MSN in Administration degrees prepare you to be a Nurse Administrator. As managers, Nursing Administrators rarely give direct patient care. Instead, these leadership roles focus on operational issues and policy. Responsibilities include budgeting, staffing, ensuring patient safety. In addition, nurse Administrators hold positions such as director of nursing services and chief nurse executive (CNE).
Nursing Administration degrees train and develop these managers in the field of nursing. Earning an online MSN in Administration degree can help you elevate your career and create a more significant impact in the nursing profession. When a nurse earns a master’s degree, their earning potential significantly increases. And nursing administration leadership is one of the fields where nurses can earn the highest salary. In addition, registered nurses do not have to leave their current careers to go back to school. Online options are available.
Ranking The Best Online MSN in Administration Degrees
The editors at TopRN began with a thorough list of all nursing schools that offer MSN in Administration, Leadership, and Nurse Executive degree programs. From there, we focused on schools with a fully online or hybrid degree program. We then ranked the schools based on Salary, Reputation, and the Cost of Tuition. Finally, we use data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche.
1. UNC-Chapel Hill
The online MSN in Administration and Leadership degree at UNC-Chapel Hill prepares students for management positions in health care organizations. The UNC program provides instruction through asynchronous and synchronous online classes. However, students are requires Students are required to attend required immersions each semester on campus or as scheduled. Full-time and part-time options are available.
The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill was the first public university in the United States to begin admitting students. With its long history and recognition as a Public Ivy school, and MSN will impress employers. The school earned a 6th place ranking for its MSN programs, including its nurse administration program.
Degree: MSN Health Care Leadership & Administration
2. Gonzaga University
Through Gonzaga University’s online MSN in Administration degree, you’ll update your skills with management tools needed for the modern era. The Gonzaga Leadership in Healthcare online program is available in an RN-MSN or BSN-MSN format. The school suggests a nine-semester completion time for its RN-MSN program with forty-five credit hours in the curriculum. In addition, the program includes bridgework that cuts down on the amount of time it takes to earn the degree. For the BSN-MSN track, students complete thirty credit hours with an expected completion time of six semesters. In addition, students in this program can also take leadership classes from the school’s Masters in Organizational Leadership program. This crossover provides collaboration outside of the nursing school, giving future nursing administrators an expanded worldview.
Gonzaga University is a Catholic school located in Spokane, Washington. The private university has seven colleges, including its School of Nursing and Human Physiology. Despite being a west coast school, the university opened in 1887. The Gonzaga mission includes Jesuit Catholic principles of excellence, spiritual growth, social justice, and care for the planet.
Degree: MSN Nursing Leadership in Healthcare
3. Florida Atlantic University
The Christine E. Lynn School of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University offers an online MSN in Administration and Financial Leadership degree program. FAU offers full-time or part-time options for the program. The coursework includes 37 to 39 credit hours of classes and 180 to 270 hours of practical hours. In addition, students can choose their preceptor that will mentor them for the practicum portion of the degree program.
Florida Atlantic University is part of the State University System of Florida. Since opening in 1961, the school has expanded its main campus in Boca Raton to include five satellite campuses, early college programs, and research sites. The FSU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing first granted degrees in 1979. The college offers numerous undergraduate and graduate-level nursing degrees. In addition, the nursing faculty is well known for its research publications.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership
4. The University of Alabama
The CCNE accredited online MSN in Administration degree at the University of Alabama is for registered nurses with a BSN. Students interested in earning an advanced degree can complete this program with 33-39 credits. Completion time is between one and two years, depending on full-time and part-time attendance. In addition to the coursework, students participate 540 clinical hours in an approved site in their home communities.
The University of Alabama opened the doors of its medical school in 1859, with the Capstone College of Nursing following later in 1978. With over 38,000 students, the school is robust in size with plenty to offer potential enrollees. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Degree: MSN Nurse Administrator concentration
5. Duquesne University
With just ten classes, you can earn a Duquesne University online MSN in Administration degree. The MSN program has a specialization in Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management. This thirty-credit program prepares students to lead health care organizations at an executive level. In addition, nursing courses include Evidence-Based Nursing Practice and Policy Development, with business courses like Human Resource Management. The expected completion time is a brisk two years. Applicants need a current RN license, a 3.0 GPA, and a bachelor’s degree. The degree can be from any discipline, but there is a preference for BSNs.
Duquesne is a private Catholic university founded by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in 1878. The small university annually enrolls over nine thousand students online and at its Pittsburg campus.
Degree: MSN in Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management
6. California State University Chico
California State University Chico offers an online MSN in Administration degree program that teaches advanced nursing leadership. Chico State offers this part-time MSN Nursing Leadership program every other year. In alternate years, they offer the MSN Nurse Educator degree. Students complete thirty credits of coursework, two clinicals, and a research paper during the program’s five semesters. Unlike many schools with an online component, CSU is more restrictive about its licensing requirements. Applicants must have a current RN license from California. However, you can potentially get licensure by endorsement to fulfill the requirement.
Located about one hundred miles north of Sacramento, the campus is in the town of Chico, California. CUS Chico first opened in 1887, and today, the school enrolls over fifteen thousand students annually. As a smaller regional public university, Chico State is a bargain for many students. Even with the out-of-state tuition upcharge, the school is affordable. And, the affordable tuition is backed by CCNE accreditation.
Degree: MSN Nursing Leadership
7. University of Mary
The University of Mary’s online MSN in Administration degree program blends theory and practice and focuses on Leadership and Management. The program is an accelerated RN-MSN that students can complete in sixteen months. Nurses with a BSN can move to a leadership role with this MSN. Students become nurse administrators and managers who can achieve excellent healthcare outcomes and use modern technology for improving the process. Graduates must complete thirty-six hours of coursework and five hundred practicum hours.
The University of Mary was founded by the Benedictine sisters in Bismarck, North Dakota. The Catholic school’s Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences honors Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. Recently canonized as a saint, she is regarded for her work as a pediatrician and charity. The school’s College of Nursing opened in 1915 as an addition to the St. Alexius Hospital.
Degree: MSN Nursing Leadership and Management
8. Loyola University New Orleans
With three different paths to degree completion, Loyola University has one of the best online MSN in Administration degrees. Nurses interested in career advancement in a nurse leadership role can complete the degree with 36 credits and 180 practicum hours. Depending on a student’s prior education, students can choose a path if they hold an associate’s degree, a BSN, or a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing. Each track has the same specialization. All students earn an MSN in Nursing Healthcare Systems Administration and Leadership but in different time frames. In addition to an active RN license, you’ll need to show 1,800 hours of nursing practice or 12 months of full-time nursing employment.
The Jesuits founded Loyola College only a short time before it earned its university status in 1912. If you attend the school in person, you’ll be treated to a trip through pieces of architectural history. On your way to the campus, stop by the the Audobon Park district on St. Charles.
Degree: MSN Nursing Healthcare Systems Administration and Leadership
9. UNC Greensboro
The online MSN in Administration degree at the University of North Carolina Greensboro prepares nurses to become leaders. The program has an application deadline of June 15th, with courses running throughout the year. Students complete seven semesters with 37 credits and 504 clinical hours before they graduate with a fall start. Part-time options are available, but full-time students complete the program together as a cohort over two academic years. In addition, clinical preceptors are chosen based on preference and location. Applicants need a current RN license from a state participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and live within a state that signed onto the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
University of North Carolina Greensboro is part of the many schools that make up the unified UNC system. Before joining the UNC team, it has had many names, beginning as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1891.
Degree: MSN Nursing Leadership and Management concentration
10. Thomas Edison State University
The Thomas Edison State University online MSN in Administration consists of a degree and a certificate. The program starts with core courses before branching into the Nursing Administration Area of Specialty. At the end of the thirty-six credit program, students receive a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and a Nursing Administration Certificate. Applicants need to have two years of nursing experience and a BSN.
Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the CCNE, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school maintains only a few buildings in its hometown of Trenton, NJ. From that small space, they spread knowledge throughout the world while students live their lives. It’s a young public university with its first year of operation in 1972. Its relative youth is apparent due to how well it balances the value of traditional education with the versatility of a modern one.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration Area of Specialty
11. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida online MSN in Administration degree has a Nurse Executive track. UWF’s program prepares nurses for leadership and management roles. Starting with fourteen credit hours of core classes, students in all MSN tracks have a shared curriculum for part of the program. Then, twenty-five credits focus on the Nurse Executive specialization. Students can earn this CCNE accredited master’s degree in two years. With flexible scheduling, online coursework, and up to nine transfer credits accepted, this is one of the best online MSN programs available.
Founded in 1963 within the sunny paradise of Pensacola, Florida, UWF is young for an east coast university. Of the school’s over 13,000 students, nearly a third of them were enrolled as online-only students in Fall 2020, so the new school has a solid grasp on how to deliver education through the web. Class sizes are at an average of twenty-five students per upper-level class.
Degree: MSN Nurse Executive Track
12. New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University offers an online MSN in Administration degree track. Applicants with a BSN and current RN license from a SARA state can apply to join the yearly cohort by August 1st. Students enrolled in the full-time track complete their degree in two years, while the part-time students will finish in three. The thirty-two credit hours of courses cover nursing informatics, managing fiscal and human resources, understanding health policy, and advanced knowledge geared for nurses in leadership roles.
New Mexico State University is in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and first opened in 1888. NMSU is proud to be a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. With over 21,000 students enrolled annually, the public university is the third-largest in the state.
Degree: MSN in Nursing Leadership and Administration
13. Ball State University
The online MSN in Administration degree at Ball State University is a flexible program with full-time and part-time options. Online courses are in an asynchronous format, and students take two classes at a time. With thirty-six credit hours and 180 hours of required practicum, most students complete the program in ten semesters. One fundamental limitation of the school’s program is the limited number of states where students can enroll in its online courses. However, for those who live in the service area, the administrative track teaches them how to manage the behavior of organizations, survey a market, and wrangle a complex budget.
Named for the Ball brothers who founded the Ball Corporation and made the popular canning jars, Ball State University is in
Muncie, Indiana. The state-supported school began in 1918 and today enrolls over 21,000 students annually. National League of Nursing named Ball State University’s School of Nursing as a Center of Excellence. In addition, the school has the ever-important accreditation from the CCNE.
Degree: MSN Nurse Administrator concentration
14. Sacred Heart University
The Sacred Heart University online MSN in Administration is ideal for working nurses. The MSN program with a Management and Executive Leadership Specialization balances a steady workload at a slower pace. Students take one course per eight-week period, resulting in a finished degree after 2.5 years or up to 6 years at a slower pace. The administrative specialty requires 120 clinical hours as part of the coursework. Its unique classes include Health Care Information Systems, Creating a Professional Work Environment, and Management of Financial Resources. Applicants do not need to have work experience or a BSN. Still, they do need some form of bachelor’s, a current RN license, and proof of malpractice insurance.
While Catholic values inspired its founding in 1963 and continue to guide its mission, Sacred Heart was the first Catholic university under the operation of a secular staff. The call to outreach and help is in the school’s firm support of its volunteer programs that boast over 100,000 hours of community engagement worldwide.
Degree MSN Management and Executive Leadership Specialization
15. East Tennessee State University
The East Tennessee State University online MSN in Administration has a specialty concentration in Nursing Administration. The program consists of forty-five credit hour courses and includes for RN-BSNs. RNs with a bachelor’s in another field can potentially apply. Still, they will have to complete multiple bridge courses before they can enroll in the graduate-level courses. While enrolled, the students take a short selection of core nursing classes before moving to courses such as Leadership in Nursing Administration and Strategic Planning for Health Care Organizations.
East Tennessee State University is one of the most prominent schools in Tennessee. It is no slouch for service and awards. For example, the College of Nursing has won recognition for its online nursing programs.
Degree MSN Nursing Administration concentration
16. Kent State University
The Kent State University online MSN Nursing Administration & Health Systems Leadership focus from Kent State promises to impart a robust approach to management. To that end, they are flexible to a degree with their requirements, demanding a BSN and 3.0 GPA only to give unconditional admission. Therefore, RNs with a non-BSN bachelor’s degree and nurses with a slightly lower GPA can still demonstrate their suitability for the program.
The University in Ohio is distinctly different from the University of Kent across the pond in the United Kingdom. However, it will not matter too much to students enrolled through the online MSN courses that can be completed even if you end up in the wrong Kent for a week or two.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration & Health Systems Leadership concentration
17. Messiah University
Messiah University’s online MSN in Administration degree program is a CCNE accredited 2-year curriculum. The program teaches nurses to lead a department effectively. There are also tracks for RNs with an associate’s or non-nursing bachelor’s degree with extended timeframes. Upon successful completion, nurses will know how to improve Organizational Effectiveness and promote Collaboration in Inter-Professional Teams.
Messiah College became Messiah University in 2020, but it was founded as a religious school in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Since then, the school has served Pennsylvania as a spiritual and educational training ground as a nondenominational Christian college. Various publications have recognized Messiah University for its excellent value, online education, student internship opportunities, and more.
Degree: Master of Science in Nursing Administration
18. Queens University of Charlotte
Students can earn an online MSN in Administration degree at Queens University of Charlotte in as little as two years. Asynchronous coursework means students don’t have to line their schedules up with their teachers’ schedules. This format allows them to continue working the long days with unexpected calls typical of an active nurse. Queens also makes it easy for RNs with an ADN to enroll and complete bridge courses as long as they have a current license. The program is accredited by the CCNE and can be completed from anywhere in the country.
The Queens University of Charlotte is a small private school affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The school opened in 1857 in Charlotte, North Carolina and today enrolls over 2,000 students. Queens University offers numerous undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs. Nursing is a popular program and provided at the Blair College of Health Presbyterian School of Nursing. The education delivered by Queens University is worthy of the national stage, and the nursing program is one of the most highly praised in the south.
Degree: MSN Nurse Administrator
19. Spalding University
The online MSN in Administration at Spalding University is a versatile degree. The Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Track has paths from RN to BSN to MSN, beginning and ending as students need. Rolling admissions are open at all times, with classes starting eight weeks apart. The RN to MSN Nursing & Healthcare Leadership track is available for RN-BSNs with a current license. Students begin core MSN courses like Nursing Research & Evidence-Based Practiced and Introduction to Telehealth. As the courses progress, they include topics like ethics, finances, and organizational leadership.
The original spark of spirit that formed Spalding University came from a small academy started by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in the 19th century. Over the years, that school became a whole college, moved to Louisville, and eventually became a university in 1984. From those humble origins, the private Roman Catholic university is now considered one of the top 300 schools across the entire nation.
Degree: MSN Nursing & Healthcare Leadership Track
20. Regis University
Regis University’s online MSN in Administration degree has a Leadership in Health Care System focus. Classes divide into eight-week terms for a flexible course schedule. The bulk of the curriculum is in required courses for nurse manager essentials like financial management, leadership, and health care policy. A shorter section of optional certificate programs covers topics like business management or informatics. Applicants need a BSN from a CCNE or NLN accredited school and a current RN license.
Regis University is a private, Catholic university named for Saint Regis. The school opened in 1877 and is in Denver, Colorado. Loretto Heights School of Nursing is one of the best nursing schools in Colorado. It features a state-of-the-art simulation lab.
Degree: MSN Leadership in Health Care Systems
21. The University of Texas at Tyler
The University of Texas at Tyler offers an online MSN in Administration degree track. The UT Tyler sixty-credit MSN degree is only for licensed RNs who hold a BSN. Classes are delivered online with a suggested two-year completion time as a full-time student. In addition, the clinical hours are split over three of the semesters. Students must hold a license in the state where they will fulfill their clinical hours.
UT Tyler has been a long-time member of the University of Texas System, briefly existing as Tyler State College before joining in 1979. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UT Tyler offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration
22. Webster University
The Webster University online MSN in Administration track focuses on financial issues in nursing. The thirty-six credit curriculum is available on a part-time or full-time schedule. Classes such as Population Health, Pathophysiology and Application, and Policy and Politics in Nursing makes up the core components of the curriculum. Although applicants need a BSN, Webster accepts a broader range of accreditations than most: ACEN, CCNE, NLNAC, and NLN CNEA. A minimum of one year as a practicing RN within the last three years is also required.
Webster University includes over sixty satellite branches that coordinate with the private university’s main campus in Missouri. Most of the satellite campuses are close to US military bases and a handful are in Europe and Asia. The university’s origins dated to 1915 when the Sisters of Loretto formed a Catholic women’s college in Webster Grove. The school has one of the unique mascots you’ll find called the Gorlok. It is a student creation made from the parts of a buffalo, a cheetah, and a saint bernard.
Degree: MSN Leader track
23. The University of Kansas
Students at the School of Nursing at The University of Kansas can earn an online MSN in Administration degree. With an Organizational Leadership specialty, students in this MSN program learn to manage organizations on a global scale. All of the courses, from Health Care Research to Healthcare Economics, are available to take online. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA in a BSN from a program accredited by the NLNAC or the CCNE, plus a current RN license. The school recommends at least a year of nursing experience for applicants, and the interview process is known to be competitive.
The University of Kansas is in Lawrence and opened in 1865. The school uses the inverted letters KU to distinguish the school it from other schools and places. KUMC is the official medical campus of the University of Kansas, and enrolled students are considered authentic Jayhawks. With 68 full-time faculty for 690 students in 2021, the School of Nursing at KUMC has a phenomenal ratio. And the school has an endowment of close to $2 billion.
Degree: MSN Organizational Leadership specialty
24. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The School of Nursing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an online MSN in Administration degree. The administrative track is a fully online program for current BSNs split between four 16-week semesters each year. Although the route is entirely online, students are collected into one fall cohort with no option for the Accelerated Online speed that other UTRGV courses have. The course of study is expected to be finished by the fall of the following year if you follow the suggested study plan.
The school was established in 2013 as a consolidation of several schools to restructure Texas’s university system, including 13 schools. That makes UTT Tyler, from earlier on this list, like its older sibling.
Degree: MSN Administration
25. University Of North Alabama
University of North Alabama online MSN in Administration has a Leadership in Organizational Environments focus. The fully online degree program is for current BSN holders. Suppose you’re an RN looking for an RN to MSN track. In that case, the school has a stated conditional admission policy applicants must have three years of nursing experience. The Leadership track covers management concerns for a healthcare leader, such as navigating the lawmaking process, managing a large budget, and managing a diverse team of healthcare workers. Application deadlines are loose for the spring, summer, and fall semesters that the school offers. Still, they recommend applying at least a couple of months in advance of your desired starting semester. Unfortunately, the school is not currently accepting students from California or the Northern Mariana Islands.
The University of North Alabama was the first school to receive a charter, then under the name LaGrange College. Its university status is relatively recent, becoming known by its current name in 1974. The school has a live mascot named Leo III that represents its nickname: the Lions. On-campus students can find Leo in the climate-controlled George H. Carroll habitat.
Degree: MSN Leadership in Organizational Environments track
What Is A MSN in Administration and a Nurse Administrator?
Nurse Administrators manage the day-to-day of a healthcare facility operations. They do not directly take care of patients but do oversee patient care. They are the managers in the facility or nursing department. Other names for this job are Nurse Executives, Nurse Managers, Nurse Executives, and Nurse Directors.
What Is The Role Of A Nurse Administrator?
The Nurse Administrator has a managerial role as part of the nursing team and serves as the bridge between the nursing leadership and staff, other teams, and the business components of the hospital or office. They work with legal, political, and financial elements to keep the operation running. It’s their job to ensure that the nurses on the floor can provide proper care by supporting the shelves stocked and positions filled. While the nurse manager doesn’t interact with patients as part of their typical day, they may assist patients regarding insurance and high-priority issues.
How Much Can I Make With A MSN in Administration?
How Much Can I Make As A Nurse Administrator ?A nurse administrator’s salary will vary depending on the location, the hospital, experience, and many other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse administrators fall under the Medical and Health Services Managers category. From the 2020 BLS data, the median annual salary was $104,280 with an expected Job Outlook of 32% growth by 2030, much faster than the average. For comparison, the BLS found an annual median pay of $75,330 with a 9% growth rate for Registered Nurses. Of course, the overall number of positions is much higher for RNs. However, RNs focusing on administration and management can typically make significantly more while still having several job opportunities.
What Is The Difference Between A Nurse Administrator And A Nurse Leader?
What is a job Nurse Administrator job versus a Nurse Leader job? Both require a high level of practical knowledge and interpersonal skills. They both play a vital role in the healthcare process and are aligned in their goals to improve patient outcomes. However, some core differences set them apart. A nurse leader works with the nursing staff more directly, helping to oversee patient care and make healthcare decisions on the floor. In addition, they work with other nurses and patients. While similar, a Nurse Administrator’s role is more focused on the nurses and their environment.
Where a nurse leader might draw up a list of the supplies that the floor needs to work better, the nurse administrator is the one who finds a way to work it into the budget and the one who makes sure it complies with the legal code. A typical nurse administrator’s day will be dealing with reports, submitting paperwork, handling human resource needs, and managing electronic healthcare system issues. These roles may have different names or overlapping responsibilities depending on the work location. Still, they typically have a similar division of labor.
Your Nursing Career With An MSN in Administration
If you are interested in elevating your career and want to become a Nurse Administrator, we encourage you to start your journey today. This in-demand field pays well and has excellent job stability. One of the best online MSN in Administration degrees can give you the flexibility you need to compete your degree while continuing to work.