How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Alaska

What is a Nurse Administrator?

A nurse administrator oversees nurses and certain healthcare team members in hospital departments, physicians’ offices, long-term care facilities and other medical centers. They’re responsible for hiring and reviewing nurses and managing work schedules, budgets and continued training. From a larger organizational perspective, nurse administrators may also write and enforce policy while ensuring everything runs smoothly for everyone involved in implementing best care practices.

Nurse administrators are leaders who head up both business and care aspects of nursing organizations. They need excellent interpersonal and clinical skills, as they’re often called on to bring a sense of community and business savvy to their place of work.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Alaska

To be a nurse administrator, you must be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Earning this degree typically requires a four-year bachelor’s degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but some programs are a bit more flexible if you need more time to complete your degree. Once you’ve become a nurse, you’ll want to give yourself at least one to two years to practice as an RN before pursuing a graduate degree in nurse administration. This working experience can provide great insight into where you want to take your career while, at the same time, making you a more appealing candidate for graduate study. Graduate degrees aren’t required to become a nurse administrator, but they can give you an edge on the job market.

Graduate degrees also help prepare you to take national exams like the Nursing Executive certification (NE-BC), administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE). The ANCC and the AONE are organizations that set the standards for healthcare credentials and leadership on a national level. While you could still become a nurse administrator if you’re an experienced leader and RN, working to earn these additional certifications could make you a more competitive hire when you begin the job hunt. The projected growth rate for the nurse administrator profession is 32%, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for jobs now and in the future. The average base salary of a nurse administrator in Alaska is $136,166. Leadership is a complex and evolving field, and filling those higher-level roles requires particular skills. Choosing the right school will set you up for success and allow you to make the most of your continuing education. Check out the programs below to learn more.

Best Nursing Leadership Programs in Alaska

1. University of Alaska Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is a public university with four community campuses throughout the state. UAA offers over 100 academic programs and keeps its student-to-faculty ratio small at 15:1, primarily serving Alaskan residents.

UAA has the only DNP program in the state, and its small size allows students to customize their clinical experiences while focusing on rural and underserved populations. Students can complete this degree online in four years. The curriculum includes classes on nursing leadership, informatics and finance. Students will also have to complete a clinical practicum and can waive up to 700 practice hours with previous experience. Completion of the remaining clinical hours is required to graduate. One of the program’s highlights is that students will get to work with nursing professionals with various backgrounds and expertise. These professionals specialize in everything from mental health to telehealth, emergency psychiatric medicine, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and child abuse forensics.

Students must hold active APRN and RN licenses in Alaska and a master’s degree in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA for admission. Students will also need to go through gap analysis to determine if their transcripts demonstrate the necessary educational experience, if admissions can waive some courses or if they’ll need to take additional courses. Incoming students should have completed a graduate-level statistics course within the last five years. Otherwise, students will add that course to their plan of study. To apply, submit a general graduate school application that includes your CV, a copy of your RN and APRN licenses and your APRN certificate. Students will also need to provide names and emails for three professional references. You’ll then schedule a faculty interview and advising appointment to determine the next steps in the admissions process. Once accepted, more documentation is required, such as copies of your certifications for basic life support (BLS), a background check, and evidence of satisfactory health status.

2. University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is a public land-grant research university located in College, a suburb of Fairbanks. UAF hosts 980 graduate students and boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, keeping classes small and community-oriented.

UAF offers a unique OHM (One Health Master’s) degree that could interest students who seek to deepen their connection to the Circumpolar North. Perhaps you already hold an RN or an APRN, and you’ve identified that the problems in your community stretch beyond the nursing realm. The OHM seeks to educate students so that they can address issues at the intersection of human, animal and environmental health. The goal is to foster leadership that can bring together stakeholders across cultures, experiences and educational backgrounds. The program can be completed in just one year and features two concentrations: Community Advocacy and Biomedical. Coursework for this degree includes classes in communication, epidemiology, conflict resolution, cultural awareness, data collection and more. While the program is currently online, UAF has plans to offer in-person and hybrid classes soon. If you hope to attend medical or veterinary school in the future, this program could be a good starting point.

To apply, submit transcripts, two to three letters of recommendation, a letter of interest that describes you and your goals for your education and an application fee of $75.

3. Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University (APU) is a small private university that enrolls 555 students and sits on 170 acres of heavily wooded land outside downtown Anchorage. The university works to honor Alaska’s indigenous heritage through collaborative and culturally responsive education and programming.

APU offers an MBA with a concentration in Health Services Administration for current and future administrators within the healthcare industry. While the program focuses on business fundamentals, students will come away with skills that apply in various settings from the private to the public sector and Native health service providers. Coursework was designed with working professionals in mind and can be completed in two years if you take at least two courses a semester. Classes cover topics like ethics, information literacy, leadership and more.

To be admitted to the program, submit an online application with a $25 fee (or $50 if submitted after the priority deadline), an essay addressing your goals, a resume, two letters of recommendation, your official transcripts and your GPA. Prospective students will also have to complete an interview.

4. Purdue University Global

Purdue University isn’t based in Alaska, though it is one of the top online nursing programs that can accommodate students worldwide. PUG is a public online university and part of the Purdue University system offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

PUG has several graduate nursing degrees available, but the MSN with the Executive Leader track may interest nurses who want to further their careers and grow their skills. This MSN allows graduates to take on systems-focused roles in health facility administration, public health and policy. One of the program’s highlights includes flexible start times, allowing students to begin the program whenever convenient for their working schedule. Additionally, you’ll have faculty and support teams at your fingertips to guide you through your degree.

To apply, create an account and profile, add your educational information and make your program and funding selections. You can complete the rest of the application online through your account. You are then prompted o add additional documentation based on your program and funding selections.

5. Aspen University

Aspen University (AU) is an online university in the US that offers a wide variety of nursing degrees. For RNs who don’t currently hold a BSN, AU could be an excellent option for you to pursue a graduate-level degree.

AU’s MSN in Administration and Management prepares students to take on roles like Nurse Executive, Health Coordinator and Nurse Manager. The coursework includes nursing theory, research, diverse populations, ethics and informatics. Students will also be required to complete a practicum within a clinical practice or academic setting and a capstone project. The capstone asks you to design, research and develop an original project based on the theories you’ve encountered throughout the program. Capstone projects are done after the practicum to draw on what you learned through that experience.

To be admitted, prospective students should submit a completed online application and official transcripts with proof of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN or ASN) with a GPA of at least 2.5. You’ll also need to send in a copy of your RN license, proof of at least one year of nursing experience and 30 hours of liberal arts education classes.