Becoming an Administrative Nurse: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
An administrative nurse's salary is may range from $58,000 to $120,000, but is it worth the many years of training and advancement? Read actual professional duties to see if a career as an administrative nurse is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of a Career in Administrative Nursing

Nurse administrators typically oversee staff, general operations, and products and inventory within a clinical setting. Read the following pros and cons to determine if this career is right for you.

PROS of a Career in Administrative Nursing
Provides the satisfaction of helping others*
Better than average pay**
May find work in a variety of industries*
Expected increase in the number of job opportunities*

CONS of a Career in Administrative Nursing
Health risks due to exposure to blood and waste*
Emotionally draining due to patient sickness and death*
Physical demanding job*
Education is lengthy and potentially expensive*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Essential Career Information

As an administrative nurse, you'll be responsible for managing and supervising teams of nurses within a variety of professional settings, including hospital departments, nursing homes, medical clinics and hospice services. The title of administrative nurse may encompass several different titles, such as director of nursing, nursing manager and supervisor of nursing.

Although the managerial duties of administrative nurses are rather general and can be applied across medical disciplines, the departments and facilities may range significantly. Administrative nurses may serve in nursing homes, rehabilitation clinics, emergency rooms, drug treatment centers, among others. Their skills may be tailored to fields such as HIV/AIDS treatment, gerontology, pediatrics, neuroscience, gynecology and nephrology. Most administrative nurses begin as staff nurses in these departments and work their way up the ranks.

Job Description and Duties

In your administrative capacity, you'll have a variety of tasks. These may include facilitating the hiring and training of nursing personnel, evaluating departmental performance, developing the department's budget, taking inventories and conducting research into issues relating to nursing. You may also need to be knowledgeable about workplace procedures and general management techniques. Despite being in a leadership position, you will still have many of the patient care duties of the nurses you oversee.

Salary Information

In July 2015, PayScale.com reported that nurse administrators earned a median annual salary of about $79,000. This is quite a bit higher than the salaries of regular registered nurses, for whom the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states earned a median annual wage of almost $66,000. Pay can vary significantly by factors like the years of nursing experience an individual has or by the nursing specialty.

Job Requirements

Administrative nurses typically begin their careers after earning a diploma, associate's or a bachelor's degree. These programs include coursework and clinical rotations in which students work on the floor under the supervision of practicing nurses. Advanced nurses, such as those practicing in clinical specialties, may need to hold a master's degree. A master's degree may also be required for nurses at the administrative level. In addition to the educational requirements, nurses are also required to successfully complete the National Council of Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and meet additional licensing requirements that vary by state.

Skills

In addition to leadership skills, administrative nurses need an in-depth understanding of nursing techniques and procedures. They also need strong clerical skills and a basic understanding of computers and medical software. The ability to communicate effectively with coworkers, especially during procedures, is also important.

Job Postings From Real Employers

Despite how administrative nursing positions vary, all of them share the leadership requirement, whether in a supervisory, managerial or strictly administrative capacity. The following are several actual job postings from March 2012:

  • An Illinois health care network advertised for a director of nursing at one of its clinical facilities. The successful applicant would work with the facility administrator to ensure high performance standards among the nursing faculty.
  • An ambulatory surgery center in New York advertised for a director of nursing. This individual would be responsible for the supervision of all nurses at the center, as well as filling in for the administrator when they are absent. The employer required that applicants possess an RN license in addition to sufficient operating room experience.
  • A Pennsylvania hospital advertised for a nurse manager in its emergency department. The employer required that applicants hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing in addition to at least two years of supervisory experience. They preferred candidates with a master's degree.

How to Stand Out

You may set yourself apart from other individuals by attaining additional education, including a master's or doctoral degree. These credentials may allow you to also pursue teaching or research at the university level. Besides nursing, you may also consider earning a degree in business. These programs may include coursework in operations management and organizational behavior.

Other Careers to Consider

As an administrative nurse, your management and supervisory skills will qualify you for a range of positions on a hospital or healthcare company's administrative team. Health services managers, like administrative nurses, are responsible for various administrative duties, such as supervising employees, producing work schedules and managing facility finances. These professionals are typically required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in health administration. In May 2011, the BLS estimated that the median annual wage of a health services manager was about $86,000. The BLS predicted that employment opportunities for these professionals would increase 22% from 2010-2020.

If you like the role of nursing without the management obligations, you may consider being a registered nurse (RN). RNs tend to patients and carry out doctors orders. They may also interact with a patient's family members. This career requires a bachelor's degree in nursing and state licensing requirements. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the median annual wage of an RN was approximately $66,000. The BLS also indicated that employment opportunities are expected to increase 26% from 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Loyola University New Orleans

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • MSN to DNP
      • MSN to DNP - Executive Nurse Leader
      • MSN to DNP - Nurse Practitioner
    Master's
      • MSN - Nursing Leadership
      • RN to MSN
      • RN to MSN - Nursing Leadership
      • RN-MSN Bridge
      • RN-MSN Bridge - Nursing Leadership
      • MSN - Nurse Educator
    Bachelor's
      • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
      • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor - Nursing Practice
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
    Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

Loyola University New Orleans

  • MSN to DNP
  • MSN - Nursing Leadership
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
  • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor - Nursing Practice
  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)

Are you a US citizen?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.

Are you a US citizen?

Keiser University

  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?