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Career Profile: Nurse Administrator

Why is Nurse Administration a Job of Tomorrow?
Employment positions for registered nurses, including nurse administrators, are expected to increase by 23 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, medical and health service managerial positions are expected to see a 16 percent gain by 2016. Registered nurses are the largest health care occupation, and will likely remain in that top position. Nurse administrators typically advance up the ranks into positions of more responsibility and better pay. In San Francisco, the salary for first-level management positions is approximately $80,000, while mid-level salaries are about $110,000, and executive manager positions pay $150,000, according to the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco.

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?
Nurse administrators handle the bulk of behind-the-scenes nursing responsibilities in a health care facility, including creating the facility's health care policies, working with the medical staff and governing boards of the institution, and making financial decisions. The occupation marries nursing, business and management, meaning that nurse administrators play an integral part in ensuring that a facility runs smoothly.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Nurse Administrator?
Nurse administrators typically have a master's degree in health care administration. This degree may have different concentrations within it, such as management or health information technology. Though some entry-level administrative positions are open to those with a bachelor's in health care administration, most employers prefer those with a master's degree level in the subject because of the complex nature of the work. Professional working experience, which applicants can gain through residency programs, is also an important factor that employers consider when hiring nurse administrators. High-ranking registered nurses who continue their education to obtain a master's in health care often occupy nurse administrative positions, as these professionals fulfill both the education and experience requirements. In some states, an additional license for administrators working in assisted living facilities, such as retirement homes, may be needed. A master's program generally takes two to three years to complete, and the courses cover such subjects as business practices, team building strategies and management tactics.