

If you’ve got a natural sense of leadership, as well as a passion for caring for others, then becoming a nurse administrator may be the best career choice for you. You’ll serve as a role model for the younger generations of nurses, and your work will improve healthcare and patient outcomes as whole.

If you’re prepared to begin the journey of becoming a nurse administrator, you can start by earning your BSN degree at Provo College.

Click here to learn more about our BSN program.