Nurse administrator standing inside a hospital

Nurse administrators are registered nurses who manage nursing staff in a hospital, private practice, or government agencies. They combine their nursing skills and expertise with administrative skills to make sure that daily operations run smoothly and efficiently. 

To be successful in the role, nurse administrators must also have sharp analytical and interpersonal skills.

Nurses who work in this role must possess strong leadership and organizational skills. Most times, you can find them working in office and hospital settings. Besides providing the highest quality of patient care, they also make important decisions regarding policies, staffing, and budgets. With specialized training, nurse administrators are also responsible for supervising nursing teams and additional staff members.

How much does a nurse administrator make a year?

According to our latest research, nurse administrators in the USA can earn between $52,000 to $99,000. In terms of annual salary, nurse administrators can earn a median salary of $76,104.25 or $36.59 an hour (Zippa, July 2022). 

How much does a nurse administrator make an hour?

The average hourly wage for a nurse administrator is $34.85. The hourly pay for nurse administrators can range between $27.82 for an entry-level position to approximately $47.25 for more senior-level positions. It’s important to mention that the hourly wage depends on several factors, which include years of experience and where you live. 

Nurse administrator salary by state

State

Hourly median wage

Annual median wage

Compared To National Average

Alabama

$29.89

$62,165.00

-18%

Alaska

$50.05

$104,102.00

37%

Arizona

$36.44

$75,793.00

0%

Arkansas

$28.34

$58,956.00

-23%

California

$52.89

$110,012.00

45%

Colorado

$41.18

$85,655.00

13%

Connecticut

$52.63

$109,476.00

44%

Delaware

$32.77

$68,156.00

-10%

District of Columbia

$40.55

$84,354.00

11%

Florida

$27.34

$56,862.00

-25%

Georgia

$31.56

$65,635.00

-14%

Hawaii

$50.34

$104,697.00

38%

Idaho

$41.05

$85,388.00

12%

Illinois

$33.98

$70,676.00

-7%

Indiana

$29.04

$60,405.00

-21%

Iowa

$28.20

$58,661.00

-23%

Kansas

$28.87

$60,043.00

-21%

Kentucky

$29.94

$62,273.00

-18%

Louisiana

$28.78

$59,869.00

-21%

Maine

$39.09

$81,305.00

7%

Maryland

$38.44

$79,946.00

5%

Massachusetts

$42.83

$89,084.00

17%

Michigan

$44.12

$91,775.00

21%

Minnesota

$37.11

$77,184.00

1%

Mississippi

$28.30

$58,866.00

-23%

Missouri

$33.52

$69,719.00

-8%

Montana

$34.38

$71,519.00

-6%

Nebraska

$28.15

$58,557.00

-23%

Nevada

$41.93

$87,207.00

15%

New Hampshire

$37.35

$77,682.00

2%

New Jersey

$40.63

$84,508.00

11%

New Mexico

$34.43

$71,616.00

-6%

New York

$41.88

$87,112.00

14%

North Carolina

$31.78

$66,100.00

-13%

North Dakota

$31.52

$65,552.00

-14%

Ohio

$35.00

$72,809.00

-4%

Oklahoma

$27.21

$56,604.00

-26%

Oregon

$49.81

$103,614.00

36%

Pennsylvania

$43.93

$91,375.00

20%

Rhode Island

$41.22

$85,747.00

13%

South Carolina

$26.08

$54,245.00

-29%

South Dakota

$27.65

$57,508.00

-24%

Tennessee

$27.31

$56,804.00

-25%

Texas

$36.10

$75,093.00

-1%

Utah

$35.90

$74,675.00

-2%

Vermont

$36.80

$76,551.00

1%

Virginia

$34.45

$71,652.00

-6%

Washington

$55.54

$115,513.00

52%

West Virginia

$36.92

$76,803.00

1%

Wisconsin

$38.13

$79,300.00

4%

Wyoming

$34.67

$72,114.00

-5%

National Average

$36.59

$76,104.25

Factors that affect how much a nurse administrator makes

Similar to other roles in nursing, a variety of factors can affect how much you earn as a nurse administrator. It’s important to keep these things in mind during the application process. You should be mindful of this if you are considering a career change. For example, if you are already an RN, investigate the pay scale in your state for both positions. 

1. Education Level

Nurse administrators must hold an associate’s degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Those who choose to further their studies and earn a BSN or master’s degree earn more. 

2. Experience

Similar to other roles in the healthcare field, nurse administrators with years of experience usually earn more than ones who are just starting their career. 

3. Location

Where you live is one of the largest factors in terms of pay in the USA. Two individuals with the same education and credentials can earn dramatically different salaries simply based on the state they live in. 

Because the overall population can affect demand, states with higher needs usually offer higher pay than states with low demand. However, in outlying or rural areas, a qualified nurse administrator could be offered a higher salary and a rich benefit package simply because of the location. 

Compare your state’s average to others around you. Make sure the jobs you apply for are offering a salary that’s close to your state’s average. 

For example, a nurse administrator in New York may earn $116,949, whereas someone living in New York may earn $87,111, even though they possess the same degree and comparable years of experience

4. Specialization

Nurse administrators who further their education and work in specialized sectors of medicine can earn more than someone who works in an urgent care facility. While both positions are equally rewarding, NA’s who work in have specialized credentials earn more than those who do not. 

How quickly can you become a nurse administrator and start earning?

Nurse administrators must hold at least an associate’s degree to begin their career as a registered nurse. From there, you can follow a series of steps to become a qualified nurse administrator. 

After passing your NCLEX-RN, you then need to gain experience. This involves clinical hours to meet the minimum requirement set by an accredited graduate nursing program. The step is to earn either a BSN or masters in nursing or healthcare administration. These programs can take two to three years, depending on whether you attend full or part-time. 

Once you get the proper credentials, you may choose to earn additional certifications, which include:

  • Executive Nursing Practice Certification (CENP)

  • Certification in Executive Nursing (CENP)

  • Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML)

Compare how much a nurse administrator makes against other nursing jobs  

Average nurse administrator salary – $76,104.25

  • Psychiatric Nurse $62,208

  • Clinical Liaison $71,643

  • Consultant Nurse $68,740

  • Registered Charge Nurse $72,881

Nurse administrator salary FAQs

Am I being paid fairly as a nurse administrator?

To find the correct answer, you need to consider the national average salary and the average salary for nurse administrators in your state. If you discover that your pay is dramatically less in either case, speak to your employer and discuss your findings. 

It’s also important to remember that nurse administrators who are just starting their careers usually earn less than someone with years of experience. That said, you can earn additional credentials while working as a registered nurse, which can help you earn a higher salary overall. 

Are nurse administrators paid mostly hourly or annually?

Nurse administrators usually get paid by the hour; however, an annual contract is not unheard of. It all depends on where you live, the type of healthcare facility you work in, and the terms of your contract. 

Sometimes, you might prefer to earn a set amount annually with added bonuses as outlined in your contract. In other cases, it might be beneficial for you to be paid an hourly rate besides overtime, if applicable.

Do nurse administrators get paid overtime?

Yes. Depending on where you choose to work, you may be paid overtime. This usually includes working over 40 hours a week and may include holiday pay and working on the weekends. 

Do nurse administrators get paid more privately or in hospitals?

Nurse administrators tend to earn more when they work in private healthcare practices. However, it is possible to earn just as much in a hospital setting. In both scenarios, nurse administrators may receive higher salaries by earning additional certifications and by having ongoing years working in the field. 

It’s also important to note that even with additional certifications, a nurse administrator living in a state with a low cost of living may not earn as much as someone living in a state where the cost is higher. Even with the same skills and education background, the pay may be different simply due to geographic location, even with the same skills and education background. 

What state pays nurse administrators the most per hour?

While several states do offer higher than the national average, Washington comes in first place. As of July 2022, the annual salary for a nurse administrator was $115,513. California and Hawaii also offer higher than national average salaries. California is currently paying skilled nurse administrators $110.012, whereas Hawaii is paying $104,967. 

Can you live off a nurse administrator's salary in the USA?

As a nurse administrator, you can earn a decent salary that allows you to live comfortably. However, it also depends on your lifestyle, the cost of living in your state and your financial situation. 

If you live in a state where the cost of living is high, your salary might not be enough to cover all of your needs. If you live where the cost of living is low, you may find that you can live well and have substantial savings even if you are just starting out. 

You also need to factor in the daily cost of living, student loans, and overall needs. You may find that your debt-to-ratio may warrant considering moving to another state where you can earn more. However, with responsible budgeting, you can live quite well off of a nurse administrators salary throughout the USA. 

Is being a nurse administrator harder than being a registered nurse?

While both positions can be rewarding, each has their own specialized subsets of responsibilities. RNs work directly with patients in a variety of settings. Some RNs work exclusively in the ER, while others are considered floaters. This means they may work on different floors when there is an additional need. They work directly under the supervision of a doctor, charge nurse, or nurse administrator. 

Nurse administrators rarely work with patients; however, they may be in charge of a variety of employees and healthcare teams in the hospital setting. Their role can be equally demanding as an RN’s. 

Deciding the career path that is right for you depends on your wants and needs. If you enjoy working directly with patients, then working as an RN or charge nurse could be for you. 

If you prefer to work in a more administrative role while still working with medical personnel, becoming a nurse administrator is a viable option.

A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.

Registerd Nurse Median Salary