Nurse Administrator Salary and Job Growth

Learn about your earning potential and career outlook as a nurse administrator.

Thanks to the growing need for health care services, nurse administrators are a wanted bunch. They play a crucial role in ensuring their department runs smoothly and delivers the best possible care. Nurse administrators have a unique role where they must blend business acumen with their compassion for patients.

Median annual salary

According to The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17, the median expected annual salary for healthcare administrators, included in the larger group of medical and health services managers, is $92,810. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

What is my earning potential?

Nurse administrators who have a bachelor’s degree can increase their chances of a better salary if they complete a master’s degree program in health administration.

The additional degree can qualify you for more advanced positions, such as serving as an administrator for entire facility and not just one department. Or, you could move into other jobs within health care management where salaries tend to be higher, like a Health Information Services Director.

Ultimately, your earning potential will vary based on their employer, education and area of specialty, but generally the salary range is competitive.

How do nurse administrator salaries compare to other nursing salaries?

Nursing Career Median Annual Salary*
Registered Nurse $66,640
Nurse Practitioners $102,670
Medical and Health Services Managers $92,810
Human Resources Manager $102,780

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Registered Nurses, Nurse PractitionersMedical and Health Services Managers; Human Resources Manager.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there a demand for this career?

Nurse administrators are in high demand, much like the rest of the nursing field. More long-term and nursing care facilities will be needed in the near future as the baby boomer generation ages. Because long-term care is one of the most highly regulated businesses, health care and nurse administrators will be necessary to provide their financial and business expertise.

Plus, with the rate of employment expected to grow for nurses, nurse administrators will be needed to manage the logistics of an increased staff and number of facilities.

What is the job growth for the field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health care administration is projected to grow 17 percent through 2024, although national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

The BLS expects more job growth in health practitioner offices since services once only available in hospitals can now be done in physician offices.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Nurse administrators may be enjoying high career demand, but employers will always look for the best and most capable candidate. One way to distinguish yourself from the masses is to earn an advanced degree.

The level of competition you may face can be determined by geographic location, as well. If possible, seek out cities where jobs are more plentiful which can increase your chances of landing a job. According to the BLS, jobs can often be found in the following areas:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia

What kinds of institutions hire nurse administrators?

Nurse educators can find themselves in a few different types of teaching institutions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines the following industries which with the highest levels of employment:

  • Outpatient care centers
  • Hospitals
  • Home health care services
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Nursing care facilities

How do I advance in my nurse administrator career?

Furthering your education will almost always help you go further in your career. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for nurse administrators, so consider earning a master’s degree in nursing (with a health care administration focus).

Some nurse administrator roles will be more complicated than others as different facilities will have different needs. Many employers will prefer the advanced degree and the additional education will set you apart because you’ll be trained specifically to understand the business side of health care.

If you start your career as a registered nurse, you may be in luck for future advancement. It’s becoming more common for employers to promote RNs to administrative roles as a way to attract and retain good talent.

Enrolling in continuing education classes through your career can also be beneficial. The course material will keep you up to date with the latest health care advances which can make you a more desirable employee and could potentially lead to promotions.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Many Transitioning RNs Choose Nurse Administration, April 14, 2013.

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