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What Jobs Are Available for MSN in Administration Grads?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration can lead to a number of career opportunities, each with its own set of unique responsibilities and required skills. Here are five types of nursing administration jobs — including salary and job growth projections — that you may be interested in as you advance in your career.

1. Nurse Manager

As a nurse manager, you are responsible for the nurses in one or more units. In addition to handling day-to-day supervision of the staff, you may also be responsible for recruitment, hiring and discipline. Educating and mentoring staff, tracking or ordering inventory, and auditing patient medical records may also be part of your responsibilities. You may act as a liaison between the staff, patients and their families — occasionally doing the same for other healthcare providers and facilities. Hospitals, nursing homes and multi-physician practices regularly hire nurse managers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for medical and health services managers — including nurse managers — will likely grow at a rate of 17 percent, much faster than the average, through 2024. The annual median pay, as of 2015, was $94,500, with the top 10 percent earning $165,380. In Texas, the demand will likely grow even faster, at nearly 29 percent, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission. The Commission reports annual salaries of $101,268 for nurse managers in Texas.

2. Director of Nursing

A director of nursing, also sometimes referred to as nurse director, oversees nursing staff and patient care within in a certain unit, department or throughout an entire facility. In this position, you may infrequently perform clinical care, but you’ll spend the majority of your time and expertise strictly on administrative and managerial tasks.

Those tasks may include forecasting unit or department staffing needs, developing budgets, performing financial oversight, and formulating nursing policies and procedures. In the chain of command, the nurse manager typically reports directly to the director of nursing, with the director reporting to upper management. Hospitals, medical centers and long-term care facilities may hire for this position.

According to, the median annual income for a director of nursing is $135,797, with the top 10 percent earning $175,325. Nationwide demand for this position may be similar to the projections for nurse managers with approximately 17 percent growth through 2024. In Texas, director of nursing job growth may also mirror that of nurse managers.

3. Chief Nursing Officer

A chief nursing officer (CNO), or a nurse executive, oversees all nursing operations for a healthcare facility or organization. Frequently hired by private and public hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities, a CNO is part of the executive management team. If the facility is a nonprofit, the CNO often sits on the board of directors, serving as an advisor and representing the interests of the facilities’ nurses. In this role, you may work with other leaders to develop best practices for nursing staff, establish budgets and compensation packages, and roll out new patient services. Depending on the organizational structure, the director of nursing may report to the CNO, with the CNO reporting to the chief executive officer.

According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a chief nursing officer is $124,616, with the top 10 percent earning $200,000 or more. CNOs are frequently eligible for bonuses and incentive pay, which can boost incomes even higher. Specific demand for this position is difficult to estimate, but nurses who have an MSN in conjunction with a business background — or even a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree — may have a distinct advantage.

4. Clinical Nurse Leader

A clinical nurse leader performs a combination of clinical and managerial tasks. In this role, you are responsible for overseeing the care nurses provide as well how they deliver it. You may design patient treatment plans in coordination with social workers, physicians, pharmacists and clinical nurse specialists — all with the goal of improving outcomes and ensuring appropriate care. You may also manage a designated nursing unit and work with the nursing staff to keep them up-to-date on the latest treatment methods and techniques. Various healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, and research-oriented facilities, employ clinical nurse leaders.

According to PayScale, clinical nurse leaders earn an annual median salary of $74,770, with the top 10 percent earning nearly $100,000. The BLS projects 17 percent job growth through 2024 — and 29 percent in Texas specifically. However, as value-based payer reimbursements become more prominent, there is a greater need for healthcare facilities to control costs while also improving quality of patient care. For these reasons, demand for clinical nurse leaders may increase faster than anticipated.

5. Traveling Nurse Consultant

If you like a frequent change of scenery, then becoming a traveling nurse consultant may be an ideal career for you. Travel nursing has seen a significant increase since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and the resulting influx of newly insured patients. Some facilities need nurses to fulfill administrative roles on both temporary and long-term bases. From nurse manager to director of nursing, these interim positions can be a great way to gain experience in a variety of different settings.

In any of these roles, the facility may have specific objectives they wish you to accomplish during your assignment. The tasks may be wide-ranging, such as developing new policies and procedures, educating and preparing nurses, and revamping budgets or compensation structures.

Finding the Right Fit

When you complete a degree program, you hope that there will be several types of jobs for which you have developed the appropriate skill set and qualifications. With an MSN in Nursing Administration, you can pursue the careers outlined above as well as many others. As the healthcare landscape evolves, nurses who continue to advance their education and develop clinical, business and leadership skills may find even more opportunities.

Learn about UTRGV online MSN — Administration program


Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Salary — United States

Clinical Nurse Leader Salary — United States

Demand for travel nurses hits a 20-year high

Medical and Health Services Managers

Nursing Director Salaries

Texas Long-term Occupation Projections

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