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. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Accelerated BSN to MSN
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Science - DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • Bachelor: Health and Wellness
    Certificate
      • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Education Specialist - Nursing Education
    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Health Services Management (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Nursing (BSN)
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • RN to Bachelors of Science in Nursing
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Trident University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)
    Bachelor's
      • Health Administration (BSHA)
      • Health Sciences (BSHS)
  • Online Programs Available
    8. 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
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Utica College

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. South University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Nursing Practice (DNP)
    Master's
      • Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Administrator (MSN)
      • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Administrator (RN to MSN)
      • Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Educator (MSN)
      • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Educator (RN to MSN)
      • Healthcare Administration (MBA)
      • Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
  • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Education Specialist - Nursing Education
  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Argosy University

  • Health Services Management (MS)
  • Nursing (BSN)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • RN to Bachelors of Science in Nursing

What is your highest level of education completed?

Trident University

  • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)
  • Health Administration (BSHA)
  • Health Sciences (BSHS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?