An online MSN Administration degree prepares 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 master’s in nursing degrees are available at many colleges and universities.
Ranking The Best Online MSN Administration Degrees
The editors at TopRN began with a thorough list of all online nursing schools that offer MSN in Administration, Leadership, and Nurse Executive degree programs. From there, we focused on schools with hybrid or fully online masters in nursing degree programs. 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 both asynchronous and synchronous online classes. However, students are required to attend required immersions each semester on campus or as scheduled. Full-time and part-time options are available for this online masters in nursing.
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, an MSN from UNC 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 skills needed for the modern era. The Gonzaga Leadership in Healthcare online program is available in both 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 online. 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 and healthcare administrators an expanded worldview.
Gonzaga University is a Catholic school located in Spokane, Washington. The private Christian 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 also 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 both full-time and part-time options for the online master’s degree in nursing program. The coursework includes 37 to 39 credit hours of classes and 180 to 270 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 master of science in Administration degree at the University of Alabama is for registered nurses with a BSN. Students interested in earning an advanced degree online can finish this program with 33-39 credits. Completion time for this online master’s in nursing is between one and two years, depending on full-time and part-time attendance. In addition to the coursework, distance learners participate 540 clinical hours in an approved site in their home communities, allowing students hands on experience.
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 an online Duquesne University MSN degree. The MSN nursing administration program has a specialization in Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management. This thirty-credit program prepares students to lead a healthcare organization at an executive level. In addition, nursing courses include the Evidence-Based Nursing Practice project and Healthcare Policy Development, with business courses like Human Resource Management. The expected completion time is two years. In addition, applicants need a current registered nurse 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 also 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. Graduate admissions applicants to the nursing administration program 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 executive nursing practice. It also focuses on Leadership and Management. The nursing administration program is an accelerated RN-MSN that students can complete in sixteen months. A registered nurse with a BSN can move to a leadership role with this online master’s degree in nursing or 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. A registered nurse interested in a successful career and 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 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 from the online master’s degree in nursing. Part-time options are available, but full-time students complete the nursing administration 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).
The 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 both a degree and a certificate. The nursing administration online 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 online masters in nursing degree in two years. With flexible scheduling, online coursework, and up to nine transfer credits accepted, this online program 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. In addition, upper-level classes typically have an average of twenty-five students.
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 of the nursing administration online program 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 also 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 both full-time and part-time options. Online courses are in an asynchronous online 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 limitation of the school’s program is the 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, but at a slower pace. Students only take one course per eight-week period. As a result, students can finish their degree in 2.5 years or up to 6 years at a slower pace. The administrative specialty requires students to complete a practicum with 120 clinical hours as part of the coursework. Its unique classes include Health Care Information Systems, Creating a Professional Work Environment, and also 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 a forty-five credit hour course 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 in nursing theory, 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. The program requires at least one year.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration concentration
16. Kent State University
The Kent State University online MSN Nursing Administration & Health Systems Leadership focus promises to impart a robust approach to management. Students in the nursing administration online program learn leadership skills that prepare them for the job market. However, applicants must have a BSN and 3.0 GPA only to get 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.
Kent State is a public university in Ohio that started in 1910. It is one of the largest universities in Ohio and enrolls over 25,000 students every year. The KSU nursing school is well-known, and nursing is a popular major.
Degree: MSN Nursing Administration and Health Systems Leadership concentration
17. Messiah University
Messiah University’s online MSN in Administration degree program is a CCNE accredited program with a 2-year curriculum. The program teaches nursing students 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 both improve Organizational Effectiveness and also 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, and also student internship opportunities.
Degree: Master of Science in Nursing Administration
18. Queens University of Charlotte
Students can become nursing leaders at the 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 the instructor’s schedule. This online format allows students 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. In addition, students can complete the CCNE accredited program from anywhere in the country.
The Queens University of Charlotte is a small private school and is also affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The school opened in 1857 in Charlotte, North Carolina and today enrolls over 2,000 students. Queens University offers both an undergraduate baccalaureate degree 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. In addition, 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 and classes also start every eight weeks. 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 Methods and Introduction to Telehealth. As the courses progress, students complete coursework in topics like ethical issues, finances, and also 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 grew and 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. Classes include financial management, leadership, and also 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 also hold a current RN license.
Regis University is a private university named for Saint Regis. The Catholic 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 also hold a BSN. Classes are delivered online with a suggested two-year completion time as a full-time student. In addition, the clinical hours in a health care setting are split over three semesters. Students must also 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 MSN in Administration track focuses on financial issues in nursing. The thirty-six-credit online 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 make 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 there are also a handful in Europe and Asia. The university’s origins date to 1915 when the Sisters of Loretto formed a Catholic women’s college in Webster Grove. The school has one of the most unique mascots you’ll find called the Gorlok. It is a student creation made from the parts of a buffalo, a cheetah, and also 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. In addition, 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 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 also has a phenomenal ratio. In addition, 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 and is also 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 at UT Rio Grande Valley
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. Many RN’s are looking for an RN to MSN track or one of the online MSN programs. 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 since it took 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 An MSN Administration and a Nurse Administrator?
Nurse Administrators manage the day-to-day of a healthcare facility operations. However, they do not directly take care of patients but oversee patient care. They are the managers in the facility or nursing department. Other names for this job are also Nurse Managers, Nurse Executives, and Nurse Directors. A chief nursing officer and a clinical nurse leader can also have an administration background. Nursing administration combines prior nursing experience with leadership and management skills to oversee nursing staff and operations in health care settings. Critical skills in healthcare administration include fiscal management and conflict management. In addition, a knowledge of care delivery systems and health information technology is also essential.
How Do I Choose An Online MSN Administration Program?
Accreditation is key when looking for one of the best nursing administration programs where you can get your nursing administration degree. The school you attend should be a regionally accredited institution. In addition, it should also have accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The best nursing education programs prepare students to work in today’s health care industry. Therefore, an overall understanding of today’s healthcare environment and nursing systems used in the healthcare industry is vital. Schools that offer state-of-the-art clinical practicum experiences prepare students to hit the ground running using best nursing practices in health administration.
MSN in nursing administration online programs include classes in management theory, organizational behavior, nursing management, and also healthcare delivery. In addition, students use evidence-based practice to find quality improvement in healthcare organizations and educational services. A master’s in nursing administration trains students to be nurse leaders and work in roles like health services managers. An accredited institution should have a rigorous curriculum. Topics should include strategic management and business skills. Furthermore, students learn leadership styles, how to work with diverse populations, and performance improvement strategies.
What Is The Role Of A MSN Nurse Administrator?
The Nurse Administrator has a managerial role on a nursing team. In addition, they serve 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 also financial elements to keep the operation running. It’s their job to ensure that the nurses on the floor can provide proper care by ensuring they have both the physical and human resources they need. 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, and also experience. 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 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 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.
In addition to a degree, many nurses opt to earn a professional credential recognized in the health care community. For example, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership has a Certified Nurse Manager and Leader credential. In addition, American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a Nurse Executive Certification. With a certification or credential, nurses can also increase their earning potential.
What Is The Difference Between A Nurse Administrator And A Nurse Leader?
What is the job of a 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 improving 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.
A nurse leader might draw up a list of the supplies that the floor needs to work better. However, 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 handle reports, submit paperwork, handle human resource needs, and manage 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 A MSN in Administration
If you are interested in elevating your career and becoming a Nurse Administrator, we encourage you to start your journey today with one of the best online MSN programs. This in-demand field both pays well and has excellent job stability. In addition, one of the best online MSN in Administration degrees can give you the flexibility you need to complete your degree while continuing to work.