There are several ways in which nursing executives can expand their education into administration. Nurses can choose between a master's degree and a PhD based on their previous level of education and future career goals.
Nurses without a master's degree may decide to enroll in a master's degree program in nursing, public health or health administration. Graduates can work as medical and health services managers, or they can choose to pursue a PhD in Nursing. Those who earn a PhD may find work as nursing instructors at postsecondary institutions.
|Medical and Health Services Manager||Postsecondary Nursing Instructor|
|Required Education||Master's Degree (public health, health administration, nursing, etc.)||PhD in Nursing|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$94,500||$67,480|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||17%||19%|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Continuing Education Options
Nurse administrators may wish to continue their education in order to keep up with changing medical practices or to specialize in an area where they can further advance their career. Administrators may attend national conferences that address topics like research, spirituality, clinical academia and public policy. By attending these conferences and seminars, nursing administrators can keep up with current events and research in addition to finding information, advice and support for overseeing their office and employees.
Nursing Administration Specialization
While nurse administrators may work in general clinics or hospitals, specialized nurse executives may oversee specific areas within a hospital, run their own assisted living or long-term care facilities or even oversee psychiatric nurses in psychiatric clinics and hospitals. Additional education is required for nurse executives who wish to advance to the Director of Nursing Administration position.
In the field of long-term care, nursing administrators can become nursing directors through certification programs offered by the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care. The American Organization of Nurse Executives not only provides information on educational events, conferences and trips, it also offers certification for specific nurse management and leadership.
Master's Degree Programs for Nurse Executives
A nurse executive can further specialize his or her skills through a master's degree program in public health or health administration or a Master's of Science in Nursing degree program with a focus on nursing administration. Master's degree programs from an accredited school typically take two years to complete. Courses focus on finance, marketing, human resources, healthcare policy and how to manage employees. Residencies in local hospitals and clinics may also be required depending on each program. A master's degree in nursing is a prerequisite for any nurse executive who wishes to receive the American Nurses Association's advanced certification.
Doctoral Degrees for Nurse Executives
Nurse executives may wish to pursue a Ph.D. in Nursing. While a doctorate degree in nursing may not necessarily address the specifics of administration, it does prepare students to teach other nurse administrators, as well as develop and research new nursing methodologies.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs in the field of medical and health services management, which includes nursing administrators, is expected to increase 17% from 2014-2024, a rate that's 10 percentage points higher than average and due in part to a growing population of aging Baby Boomers. The median annual salary for careers in this field was $94,500 in May 2015, per the BLS.
Nursing administrators may decide to pursue a master's degree or PhD in a specialized area of nursing. They can also opt to attend national conferences that cover topics such as research, spirituality, clinical academia and public policy. With a master's degree, they can also pursue advanced certification from the American Nurses Association.
Experienced nurses and administrators who are looking to advance their education can choose between relatively informal training opportunities, master's degrees, and doctoral studies. Each of these can advance or redirect a nurse's career in a different way, depending on their career goals.