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Online master's in nursing administration programs prepare registered nurses for administrative and managerial roles in healthcare facilities.

Students build advanced management skills while studying topics like healthcare informatics, advanced finance for nurse executives, and systems organization and structure. Graduates can work as nurse administrators or health services managers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects roles for medical and health services managers to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $99,730 in 2018.

This guide ranks the best online master's in nursing administration programs for 2020. This page also covers important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Top 10 Online Master's in Nursing Administration Programs 2020

#1 George Washington University Washington, DC
#2 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
#3 University of Houston Houston, TX
#4 Bradley University Peoria, IL
#5 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
#6 Endicott College Beverly, MA
#7 The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX
#8 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
#9 Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster, PA
#10 Baker University Baldwin City, KS

The Best Online Master's in Nursing Administration Programs

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4

Bradley University 

Peoria, IL

About this school

Initially known as Bradley Polytechnic Institute, Bradley opened its doors under the auspices of Lydia Moss Bradley in 1897. Now home to more than 185 educational programs, Bradley houses nine academic schools and colleges alongside 16 university centers and institutes.

An online nursing administration master's degree can be obtained in 2-5 years. Bradley's master of science in nursing with a focus in nursing administration includes 36 credits of required courses. Students explore healthcare, management, and leadership theory, applying them to real-world situations during two practica.

Through 300 contact hours of practical experience, learners work with nursing administrators at medical centers or with the county health department, securing professional development opportunities and applying degree competencies to real-world situations. A capstone in nursing course requires students to complete a final thesis or evidence-based project.

At the end of the program, students can sit for executive or leadership certification offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Organization of Nurse Executives. Graduates can also go on to pursue a doctorate in nursing.

Applicants must submit admission essays, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a resume with GRE or MAT scores for consideration. Students can enter the program with a bachelor's degree, associate degree, or diploma in nursing or as a registered nurse with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
78%
Percent Receiving Loans
72%
5

Stony Brook University 

Stony Brook, NY

About this school

Located on Long Island, Stony Brook operates within the State University of New York System. Established in 1957 as a teaching college, Stony Brook now provides more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.

The master of science in nursing leadership at Stony Brook incorporates online coursework with on-site immersions and a clinical placement requirement. Offered using an executive cohort model, the nursing leadership program prepares nurses to assume administrative and managerial roles throughout the healthcare industry.

Thirty-six credits of coursework explore organizational leadership and role transformation, healthcare policy and advocacy, and methods and applications of clinical nursing research. The program culminates in an advanced leadership seminar and two theory and practice clinical placements. Clinical placement requires a formal agreement between Stony Brook and an appropriate site, established through a clinical affiliation agreement and clinical contract.

The university integrates values based on collaboration, integration, and other leadership skills with an emphasis on social advocacy and social and ethical responsibility.

Preferred applicants have a minimum of one year experience as a registered nurse and undergraduate coursework in statistics. Applicants must provide transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and documentation from a current registered nurse license. Candidates with an undergraduate degree in a discipline outside of nursing must submit a clinical practice portfolio for assessment.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
74%
Percent Receiving Loans
42%
6

Endicott College 

Beverly, MA

About this school

Established as a college for women in 1939, Endicott occupies a 235-acre main campus near Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 20 additional instructional sites around the world and online, Endicott provides academic programs for more than 5,000 students each year.

The master of nursing with a concentration in nursing administration at Endicott includes 33 credits of coursework, which can be completed in 18-24 months. By blending online and evening courses, Endicott offers a convenient, cohort-based program that promotes peer support and collaboration.

Prerequisite classes for the master's degree in nursing include applied statistics, nursing research, leadership and management in nursing, and community and population health nursing.

Eighteen credits of required core courses emphasize contemporary issues and trends in advanced nursing practice, role development within professional organizations, and theoretical foundations for advanced practice nursing. The curriculum also includes research methods coursework to prepare learners for a final project.

Nursing administration concentration coursework focuses on the organization and structure of nursing leadership, the role of a nurse as an administrator, and practice and quality outcomes of nurse administration. Students also participate in an internship, taking on the role of an administrator.

To apply, individuals submit two letters of recommendation, transcripts, a statement of goals, and a resume. Applicants also provide verification of their registered nurse licenses and take part in admission interviews.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
76%
Percent Receiving Loans
74%
7

The University of Texas at El Paso 

El Paso, TX

About this school

UTEP, the second oldest institution within The University of Texas System, opened in 1914. With over 25,000 annual enrollees, the university provides more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs through 10 academic colleges and schools.

UTEP's online master of science in nursing with an emphasis in nursing administration and management prepares students for positions throughout the industry. The curriculum fosters theoretical and evidence-based practical knowledge and skills, culminating in a project-based residency experience.

Nine credits of core coursework in nursing theory precedes 24 credits of specialized courses. Students study organizational theory, communication management, and administration operations. Additional subjects include financial management, teamwork, and managing quality in healthcare.

During the nursing management residency, learners work with a leadership mentor, applying degree knowledge to a systems-level issue. Students develop and implement an evidence-based solution within a healthcare agency or comparable setting during 90 mentored residency hours. The course also allows individuals to reflect upon their personal growth and development while assessing their experiences as they relate to national standards for nursing administration.

Applicants must hold a valid, unencumbered registered nurse license and a bachelor of science in nursing degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
39%
Percent Receiving Loans
39%
8

Saint Joseph's College of Maine 

Standish, ME

About this school

Established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1912, SJC is the only Catholic college in Maine. Initially located in Portland, Maine, SJC moved to its 474-acre campus in 1956 and is now a member of the Maine Campus Compact, along with 17 fellow institutions.

SJC's online master's in nursing administration includes 45 credits of coursework, which learners complete in 2-4 years. Twenty-four credits of core classes include nursing informatics, population health and interprofessional collaboration, and organizational and systems leadership. Students study nursing research methods as they relate to evidence-based practice alongside advanced courses in pharmacology and pathophysiology.

Additional coursework in policy, quality, and safety assessment prepares learners for 21 credits of administration-track classes. The health services administration course focuses on operational management, and a strategic human resource management class trains students in recruitment and personnel supervision in nursing settings.

Degree-seekers explore strategic planning, ethics, and legal issues in both healthcare and financial management. A nursing administration practicum places learners in a healthcare setting for 135 contact hours to help them apply degree knowledge and skills while collaborating with a nurse preceptor. During the culminating capstone course, students produce a scholarly article that synthesizes advanced practice knowledge and skills in the context of nursing practice.

Applicants must hold a bachelor of science in nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an unencumbered registered nurse license. Preferred candidates have previous coursework in statistics and health assessment. Application materials include three references, a career statement, and a resume.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
9

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences 

Lancaster, PA

About this school

Born out of the merger of the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing and the Lancaster Institute for Health Education in 1995, PA College offers academic programs that foster excellence in healthcare practice and leadership. Focusing exclusively on health sciences, PA College serves more than 1,800 students each year.

The master of science in nursing with a focus in administration at PA College facilitates advancement into leadership roles in the field. The 34-credit curriculum includes core classes in health promotion and disease prevention in a diverse society, technology, communication, and healthcare policy and finance.

Additional classes in health systems management, organizational behavior and process improvement, and strategic planning accompany three integrating experiences and an applied nursing administration practice. These integrating experiences bring students to campus to take part in practical workshops, network with peers and faculty, and present their scholarly work.

During the semester-long applied practice field experience, students work alongside a preceptor in a healthcare or educational setting, applying research and theory to real-world professional situations.

Applicants need a bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and previous coursework in statistics. Application materials include two letters of recommendation, a professional goals statement, and documentation of nursing licensure.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
66%
Percent Receiving Loans
80%
10

Baker University 

Baldwin City, KS

About this school

Founded by Methodist ministers in 1858, BU is one of 196 institutions of higher learning in the United States affiliated with the United Methodist Church. BU offers undergraduate and graduate programs that blend Christian faith and academic excellence across four academic schools.

BU's online master of science in nursing program builds communication, managerial, personal development, and team-building skills applicable to leadership roles in nursing. The track in nursing administration helps students gain a comprehensive understanding of healthcare needs, resources, and delivery systems as they prepare for administrative roles in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, and other related settings.

The nursing administration master's degree at BU includes 40-43 credits of coursework. The curriculum emphasizes both practical application of leadership and informatics as well as research courses in foundations for evidence-based practice, statistics, and analysis.

Learners study epidemiology, advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, advanced health assessment, and ethical and legal considerations in healthcare. A transitional care practicum and scholarly synthesis project at the end of the program follows concentration classes in healthcare financing and economics and fundamentals of organizational management.

Students also participate in an administrative practicum, participating in 60 contact hours of on-site experience and a weekly seminar under the mentorship of a nurse administration professional.

Applicants need prerequisite coursework in health assessment, pathophysiology, and research, an undergraduate degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program, and a minimum 3.0 GPA from the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework to apply. Prior to enrolling in the transitional care practicum, degree-seekers must have one year of full-time clinical experience as a registered nurse.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
70%
11

California University of Pennsylvania 

California, PA

About this school

Chartered as a teaching institution in 1852, Cal U became part of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education in 1983. Based on a 294-acre campus in southwestern Pennsylvania, Cal U offers its nearly 7,000 enrollees a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Learners can complete the online master of science in nursing with a nursing administration and leadership concentration in as few as 20 months. The curriculum prepares students to serve as leaders in the field, providing safe, high-quality patient care while meeting the challenges of healthcare and nursing in a variety of settings.

Cal U's online nursing administration and leadership master's degree includes coursework in theory and research, health policy, and information systems in nursing. The 30-credit program also includes classes in the legal aspects of healthcare administration and financial management in nonprofit healthcare organizations. As part of a nursing administration practicum, degree-seekers take part in 150 contact hours during the final semester of the program.

Candidates must submit a resume indicating at least one year of experience working in nursing, preferably in an administrative role. Additional application materials include transcripts from an accredited bachelor of science in nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from the last 60 credit hours of coursework.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
85%
12

The University of Texas at Arlington 

Arlington, TX

About this school

As the second-largest institution within the University of Texas System, UTA provides more than 180 undergraduate and graduate programs. UTA also enrolls more than 60,000 students each year through its 420-acre north Texas campus and online.

Employing a blended learning model, the master of science in nursing with a focus in nursing administration incorporates online coursework and faculty-supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout Texas. The nursing administration master's degree includes 36 credits of sequential core and elective coursework. Because UTA isn't bound to a traditional semester system, learners can complete the program in as few as 18 months.

Required nursing classes focus on the theoretical basis for nursing and leadership as well as the development of strategies for management. The roles and functions of the nurse administrator course includes 90 hours of clinical application, while financial management and management operations in nursing classes each require 45 hours of clinical application.

By taking 12 credits of electives along with the base curriculum, students can earn an Advanced Nursing Educator Certificate. A required management seminar and practicum serves as a capstone community partnering project; during this project, students synthesize managerial, organizational, and leadership concepts and theories in a healthcare setting.

Applicants need two years of clinical nursing experience and an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing. Individuals with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher need to submit GRE scores for consideration.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
49%
Percent Receiving Loans
37%
13

DeSales University 

Center Valley, PA

About this school

Chartered as the Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in 1964, DeSales began offering academic programs the following year. DeSales integrates Catholic perspectives in its more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.

DeSales's online master of science in nursing and master of business administration dual degree trains students for executive leadership positions in healthcare organizations. Full-time students complete the program in three years while their part-time counterparts earn a degree in five years.

Fifty-eight credits of coursework accompany clinical practicum 525 hours, and an additional 12 credits of healthcare management courses emphasize legal aspects of health systems management, issues in quality management for healthcare systems, principles and strategies for managed healthcare, and community health assessment and planning. Through two administrative practica, students work alongside healthcare administration professionals and complete a capstone portfolio.

Upon completing the program, graduates have the necessary understanding of nursing and administration to foster a productive, efficient, and satisfying professional environment. They'll also develop the technology and research skills necessary to face future challenges.

To apply, candidates need a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students also need 12 months of full-time clinical nursing experience within the previous three years and documentation of nursing licensure in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
71%
Percent Receiving Loans
74%
14

Queens University of Charlotte 

Charlotte, NC

About this school

Founded as a women-only institute in 1857, Queens University now provides coeducational programs from its Charlotte, North Carolina, campus. Home to six schools and colleges, Queens University incorporates its honor code into academic and community activities alike.

The online master of science in nursing with an emphasis for nurse administrators can be completed in two years. Half of the 37-credit curriculum emphasizes business administration knowledge and skills, while the other half focuses on advanced nursing competencies.

Core nursing classes include theoretical foundations of nursing, health policy, informatics in healthcare, and data interpretations. Students study research methods, leadership principles and practices, financial management for nurse leaders, and principles of curriculum and instruction.

Queens University's nurse administrator track also requires 225 clinical hours, which help learners gain practical experience in supervised healthcare settings. Students participate in two residencies; the first explores pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment in a clinical setting, and the second focuses on the nurse administrator role.

Students must also demonstrate what they've learned throughout the program during a final graduate nursing capstone, which involves completing an individual project.

Applicants must have a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited program or have a registered nursing license with a bachelor's degree in another discipline. Students must submit transcripts reflecting a minimum 2.5 GPA with documentation of an unencumbered nursing license for consideration. Students without a nursing license must have one by the time they begin one of the program residencies.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
85%
15

Union University 

Jackson, TN

About this school

Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Union University opened its doors in 1823. With campuses in Jackson, Memphis, and Hendersonville, Tennessee, Union University now provides more than 100 programs of study to over 3,000 students annually.

Union University's online master of science in nursing includes tracks for administration, education, and nurse practitioners, with an additional dual nursing and business administration program. The nursing degree in administration integrates 39 credits of coursework with 400 clinical contact hours.

Core nursing classes combine topics on nursing practice and research with management-level concerns like informatics, organization, and leadership. Successful students depart the program ready to ascend to leadership roles and promote equitable, efficient health for people in an intercultural world.

Two 80-clinical hour nursing administration practica precede a nursing administration residency. Part-time students complete the nursing administration program in 16 months, while full-time learners earn a degree in four semesters.

To apply, individuals need a current, unencumbered registered nursing license and a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited or state-approved nursing program. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing must complete or provide evidence of previous coursework in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pathophysiology, and statistics.

Application materials include three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a signed statement of community values and standards.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
71%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
16

Jacksonville University 

Jacksonville, FL

About this school

Established in 1934, JU moved to its current 260-acre campus in 1950. With more than 4,000 students, JU houses seven academic colleges and specialized institutes. JU's online master of science in nursing degree includes specializations in clinical nurse education, informatics, and leadership in healthcare systems. JU also offers a dual master's degree in nursing and master of business administration program.

The online master's degree in nursing with an emphasis in leadership in healthcare systems includes 30 credits of coursework that align with the American Organization of Nurse Executives Nurse Manager and Leader Certification. Eighteen credits of core classes include nursing theory and research, information systems and technology, and nursing leadership. Those courses provide a foundation for the 12-credit management specialization track.

The program prepares students for leadership positions, teaching them how to influence nursing facility policies. It also helps them advance to the doctoral level, if so desired. Learners can complete the cohort-based degree at JU in 22 months, though the school offers the flexibility to take sessions off if necessary.

To apply, individuals must provide transcripts from an accredited bachelor of science in nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a resume, and a statement of intent. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 must provide GRE scores for consideration. Students also need an active registered nursing license in Florida, or from another state with eligibility for Florida license endorsement.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
61%
17

Sacred Heart University 

Fairfield, CT

About this school

As the second-largest Catholic university in New England, SHU traces its origins to 1963, when it had an initial class of 200 enrollees. Today, SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 9,000 students each year.

SHU's online master of science in nursing with a specialization in nursing management and executive leadership includes 36 credits of coursework. Learners complete the program in two years, participating in 120 clinical contact hours alongside core and specialized classes.

The nursing core curriculum emphasizes healthcare policy, ethics theory, and principles of healthcare research. Students study evidence-based practice for quality care as they explore topics such as advanced pharmacology and pathophysiology. As a result, SHU graduates are well-prepared to translate their research into policy in their future careers.

The clinical nurse leader role practicum takes place over two semesters, enabling students to immerse themselves in roles as client advocates, information managers, outcomes managers, and clinical nurse leaders. During a final capstone course, students apply degree content to their clinical role practice experiences and case studies.

Applicants need a bachelor of science in nursing or a related field from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. To apply, individuals submit two letters of recommendation, a copy of an unencumbered registered nurse license, a resume, and a statement of professional goals. Candidates must also demonstrate prerequisite coursework in statistics, health assessment, and research.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
70%
Percent Receiving Loans
65%
18

Nova Southeastern University 

Fort Lauderdale, FL

About this school

Established as a technical institute in 1964, NSU offers educational programs at eight Florida campuses, as well as one in San Juan and online. NSU houses 18 academic colleges, including the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing.

The online master of science in nursing with an emphasis in executive nursing leadership includes 36 credits of core and specialization coursework. Learners complete a 130-clinical-hour leadership practicum as part of the program. NSU's curriculum is built around a value system that accentuates scholarly inquiry, collaboration, and community service.

Required classes include theory and research, evidence and practice, and advanced roles in nursing. Students learn to model complex decision-making models, assess potential outcomes as they weigh the pros and cons of policy, and use their leadership skills to carry that policy out on a wide scale.

Designed for working registered nurses, admission to NSU's online master's degree in nursing in executive nurse leadership requires a bachelor's degree. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing must take an additional six credits of coursework in the transition to advanced practice nursing.

Application materials include transcripts and an unencumbered registered nurse license. Applicants submit their applications through NursingCAS.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
48%
19

University of Mary 

Bismarck, ND

About this school

Mary began under the auspices of the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation in 1959. Today, it has locations around the United States; a campus in Rome, Italy; and extensive online offerings. Steeped in Catholic tradition, Mary provides more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 4,000 enrollees.

Mary's online master of science in nursing degree with a concentration in nursing leadership and management blends theory and coursework to propel practicing nurses into leadership roles. Students can complete the 36-credit program in as few as 16 months.

At the beginning of the program, learners take a new nursing graduate student orientation course to familiarize themselves with Mary's mission, leadership, and organizational structure. It also covers the learning management system and campus resources available to online students. Core nursing coursework includes healthcare across the population, resilient nursing leadership, and healthcare law and policy.

As part of the core curriculum, students learn to critique and design nursing research and build evidence-based practices using strategic healthcare decision-making skills. Required specialization classes emphasize management and organizational behavior, human resource management, and applied healthcare economics and finance.

Students also participate in two seminar and service project courses, accumulating 500 hours of leadership experience. The sequence involves placement within a healthcare organization, allowing degree-seekers to work alongside nursing leaders. During the exercise, learners identify and analyze a clinical practice problem, design recommendations for a solution, and prepare appropriate implementation and evaluation guidelines. The degree culminates in a graduate student assessment requirement.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA and an unencumbered registered nurse license. They must also submit a resume, a professional goals statement, and two letters of recommendation for consideration.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
20

Lubbock Christian University 

Lubbock, TX

About this school

Founded by members of the Churches of Christ in 1957, LCU integrates Christian faith into its nearly 65 academic programs. LCU boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, emphasizing spiritual growth, a deepened knowledge of God, and service in all aspects of the educational experience.

LCU's online master of science in nursing with a blended leadership and education focus includes 35 credits of coursework in a hybrid format. Students gain the skills needed to earn certifications through the American Nursing Credentialing Commission, the National League for Nursing, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives after graduation.

Core requirements emphasize research and statistical methods, education and information technology applications, and nursing theory. LCU emphasizes taking the student's existing knowledge of nursing and applying it to the bigger picture through budgeting, policy-making, and experiencing the healthcare system of a different culture.

Students must also complete an education and leadership practicum, participating in a 90-hour field experience. At the end of the practicum, learners produce a professional portfolio.

To apply, individuals need a bachelor of science in nursing or a bachelor's degree in a discipline approved by the university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individuals with a GPA below 3.0 but above 2.5 may supplement their applications with GRE or MAT scores. Other required application materials include two letters of reference, a completed criminal background check, and documentation from an unencumbered registered nursing license.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
47%
Percent Receiving Loans
91%
21

Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA

About this school

Founded in 1971, Liberty enrolls more than 100,000 students annually in on-campus and online programs each year. Home to 15 academic schools and colleges, Liberty's more than 350 online graduate programs include a master of science in nursing with a specialization in nurse administration.

Learners can complete Liberty's 36-credit-hour nursing administration master's degree in 1-2 years. The curriculum aligns with guidelines put forward by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Presented from a Christian perspective, the program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the financial and logistical constraints of healthcare management. Graduates can apply technology and research as they create and improve healthcare policy.

Concentration classes in organizational design and structure and human resource management accompany core courses in financial, resource, and systems management for nurse leaders. Three nursing administration classes focus on the role of the nurse administrator by integrating practicum hours with degree content. Learners complete a minimum of 200 practicum hours during the program.

Candidates must have a minimum of one year of experience as a registered nurse and a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Application materials include one recommendation, a purpose statement, transcripts, and documentation of an unencumbered registered nurse license. Preferred applicants also have undergraduate coursework in statistics and health assessment.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
22

Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville 

Edwardsville, IL

About this school

Established as an extension of Southern Illinois University in 1957, SIUE now occupies campuses in Edwardsville, Alton, and East St. Louis, Illinois. Home to seven academic schools, SIUE provides undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 13,000 students each year.

The master of science in nursing with an emphasis in healthcare and nursing administration prepares nurses to move into leadership roles in healthcare. SIUE's curriculum builds knowledge and skills that help nurses earn executive certifications offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Organization of Nurse Executives Credentialing Center.

SIUE's online master's degree in healthcare and nursing administration includes 33 credits of coursework. The program translates the student's nursing experience into leadership skills, teaching them to apply research, existing standards, and ethics when making and executing policy. During the last two semesters of the degree, learners participate in a nursing executive leadership project, fulfilling the 315-practicum-hour requirement for the program.

Application materials include transcripts, three references, a self-reflection statement, and a completed criminal background check. Applicants need a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA and previous coursework in statistics. Before taking part in any specialization classes, degree-seekers must have a minimum of 1,872 hours of professional nursing experience.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
49%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
23

Ferris State University 

Big Rapids, MI

About this school

Established as an industrial school in 1884, FSU now offers more than 190 academic programs. With eight academic colleges, FSU provides its enrollees a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The online master of science in nursing at FSU includes three specialization tracks. The nurse administration concentration emphasizes business essentials as they relate to healthcare settings, training practicing nurses for leadership and administration roles.

The program is bifurcated between two academic components; the first is a basic set of nursing courses, while the nurse administration curriculum includes required coursework in leadership roles for nursing administrators. Learners can choose additional specialization classes in performance metrics, supply chain management, lean logistics, or lean systems and leadership.

FSU's master's degree for nurse administrators integrates 270 practicum hours. An initial community practicum experience spans 30 hours, with two additional 120-hour practical experiences woven into the degree. The first allows students to develop a specialty role project, while the second serves as an immersion for that role. At the end of the practica sequence, students submit a professional portfolio reflecting upon their experiences.

Applicants must hold a bachelor of science in nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and licensure as a registered nurse. Preferred applicants need a minimum of two years full-time clinical nursing experience. Application materials also include three professional recommendations, a resume, and a writing sample.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
49%
Percent Receiving Loans
68%
24

Saint Xavier University 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, SXU is a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church for more than 4,000 students annually. SXU is the first Catholic institution of higher learning in Chicago, Illinois, and it was the initial Mercy institution in the United States.

SXU's online master of science in nursing with a concentration in executive leadership fosters strategic perspectives and critical-thinking skills to prepare practicing nurses for managerial and administrative roles. The program also prepares students to earn the nurse executive certifications offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The curriculum combines 18 credits of core coursework and 17 credits of specialized content, covering quality control, budgeting, project management, strategic planning, regulatory compliance, and conflict management. Degree-seekers also take part in 150 contact hours through two administrative leadership in nursing practica.

SXU's administrative leadership in nursing capstone similarly includes practical exercises, requiring students to develop and complete a project in cooperation with a preceptor in an approved healthcare setting. The capstone sequence includes another 75 practical hours.

Preferred applicants hold a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have 3-5 years of relevant professional experience. Candidates must have a current registered nursing license and submit one recommendation, a resume, and a personal goal statement for consideration.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
57%
Percent Receiving Loans
85%
25

Wheeling Jesuit University 

Wheeling, WV

About this school

Established in 1954, WU began as a partnership between the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Society of Jesus of the Maryland province. The youngest Jesuit institution of higher learning in the United States, WU offers 16 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 1,200 students each year.

WU's online MSN in nursing administration prepares practicing nurses for leadership roles across the healthcare industry. The curriculum integrates coursework in business, management, and nursing through 42 credits of coursework. The university emphasizes systems, critical thinking, and advanced practice as its core values in education.

Nursing administration coursework focuses on organizational behavior, communications and interpersonal relations, and financial management. Nursing administration classes accompany a capstone seminar and practical requirements, which require 56 clinical hours and 168 practicum hours.

Students in WU's BSN-to-MSN nursing program can pursue a nursing administration specialty. By taking 12 credits of core coursework as part of the undergraduate curriculum, learners can advance to the graduate degree on an accelerated timeline.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA. Application materials include one letter of recommendation and a resume.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
56%
Percent Receiving Loans
69%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Nursing Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Become a Nurse Administrator?

Nurse administrators typically need a master's degree in an area like nursing administration or healthcare administration.

What Is the Role of a Nurse Administrator?

Nurse administrators oversee LPNs, RNs, and other healthcare professionals to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare facilities.

How Much Does a Nurse Administrator Make?

According to BLS data, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $99,730 in 2018.

Can a Nurse Become a Healthcare Administrator?

Yes, nurses can work as healthcare administrators after earning a master's in nursing administration or a related field.

Choosing an Online Master's in Nursing Administration Program

When researching online master's in nursing administration programs, prospective students should consider factors like cost, length, and on-campus requirements. We cover several important considerations for prospective students below.

  • Program Cost: Typically, in-state students at public schools pay the lowest tuition rates, but some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.
  • Transfer Policies: Many schools offer transfer credit for prior academic work, military training, or professional experience. Schools with generous transfer policies can help students save time and money on a degree.
  • School Size and Type: A school's size and type affects the learning experience. For example, small schools may offer more individualized attention from faculty than larger schools, but large schools often offer more program and course options.
  • Program Length: Most master's in nursing administration programs take two years of full-time study to complete, but some programs offer accelerated timelines.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs have on-campus requirements, like an on-campus orientation or intensive. Online students should ensure they can meet these requirements before committing to a program.
  • Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Some programs have thesis or internship requirements. Students should choose a program with requirements aligned with their interests and career goals.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Nursing Administration Program?

Online master's in nursing administration programs examine the various administrative functions within nursing and healthcare while building knowledge and skills related to improving patient outcomes. The following sections cover common courses found in online master's in nursing administration programs, as well as licensure and certification options for graduates.

Online Master's in Nursing Administration Curriculum

Organizational Behavior

This course examines the operations of various healthcare organizations. Students learn how to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, identify problematic and helpful behaviors, and affect organizational change.

Leadership in Healthcare Settings

In this course, students learn how to identify their leadership styles and use tools to enhance their effectiveness in leading others. Students gain skills in negotiation, conflict management, and general management. Some of these courses include an internship.

Healthcare Informatics

This course examines how to use data to improve patient outcomes. Learners study topics like nursing informatics theories, ethical considerations, raw data synthesis and analysis, and healthcare systemization. Students may complete individual or group projects to sharpen their skills.

Delivery of Care

Students in this course review how delivery of care has evolved over time, emphasizing contemporary trends and issues. Students consider questions around payment and reimbursement tools, required healthcare facility accreditations, legal and ethical issues, and measurement of economic activities.

Nursing Administration Certifications and Licenses

Some nurse administrators need a license to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state, but administrators who work in a nursing home must hold a license regardless of their location. Some states provide reciprocity agreements that allow nurses to transfer their licenses from one state to another, though nurses may need to meet additional requirements to qualify for reciprocity.

While not required, some employers prefer to hire nurse administrators with board certification. Nurse administrators can pursue nurse executive or nurse executive - advanced credentials from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Candidates for these credentials must meet education, experience, and exam requirements.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Nursing Administration Degree?

Graduates with an online master's in nursing administration can pursue a variety of roles as well as further study. For instance, graduates interested in general healthcare facility administration can pursue a healthcare administration degree, while those who want to continue down a more clinical path can pursue additional nursing degrees, such as an online nurse practitioner master's degree.

Nursing Administration Careers

Graduates with an online master's in nursing administration degree can pursue a variety of jobs, several of which we highlight below. However, some positions may require additional credentials or experience.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who provide specialty and primary care services. Their tasks include recording patients' medical histories, conducting physical examinations, developing care plans, and performing diagnostic tests. They may also analyze test results, prescribe medications, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals. These professionals need a master's in nursing and an active, unencumbered license. They may also need specialty certification.

Median Annual Salary

$113,930

Projected Growth Rate

26%

Nurse Administrators

Nurse administrators, also known as medical and health services managers, work to improve healthcare facility processes. They may look for ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness, set departmental goals, ensure organizational adherence to laws and regulations, and manage budgets. These professionals typically need a master's degree in nursing administration, healthcare administration, or a related field.

Median Annual Salary

$99,730

Projected Growth Rate

18%

Accreditation for Online Master's in Nursing Administration Degree Programs

Attending an accredited school ensures nurse administrators can transfer credits between colleges, receive certification, and qualify for federal financial aid. Schools may receive national or regional accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits nursing programs. Students can verify a school's accreditation status through the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Nursing Administration Professional Organizations

Online master's in nursing administration students and graduates can benefit from joining professional organizations. Many organizations offer networking opportunities, continuing education programming, certifications, and career support. The following list outlines popular nursing administration organizations.

American Nurses Association

ANA represents more than 4 million registered nurses in the United States. The organization hosts the American Nurses Credentialing Center as well as the American Nurses Foundation, which is the only philanthropic group dedicated to the nursing profession.

American Organization for Nursing Leadership

AONL represents more than 10,000 nursing leaders acrossing the country. Members can access annual conferences, an online learning portal, multiple leadership institutes, and fellowship programs. They can also access a resource library, in-house publications, and a career center.

American Academy of Nursing

Serving around 2,700 members, this organization provides nurses with public policy support and advocacy efforts, open-forum academic communities, and expert panels. The group also provides industry news, a membership directory, and additional professional resources.

American College of Health Care Administrators

ACHCA supports members through national and local chapter meetings, certification opportunities, and a mentoring program. The group provides both professional and student memberships.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

AANP serves more than 106,000 nurse practitioners across the country. Members have access to continuing education opportunities, student and professional resources, journals and publications, and clinical resources. Other benefits include professional development programs and an annual conference.

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