How to Become a Nurse Administrator

by | Dec 7, 2021 | Professional Development for Nurses | 0 comments

Being a nurse administrator is not the same as being a nurse. Being a nurse is about taking care of others while being a nurse administrator is about looking out for the organization’s good at large. 

Nurse administrators are usually tasked with running hospitals and ensuring that they run smoothly. They work on things like budgets, insurance claims, hospital beds, and staffing. Sometimes their leading role in an organization can be to ensure that it stays afloat rather than doing hands-on patient care. 

Usually, nurse administrators have MBAs or other business degrees under their belt along with their nursing credentials. The role of a nurse administrator varies from state to state or even according to the organization itself. In some states, the title nurse administrator isn’t recognized, and nurses wear another job description, like health care director. 

Some nurse administrators are in charge of nursing and other departments within the hospital, while others work solely on management duties.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator

What Is a Nurse Administrator?

A nurse administrator is an advanced class of nurses who are in charge of coordinating and planning the administrative functions of a hospital, clinic, or other types of health care facility. They help to educate and rehabilitate patients so they can return home when their treatment is completed. 

They also keep track of the budget for the organization and oversee the hiring process. Many nurses who become nurse administrators have previous experience working as registered nurses. 

However, some choose to get started by taking on another role (such as a CNA or LPN) to gain valuable knowledge about how things work in these businesses first.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator:

Becoming a health services manager is not just a one-step process; there are many steps along the way, and you will have to work quite hard to become a nurse administrator. Following are some steps you have to follow:

Obtain an Accredited Nursing Degree:

To become a nurse, you will need to have either an associate’s degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Each state has its nursing board, and they control what it takes for one to be given the title “nurse.” Some states do not require an associate’s degree, while others do. But before you can take an exam to become a nurse, you need to get your degree.

Get Experience as an RN

After graduation, you will need to gain clinical experience as a Registered Nurse. Experience is an asset for any nursing job, and obtaining clinical work as an R.N. is essential. 

You are not going to be readily hired without at least two years of clinical experience under your belt. After that, you could start clinical in a clinical setting, like a hospital or doctor’s office.

Learn About the Nursing Industry

After clinical practice, you may start your career in management by working on an administrative level within a hospital or another healthcare facility. As part of this job experience, it would be ideal if you learned about the business aspect of healthcare management- like accounting and finance since these come with it. 

You should also know how insurance laws affect hospitals and what kinds of services people expect from their hospitals in general when they think about health care facilities.

Learn about Different Roles for Nurses

You must learn how nurses are involved with hospital management. Learn more about the various management roles, from director to manager or even vice president. You will understand which type of nursing experience suits your career goals better by learning this information. Take online courses, go to seminars and meetings related to health care administration (mainly nurse administrator conferences); all these can help you get started.

Get Experience

Once you have the experience under your belt and some education, it is time to look for a job. This part can be difficult if you don’t know where or how to start looking. It is suggested that one begin by networking to learn about opportunities at hospitals and health care facilities. 

You could also see if any non-profit organizations need help with the management aspect of their organization. Some states offer grants for nurse administrators; taking advantage of these may help get your foot in the door as well.

Transition To Nursing Administration (Timeline Varies)

Once you are working in a hospital, it is recommended that you take the time to develop an understanding of the industry and your role as a nurse administrator. Figure out what kind of experience you need to be successful and then concentrate on obtaining that. 

If it takes five years for you to advance into management, then don’t rush through anything; this could hurt your chances at the position later on. 

Instead, spend time learning about how things work in the hospital or health care facility where you work to better understand the needs of patients and the organization itself. This will help in your advancement.

Pursue Professional Certification (Extra)

When you are ready to become a nurse, start by deciding which type of certification you would like to achieve. This is important because sure nurses work in specialized fields and need special training; a certificate may be necessary for these jobs. 

Now let’s move to some Related FAQs.

Where do Nurse Administrators Work?

Many nurse administrators work in hospitals, but some also work in clinics for private practices. You can find them working in long-term care facilities (LTC) as well. These are just a few examples of where you may be able to find nurse administrators – this is by no means an exhaustive list.

What Types of Education Are Required?

Requirements vary from one workplace to the next. Some employers prefer nurses with Master’s Degrees, while others do not require more than a Bachelor’s Degree. 

There are also particular requirements that you must have met before being considered eligible for any exam or licensure needed to become a nurse administrator. 

Requirements differ between states and organizations, and businesses, so you must know precisely what you need to become a nurse administrator with your specific employer. 

You can learn about different ways of obtaining this information by attending an open house or even directly asking the hospital or organization you wish to work for; taking advantage of these options will take some time, but they are well worth it.

Why Become a Nurse Administrator?

Nurse administrators serve a vital role in the medical field. They have extensive knowledge and experience to help run hospitals, health care facilities, clinics, and more effectively. There is always room for growth in this field (more nurse administrators are needed). Becoming a nurse administrator is an admirable choice and one that you will not regret.

Is It Difficult To Become A Nurse Administrator?

Yes, it can be not easy, depending on your situation. For example, some people cannot continue their education beyond high school because of family commitments or other obligations in their life (working full time while studying for college can be very hard). So yes, you should try to finish at least one degree before moving towards becoming a nurse administrator, but it is by no means impossible.

How Long Does it Take To Become A Nurse Administrator

It depends on your situation. Some people can complete their education within a year or two while others can take six years. 

Depending on the course load and whether you are working, going to school full-time, or both, it is not uncommon for someone who works in the medical field to have an associate degree, which takes approximately two years of schooling from high school.

What Skills Are Required?

Nurse administrators must be hard workers with strong leadership abilities and a passion for helping others. You will also need to have excellent communication skills if you want to succeed as a nurse administrator. 

If this sounds like something you will enjoy doing for a living, then pursue other opportunities that will help advance you in your career.

How Do You Become A Nurse Administrator?

To become a nurse administrator, you will need to have already obtained the necessary education for your field of interest. If you are already working as an RN or LPN, gaining new skills and knowledge is much easier because you will already have some experience in one area of the medical field. In addition, many hospitals (and other health organizations) regularly offer open houses that provide information about how to advance your career.


Being a nurse administrator is a rewarding career choice that can prove very successful if you are willing to put in the necessary time and effort. Keep pursuing your passion for helping others by attending open houses or other similar events. You will have increased opportunities to meet new people who may help advance your career; this includes not only those working as nurse administrators but also those who work in other areas of the medical field.

If you have trouble figuring out where to start, consider signing up for an online college degree program. Doing so will not only provide you with more options when it comes to advancing your career. But it will also allow you to go at your own pace and even continue working full-time while studying (so as long as you can find a program that offers online classes during your working hours).

Taking online courses is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot attend traditional schools or prefer to have more options while pursuing their educational goals. How to become an LPN has already been discussed, so now it’s time to learn how to become a nurse practitioner.

More Resources:

Picture of Kati Kleber, founder of FRESHRN

Hi, I’m Kati.

Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.


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